[LebensWissen.org] Interdisciplinary Workshop and Summer School: Varieties of Experiment and Measurement in Technoscience – The Case of Synthetic Biology, Darmstadt, September, 3-7, 2018

Dear Colleagues,

You may be interested in the following interdisciplinary workshop and summer school on varieties of experiment and measurement in technoscience, the case of synthetic biology (see below). It will take place in Darmstadt between September 3 - 7. Please, notice that it might be possible to accommodate on short notice interested PhD students and postdocs in Darmstadt. Just drop us a line ( tamborini@phil.tu-darmstadt.de or  gondolf@phil.tu-darmstadt.de).

Interdisciplinary Workshop and Summer School: Varieties of Experiment and Measurement in Technoscience – The Case of Synthetic Biology –

Last year in March the department of philosophy of the Technical University of Darmstadt had a weeklong seminar/Spring School on „Varieties of Modeling in Technoscience: The case of Synthetic Biology“ using an ongoing SynBio research project called CompuGene. In the mornings different CompuGene modelers talked about their contributions to the project, their answered to questions about their modeling theory and practice. In the afternoons, the participants exchanged ideas, presented papers, encouraged student presentations.

This year, in the first week of September, this disussion will be pursued via a complementary project along the same lines: „Varieties of Experiment and Measurement in Technoscience: The case of Synthetic Biology“. It is not totally independent from the week with the modelers since it will inquire especially about the demands placed by modeling requirements on experimental practice in biology. So, tensions with more traditional modes of biological inquiry will be part of the story. 

The notions of experience and experiment are closely related in modern science. In a controlled experiment, experience becomes the arbiter of hypotheses; and by way of exploratory experiments novel features of the world become subject to experience. In the age of mathematical modelling, computer simulation, and data-intensive science, the role of experiment becomes increasingly to supply measured values and properly structured information. Experimental traditions are challenged and transformed by instrumental practices – the resulting varieties of experiment and measurement are the subject of this workshop and summer school.

The CompuGene research project provides an extended case study. It brings together experimentalists and modelers in an iterative design process  www.compugene.tu-darmstadt.de. In the morning, we will meet the experimental research groups from the project who will reflect the questions of the workshop. In the afternoon, we will place this case from Synthetic Biology in a wider philosophical perspective. 

Workshop Participants:

  • Dominic Berry (London)
  • Julia Bursten (Kentucky) 
  • Melinda Fagan (Salt Lake City) 
  • Fridolin Gross (Kassel)
  • Catherine Kendig (East Lansing)
  • Tarja Knuuttila (Vienna)
  • Ulrich Krohs (Münster)
  • Robert Meunier (Kassel) 
  • Hans-Jörg Rheinberger (Berlin) 

Workshop Organizers:

  • Janine Gondolf (Darmstadt)
  • Thorsten Kohl (Darmstadt) 
  • Alfred Nordmann (Darmstadt) 
  • Marco Tamborini (Darmstadt) 

The workshop/Summer School will be held in English and is addressed to: i) philosophers of science with an interest in the history, theory, and practice of technoscientific research, ii) the CompuGene experimentalists, and iii) graduate students and post-docs from philosophy, STS, biology, the engineering sciences. There are no costs associated with the workshop except for travel, accommodation, and meals. For student participants, we will help find reasonable accommodation.

For further information and program see:


Best regards,

Marco Tamborini 

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