The Reilly Center is pleased to announce its forthcoming conference on NATURE, HUMANITY, AND GOD: DARWIN IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY. The conference will be held on November 1-3, 2009 at the University of Notre Dame. The conference is part of an ongoing collaboration of the Reilly Center with the Pontifical Council for Culture and the six Pontifical Universities in Rome. More information is available here.
The Center regularly invites to campus distinguished scholars to speak on topics relevant to the interests of students and faculty involved in all of its academic programs. This includes a major speaker series in the History and Philosophy of Science (HPS), bringing to campus eight or more well-known scholars every year. The Center also sponsors activities and lectures specifically devoted to applied science and technology and to their social and ethical implications. Issues pertaining to risk assessment, the environmental crisis, current issues in biotechnology, medical ethics, and science and religion have all been the subject of lectures or panel discussions in recent years, as have computer ethics and nuclear weapons control. Throughout the academic year such talks as well as debates and films highlighting science/technology and society issues are sponsored by the Center for the entire academic community.
On a regular basis, the Center also sponsors major academic conferences on campus, attended by as many as 50 to 75 scholars, to explore in depth a particular topic in the study of science.
Over the past 12 years, the Reilly Center and HPS Program have cosponsored eight major research conferences. “Natural Images in Economics,” a conference on the roles of physics and biology as providers of models for theory construction in economics, was held in September 1991. In March 1992, a conference “Neurobiology and Narrative: Explanation in Neurobiology, Psychiatry and Psychology” brought together a distinguished group of scholars in cognitive science with philosophers and historians of the human sciences.
In April 1993, a major conference on science and religion was cosponsored with Notre Dame’s Center for Philosophy of Religion. “Causality in Crisis? Statistical Methods and the Search for Causal Knowledge in the Social Sciences” provided the theme for a conference held in October 1993 at which prominent social science methodologists and philosophers of science debated the significance of recent advances in statistical methodology. In the fall of 1995, the Center was co-sponsor of a major international conference, “Controlling Our Destinies,” on the ethical, legal, historical, and philosophical implications of the Human Genome Project. This was followed in the spring of 1997 by a co-sponsored conference, “The Need for a New Economics of Science,” examining the changing economic relations of science and funded research. In the spring of 2002, a major international conference was held on “Galileo and the Church.” In July of 2003, the HPS programs at Notre Dame and the University of Bielefeld (Germany) held a joint conference on Science and Values in Germany.
In addition, smaller conferences are sponsored on an occasional basis. The Center recently has become the permanent host for the annual international meeting of the History of Astronomy Working Group, which has met at Notre Dame on six occasions, and it has sponsored mini-conferences on “Dissent and Orthodoxy in Quantum Mechanics” (fall 1997), and on “Identity and Individuation in Modern Physics” (spring 1999). In the spring of 1998 it hosted the second meeting of the International History of Philosophy of Science (HOPOS) Conference. Proceedings of major conferences are made available as volumes in the series Studies in Science and the Humanities from the Reilly Center, published through the University of Notre Dame Press.
In September, 2006 the Center held a conference on “Commerce, Politics, and Science: The Changing Context” at the University of Notre Dame, in conjunction with the University of Bielefeld, Germany. The conference gathered leading experts to explore current issues involving the commercialization and politicization of scientific research, addressing these issues conceptually and in light of historical interactions between science and society. Keynote speakers were Robert Berdahl of the Association of American Universities, Sheldon Krimsky of Tufts University, and Philip Mirowski of the University of Notre Dame.