science | December 16, 2012

Janna Levin: Scientists And Philosophers Can Learn From Each Other [VIDEO]

Science and philosophy may seem like two completely different worlds—one working in abstract psychological thought and the other in concrete physical action—but Janna Levin recently joined a team of the top experts in each field to discuss what they each can learn from each other. The three day conference and workshop was called Moving Naturalism Forward and asked whether the natural world is all that exists. Levin chaired a discussion in which a group of scientists and philosophers debated the similarities and differences between their disciplines, and explored what can be gained by finding common ground.

Regardless of the vast differences that exist between the two fields, Levin says that she found many of her ideas have "expanded" since taking part in the workshop. She explains that coming together as a community of intellectuals—rather than remaining divided because of differing viewpoints—is beneficial to one's scholarship. More debate between disciplines and more conversation of the overlapping principles in each leads to a better understanding of the world as a whole, she says. Even if you don't always agree, she says it is important to be exposed to new ways of thinking to learn new things and approach your own work innovative ways.

Levin is a both a gifted cosmologist and an accomplished author. She approaches her work using unique methods and as such, has found a way to bring complex scientific principles to the masses—without having to cut corners or make the discoveries seem less exceptional. Her debut book, How the Universe Got Its Spots, explores the value in examining remnants of the Big Bang and her most recent book, A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines, won the PEN/Bingham Fellowship for Writers. She is also an engaging and entertaining speaker and combines the far-reaching elements of our universe with our daily lives to show us how the world is connected, and helps audiences find their own place in the vastness of the cosmos.

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