The Distinguished Speaker Series invites distinguished scholars to present their work in the history and philosophy of science. The Allan Franklin New Ideas Speaker Series invites junior scholars to present their work in the history and philosophy of science. It is named in honor of Allan Franklin, for his decades of unparalleled contributions to the history and philosophy of science. Dr. Franklin is best known for his work on the methods of physics.

  • Friday, March 10, 2023, 3:15pm, HLMS 199: Distinguished Speaker, Jed Buchwald (CalTech), "Can We Reproduce Historical Experiments?" 

    • Abstract: Scientists aim to produce effects that can be reproduced at other times and places. Historical research has shown how difficult this can be and has raised questions about the differences between the replication of an effect and the reproduction of an experiment. In this talk we'll explore the question of whether we today can reproduce experiments performed in the past that are seen to have discovered influential, novel effects. And we'll ask just what we can learn in so doing about the nature of scientific practice itself.

  • Friday, April 14, 2023, 3:15pm, HLMS 199: Distinguished Speaker, Heather Douglas (Michigan State), "Institutional Conditions for the Responsible Conduct of Research"

    • Abstract: The current institutional structures supporting the responsible conduct of research (RCR) accreted around science as a result of scandals and crises, in a context where the pursuit of basic research was considered to be devoid of responsibility for social impact. The flaws of this system are numerous and well known, from concerns with overly burdensome regulation to concerns that the system does not address key responsibilities (such as for societal impact). This talk will articulate a framework for how to evaluate and realign institutional support for RCR. I will argue that this needs to include: 1) clear boundaries for acceptable and non-acceptable practice (so as to avoid politicization of science), 2) a recognition of the differences between accountability and responsibility (and an understanding that increased accountability can decrease responsibility), 3) a view of responsibility in science that embraces its pervasiveness and societal nature, and 4) structures that will work well with both the novelty of scientific research and its propensity for failure. I will develop some examples of how this framework would shift the current institutional structures, and argue that doing so would be better for science and the society in which it is pursued.

AY 23/24:

  • Friday, November 10, 2023, 3:15pm: Allan Franklin New Ideas Speaker, Siska De Baerdemaeker (Stockholm) TBA
  • Friday, December 1, 2023, 3:15pm: Allan Franklin New Ideas Speaker, Isaac Wilhelm (National University of Singapore), TBA
  • Friday, February 9, 2024, 3:15: Distinguished Speaker, Katherine Brading (Duke) TBA
  • Friday, April 12, 2024, 3:15pm: Distinguished Speaker, Cailin O'Connor (UC Irvine) TBA