History of Science Double-Bill at the Maison Française


5.15 – 6.45 pm

“Schrödinger’s error: indeed what is life?”

Jean-Jacques Kupiec, Inserm, Paris

Chair: Denis Noble, Balliol College

In association with the University Laboratory of Physiology and the Centre for Mathematical Biology

Professor at the Ecole Normal Supérieure in Paris, Jean-Jacques Kupiec made his name in 1981 with a ground-breaking theory of embryonic development. Rejecting the traditional determinist model, Kupiec’s approach to genetics applies the principles of Darwin’s theory. Kupiec’s recent epistemological work, Ni Dieu, Ni Gène: Pour une autre théorie de l’hérédité (Seuil, 2000), written in collaboration with Pierre Sonigo, argues that cell populations are structured in a random way, following a principle of natural selection.

Kupiec will be looking at Erwin Schrödinger’s essay What is life? and proposing an alternative theory that biological order inside organisms is generated by a combination of stochasticity and selection, and not “order from order”.

6.30 – 7.30 pm : Drinks

7.30 – 9.00 pm : “Making things public: the debriefing of a thought experiment”

Bruno Latour, CSI-Ecole des Mines, Paris

Chair: Robert Fox, Linacre College

In association with the Faculty of Modern History

Bruno Latour is one of the most influential interpreters of science and contemporary culture. He has published numerous ground-breaking works, including: We have never been Modern (Prentice-Hall, 1993) and Politics of Nature – How to Bring the Sciences into Democracy (Harvard University Press, 2004).

Latour will be discussing an exhibition, Making things public: Atmospheres of Democracy, which he recently curated at the ZKM Museum for Contemporary Art in Germany. This unusual exhibition, with its presentation of different atmospheric conditions of democracy, aimed to lend a different, emotional colour to political involvement and political envelopment.

His latest work, which is a presentation of the social theory he developed with colleagues in Paris, will be available for purchase: Reassembling the Social, an Introduction to Actor Network Theory <http://www.ensmp.fr/~latour/livres/XII_tdmANT.html> (Oxford University Press, 2005).

– All Welcome –