Presented by Dr Peter Vickers
Identifying Future-Proof Science sets out to identify the scientific ideas that will last forever. Despite numerous twists and turns in the history of science, the book argues that many modern ideas are here to stay, and offers instructions on how to find them. The claims are made concrete via historical illustrations, including the discovery of gill slits in the human embryo in the 1820s, atomic theory in 1916, continental drift 1920-1960, the discovery of the ‘missing link’ fossil Tiktaalik in 2004, and the modern controversy over the extinction of the dinosaurs. The conclusions are applied to the Covid pandemic, and in particular the question of how the non-expert can identify the scientific ideas that are trustworthy in a world of ‘fake news’ and information overload.
In 2003 Peter Vickers received a BSc in Mathematics and Philosophy from the University of York, followed by an MA (2005) in History and Philosophy of Science from the University of Leeds. This led to a PhD in history and philosophy of science (2009), also at Leeds, supervised by Prof. Steven French. The starting point was certain difficulties concerning the representation and reconstruction of inconsistent scientific theories. Gradually he developed a new methodology for analysing debates about inconsistencies in science which he called ‘theory eliminativism’. His book, ‘Identifying Future-Proof Science’, is forthcoming from Oxford University Press.
Ideas for Positive Change is a new series of short talks, presented by Durham University academics. Inspired by the success of New Ideas for the New Normal in 2020, a range of world-class researchers return to Durham Book Festival to explore how we might build a more positive future.