On May 4, Rob Corless was invited to give the opening talk at the Southern Ontario Numerical Analysis Day at the University of Toronto. He spoke on “Optimal Backward Error and The Leaky Bucket”. Eunice Chan also attended, and gave a talk titled, “Algebraic Linearizations of Matrix Polynomials”.

Professor Kenyan Wu, of Chongqing U and the Chinese Academy of Sciences, arrived on May 14 and is visiting Western to work with Rob Corless.

Rob Corless has recently submitted several papers: The Runge Example for Interpolation and Wilkinson’s Examples for RootfindingStirling’s Original Asymptotic Series from a Formula like one of Binet’s and its Evaluation by Sequence Acceleration (that arose from his final paper with Jon Borwein); Standard Triples for Algebraic Linearizations of Matrix Polynomials (co-authored with Eunice Chan); Algebraic Linearizations of Matrix Polynomials (co-authored with Eunice Chan); Optimal Residuals and the Dahlquist Test Problem (co-authored with Robert Moir).

Eunice Chan will give a talk titled, “Algebraic Linearizations of Matrix Polynomials”, at the Canadian Applied and Industrial Mathematics Society (CAIMS) Annual Meeting, held at Ryerson University in  Toronto, Ontario on June 3-7, 2018.

Michael Cuffaro has been invited to give a talk at a workshop on ‘Analogue Experiments’ taking place from July 16-17 at the University of Bristol, in the UK.

Michael Cuffaro’s paper, “Information Causality, the Tsirelson Bound, and the ‘Being-Thus’ of Things,” has just been accepted to be published in Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics.

Rotman Institute alumna Alkistis Elliott-Graves received the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Global Fellowship from the European Commission–part of the Horizon 2020 Research Initiative. She will be spending one year at Australian National University, and the second year back at the University of Helsinki. The title of her research project is: Prediction in Complex Systems. Please join us in congratulating her on receiving this prestigious fellowship!

Erlantz Etxeberria attended the 5th Conference of ALFAn (Latin American Association for Analytic Philosophy), held on May 16-18 in Villa de Leyva, Colombia, and presented his paper entitled “Accounting for the Directionality of Mathematical Explanations”.

Nicole Fice presented a paper titled “Relational Perspectives on Vaccine Hesitancy” at the workshop, “Shaping a More Just Bioethics: A Celebration of the Work of Susan Sherwin“, on Saturday, May 26th.

Craig Fox, Bill Harper, and Chris Smeenk attended the conference On the Question of Evidence: A Celebration of the Work of George E. Smith, held on May 11 – 12 at Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts. Craig Fox acted as a session chair; Bill Harper gave a talk titled, “Newtonian Causal Dependencies”; Chris Smeenk gave a talk titled, “Reflections on the Newtonian Style”.

Doreen Fraser and Marie Gueguen  presented a session at the Ontario Association of Physics Teachers conference on May 11, 2018, at Western University. The session, entitled “How can Philosophy help teaching Mechanics?”, was meant to explore the philosophical significance of Huygen’s pendulum for our conceptual understanding of time, of standards of units, and of how evidence bear on theories.

Cory Goldstein published a paper with Bruno Giraudeau, Charles Weijer and Monica Taljaard called “When and how should we cluster and cross over: methodological and ethical issues” in the Canadian Journal of Anesthesia (2018 May 4. doi: 10.1007/s12630-018-1131-1).

Fifteen members of the Ethics of Pragmatic Trials international research team (from 4 countries) gathered for a day long research meeting in Portland, Oregon on May 15, 2018. Team members also participated in a number of invited panel sessions at the 39th annual meeting of the Society for Clinical Trials (SCT) in Portland, Oregon, from May 20-23, 2018. Sessions included:

  1. Hey SP, Renfro L, Taljaard M, Weijer C. “Informed consent and innovative trial designs”. (Invited panel)
  2. Taljaard M, Giraudeau B, Fergusson D, Weijer C, Hey SP, Goldstein CE. “Developing a framework for the ethical design and conduct of pragmatic trials: consultation with the clinical trials community”. (Invited panel)
  3. Goldstein CE, Weijer C. “Ethical implications for pragmatic trials involving head-to-head comparisons of usual care interventions: an ethical analysis of the MINT trial”. (Oral presentation)
  4. Campbell M, Beard D, Weijer C, Blazeby J, Cook Jonathan. “Placebo and sham controlled trials in surgery and in other invasive procedures: lessons, ethics and design issues”. (Invited panel)

A number of team members including Cory Goldstein, Stuart Nicholls, Jeremy Grimshaw and Charles Weijer were top social media influencers at the meeting. Meeting participants generated a total of 1.6K tweets and a remarkable 1.8M tweet impressions.

Rotman Institute alumnus Mackenzie Graham just published a paper with Adrian Owen, Charles Weijer and Lorina Naci called “Using neuroimaging to uncover awareness in brain-injured and anesthetized patients” in  Frontiers in Bioscience (2018; 10: 337–349).

Yousuf Hasan organized and ran the spacetime demonstration at the 2018 Science Rendezvous at Western, University–part of a national celebration of science held across Canada. The activity included a simulation of blackholes, dark energy, and solar systems for children and their parents. The Rotman Institute was also a Silver Sponsor of the event.

Yousuf Hasan will attend the 11th MuST Conference in Philosophy of Science, Models of Explanation, taking place 11-13 June 2018, at the University of Turin, where he will present a talk titled, “Applying Carnap’s Internal/External Distinction to the Realism/Instrumentalism Debate with Respect to Atoms”.

On June 20, Yousuf Hasan will present a talk titled “Carnap’s Internal/External Distinction Applied to the Realism/Anti-Realism Controversy” at the Society for the Study of the History of Philosophy 2018 Annual Meeting at McMaster University, Canada.

Molly Kao organized a workshop titled “Scientific Theory Construction: Measurement and Empirical Constraints“, held on May 4 at Université de Montréal. It included the following talks by Rotman members: Michael Cuffaro and Markus Müller, “On the Emergence of Physical Theory from Induction”; Molly Kao (Rotman Institute alumna), “Background assumptions and reasoning to new theories”;  and Chris Smeenk, “Eliminative Reasoning in Cosmology”

Rotman Institute alumna Alida Liberman will be starting as an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, beginning in fall 2018. Please join us in congratulating her on her new position!

Rotman Institute alumnus Joshua Luczak presented his paper titled, “It’s My Model and I’ll Represent if I Want Too”, at the first joint MCMP-Hannover Workshop on Philosophy of Physics: Models, which was held at the LMU Munich, Germany, May 4-5, 2018. This paper has also been accepted for presentation at the 26th Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association. (Seattle, USA. November 1-4, 2018.), and at the meeting of American Philosophical Association: Eastern Division. (New York, USA. January 7-10, 2019.)

Joshua Luczak’s paper (in collaboration with Lena Zuchowski at the University of Bristol) “The Ehrenfest’s Use of Toy Models to Explore Irreversibility in Statistical Mechanics” was accepted for presentation at the 19th UK and European Conference on Foundations of Physics. (University of Utrecht, The Netherlands. July 10-13, 2018.)

Joshua Luczak and Markus Müller will be giving talks at the upcoming annual philosophy of physics conference, Thermodynamics as a Resource Theory, being held at Western University from June 20 – 22–an event co-sponsored by the Rotman Institute. Joshua Luczak’s talk is entitled “On the Aims of Statistical Mechanics”; Markus Müller’s talk is entitled, “Exact operational interpretation of the free energy without the thermodynamic limit”.

Angela Mendelovici’s new book, The Phenomenal Basis of Intentionality, came out (published by Oxford University Press, 2018). Please visit the book link for information regarding a promotional discount from the publisher.

In the Foundational Questions Institute’s (FQXi) essay contest on “What is fundamental”, a 4th prize was awarded to Markus Müller – Institute for Quantum Optics and
Quantum Information (IQOQI) junior group leader. In his essay, he describes personal experiences as a teenager that led him to work an “it from bit” view on physics, and how this view can reverse our standard perspective on fundamentality.

On June 19, Jamie Shaw will present a talk titled “The Janus-faced Nature of Popper’s Falsificationism” at the Society for the Study of the History of Philosophy 2018 Annual Meeting at McMaster University, Canada.

On May 18th, Rotman Institute alumna Catherine Stinson presented a paper called “How Artificial Neurons Tell us about Real Cognition” at the University of Toronto’s Network for Sensory Research Workshop on Non-Human Cognition.

John Thorp gave a talk titled, “Aristotle: Reply to Platonist Critics”, at the inaugural Canadian Aristotle Society Conference, held at Dominican University College, in Ottawa, on May 9-11.

John Thorp gave a talk titled, “Freedom & Probability”,  at the Agent Causation, Powers and Sourcehood Conference, held at the Institute of Philosophy, Zagreb, Croatia, on May 24-26.
In addition to these activities, several of our members participated in this year’s Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences. Learn about Rotman Institute member sessions at Congress 2018

Pictured above: Marie Gueguen and Doreen Fraser at the OAPT conference; the cover for Angela Mendelovici’s book, The Phenomenal Basis of Intentionality; members of the ethics of pragmatic trials research group; Charles Weijer, speaking at the 39th annual meeting of the Society for Clinical Trials; Yousuf Hasan conducting the spacetime demonstration at Science Rendezvous; an apple tree in bloom, across from the WIRB (photo courtesy of Rob Corless).