We’d like to begin this month’s post by congratulating Marie Gueguen (supervised by Chris Smeenk) who successfully defended her doctoral thesis, “On Separating the Wheat from the Chaff: Surplus Structure and Artifacts in Scientific Theories”, on July 23. This September Marie will begin a postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh. She will be deeply missed here at the Institute & we wish her all the best in this exciting new position!

We also have a few updates for our Steering Committee. Effective September 2019, Max Smith (Health Studies) has been elected by acclamation for a two-year term. Max is assistant professor in the School of Health Studies and he has been a member of the Institute since last year. Max works in a number of areas, including public health ethics and health equity. We are also very pleased to welcome Carolyn McLeod, the new chair of the philosophy department, as a member of our Steering Committee. And finally, please join us in thanking all those whose term on the Steering Committee has come to an end. Thanks to Andrew Botterell, Robert Corless and Charles Weijer for their hard work and dedication to making the Institute a centre of excellence.

All other member news updates for this month are listed below alphabetically.

Jon Bowen spent the first three weeks of July at the Diverse Intelligences Summer Institute in St. Andrews. This was a gathering of early-career scholars across various disciplines all aimed at understanding, recognizing, and creating intelligence in its various forms. It consisted in back-to-back lectures from world-renowned scholars, workshops on scientific storytelling, and group project work. One result was the formation of fantastic interdisciplinary collaborative community committed to tackling problems too ambitious for any single scholar to undertake in a reasonable amount of time, as well as a definite broadening of vision on Jon’s part. To see more about DISI or read the profiles of participants and faculty involved, as well as some of the project work, take a look a their website! Immediately following firehose #1, Jon hopped on a plane to firehose #2–this time, for the Summer Institute on AI in Society in Edmonton, Alberta. This was another group of interdisciplinary scholars and experts aimed to explore and grapple with the societal, governmental, and ethical implications of emerging AI technologies, from the short term to the long term.

For the second year in a row, Eunice Chan was awarded a SOGS Graduate Student Teaching Award (GSTA). GSTAs recognize the efforts of extraordinary graduate students who dedicate themselves to teaching and the educational experience of students at Western University. Congratulations, Eunice!

Eunice Chan gave a talk entitled “Investigation of Numerical Stability of Algebraic Linearizations” at the International Congress on Industrial and Applied Mathematics (ICIAM) 2019 held from July 15-19 in Valencia, Spain.

Rob Corless has given a number of talks this month during his visit to Spain:

July 11: “Bohemian Companions” given to the University of Cantabria
July 17: “The Functional Inverse of the Gamma Function”, given in the Special Functions Minisymposium organised by Amparo Gil, Jose Javier Segura, and Nico Temme, at ICIAM 2019 in Valencia
July 18: “Mining the Characteristic Polynomial Database”, given in the Bohemian Matrices and Applications Minisymposium, co-organised by myself and Nick Higham
July 22: “Computational Discovery on Jupyter”, to the Faculty of Science at the University of Cantabria (joint work with Eunice Y. S. Chan)
July 23: “Numerical Stability of Algebraic Linearizations”, to the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Cantabria (joint work and joint talk with Eunice Y. S. Chan)
July 24: “Compact Finite Differences and Cubic Splines”, to the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Cantabria

Marie Gueguen presented a paper entitled “Fuzzy Modularity and Crucial Simulations” co-authored with Chris Smeenk at the British Society for the Philosophy of Science 2019 Annual Conference at Durham, UK on July 17.

Rebecca Livernois presented “Contingent Valuation and the Problem of Externalities” at the Economic Behaviours: Models, Measurements, and Policies summer school, Villa del Grumello, Como, Italy, July 1-5.

Vicente Raja attended the International Conference for Perception and Action (ICPA 2019), in Groningen (Netherlands) on 3-6 July. He presented a talk titled “Gibsonians Need Neuroscience (and Vice Versa)”, and a poster titled “The Dynamics of Plant Nutation” (co-authored with Paula Silva, from University of Cincinnati). He also delivered the talk “T E-Test: On the Necessity of Specification” at the workshop Enaction & Ecological Psychology: Overlaps, Tensions, Complementarities, in Donosti/San Sebastian (Spain) on 9-10 July. Finally, Vicente delivered the talk “The Dynamics of Plant Nutation” at the workshop Evolution and the Embodied Mind: The Biological Roots of 4E Cognition, in Donosti/San Sebastian (Spain) on 12-14 July.

Jackie Sullivan gave a talk titled “Translational Cognitive Neuroscience and Collaborative Kinds” at the Natural Kinds in Cognitive Science Workshop held June 26-29, 2019 at York University in Toronto.

Charles Weijer was a visiting professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Cape Town in South Africa in the second half of July 2019. He gave a number of talks while in Cape Town:
“FIRST principles: an ethical analysis of a randomized trial of work hours for trainee surgeons,” Surgical Society Lecture, July 25
Who shall live? The use of functional MRI in the intensive care unit for prognostication after serious brain injury,” Bioethics Symposium, July 29
The ethical challenges of “real world” randomized controlled trials,” Bioethics Symposium, July 29
The ethics of placebo controlled trials in surgery,” Max and Rose Leiserowitz Bioethics Lecture, July 30
Consciousness unbound: the ethics of neuroimaging in patients in a vegetative state,” Philosophy Society Talk, July 30

Pictured above: Marie Gueguen drinks from the goblet of knowledge following her dissertation defence; Jon Bowen takes part in a panel at the Diverse Intelligences Summer Institute in St. Andrews; a brain-storming session at the Summer Institute on AI in Society the Jon Bowen attended; event posters from events with Charles Weijer during his visit to the University of Cape Town department of philosophy.