The Physics and Philosophy of Kirchhoff’s Theory of Diffraction (on the 130th anniversary of Kirchhoff’s paper)

May 29, 2012
Institute of Advanced Study, Durham University

Seminar Room, Cosin's Hall
Palace Green
Durham DH1 3RL
United Kingdom

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Scientists have long debated the peculiar nature of Kirchhoff’s theory of diffraction, and in particular how it could be so successful despite being both internally inconsistent, and false in certain very significant respects. Just recently, philosophers of science have introduced this case study to their own community as a potentially serious problem for contemporary scientific realist positions (e.g. see here). In this workshop scientists and philosophers are brought together for the first time to share viewpoints, and debate what lessons can be drawn from Kirchhoff’s theory for our contemporary understanding of how science works.


Please register for the workshop by 4th May at the latest, by sending an email to Jean Best: [email protected]. The first 15 people to register won’t have to pay anything, and will receive free coffee and tea, biscuits, and a buffet lunch, which will all be provided by the university. After that registration will cost £8.


There will be a small budget to help towards the travel costs of students who wish to attend, allocated on a first-come first-served basis. Please enquire withJean Best about this.

Please contact [email protected] with any enquiries.

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May 4, 2012, 10:00am BST

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