PUBLIC LECTURE: Lucretius the Physicist and Modern Science
A public lecture by David Konstan, Professor of Classics at New York University
Lucretius’ poem On Nature presents a detailed overview of ancient atomic physics, as developed within the school founded by Epicurus. It has some remarkable features: not just atoms, but tiny, non-detachable parts of atoms; a granular or quantized theory of time; odd orders of magnitude including infinitesimals and quasi-infinites. How does this theory stand up as a science, in modern terms? Is it in some sense a precursor of modern physics? Or does it perhaps offer an alternative to Newtonian mechanics, a kind of anticipation of post-modern physics? In the course of the lecture, parallels will be drawn with early modern literature and art and their relation to modernism and post-modernism.
Cost: free, but RSVP essential to https://www.ias.uwa.edu.au/lectures/konstan
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