Contested Astrophysics

Dublin, 12-14 April, 2016

Organised by DIAS, the workshop will examine areas of current disagreement in high-energy astrophysics and will be attended by scientists as well as some philosophers of science and experimental philosophers. It forms part of an interdisciplinary project between philosophy and science on expert disagreement funded by the Irish Research Council. There will be no written proceedings and we hope to emulate something of the open discussion of the Aspen workshops with frank discussions of disputed areas, if desired under the Chatham House rule (you can say what was said, but not who said it).

Confirmed participants include Alan Watson, Etienne Parizot and Jim Hinton as well as local organisers Felix Aharonian, Andrew Taylor and Luke Drury. Students and postdocs as well as experienced researchers are welcome to attend the one condition being that they are prepared to participate actively in the discussions and are either serious scientists or philosophers.

Currently we plan to discuss the transition between Galactic and extragalactic cosmic rays and associated disputes as to the chemical composition at the highest energies; the possible dominance of local sources for high-energy cosmic rays and neutrinos; the relative merits of hadronic and leptonic models for high-energy gamma-ray production; and any other related topics for which there is time and interest!

Registration is now open.

Register Now on Eventbrite


The intention is to have a very dynamic meeting with plenty of discussion and interaction, so it should be taken as more of a guide than a rigid schedule. Depending on interest we may include additional talks and shift the sessions slightly.

Tuesday 12th April

10:00-11:00 Registration and Coffee

11:00-11:30 Welcome and Introduction – Luke and Maria

11:30-12:00 Introduction to Experimental Epistemology for Scientists – What is it and why should we care? James Beebe

Lunch break (Table reserved in Searson’s pub)

14:00 – 17:30 First Session – Problems of UHECR (break around 15:30 for coffee/tea and group photograph)

  • Etienne Parizot What do we really know about the UHECR?
  • Rafael Alves Batista Do magnetic fields frustrate CR astronomy?
  • Jan Ridky & Jan Ebr Can we disentangle the composition?
  • Masha Chernyakova High energy particles from the Galactic centre?

18:00 Table reserved in the Sussex restaurant (above O’Brien’s pub) for group social dinner.

Wednesday 13th April

9:30-12:30 Morning session – how important are local sources? (Coffee break around 10:30)

  • Jim Hinton Cosmic Ray impact; should the rest of the astrophysical community really care about cosmic rays?
  • Arnold Wolfendale How knobbly is the knee?
  • Yoann Genolini Are the break features a signature of local sources?
  • Gwenael Giacinti Do we understand the anisotropy data?
  • A Taylor Extragalactic CRs beyond the Iron knee?

Lunch break (Table reserved in Searson’s pub)

14:00 – 17:30 Afternoon session – Neutrinos and Gamma rays (Break for coffe/tea at around 15:30)

  • Andres Sandoval Positrons from Geminga?
  • Antonio Marinelli Where do the Icecube neutrinos come from?
  • Alessandra Lamastra Gamma rays from AGNs

18:00  Option of attending public lecture in the Royal Irish Academy:
           Gravitational lensing: Einstein’s unfinished symphony by Prof Richard Ellis.

Thursday 14th April

9:30 – 12:30 How reliable is theory? (Coffee break around 10:30)

  • Tony Bell Can relativistic shocks accelerate particles?
  • Omar Tibolla Beyond the standard models for CR origin?
  • Felix Aharonian The challenge of extreme accelerators.

Lunch break (Open air food market on the canal)

14:00 Afternoon – Summary and wrap-up

  • Finnur Delsen What did a philosopher of science learn from the meeting?
  • What did we learn? Discussion led by Luke Drury and Maria Baghramian.

Tea/coffee and departure

Click here to download programme in pdf

Contested Physics Gallery