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Here Chaucer guides two young people of the future (well, really their avatars) through the basics of specral analysis and how the idea of "quanta" entered into the discussion.

Background Science

Google+ Archive for Karen Barad's Meeting the Universe Halfway

Macrocosm Doesn't Reflect the Microcosm?

In the introduction, Barad says "Physics can't be bootstraped into giving a full account of the social world.  I would be wrong to simply assume that people are the analogues of atoms and that societies are mere epiphenomena that can be explained in terms of collective behavior of massive ensembles of individual entities (like little atoms each), or that sociology is reducible to biology, which is reducible to chemistry, which is reducible to physics" (24). While her maneuver here is to carefully couch her own argumentative strategy as not attempting to equate the microcosm with the macrocosm (which would indeed be irresponsible if applied universally), it seems to me that Barad rules out the possibility of thinking of larger entities as particles by being (humanistically!) determined to see them as inherently more complex and thus guaranteed to act differently.  Some recent work on the physics of mosh pits comes to mind, wherein researchers find that the movement of human being is large crowds actually can be modeled like gas particles.  

Chapter One Hangout

Chapters Two and Three Hangout

  • Representation and geometrical optics

  • Diffraction and physical optics

  • Phenomena: not pre-existing, but co-constituted

  • Scale

  • Agency

Chapter Four Hangout on Agential Realism

  • Agency

  • Objectivity

  • Apparatuses

  • Scale returns, but we conquer the issue!

  • Reproducibility

  • Spacetimematter

  • Approximation-good enough for physicists but not for humanities-ists!

Chapter Five Hangout on Getting Real

  • New Materialism

  • Posthumanism

  • Politics, and the danger of animism and agential cuts

  • Neomedievalism

  • Ultrasounds

Chapter Six Hangout on Spacetime Re(con)figurings


  • Uneven distribution of agency

  • Wonder and/or enchantment in conjunction with vitality

  • Euclidean geometry vs. Cartesian space

  • Structure vs. Apparatus

  • Relation to other turns to the material

Chapter Seven Hangout on Quantum Entanglements

  • EPR Paradox

  • Realism v. Antirealism

  • (non)locality v. (non)separability

  • The Role of Consciousness

  • Subjectivity (and Objectivity)

  • Flat Ontology


  • The REAL/Nature

  • Ways of Knowing

  • Wave Function Collapse

  • Baradian Cultural Criticism?

Chapter Eight Hangout The Ethics of Mattering

  • The "Real" referent

  • Accountability

  • How does agency happen?

  • The temporality of mattering

  • Differentiation/-ial Calculus

  • Biomimetics and a Poetics of Science

  • The Locus of ethics/-al action: spacetimematter

  • Re-mystification

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