Santa Clara University



President's Speaker Series

Sponsored by the Office of the President, the President’s Speaker Series is a forum that brings eminent leaders to Santa Clara, providing our students, faculty, and the community an opportunity for intellectual rigor, critical thinking, reflection, and dialogue.

Santa Clara Lecture Series

The Santa Clara Lecture Series is sponsored by the Bannan Institute, which is committed to examining Catholic identity and Jesuit character.

Ethics at Noon

The Markkula Center for Applied Ethics sponsors the Ethics at Noon lecture series. These lunch-hour programs provide a forum for SCU faculty members and other experts to explore ethical issues in many fields.

de Saisset Museum

The museum offers several lectures and programs based on current exhibitions.

Bannan Institutes

Jan 28, 2014
4:00 p.m. - 5:15 p.m.
Learning Commons and Library, St. Clare Room

Alex Zecevic | Unknowable Reality: Science, Mathematics, and Mystery

Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education


This lecture will address the way modern science portrays physical "reality", and will highlight some key differences between the current paradigm and the more intuitive (but ultimately incorrect) Newtonian world view. The fact that complex processes are characterized by a mix of order and irreducible uncertainty suggests that the notion of a Cosmic Mystery is not at odds with recent scientific discoveries (quite the contrary, in fact). This recognition opens the door to a constructive dialogue between science and religion, which is capable of transcending the simplistic arguments of religious fundamentalists and proponents of radical secularism.

Alex Zecevic is a Professor of Electrical Engineering at Santa Clara University, and the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies. His technical research interests include graph theoretic decomposition algorithms, electric power systems, Boolean networks and the control of complex dynamic systems. He has published more than 40 papers in the leading journals in these fields, and some of his most important results are summarized in his book: Control of Complex Systems: Structural Constraints and Uncertainty (2010).  Over the past 15 years, Dr. Zecevic has also done a considerable amount of work in the area of science and religion. He has recently published two books on this subject: Truth, Beauty and the Limits of Knowledge: A Path from Science to Religion (which is aimed at a broad audience), and The Unknowable and the Counterntuitive: The Surprising Insights of Modern Science (which provides an advanced treatment of technical topics such as chaos theory, metamathematics, quantum mechanics and relativity).  In 2005, Dr. Zecevic developed a unique new course entitled: Chaos Theory, Metamathematics and the Limits of Knowledge: A Scientific Perspective on Religion. What makes this course unusual is the fact that it counts both as a technical elective for engineering students, and satisfies the third religious studies requirement in Santa Clara University’s Core Curriculum. This may well be the only religious studies course in the world that has differential equations as a prerequisite, and requires extensive programming and simulation.

More Information
Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education
(408) 554-6917
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