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Matteo Polettini: Thermodynamics between science and myth
14. June 12:00 - 14:00
Despite recent progress in its formalization, thermodynamics is still as confusing as ever. Not because of some subtle technical issue, but because it is somewhat orthogonal to the modus operandi of other purified physical theories with a well-defined scope. On the one hand, certain specific systems of historical relevance obey and define the laws of thermodynamics. On the other, thermodynamics serves as a repository of narratives that allow scientists to dispense with strict reductionism, towards a more holistic view. Both persectives can be appropriated by the corporate agenda to green-wash their practices. Therefore, in the last part of the talk, I advocate for forms of “thermodynamic empowerment” that require to re-think the role of experts in society and the forms of scientific dialogue.
Matteo Polettini is a researcher in theoretical physics at the University of Luxembourg, where he studies various topics in nonequilibrium statistical mechanics. He also participates to the activities of the “small temporary scientific community” (https://scienceground.it/en), a young crew dedicated to open discussion about science and society.