The 1st Ockham Debate, held in Trinity term 2013 - Photo: © Luke William

The Ockham Lectures

The Ockham — or Occam — Lectures, named in honour of one of the greatest (if contested) alumni of the College, and of his philosophical principle of intellectual discipline, started in 2009 and are held once a term. The lectures are organised by the physics tutors of the College and aim to promote both intellectual curiosity and social cohesion amongst the Merton Physics community.

Past speakers have included:

Trinity term 2013 saw the first Ockham Debate between philosopher Simon Saunders and physicist James Binney, on 'The Problem of Quantum Measurement'. The second Ockham Debate, held in Trinity term 2022, again featured Professor Simon Saunders, who discussed the question 'Does Physics Imply Atheism?' with Professor Ard Louis, Professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of Oxford.

Attendance at the lectures, which are preceded by a reception and followed by dinner in Hall, is solely by invitation. All Merton physicists belonging to the Junior, Middle and Senior Common Rooms are invited, as are Old Members. Guests are also accommodated when space permits - please email Professor Alex Schekochihin if you wish to attend