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SEMINAR: Art, Craft, and Philosophy of Science

February 27 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

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Before one can develop an adequate theory to describe natural phenomena, it is imperative to understand the underpinnings of natural philosophy in particular and philosophy in general, have great facility with the natural language for its expression: mathematics. But this alone is insufficient; one needs to understand the interplay between science, language, psychology, philosophy, politics, economics, and societal demands amongst many other subjects, as they all have an impact on the path science takes. One is interested in the development of a theory of sufficient generality; it ought not to merely explain a specific phenomenon, it should be general enough to have wide applicability and specific enough to applicable to a particular problem, it should have predictive capability, be simple, be expressible with an economy of words, lead to a consilience of induction, be capable of falsifiability, to name some of them. In this talk, I will discuss some of the features that go into the development of a scientific theory. Art, craft and philosophy all play a crucial role in the development of scientific theories.


Professor Rajagopal is a Distinguished Professor, Regents Professor, and holds the Forsyth Chair in Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M University. He holds joint appointments in the Departments of Mathematics, Biomedical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, a Fellow of the Michael E. DeBakey Institute, and a Research Scientist at the Texas Transportation Institute. He has made contributions to various aspects of mechanics and thermodynamics, as well as in the areas of biomedicine, traffic flow modeling, control, and resource allocation problems. He has won numerous awards and honors, some of them being the Eringen Medal (the highest award of the Society of Engineering Science), The Memorial Medal, The Archie Higdon Award (from the American Society of Engineering Education), Zable Medal, Bush Excellence Award, the President’s award from the Tokyo Institute of Science and Technology, the President’s award for distinguished visitors from Ben Gurion University, University of Auckland Foundation Distinguished Visitor Award. He has received honoris causa from the University of Pretoria, Charles University, and Technical University “Gheorghe Asachi”. He is a highly cited researcher according to ISI Citations classification and is in the top 3% of researchers in his field according to Analytical Academics. He is a Distinguished Professor at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras, an Extraordinary Professor at the University of Pretoria, Honorary Professor at Charles University and the University of Witwatersrand. Professor Rajagopal has served as the President of the Society for Natural Philosophy. He has authored/co-authored six books, published over 500 papers in archival journals, and given over 300 plenary lectures, keynote lectures, and seminars.


February 27
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
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EB3 3122