Understanding Relativity Theory: Special and General

6th Tuebingen Summer School in the History and Philosophy of Science - 2017

 

Five lectures by Harvey Brown, University of Oxford

With a keynote lecture by Dennis Lehmkuhl, Caltech

 

Tuebingen, July 31st  – August 5th, 2017

Call for Applications


Application deadline: June 10th, 2017

 

Introduction

 

We kindly invite graduate students and junior scientists of philosophy, physics and mathematics, to apply for the 6th Forum Scientiarum's International Interdisciplinary Summer School in the History and Philosophy of Science

 

The Summer School takes place in Tuebingen (Germany), a classical university town with a charming old town center, from Monday, July 31st to Friday, August 4th, 2017.

 

Topic


These lectures will be concerned with the foundations of Einstein’s theories of special and general relativity. They will start with a survey of work of the 19th century ether theorists and their premonitions of length contraction, time dilation and relativity of simultaneity. This will allow for a discussion of precisely what Einstein contributed to the understanding of space and time in 1905, and why his formulation of his theory of special relativity underwent a subtle but important change in the course of his life. This in turn leads to a defence of what has come to be known in the recent literature as the “dynamical” (sometimes “constructive”) approach to special relativity, in contrast to the geometrical approach advocated by some contemporary philosophers of physics. The final topic of the lectures concerns the foundations of Einstein’s 1915 general theory of relativity. The principal issue will be how to understand the “local” emergence of special relativity, which is intimately linked to the origins of the chronometric significance of the metric field. Another issue relates to the geodesic motion of test particles in general relativity, and the delicate question of the extent to which it is a consequence of Einstein’s field equations.

 

The Lecturer

 

Harvey Brown is Professor of Philosophy of Physics at Oxford University, and a Fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford. His has worked on the foundations of quantum mechanics, relativity theory and thermal physics, the philosophy of space and time, and the role of symmetry principles in physics. He is the author of Physical Relativity (Oxford University Press, 2005)

 

The Keynote Speaker

 

Dennis Lehmkuhl is Research Assistant Professor of History and Philosophy of Science at Caltech and Scientific Editor at the Einstein Papers Project. He is author of numerous papers on the history and philosophy of space and time. He is currently writing a book Einstein's Principles which is under contract by Oxford University Press

 

Application

 

To apply for the international summer school, participants need to submit an online application form. Deadline for the complete applications is June 10, 2017. A letter of admission will reach successful applicants via email by June 20th, 2017.

 

There is no program fee. The Forum Scientiarum may provide participants with limited grants for covering part of their travel expenses and will assist participants finding inexpensive accommodation.

 

For further information please contact:

Marco Giovanelli

marco.giovanelli@uni-tuebingen.de

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