The Seven Pines Symposium is dedicated to bringing together leading historians, philosophers, and scientists for several days in a collaborative effort to probe and clarify significant foundational issues in science as they have arisen in the past and continue to challenge our understanding today.  Unlike the typical conference, participants will come not to deliver carefully prepared research papers, but rather prepared to talk.  Those invited to speak will make a presentation that will focus on, as they choose, some combination of the current state of knowledge, salient issues, principal themes, and problems.  The aim of these presentations will be to identify pressing issues and stimulate a deeper analysis of them. 

The foundational issues in science to be discussed in historical and philosophical perspective will vary from year to year and will be determined by the Seven Pines Symposium Founder and Advisory Board.  In general, as we meet as a group or wander outdoors on the beautiful grounds and along wooded trails, we wish to step back from our specialized endeavors to reflect on where science has been and where it is going.  In focusing on foundational issues, we expect to venture into uncharted territory, but not to abandon intellectual rigor.  We hope that the Seven Pines Symposium will embody something akin to a spirit of natural philosophy, with the participants forming, at least momentarily, an academy in the original sense of the word.  

Over these past twenty-one years, contributors to the Symposium have included Nobel laureates in physics Philip Anderson and Anthony Leggett (both twice) and Gerard ’t Hooft. Other eminent physicists include Sir Roger Penrose, Leo Kadanoff, Alan Guth, Albert Libchaber, and Bob Wald, many more than once. 

Prominent historians and philosophers of science who regularly contributed include Jed Buchwald, Olivier Darrigol, John Earman, Alan Franklin, John Norton, Michel Janssen, Jürgen Renn, Alan Shapiro, and Roger Stuewer.

In addition, the Seven Pines Symposia always brings many young and early-career scholars and researchers to participate.

Lee Gohlike, the Founder of the Seven Pines Symposium, has had a long-standing and deep interest in the history and philosophy of science, and over the years has furthered this interest by graduate study at the Universities of Minnesota and Chicago.  The Seven Pines Symposium will be held annually at his Outing Lodge at Pine Point, an elegant inn and conference center located near Stillwater, Minnesota, about thirty-five minutes by car from the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.  Participants will exchange ideas with colleagues in a tranquil setting, free of institutional constraints, and stimulated by a superb cuisine.

Seven Pines Symposium XXIII
Quantum computers: imminent or illusion?
May 2019

Public lecture: Tuesday May 14, 2019, 7 pm