University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy

Physics and Astronomy Calendar

Friday, November 11th 2016
Speaker: Margaret Morrison, University of Toronto
Subject: "Scientific Modelling and the Nature of Speculation"
Refreshments served at 3:15 p.m.

The multiverse is often thought to be speculative account of how one might solve problems in fundamental physics. Yet this kind of speculation seems different from the unrealistic assumptions instrinsic to scientific modelling more generally, e.g. infinite populations of genes in population genetics. This latter kind of modelling can be further distinguished from the construction of fictional or toy models. I discuss these different modelling practices and the nature of speculation associated with each, showing why the “models as fictions” view not only fails to capture the subtleties in modelling strategies but undermines the larger goals of modelling as a scientific activity.

The weekly calendar is also available via subscription to the physics-announce mailing list, and by RSS feed.