Colloquium: Jürgen Renn, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin.
This colloquium will mark the official dedication of the Roger and Helga Stuewer Library. There will be brief remarks in regards to this at the beginning of the colloquium.
Abstract: The talk discusses the long-term evolution of physical knowledge, taking into account three dimensions of knowledge, its cognitive and social structures, as well as its material or symbolic representations. After a brief review of the roots of mechanical knowledge in antiquity, it focuses on the period of the early modern Scientific Revolution, in particular on the work of Galileo and his contemporaries, and on the emergence of modern physics, in particular on the work of Einstein and his peers. The aim is to understand the conceptual transformations occurring within a millenary transmission of knowledge that also includes globalization processes. The claim is that these conceptual transformations are not paradigm shifts but the result of reorganizations of shared knowledge, typically occurring not as isolated breakthroughs but as communal efforts involving the reinterpretation of existing representations.