Photo by Benny Lautrup

CPNSS - Center for the Philosophy of Nature and Science Studies

How the centre started

In 1992, one of the early meetings of the emerging Artificial Life community was held at the Santa Fe Institute. Here, the physicist Benny Lautrup from the Niels Bohr Institute, who was then heading one of the first centres for Artificial Neural Networks, met biologist Claus Emmeche, who had recently finished a thesis at the Institute of Molecular Biology in Copenhagen on the concept of information in biology. While discussing - in the breaks from some of the meeting sessions - the nature of artificial and computational life versus the physics and biology of real life, an idea came about of a broader exploration of the development of science and its emerging world pictures. Thus, in the autumn of 1993 a course on new philosophies of nature and their relation to the natural sciences was organized at the Niels Bohr Institute, with inputs from scientists as well as philosophers of science. This course became quite a success, and planted a seed of further cooperation and exchange of ideas that led to the establishment of CPNSS by the Faculty of Natural Science in 1994.

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