"From Space to Spacetime" One-Day Conference

Saturday 9th June 2018
10.30 am - 5.00 pm
St Cross College, University of Oxford - Martin Wood Lecture Theatre, Department of Physics

Since antiquity there has been a fascination with the notions of space and time with Aristotle's philosophy remaining dominant until the advent of the heliocentric Copernican system of the Solar System marked the first steps of modern rational science in its understanding of these concepts. This culminated in the Newtonian theory of familiar three-dimensional space and absolute time.  However, the absence of a supposed ether, as established by Michelson and Morley, ushered in the Special Theory of Relativity and the entwined relationship between space and time, whilst Einstein's General Theory revealed a more complicated geometry of the two through curved spacetime. This conference will trace our understanding of space and time across the ages up to the latest knowledge of spacetime and the expanding Universe.

Registration to attend this conference is free.

The programme for the day is below:

MORNING CHAIR: Dr Paola Castaño (Cardiff University)

10.30 am WELCOME

10.40 am Dr Inna Kupreeva (University of Edinburgh) - Conceptualising Space: Place, Location and Dimensions in Ancient Greek Philosophy [VIDEO]

11.30 am Dr Vincenzo De Risi (Université Paris-Diderot - CNRS) - From Substance to Function: the Structure of Space in Leibniz and Newton [VIDEO]

12.20 pm Dr Ioannis Votsis (New College of the Humanities, London) - Taking Up Space: The Case of the Ether [VIDEO]


AFTERNOON CHAIR: Dr Vincent Smith (University of Bristol)

2.15 pm Dr Maria Rodriguez (Albert Einstein Institute, Potsdam-Golm/Utah State University) - Welt: The Concept that Changed Physics [VIDEO]

3.05 pm Professor John Barrow (University of Cambridge) - Bending Space and Time [VIDEO]


4.30 pm SUMMARY OF THE DAY'S PROCEEDINGS - Dr Adam Caulton (University of Oxford) [VIDEO]

There will be a conference dinner at St Cross in the evening following the end of the conference with an after-dinner talk by Dr Alastair Reynolds (former European Space Agency physicist and science fiction author) on space and wormholes in science fiction. Although the conference itself is free of charge, the dinner carries a cost of £35 to attend - booking a place for dinner (only for confirmed conference attendees and their guests) can be done here until the booking/cancellation deadline of midday on Friday 1st June 2018.


Bed and breakfast accommodation in the Oxford colleges can be found here.

A map of the location of St Cross College in the city centre can be found here and a map of the location of the Martin Wood Lecture Theatre at the Department of Physics can be found here.

All-day parking in central Oxford is often limited so details of the Oxford Park and Ride are available here.