Quantum Physics and Literature, Literature and Quantum Physics
Saturday 13 May 2017
Xavier Cousin, a PhD student in the English department will be giving a talk on how these two seemingly unrelated fields come together. As always, the event is free and in Empty Shop HQ at 3:45 PM.
Here's his abstract:
On the one hand, the in-depth analysis of written works of art; on the other hand, the in-depth study of the building blocks of reality and the forces they obey. What on earth do these two opposite polls of the academic world have to do with each other?! This is what people usually end up asking when they learn that I'm a PhD candidate from the department of English Studies writing a thesis on quantum physics and literature. So, for this Cafe Scientifique, I invite you to come and hear the answer(s).
I will present a series of theoretical perspectives from Literature and Science Studies that attempt to make sense of the complex interactions between the two fields, using quantum mechanics and its strange new picture of reality as a guiding example. These perspectives will range from the obvious to the controversial, but hopefully they will lead us – whether scientists or literary critics or anything in between – to appreciate how literature and quantum physics can meld together and shape our cultural experience of the world.
This interdisciplinary dialogue is particularly relevant now that, as the recent #ScienceMarch has shown, the relationship between culture and science is undergoing a slight period of agitation.