The Faith of a Nuclear Physicist

Dr Tyson reports back from the Scot’s College 2016 Ethos Conference.

Professor Ian Hutchinson

Professor Ian Hutchinson

Earlier this year I was invited to participate in the Ethos conference put on by Scot’s College in Sydney. MIT Nuclear Physicist Professor Ian Hutchinson was the keynote speaker at this event. In his lecture, titled “Faith and Fusion”, Prof Hutchinson looked at science and the sources of truth in order to outline how faith and science sit so comfortably together in his own life. It is a fine lecture and you can watch it here. (There is a 10 minute introduction by the conference organizers listing Prof Hutchinson’s astonishing achievements, but the lecture actually starts at 10:20.)

This conference was themed around “science and the sources of truth” so I gave a presentation on the sociology of knowledge and on epistemology (philosophy concerned with the nature of knowledge). I have written up my epistemology presentation, which is titled “Knowers, Knowledge and Reality”. The conference was for senior high school students, most of whom had no previous exposure to either nuclear physics, the sociology of knowledge, or epistemology, so Prof Hutchinson’s lecture and my presentations assume no specialist knowledge. The students were very curious and engaged, and it was a wonderful conference. Scot’s produced a 2 minute video talking with students about the conference, which you can view here.

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