The Division of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Leeds will be hosting a half-day workshop on Information in Physics and Biology on 14 September 2007 at the Leeds Humanities Research Institute.

Speakers will be Greg Radick (HPS, Leeds), Ulrich Stegmann (Philosophy, Bristol), Chris Timpson (Philosophy Leeds/Oxford), Jos Uffink (Institute for History and Foundations of Science, Utrecht) and Marcel Weber (Philosophy, Basel).

It is anticipated that this will be the first in a series of related meetings in this subject area.


Information is a concept very widely appealed to in modern science, but for all that, it is not well understood. It is sometimes thought to be a concept apt to unify an increasingly disparate scientific landscape, but this thought is belied by the variety of technical meanings the word accrues in different areas and by the variety of purposes for which it is employed. This variety in meaning and purpose makes communication across disciplines difficult and a philosophical overview of the role of the concept, or concepts, hard to achieve. Things are muddied further by interplay between technical uses of the term ‘information’ and its non-technical semantic/epistemic senses, the differences between which are often elided.

The aim of this workshop is to begin setting some of these issues out carefully; to investigate and categorise the nature of various of the information concepts available; and to compare and contrast some of the calls made on the notion of information in the very distinct fields of physics and biology.


11:30-12:30 Registration/buffet lunch

12:30-1 Opening remarks + “A Budget of Informations” Chris Timpson (Oxford/Leeds)

1-2:15 “Classical measures of information” Jos Uffink (Utrecht)

2:15-3:00 “Biology Goes Informative: The Case of Britain, 1947-1958” Greg Radick (Leeds)

3:00-3:30 Tea

3:30-4:45 “Causal Specificity, Information, and the Central Dogma of Molecular Bioloy” Marcel Weber (Basel)

4:45 – 6 Title TBC, Ulrich Stegmann (Bristol)

6-6:30 Closing remarks/discussion

Location: The Leeds Humanities Research Institute, 29-31 Clarendon Place <>

For further information, or to express interest in attending this event, please contact [email protected]. Registration will be on the day, £10 (£5 for students), which will include lunch and refreshments.