Chance in Physics: Foundations and Perspectives

Nov.29th -- Dec.3rd 1999, Ischia, Naples, Italy

Istituto Italiano Per Gli Studi Filosofici

patronized by

Società Italiana Di Fondamenti Della Fisica

supported by
Interdisciplinary Laboratory of the ISAS

Out now: the Proceedings volume!
For bibliographical details, see Springer-Verlag or
Table of Contents:
Jean Bricmont, "Bayes, Boltzmann and Bohm: Probability in Physics"
Carlo Cercignani, "The Rise of Statistical Mechanics"
Sheldon Goldstein, "Boltzmann's Approach to Statistical Mechanics"
Herbert Spohn, "Microscopic Time Reversibility and the Boltzmann Equation"
Oliver Penrose, "The Direction of Time"
Michael K.-H. Kiessling, "How to Implement Boltzmann's Probabilistic
 Ideas in a Relativistic World?"
Stephen L. Adler, "Probability in Orthodox Quantum Mechanics"
Detlef Dürr, "Bohmian Mechanics"
Alberto Rimini, "Chance of Reduction as Chance of Spontaneous Localisation"
Roland Omnès, "Probabilities, Decohering Histories,
 and the Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics"
Simon W. Saunders, "Space-Time and Probability"
Antony Valentini, "Hidden Variables, Statistical Mechanics, and the Early Universe"
Gian Carlo Ghirardi, "Perspectives of the Dynamical Reduction Program"
Heinz-Peter Breuer, Francesco Petruccione, "Relativistic Theory of
 Continuous Measurements"
José Acacio de Barros, Patrick Suppes, "Probabilistic Results for
 Six Detectors in a Three-Particle GHZ Experiment"
Enrico G. Beltrametti, "Classical Versus Quantum Probabilities"
Andreas Knauf, "Does Quantum Chaos Exist?"
Stefano Ruffo, "Time-Scales for the Approach to Thermal Equilibrium"
Andrea Carati, Luigi Galgani, "Einstein's Nonconventional Conception of the Photon"
Maria Carla Galavotti, "What Interpretation for Probability in Physics?"
Peter J. Clark, "Statistical Mechanics and the Propensity Interpretation of Probability"
Tim Maudlin, "Interpreting Probabilities: What's interference got to do with it?"


Please direct all correspondence to the secretary The meeting will address the fundamental and practical aspects of probability in physics. It is organized by the Istituto Italiano Per Gli Studi Filosofici and the Società Italiana Di Fondamenti Della Fisica (SIFF). The meeting will take place on Ischia, an island close to Naples; it will be held in Jolly Hotel delle Terme (****) (details), and all participants will be accommodated in this hotel.

 The meeting is intended to provide a workshop atmosphere in which the following topics will be discussed: Foundations of Statistical Mechanics, Probability in the Foundations of Quantum Mechanics, Algebraic View of Probability, Philosophy of Probability in its Interrelation with Physics.
It is probably agreed that the questions like what probability is, or what it is about, or how probability enters physics are of a subtle kind, they are difficult in various ways, often mixed up with the enormous complexity and the inescabable lack of mathematical rigor in physical application or with the foundational problems of quantum mechanics, where the probabilistic ignorance concerning the values of certain physical quantities has been elevated to a matter of principle. At present the understanding of probability in physics is almost as personal as the understanding of quantum theory.
The aim of the conference is to sharpen the ideas on probability in physics, its meaning and its philosophical implications, by reviewing the different facets of probability in physics and by extensive discussions.

We plan to have not more than 18 ONE-HOUR-TALKS. We would like the one-hour-talks to be not too technical, understandable even to nonspecialists, and---perhaps most importantly---to provide perspective. The role of the talks is to set the grounds for later discussions, which may take place in round tables, where more details (also technical ones) can be presented, or in general discussion sessions. As a rule of thumb: It should be in the interest of all of us to DISCUSS and UNDERSTAND the issues, rather than to overburden the participants with talks. It should be clear that ROUND TABLE DISCUSSIONS and the general DISCUSSION SESSIONS are as important if not more important than the ONE-HOUR-TALKS.
The composition of the round tables will be decided by the invited round table organizers. Also the round tables will be organized in conformity with the general idea that we may only benefit from mutual discussions if they stay focussed. Although the round tables provide a platform for more detailed discussion, technical papers should be given only if they serve to provide a better grasp of the issue.
The list of participants, the topics they represent and the topics for round tables will give you an idea of the focus of the discussions.
This meeting is intended to provide an atmosphere of intense discussion, and unlike presentation-of-latest-results-meetings it is for the success of this meeting of great importance that the participants stay for the duration of the meeting.
The participants are not required to present a talk (except of course those who were asked to). All participants are asked to take active part in the discussions and they might be asked to present a short contribution at the round tables.
The conference center has expressed its desire for proceedings of the meeting. There will be proceedings containing all contributed papers (main talks and round table presentations).

For more information mail to

4 Sept 2001