Isaac Newton Christmas Lecture 2018

Much ado about nothingness: some perspectives from history and physics

a duo public lecture (including 20 minutes interval) by

Professor Anna Marie Roos

School of History & Heritage, University of Lincoln


Dr Fabien Paillusson

School of Mathematics & Physics, University of Lincoln

Wednesday 19 December 2018

6 pm – 7:45 pm

Newton Lecture Theatre INB0114 in the Isaac Newton building, University of Lincoln

This special Christmas lecture consists of two short parts of 25-30 minutes each with 20 minutes interval, during which a bar will be open where visitors can buy mulled or usual wine and soft drinks. After the second talk there will be some time for questions.

Book a place

Saying anything about nothing, (and not the other way around), has surprisingly been of interest to Western thought for a very long time. In this duo lecture by Prof Anna Marie Roos from the School of History and Heritage and Dr Fabien Paillusson from the School of Mathematics and Physics, the audience will get to learn more about the various questions about nothingness that have puzzled thinkers from antiquity to this day. In a first part, Prof Anna Marie Roos will discuss the various takes that have been proposed about nothing, from Parmenides’ grapple with the semantic of discussing nothingness at all to Boyle’s conception of a physical vacuum. In a second part, Dr Fabien Paillusson will discuss how modern developments in physics try to understand whether the physical vacuum is actually empty.

Anna Marie Roos is a Professor of the history of science and medicine at the University of Lincoln. She has a  B.A. in Molecular Biology, M.H. in Humanities and a Ph.D. in History from the University of Colorado (USA). She came to Lincoln in 2013 from the University of Oxford, where she was the Lister Research Fellow.  Anna Marie is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London, and a visiting fellow at All Souls College, Oxford. She is also editor of Notes and Records: The Royal Society Journal of the History of Science. Anna Marie  studies the early Royal Society, as well as natural history, chemistry, and medicine in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Her scientific and historical work has been featured in Nature News, Welcome History, the Guardian and the New York Times.

IMG_6050-8Fabien Paillusson is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Mathematics and Physics at the University of Lincoln. He holds the degrees of M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics from the University Pierre and Marie Curie in Paris (formerly the Sorbonne), France. He came to Lincoln in 2015 from Durham University and previously also worked at the University of Cambridge and the University of Barcelona in Spain. He publishes on a wide range of topics spanning the physical and life sciences, from granular materials to DNA. His broader interests lie in Theoretical and Computational modelling, the Foundations of Physics, Physics and Maths Education, AI (Machine Learning and Automated Reasoning), Logic and the Philosophy of Science.

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