University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy

Physics and Astronomy Calendar

Friday, October 31st 2014
Speaker: Jeroen van Dongen, History of Science, University of Amsterdam/Utrecht University
Subject: A Virtuous Theorist’s Theoretical Virtues: Einstein on Physics versus Mathematics and Experience versus Unification
Refreshments served in Room 216 Physics at 3:15 p.m.

Special colloquium in honor of the 80th birthday of Roger H. Stuewer, founder and former director of the Program in History of Science and Technology

When Albert Einstein formulated the general theory of relativity, he combined a physical and mathematical approach, as Renn and others have shown. He retained and explicitly referred to these categories in his later work on unified field theory as well, but emphasized their usefulness differently, just as his later recollections of how he found general relativity gradually changed. These altered recollections were not only the consequence of his new, highly mathematical unification program, but also served as an advertisement for that program: Einstein enlisted idealizations of himself as justification for his highly controversial work.

Cosponsored by the School of Physics and Astronomy.

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