Were the first thought experiments in Shakespeare's plays?

Prof. Fathali M. Moghaddam

Scientists have long used thought experiments to further their understanding of the world. But was Shakespeare the first person to do it?

Learn about this Garden Talk

Thought experiments help us to understand the world around us and make key breakthroughs. Their power was not lost on William Shakespeare.

Scientists such as Albert Einstein have used thought experiments to understand unobservable phenomena or explore hypothetical ideas such as the theory of special relativity. And to this day thought experiments continue to be core to progress in scientific research. But they’re also evident in the arts and literature, too – especially in the work of Britain’s foremost playwright.

In his Garden Talk, Dr Fathali Moghaddam shows how thought experiments were central to Shakespeare's plays and demonstrates that by employing techniques that are core to progress in scientific research and ideas, Shakespeare helped to bridge the gap between the sciences and the arts.


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Talk outline


50 minutes

What to expect

30 minute talk

20 minute Member Q&A

Prof. Fathali M. Moghaddam

Prof. Fathali M. Moghaddam is both a professor of Psychology at Georgetown University, and the editor-in-chief of Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology.

Shakespeare's Relevance Collection

Shakespeare isn't just a dead white guy. His plays and ideas are still relevant today. In this collection, your Fellows will bring Shakespeare to life and make you consider his relevance as a guide to the world we live in today.