What We Cannot Know

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L1, Mathematical Institute

Andrew Wiles Building, Mathematical Institute

Radcliffe Observatory Quarter

Oxford, United Kingdom

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To celebrate the publication of Marcus du Sautoy's new book, What We Cannot Know, he will be joined by Anita Avramides, Chrystalina Antoniades, and Alister McGrath, to discuss human consciousness and modern science. 


About the Book


In What We Cannot Know, Marcus du Sautoy leads us on a thought-provoking expedition to the furthest reaches of modern science. 

Is the universe infinite?

Do we know what happened before the Big Bang?

Where is human consciousness located in the brain?

And are there more undiscovered particles out there, beyond the Higgs boson?

In the modern world, science is king: weekly headlines proclaim the latest scientific breakthroughs and numerous mathematical problems, once indecipherable, have now been solved. But are there limits to what we can discover about our physical universe?

In this very personal journey to the edges of knowledge, Marcus du Sautoy investigates how leading experts in fields from quantum physics and cosmology, to sensory perception and neuroscience, have articulated the current lie of the land. In doing so, he travels to the very boundaries of understanding, questioning contradictory stories and consulting cutting edge data.


Speakers' Biographies


Anita Avramides is a Reader in Philosophy of Mind at the University of Oxford. Her latest work has concentrated on the question of our knowledge of other minds. She is looking to see if this is a well formed question. She hopes to tie this work in with issues concerned with knowledge of one’s own mind (again the question of whether it is correct to speak of knowledge here is relevant to her work). Her work on other minds has led her to look at the history of this issue. She also continues to maintain an interest in issues connected with Grice’s account of meaning. She has served as Junior Proctor for Oxford University, and has been a member of a range of University Committees. Anita has served on the Faculty Board of the Faculty of Philosophy, as well as many other Faculty Committees. She is presently Vice Principal of St Hilda’s College.


Chrystalina Antoniades is Associate Professor at the Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Oxford. She researches Parkinson's disease, and in research clinics, uses a variety of quantitative experimental methods, based on precise measurement of subtle abnormalities of the speed and coordination of various movements such as saccades (fast eye movements) and hand movements. She is the co - chair of the Clinical Neurosciences Society and has developed the Art and Neuroscience Project with Dr Jim Harris at the Ashmolean Museum.


Alister McGrath is Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Oxford. 

McGrath served as the first Director of the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics from 2004-6, subsequently becoming its President. During this time, he developed a close working relationship with the Oxford Faculty of Theology. He became a member of the Faculty in 1983, and was appointed University Research Lecturer in Theology in 1993. He taught frequently at Regent College Vancouver, and served as its Research Professor of Theology from 1993-7. In 1999, in recognition of his research, McGrath was elected to a personal chair of theology at Oxford University, with the title of “Professor of Historical Theology”. He was elected a fellow of theRoyal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures & Commerce (FRSA) in 2005 in recognition of his role as a public intellectual. From 2006, McGrath became Senior Research Fellow at Harris Manchester College, Oxford, and retained this role after moving to London in 2008 to take up a chair of theology at King’s College London. In 2009, McGrath also became Associate Priest in the Shill Valley & Broadshire benefice in the Diocese of Oxford, a group of village churches in the Cotswolds.

In 2014, McGrath returned to Oxford as the third holder of the Andreas Idreos Professorship of Science and Religion at Oxford University, and Director of the Ian Ramsey Centre for Science and Religion. He is expected to retire from this position in September 2023. McGrath sees the Idreos chair primarily in terms of public engagement with the great questions of science and faith, embedded in a tradition of outstanding teaching and research.

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L1, Mathematical Institute

Andrew Wiles Building, Mathematical Institute

Radcliffe Observatory Quarter

Oxford, United Kingdom

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