HAPP One-Day Conference on "Order and Chaos"

The St Cross Centre for the History and Philosophy of Physics (HAPP) held its termly one-day conference on Saturday 3rd June on "Order and Chaos", which examined the evolution of the theories of order and chaos across the centuries and their prospects for future advances.

The morning talks started with order and chaos in ancient Greco-Roman philosophical thoughts, followed by a survey of chaos from fields as disparate as celestial mechanics and climate modelling, together with a remarkable practical demonstration of chaotic motion by a double pendulum used in the 2005 Royal Institution Christmas Lectures.

The morning ended with a talk on entropy, a measure of disorder with examples in physics and nature. The afternoon moved on to the role of unpredictability in the formation and maintenance of complex systems with the final talk giving a fascinating  review of quantum chaos and related topics. The conference was also livestreamed to attendees from all around the world with over 1000 viewings to date and over 200 attendees were present in person to hear the talks and Q&A discussions.

The Q&A sessions throughout the day after each talk were lively as always with many questions from members of the audience and there was a dynamic summary given at the end of the day to bring together the various strands of the conference theme.


The day culminated with a special conference dinner held at St Cross College with a fascinating after-dinner talk by Professor Peter Stark from the Royal College of Music, who gave insights into how order and chaos arise in composition and are conveyed in conducting, accompanied by musical demonstrations on a keyboard.

The videos of all the conference talks are now available at https://www.stx.ox.ac.uk/event/happ-one-day-conference-order-and-chaos