#TCAOS (The Closed And Open Systems, April 21, 2018):

Can the ocean be boiled? Is the aquarium a closed system? Is the Universe an open system? Are all systems conceptual (& arbitrary?)? Do systems always have components? Can an individual body have a temperature? Why does the temperature not change ‘during’ the process of freezing? What describes volume? Might we have closed (idealized) theories to understand otherwise open systems? How do bodies ‘turn’ inactive? Is openness always a question of degree given (say) the strength of interactions and/or the dimensional scale? Is classical theory an approximation of quantum theory? What would your little protest do? Can closed societies stay closed forever? Do dynamics of interactions matter? Can phase transitions happen in closed systems? Can living cells become inert (yet viable) spores? Does atom-ness exist? Are we, as human beings, components of systems? How do political systems take shape? Is it possible for ideas to be closed? Does our changing knowledge keep even the past unclosed? Is anything closed at all? Are closed models necessary and helpful? &, will we continue to open the world up this way? SynTalk thinks about these & more questions using concepts from philosophy (Dr. Anirban Mukherjee, University of North Bengal, Siliguri), electrical engineering & systems biology (Dr. Shaunak Sen, IIT Delhi, New Delhi), & mathematics (Prof. K. B. Sinha, JNCASR, Bangalore).

Listen in…

SynTalk is pleased and privileged to have hosted the following SynTalkrs (in alphabetical order) on its #TCAOS show.

Dr. Anirban Mukherjee (philosophy) is Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Philosophy at University of North Bengal, Siliguri. He was previously an Associate at Indian Institute of Advanced Studies (IIAS, Shimla, 2013-2015). His research and teaching interests include postmodernism, philosophy of perception, Wittgenstein, epistemology, ethics, philosophy of logic, semiotics, & classical and 20th century Indian thought. He currently teaches courses on Kant, Gandhi, and aesthetics. He believes in the neutrality of philosophy as a space for encountering, debating and developing several philosophical positions. He received his B.A. (Honours) in Philosophy from Presidency College (Calcutta University, 1997), and M.A. (Philosophy, Cognitive Science) at Jadavpur University, Calcutta (1999). He was awarded a Felix Scholarship (2005-2009) to study for a Ph.D. degree in Philosophy at University of Reading (UK) under the supervision of Prof. John Preston and Prof. Maximillian de Gaynesford. The title of his thesis was ‘Perceiving Aspects: Unfolding the Wittgensteinian Notion’. He is co-editing an anthology, titled ‘Re-interpreting Tradition: 20th Century Indian Thought’, and also working on a monograph on the ‘Alternating Reals of Kalidas Bhattacharyya’. He has co-edited an anthology, ‘Language and Ontology’ (with Kantilal Das, Northern Book House, 2008), and has also contributed to several edited volumes and journals, such as, ‘Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences’ (IIAS, 2014), ‘Gauhati University Journal of Philosophy’ (2016), & ‘Jadavpur Journal of Philosophy’ (2005). He has also presented at  philosophy conferences at venues, such as, American University in Dubai (UAE, 2017), IIT Bombay (Mumbai, 2015), & University of Utrecht (Netherlands, 2008). He is also a member of professional societies such as, Indian Philosophical Congress, European Society of Aesthetics, British Wittgenstein Society, & Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (BORI), Pune.

Dr. Shaunak Sen (electrical engineering, systems biology) is an Associate Professor at Department of Electrical Engineering, IIT Delhi, New Delhi. He has also previously been a Visiting Associate at Department of Computational and Mathematical Sciences, California Institute of Technology (Caltech, USA, 2012-2015 & 2017). Currently as part of his research, he focuses on control principles in various dynamic engineered and natural contexts, along with teaching control dynamics, control engineering, systems biology, & stochastic filtering and system identification. His ongoing research includes, biomolecular circuit design, dynamics of genetic circuits & simplified representation of complex circuits. For instance, developing temperature sensors using biomolecular circuits, which can be used for precise spatiotemporal control of gene expression. He completed his B.Tech. in Electrical Engineering from IIT Kanpur, and then was accepted into the graduate program in Control and Dynamical Systems at Caltech, where he completed his Master’s and Ph.D. degrees. Dr. Sen has been particularly intrigued by the key role of feedback in enabling the control of diverse engineered and natural systems. As part of his doctoral work, conducted in a biology lab, he investigated feedback mechanisms controlling decision-making in bacterial cells, using both theory and experiments. Dr. Sen is a member of IEEE Control Systems Society (IEEE), and Control Society of India. He is also a reviewer with multiple journals such as, IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control, PLoS ONE (a multidisciplinary Open Access journal), Sādhānā (Academy Proceedings in Engineering Sciences, Indian Academy of Sciences). He has won multiple awards & fellowships, namely, ‘Kusuma Young Faculty Incentive Fellowship’ (IIT Delhi, 2012-2015), ‘IIT Kanpur President’s Gold Medal & General Proficiency Medal’ (Electrical Engineering, 2003), & Poincare Fellowship for Graduate Studies, Betty and Gordon Moore Foundation (Caltech, 2003-2007).

Prof. K. B Sinha (mathematics) is SERB Distinguished Fellow and Vikram Sarabhai Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), Bangalore. He is also a Distinguished Associate of Institute Mathematics Initiative, Indian Institute of Science (IISc, Bangalore), & Professor Emeritus, Indian Statistical Institute (ISI, New Delhi). His research interests are mathematical theory of scattering, spectral theory of Schrödinger operators, algebra of operators, non commutative geometry, and quantum stochastic processes. He completed his B.Sc. (Honours) from Calcutta University (1963), M.Sc. from University of Delhi (1965), & Ph.D. from University of Rochester, USA (1969). He has also previously been a Professor (1970-2006) & the Director (2000-2005) at ISI, New Delhi. He has held visiting professorship positions at multiple institutes, such as, University of Tennessee (USA, 2004), Kyoto University (Japan, 1995), University of Texas (USA, 1985), & Catholic  University of Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium, 1978). Prof. Sinha has delivered invited lectures at numerous institutes across the world, such as, University of Colorado (USA, 1980), University  of Rome II (Italy, 1987), Aarhus University (Denmark, 1991), Universities of Nara, Kanazawa, Tokyo and  Nagoya (Japan, 1995), & National University of Singapore (Singapore, 2014). He is an elected Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences (IAS, Bangalore), the Indian National Science Academy (INSA, New Delhi), & the Third  World Academy of Sciences (TWAS, Italy). He is also a Life Member of the International Association of Mathematical Physics & the Indian Mathematical Society. Prof. Sinha has received multiple awards, including, the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize in Mathematical Sciences (1988), C.V. Raman Gold Medal (Jagdish Bose National Science Talent Search Organization, 1990), & the P.C. Mahalanobis  Medal (Indian  Science Congress, 2004).

Note: Any & all errors in the brief profiles above are SynTalk’s own.

#TCAOS mentionsIssac Newton, & Richard Feynman, among others.