Henly Gate. Credit: Tony Mastres
Credit: Tony Mastres

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Philosophy of science has spent a century trying to understand what makes science tick. What (if anything) can this long conversation tell us about how to speed up the progress of science?

If we sequenced the entire genome of every organism on earth, what would we know? What would we not know? What are the appropriate questions to ask, strategies to apply, and methods to use to derive a next level of understanding?

The methodologies of and foundational principles behind physics and mathematics have been subjected to increasing criticism from parties outside of the sciences. How can and should scientists respond?

A new wave of interdisciplinary work, grounded in the natural sciences, is transforming the social sciences. Are the old disciplinary boundaries between anthropology, economics, sociology, political science and psychology holding progress back? Can we create something better?

What are the features of the brain that are important to its computational power? Certainly many features can contribute, but how solid is the fundamental data on their contribution? For example, are synaptic plasticity rules precise or coarse? How important are they given the wealth of complex instinctual behaviors in the animal kingdom? We will scrutinize the foundations of computational principles in neurobiology, in both data and theory.

Stored concepts and propositions are the very basis of all inferences we make - in fact the basis of thought. Given the fundamental importance of stored information in our minds/brains, it is disturbing how little we know about how such knowledge is encoded and stored.