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Home page > Archives > Previous years: Seminars > Seminars 2012–2013: archives > AXIS HISTORY & PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE OF NATURE

History and Philosophy of Physics: The backstages of experiments 2012–2013


History and Philosophy of Physics: The backstages of experiments 2012–2013

Organizers : Nadine de Courtenay, Olivier Darrigol, Sara Franceschelli, Jan Lacki


Since the 1980s the history and philosophy of science has produced a number of studies about experiments, their aim, styles, intellectual and material components, and multiple disciplinary embedding. Measurement and its instruments have received special attention, as befits the central role they play in any quantitative science. Yet, save for cases in which measurement is the very purpose of experiment or in which it serves to isolate phenomena otherwise lost in noise, measurement processes rarely appear in the publication or in the ulterior discussions of an experiment. The metrological aspects remain in the backstage, for they are believed to be sufficiently shared and codified to elude contestation; and yet their epistemic, social, and technical functions seem essential: they are the machinery that moves the settings of the theater of experiment.
The aim of this year’s seminar is to improve our understanding of these hidden metrological aspects of experiment. In particular, we wish to address the following questions:
  • Definition of magnitudes.
  • Definition and redefinition of units; evolution of standards, of their modes of dissemination; calibration of instruments; metrological traceability.
  • Measurement and decision (acceptance of a hypothesis, of a product); models of the measurement process, evaluation of uncertainties, adjustment methods, normalization of instruments, decision criteria.
  • Determination of reference values (physical constants, fundamental constants); key role of inter-laboratory comparisons.
  • Growing role of international institutions and study groups (BIPM, CGPM, OIML for legal metrology, JCGM for the VIM and GUM). Multiplication of the norms for measurement processes.

In conformity with the general purpose of this seminar, we wish to focus on physical quantities and on related metrological questions. However, we also wish to address the implication of physical metrology in domains other than physics (biology, medicine, techniques, industry, trade…) and examine the feedback effects on metrological practices.

To current year. Archives :
ante 2008-2009, 2008-2009, 2009-2010,
2010-2011, 2011-2012, 2013-2014, 2014-2015, 2015-2016

The seminar is held from 5pm to 7pm in room 483A-Malevitch, Condorcet building, 4, rue Elsa Morante, Université Paris Diderot (Paris 7). Map.

Nov. 13 2012 Special Conference *
Olival Freire (Université fédérale de Bahia)
The quantum dissidents: Rebuilding the foundations of quantum theory (1950-1990)

Dec. 4 , 9:30 – 18:00, Workshop SI-12 (SPHERE / Archives Henri Poincaré)
salle Mondrian, 646A
The taming of measurement uncertainties: theoretical, practical, and philosophical issues

!! exceptionnally Wednesday !! Dec. 5
Giora Hon (University of Tel-Aviv)
Is a measurement an experiment? The structural view

2013, Feb. 5
Lena Soler (Archives Henri Poincaré)
La calibration dans les pratiques quotidiennes scientifiques: une tentative de caractérisation conceptuelle

March 5
Mieke Boon (University of Twente)
Measurements and experiments in the Engineering Sciences

March 19
Marc Priel (Laboratoire national de métrologie et d’essais, LNE)
De la mesure à la métrologie − de quels concepts avons nous besoin ?

* A chance as Olival Freire is invited Professor at Département d’Histoire et philosophie des sciences, at the University Paris Diderot.