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Hamburg 2016 – wissenschaftliches Programm

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AGPhil: Arbeitsgruppe Philosophie der Physik

AGPhil 2: Philosophy of Physics 2

AGPhil 2.2: Vortrag

Dienstag, 1. März 2016, 09:55–10:25, VMP6 HS G

Computer simulations as media of knowledge production in the practice of quantum theory — •Arianna Borrelli1,2, Anne Dippel1,3, and Martin Warnke11DFG-Kollegforschergruppe "Media Cultures of Computer Simulations (MECS)", Leuphana, Lüneburg — 2TU Berlin und MECS — 3HU Berlin , Uni Jena und MECS

Computer simulations are today a necessary element of research practices in all branches of physics, and their possible epistemic significance as a (new) form of experiment has been the subject of much philosophical debate. However, computer simulations may also be regarded as a new form of theoretical description of physical phenomena, replacing the conventional mathematics, and as such they might also be seen as a new language (re)shaping the practice of physical-mathematical theorizing, as was the case with algebraic formalisms, infinitesimal calculus or Feynman diagrams. To put it differently: computer simulations are media for knowledge production.

Choosing a bottom up case studies approach including ethnographic methodologies for investigating this hypothesis, the paper takes a closer look both at instances of theorizing in quantum physics in which computer simulations contribute to the formation of concepts and theoretical structures, and at experimental practices that need computer simulations as a guiding means of the apparatus setup. The examples discussed range from the simulations of very simple quantum-mechanical phenomena to the complex micro-systems of lattice QCD.

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