Pegram Lecture

"The Pyramid and the Ring"

Presented by Peter Galison, Harvard University

Friday, November 3, 2006, 11:00 am — Berkner Hall Auditorium

"The Pyramid and the Ring" which I’ve sometimes called the history of the present is about a restructuring of physics that I now see opening up before us--signaled by the frequent and disquieting accusation that certain branches of research are "not physics": string theory accused of being too far from experiment and too close to mathematics or even worse, a kind of free-range formalistic philosophy; nanoscience accused of being too close to engineering and insufficiently "basic"; and simulations accused of leading 'the young' too far from a grip on real experimental equipment or even objects at all. The reason (or so I argue) that these discussions have gotten so heated inside the physics community is that the discipline itself is changing, moving from a kind of pyramid-like structure with fundamental physics at the top, to something more like a ring, connected parts, no universally-agreed upon center.

Hosted by: Peter Wanderer

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