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7 September 2023 - 8 September 2023

12:30PM - 5:10PM

Birley Room, Hatfield College

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Organised by James D. Fraser and in association with the Department of Philosophy and the Centre for Humanities Engaging Science and Society (CHESS) at Durham University.

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The 21st century has seen the flourishing of interdisciplinary fields at the interface of physics and other disciplines, such as biophysics, econophysics and social physics. The gap between physics and chemistry has also become increasingly blurred. The transfer of concepts, models and methods from physics to other domains raises a host of pressing questions. How does the interpretation, justification and explanatory status of physics approaches change when they are applied to biological and social systems? Do methodological conflicts arise at the physics interface, and if so how might historians and philosophers of science address them? There are also questions about the relationship between work in the philosophy of physics and other sciences. Can ideas from the philosophy of physics shed light on problems in the philosophy of biology, chemistry and the social sciences, and vice versa? 

This workshop will be amongst the first to bring together researchers interested in philosophical issues that arise at the physics interface.



Thursday 7th September 

12:30-13:30 Lunch + Welcome

13:30-14:20 Margarida Hermida “Physical Explanation and the Autonomy of Biology”

14:20-15:10 Simon Peres “Crafting and Experimenting: Materials at the Interface of Physics and Anthropology”

15:10-15:30 Coffee Break

15:30-16:20 Vanessa Seifert “The Many Laws of the Periodic Table” (online)

16:20-17:10 Robin Hendry “How (Some) Disciplines Emerge”

19:00 Dinner


Friday 8th September

10:20-11:10 Callum Duguid “Metalaws in Biology”

11:10-12:00 Uzma Malik “Stretching - from Physics to Biology”

12:00-13:30 Lunch

13:30-14:20 Jennifer Juhn “Analogies in Econophysics (and Beyond)”

14:20-15:10 Ufuk Tasdan “Econophysics in Finance: Modelling and Performativity”

15:10-15:30 Break

15:30-16:20 Alexey Burluka “Turbulence Theory Formalism for Quantifying Distribution of Societal Contentment”

16:20-17:10 Alexander Franklin “Social Construction, Physical Construction, and Emergence”

Full programme: Physics at the Interface programme


To register complete the registration form: 

General enquiries about the workshop can be sent to