Conference on Genomes and the Synthesis of Life – Niels Bohr Institute - University of Copenhagen

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Conference on Genomes and the Synthesis of Life

Genomics, proteomics, and synthetic biology are advancing at an ever-accelerating pace. Data, technology, and promises issue forth from these efforts.

This conference describes current scientific progress in genomics and the synthesis of life, and then examines these advances from a philosophical and cultural point of view.

  • How are bottom-up (reductionist-analytic) and top-down (holistic-synthetic) methodologies used in this research?
  • What role do mathematical models (e.g., nonlinear dynamics, agent-based models, and network theory) play in contemporary biotechnological efforts?
  • Does physics influence biology?
  • How might we change the way that we look upon ourselves, our capacities, and our potentials, if we were able to synthesize life, or fully interpret the genome, or both?

This conference brings together top researchers in the biological sciences and in the philosophy of science, to explore these questions. The first day focuses on philosophical and cultural matters ("philosophy & culture"), the second day on technological progress ("biology"). There is a roundtable discussion at the end of each day.

On 7th and 8th October 2010
Niels Bohr Institute, Auditorium A
Blegdamsvej 17, 2100 Copenhagen


  • Mark A. Bedau, Reed College, USA
    European School of Molecular Medicine, Italy
    University of Southern Denmark
  • John Dupré, University of Exeter, U.K.
  • Peter Godfrey-Smith, Harvard University, USA
  • Gerd Müller, University of Vienna, Austria
  • Steen Rasmussen, University of Southern Denmark
  • Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther, University of California, Santa Cruz, USA
    CPNSS, University of Copenhagen

Schedule 7/10-8/10 2010

7.10.10: Philosophy and Culture
9.00-9.30 Registration
9.30-11.00 Peter Godfrey-Smith
11.00-11.20 Pause
11.20-12.50 Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther
12.50-14.00 Lunch
14.00-15.30 John Dupré
15.30-16.00 Pause
16.00-17.00 Roundtable

8.10.10: Biology
9.30-11.00 Steen Rasmussen
11.00-11.20 Pause
11.20-12.50 Gerd Müller
12.50-14.00 Lunch
14.00-15.30 Mark Bedau
15.30-16.00 Pause
16.00-17.00 Roundtable

This conference is organized by PHIS and CPNSS. PHIS is a Danish national collaboration on Ph.D-education in the fields of philosophy, history of science and history of ideas. Center for the Philosophy of Nature and Science Studies, is at University of Copenhagen and involves a group of researchers engaged in the interdisciplinary fields of philosophy of science, and science studies.