Department of Physics, Panjab University, Chandigarh, India

Department seminar

Date and time: 12 March 2015 (Thursday), 4:00 pm
Venue: Seminar Hall

Title: Science and the human predicament

Speaker: Prof. N. Mukunda, Emeritus Professor, Centre for High-Energy Physics, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru

Abstract: We review in broad terms the increase in scientific knowledge and conceptual advances in our understanding of the physical universe in recent times. Considering developments over a somewhat longer time frame, we bring out the evolving nature of human knowledge, and the meaning of understanding in science. The reinterpretation of Kant's ideas as suggested by Lorenz and Delbruck in the light of evolutionary theory shows us the abilities and limitations with which we function, as well as our singular place in Nature. An appreciation of the predicament of the individual then emerges as a possible source for the important quality of compassion which is as essential for human existence as possession of knowledge.