Space, Time and Eternity:

An Interdisciplinary Inquiry

June 17th-21st 2019

University of Pennsylvania

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ABOUT THE SUMMER SEMINAR

This week-long graduate student Summer Seminar will be structured around the question of Space, Time and Eternity from the perspectives of physics, philosophy and theology. Readings will include extracts from St. Augustine, Stephen Hawking, Plato, Kip Thorne, St. Thomas Aquinas, Albert Einstein and others. The Seminar will welcome a small cohort of graduate students to Philadelphia for an intensive course led by eminent scholars across the relevant disciplines. Some of the questions explored include: 

  • What are the ethical, political, and metaphysical implications of the findings of modern physics with respect to space and time?

  • What of historic theological understandings of space, time, and eternity—grounded as they were in Aristotelian and Neoplatonic natural philosophy—can remain after modern discoveries?

  • How can modern physics inform our understanding of space and time in philosophy and theology?    

Residential Graduate student scholarships

A limited number of 25 funded places are available to suitably qualified graduate students.   The funding will cover course fees, course materials, accommodation and food.  Students will be responsible for their own travel expenses.  Students who are successful in the application process will pay a small contribution of $50 towards course costs. Preference will be given to graduate students in the sciences, philosophy and theology.  For more information please email office@themagiproject.org.

application deadlines

Rolling admissions until all fellowship spots are filled.

Photos from the 2018 Magi Summer Seminar

 

SEMINAR FACULTY

 

Dr. Chris Clemens

Dr. Chris Clemens is a stellar astrophysicist with a B.S. in astrophysics from the University of Oklahoma and a Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Texas at Austin. After completing a NASA Hubble Postdoctoral Fellowship at Iowa State University and a Sherman Fairchild Prize Postdoctoral Fellowship at Caltech, Dr. Clemens moved to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1998.

He is currently Senior Associate Dean for Natural Sciences at UNC. He has authored or co-authored more than 100 research papers, holds four patents and is principal investigator of two major National Science Foundation grants. He is also a faculty member of the Program in Medieval and Early Modern Studies, for which he designed and taught the course “Medieval Foundations of Modern Cosmology.”

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Dr. Nicholas Teh

Dr. Nicholas Teh is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the Universitty of Notre Dame. Previously, he has held postdoctoral research fellowships at the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, University of Cambridge and the Quantum Group at the Oxford University Comlab. Before that, he read for a PhD in History and Philosophy of Science at Trinity College, Cambridge.

His primary research is in the philosophy of physics. He is particularly engaged by the rich interplay between the conceptual puzzles of physics, and various themes in metaphysics and contemporary mathematics. A central strand of his research pertains to the foundations of quantum mechanics, i.e. developing the conceptual tools to interpret peculiar features such as "contextuality" and "no-cloning", as well as elucidating the geometrical foundations of the theory.

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Dr. willemien otten

MA, PhD (University of Amsterdam)

Willemien Otten studies the history of Christianity and Christian thought with a focus on the medieval and the early Christian intellectual tradition, especially in the West, and an emphasis on the continuity of Platonic themes. She has worked on the Carolingian thinker Johannes Scottus Eriugena and on twelfth-century humanistic thinkers including Peter Abelard. Her preferred approach is to analyze (early) medieval thought and theology as an amalgam of biblical, classical, and patristic influences which, woven together, constitute their own intellectual matrix. Within this matrix the place and role of nature and humanity interest her most.

Seeing theological questions embedded in broader historical and interdisciplinary study, even as she pursues her interest in medieval history and culture, Otten currently deals with ideas of nature and self, linking, among others, Eriugena and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

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Dr. Alexander Pruss

Dr. Alexander Pruss graduated from the University of Ontario in 1991 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics and Physics. After earning a Ph.D. in Mathematics at the University of British Columbia in 1996 and publishing several papers in Proceedings of the American Mathematical Society and other mathematical journals, he began graduate work in philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh. He completed his dissertation, Possible Worlds: What They Are and What They Are Good For, under Nicholas Rescher in 2001.

Dr. Pruss began teaching philosophy at Georgetown University in 2001, earning tenure in 2006. In 2007, he moved to Waco, Texas to teach philosophy at Baylor University. He is now the Director of Graduate Studies for the Baylor Philosophy Department. He has taught various courses, including graduate seminars on the philosophy of time, metaphysics, the cosmological and ontological arguments for the existence of God, modality, free will, and the history of philosophy.

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Dr. Michael vogeley

Professor Vogeley earned his undergraduate degree in Astrophysical Sciences from Princeton University in 1987 and a doctorate in Astronomy from Harvard University in 1993, followed by postdoctoral positions at the Johns Hopkins University and the Space Telescope Science Institute (as a Hubble Fellow), and a Research Staff appointment at Princeton University. He joined the Drexel faculty in 1999. Professor Vogeley leads a research group focused on analysis of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, funded by grants from NASA and NSF. Professor Vogeley teaches Electromagnetism, Special Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, and Cosmology. He currently serves as Director of Graduate Studies for the Department of Physics.

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Physics, University of North Carolina

Physics, University of North Carolina

 
 
 
 
Philosophy, University of Notre Dam

Philosophy, University of Notre Dam

 
 
 
 
Theology, University of Chicago

Theology, University of Chicago

 
 
 
 
 
Philosophy, Baylor University

Philosophy, Baylor University

 
 
 
 
 
Physics, Drexel University

Physics, Drexel University

Photos from the 2017 Magi Summer Seminar