Thermodynamics as a Resource Theory:
Foundational and Philosophical Implications
Interdisciplinary workshop of the resource-theoretic revolution in thermodynamics
June 20-22, 2018, The University of Western Ontario (London, Ontario).
Recently, there has been a shift in the way that many physicists are approaching the science of thermodynamics. Instead of regarding its laws as purely physical laws, researchers are increasingly treating the theory as a theory about how agents, such as ourselves, can use information about a physical system as a resource for extracting useful work from the system. Seen this way, investigations into the thermodynamics of quantum systems have a deep connection with work in Quantum Information Theory.
This interdisciplinary workshop brings together philosophers and physicists to explore the philosophical and foundational implications of the resource-theoretic turn in thermodynamics.
The Rotman Institute of Philosophy will host a summer institute in philosophy of cosmology, June 11-20, 2018. The Institute will focus primarily on two issues: first, the role of simulations in cosmology, and second, the status of singularity theorems in light of proposals from quantum gravity. Graduate students and junior scholars are encouraged to apply by March 30. Please visit the Institute website for further details. This event is sponsored in part by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation, awarded to Chris Smeenk and Jim Weatherall.
The XXI International Summer School in Philosophy of Physics hosted in Urbino, June 25-28, will focus on Philosophy of Quantum Field Theory. Interested graduate students and early career researchers are encouraged to apply to attend, or to present a paper.
Lectures will be given by Miklos Redei (London School of Economics and Political Science), Laura Ruetsche (University of Michigan) and Giovanni Valente (Polytechnic University of Milan); and afternoon seminars will be given by Elena Castellani (University of Florence), F.A. Muller (Erasmus University Rotterdam, Utrecht University), and Sergio Doplicher (University of Rome La Sapienza)
The Rotman Institute of Philosophy is hosting a conference on Cosmology and the Future of Spacetime on June 12-14, 2017, in London, Ontario. All are welcome to attend, but we ask those interested in joining us to register for planning purposes. The conference is held in conjunction with the LMP conference, on June 15-16th. Below the fold is a more detailed description of the conference theme.
The Center for Philosophy of Science at Pittsburgh is hosting an early career workshop in philosophy of astrophysics and cosmology, Oct. 28-29, 2017.
Philosophy of astrophysics and philosophy of cosmology are still emerging fields within philosophy of physics and general philosophy of science. The overall aim of this workshop is to bring together philosophers and researchers in the physical sciences to collectively explore epistemological and methodological issues in philosophy of astrophysics and cosmology with particular attention to the contributions of observational and experimental evidence in these fields. Some of the topics with which we aim to engage include: the validity of simulation assumptions, use of models and theories in data processing, considerations invoked when integrating different theoretical and/or methodological resources in one application, potential strategies for constraining theory, and principled constraints on what we can know.
Keynote speakers: Wendy Freedman (Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of Chicago), and Michela Massimi (School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences, University of Edinburgh)
Abstracts of 500 words should be submitted by June 30, see the CFP for further details.
The XXth iteration of the Urbino Summer School will focus on spacetime and quantum physics (website), held on July 10-13, 2017. The summer school will feature morning lectures given by Christian Wüthrich (University of Geneva) and Francesca Vidotto (Radboud University); and afternoon seminars given by Carlo Rovelli (CPT, Aix-Marseille Université, Université de Toulon, CNRS), F.A. Muller (Erasmus University Rotterdam) and Tiziana Vistarini (University of Colorado Boulder). (h/t to Giovanni Macchia)
The twenty first century has, thus far, been a period of rapid progress in cosmology. And yet this very success has begun to expose the limits of current methods and forced cosmologists to explore new ways of learning about the universe and its history. At this conference, we will explore three related areas where methodological innovation has been called for, and where it has already begun. One theme will concern the epistemology of inflation. Does inflationary cosmology inexorably lead us to postulate a multiverse where anything that can happen does happen? And if so, what does it mean to test a theory that is compatible with anything we might observe? Or can we treat inflation as a more conventional theory, with unambiguous observational signatures? A second theme will concern dark matter and dark energy. We have inferred the existence of these entities by comparing observational evidence with models of general relativity. But one might just as well infer, from the behavior of the visible matter in the universe, that general relativity breaks down at cosmological (or even galactic) length scales. What are the prospects for alternatives to general relativity at cosmological scales? How might cosmology be used to test general relativity? The final theme will concern the role of simulation in our understanding of the history of the actual universe. Can simulations be used to test theories of the early universe? Do they provide an independent source of information about cosmology, or are they an intermediary between theory and observation?
See the conference webpage for further details.