Second anniversary of NWC

We are very glad to announce the second anniversary of the founding of Naturwissenschaftscafé!
Two years ago we had the idea to drink beer (or other beverages) and discuss science that we were not able to discuss in university. Well, this escalated quickly (not only the ethanol consumption) and next semester we have the first official NWC Lecture Series! (which you can btw apply at ufind: scientific realism)
To celebrate this and the fact that we actually managed to keep this regular over such a long time, we invite you to join the 2nd Birthday NWC meeting on Wednesday 14.2. 19:00h at the Tunnel.
We will discuss open questions from the last two years, the lecture series and will just sit around and drink. So please join us IMPORTANT! Even though this is a celebration for the most part, there is also important literature to prepare. Please read following paper carefully:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19375883 The results will be discussed next wednesday. See you there!

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Lecture series on foundations of science: Scientific Realism

Whether there exists something ‘real’ to be described by science is one of the oldest question in philosophy of science, and it is one of the fundamental pillars on which scientific disciplines are built. In particular, are theoretical entities introduced by scientific theories merely useful predictive tools, or rather do they offer a faithful description of an outside ‘real’ world? Do we have scientific (i.e. non-metaphysical) methods to discriminate between these world views?

In this regard, foundations of natural sciences were shaken by the advent of quantum mechanics. Indeed, this theory demolished most of the a priori ideas, upon which classical theories were built, including the conception of reality. Crucial fundamental issues in quantum theory, such as the ontological status of the wave function and of the properties of particles are still heatedly debated. As D. Mermin pointed out, “today, nearly 90 years after its formulation, disagreement about the meaning of the [quantum] theory is stronger than ever. New interpretations appear every day. None ever disappear”.

Despite the importance of the concept of realism for science, fundamental issues of such a kind are rarely treated in as much detail as they would deserve in university courses. Therefore, a group of students of the University of Vienna from different scientific fields (see https://naturwissenschaftscafe.wordpress.com/) have organised a lecture series devoted to the subject of scientific realism. The lecture series will consist of nine lectures (in SS 2018), held by some of the most prominent (both international and local) professors in the field of foundations of quantum mechanics and philosophy of science. Moreover, the lecture series will be an official course of the University of Vienna, for which students could get ECTS upon passing an exam.

Further information can be found on Ufind under the following link: https://ufind.univie.ac.at/en/course.html?lv=260020&semester=2018S

This initiative has been stimulated also by a very successful (over 200 attendees) symposium on foundations of science, entitled “Shut Up and Contemplate!”, which was organised in March 2017 (https://shutupandcontemplatesymposium.wordpress.com/).

ScientificRealismPoster-min-1

Shut up and Contemplate! Symposium

The group of the Naturwissenshaftscafé is pleased to present its first public event. This is a one-day symposium on fundamental issues in science, to be held on the 3rd of March, 2017 at the Faculty of Physics of the University of Vienna.

Thanks to a list of invited speakers, and hopefully a broad audience with many different backgrounds, we will try to cover the important aspects of possible alternatives that scientific development has to face.

Therefore we will provide three sections according to three categories of problems: methodological positions, socio-political context and interpretations of theories – specifically quantum mechanics.

For a complete description of the event see:
https://shutupandcontemplatesymposium.wordpress.com/.