TU Wien Informatics

Kurt Gödel´s Legacy: No truth is absolute. Public events July 25-27, 2019.

  • 2019-07-10
  • VCLA

70 years ago Kurt Gödel proved that theory of relativity is compatible with closed time lines. Top-class talks by leading scientists at University of Vienna.

The life of Kurt Gödel, considered the greatest logician since Aristotle, is closely linked to Vienna and the Vienna Circle, whose heirs the organisers of the conference can be understood today - from research fields such as logic, mathematics, computer science, physics and philosophy.

Logic, Physics, Philosophy

Terms such as time and space or causality also determine the philosophical discussions on quantum mechanics, a theory that cast doubt on the notion of absolute objective reality. Like the theory of relativity and Kurt Gödel’s incompleteness theorems together with Universe, quantum physics shook foundations that had previously been considered immovable. Since reality is a partial and incomplete representation of physical, biological, psychological and social reality, this uncertainty affects all areas of science and its pursuit of truth, laws and knowledge. The conference brings together some of the world’s leading personalities in the fields of mathematics, physics, computer science, philosophy and logic. Among them is Nobel Laureate Rainer Weiss, who received the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics for his discovery of gravitational waves. This finding was the last directly undiscovered prediction of general relativity and confirms their predictions about space-time distortion in the context of large-scale cosmic events. After being out of the public eye for 15 years, philosopher Palle Yourgrau links the two jubilee events and talks about the philosophical implications of Gödel´s and Einstein’s work, which dashed the hopes of many former mathematicians and philosophers, including thinkers of the stature of David Hilbert, Bertrand Russell and Ludwig Wittgenstein. Another speaker, Juliet Floyd, is a philosopher who relates various fields of science: she compares the significance of Einstein theory for 20th-century philosophy with the effect of the Turing machine on computer science. Her lecture “In and Out of Mind: Wittgenstein and Gödel, Post and Turing” is open to the general public as the 27th Wiener Kreis Vorlesung. Another lecture, which will be open to the general public, will be given by mathematician and cosmologist John D. Barrow of Cambridge University. He asks what distinguishes natural laws from their results, how the complexity of the world hides elegant mathematical symmetries, and how chaos can arise from order. This lecture is in memory of Wolfgang Rindler, an Austrian physicist specializing in the theory of relativity and its effects on cosmology, who died in February 2019.

Artificial Intelligence and Quantum Mechanics

Organizer Prof. Matthias Baaz, TU Vienna, who, together with Georg Gottlob and Algexander Leitsch, institutionalized Logic and Computer Science at the Vienna University of Technology in 1980s: “Just as Einstein and Gödel created new fields of research with the progress in the field of logic in computer science we can once again steer the path towards explainable artificial intelligence (AI).” AI researcher Toby Walsh and science philosopher Reinhard Kahle investigate developments in artificial intelligence and the demands for explainable and responsible AI computers that can learn independently without corrupt or distorted data. Another discipline which is in the search for the holy grail is quantum informatics: Quantum physicists Markus Aspelmeyer and Wolfgang Schleich as well as mathematician and physicist Marika Taylor, also a close collaborator of Stephen Hawking, will explain the current state of research in this field. The conference will be complemented by a special exhibition on the life and work of Kurt Gödel, which will be supplemented and opened to the general public by the Vienna Circle Society under the direction of Karl Sigmund, University of Vienna. The conference is supported by the University of Vienna, the Austrian Academy of Sciences, the research platform TURIS, the Vienna Center for Logic and Algorithms at the TU Vienna, the Department Vienna Circle and the Vienna Circle Society.

ADMISSION FREE PUBLIC EVENTS Thursday, July 25th, 2019 17:00-18:00 Juliet Floyd, Boston University

Friday, July 26, 2019 18:30-19:30 John D.Barrow, University of Cambridge


Website of Kurt Gödel Society: https://kgs.logic.at/goedels-legacy/

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/301928290466410/ Twitter: #Time4Goedel


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