|Dr. Ronald Muller
Saturday, July 30, 9:30-3:00 p.m.
Ambrose House of Studies
736 East Cork Street, Kalamazoo, Mi 49001
Please join the Newman Community for a day of inquiry and discussion regarding philosophy’s oldest question: What is the Cosmos?
In light of the stunning discoveries of modern physics and astronomy, Dr. Ronald Muller will direct a morning and afternoon seminar concerning the intersection of metaphysics, philosophy, mathematics, and physics in the quest to understand the ultimate fabric and dynamic structure of the universe.
With reference to Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, Kant, and Einstein, the seminar will examine the traditional concepts of space, time, and matter then explore the contemporary understanding of these realities in recent theories of relativity, space-time, and gravitation.
· The starting point: Realism or Idealism?
· Space and time in Copernicus, Galileo, and Newton
· Material reality and the uniform laws of physics
· Understanding the nature of gravity: Galileo and Newton
· Understanding the nature of light: the Michelson-Morley Experiment
· Einstein, Special Relativity, and the Invariant Speed of Light
· The space-time Matrix
· The General Theory of Relativity: gravitation & the curvature of space
· Minkowski space and Lorentz transformations
· The expanding universe
9:30 meet and greet
10:00-11:00 First session
11:15-12:15 Second session
1:00 –2:15 Afternoon session
Recommended background reading
Albert Einstein, Relativity
Bertram Russell, ABC of Relativity
Martin Gardner, Relativity for the Million
James A. Coleman, Relativity for the Layman
Sir Arthur Eddington, Space, time and gravitation: an outline of the general relativity theory
What is the universe? What is it composed of?
Does the universe exist apart from the mind or is it in some way constituted by the mind according to how the mind thinks?
Is the universe governed by uniform physical laws?
Is there a center of the universe? Can the universe expand infinitely?
Is space a mental construct as Kant proposed or a plenum existing in the physical world?
What is the relation between space and bodies occupying space?
Can empty space exist?
What is time if not the progression of the present into the future?
At this moment of time on the earth (the present) is there a corresponding moment, a corresponding “present,” on distant galaxies?