Evolving Laws

Conference Date: 
Tuesday, August 16, 2005 (All day) to Wednesday, August 17, 2005 (All day)


On August 16 and 17 a small group of scholars representing several fields convened at PI for two days of discussion on a topic that intrigued all of them: do the laws of nature have to be fixed and eternal, or could they evolve in time? The occasion was made possible by visits from three distinguished guests, leaders in their own fields, who had explored the idea of evolving laws in their own work. These were Stuart Kauffman , an inventor of the field of complex systems (recently moved from the Santa Fe Institute to Calgary), Jaron Lanier , computer scientist and inventor of virtual reality and Roberto Mangabeira Unger, a leading philosopher and social theorist who is Professor of Law at Harvard University (it was Unger who had suggested having such a meeting). They were joined by PI researchers Olaf Dreyer, Lucien HardyFotini Markopoulou and Lee Smolin, visitors Robert Brandenberger, Peter Grassberger, Maya Paczuski and Simon Saunders, as well as Kalypso Nicolaidis, visiting CIGI from Oxford. Several students joined the discussion as well.