Third International Conference on the Nature and Ontology of Spacetime

Hermann Minkowski
"Space and Time"
1908 - 2008


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Public Lecture

Public Lecture

The conference will end with a public lecture organized by the International Society for the Advanced Study of Spacetime and the Montreal Inter-University Seminar on the History and Philosophy of Science.

Speaker: Vesselin Petkov (Concordia University)

Title: Spacetime and Reality: Hermann Minkowski's Discovery of Spacetime and its Implications for our Understanding of Reality

In 1908 Hermann Minkowski proposed that the consequences of the special theory of relativity could be regarded as manifestations of the four-dimensionality of a world in which time is the fourth dimension. In this four-dimensional world, which we now call spacetime, past, present, and future have equal existence. The crucial importance of the concept of spacetime for science has been well-established and is best demonstrated by the fact that modern physics would be impossible without it. But the situation is not the same with the impact of Minkowski's discovery on our understanding of reality. For a hundred years Minkowski has been owed an answer to the fundamental question: "Is spacetime just a mathematical space or does it represent a real four-dimensional world with one temporal and three spatial dimensions?" Possible answers to this question will be outlined in a way that will allow the audience to judge how our view of reality should be made compatible with the experimental evidence that supports the theory of relativity.

Date: Sunday, June 15, 2008
Time: 19:30
Room: H-110
Place: Concordia University (Building H), 1455 de Maisonneuve Boulevard West, 1st Floor (Metro station Guy-Concordia, exit Guy Street)

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