Previous Events

• The Foundations of Physics @Harvard series is co-sponsored by the Department of Philosophy
• Seminar talks are generally 1 hour each, followed by 1 hour for questions
• You can visit the YouTube channel here

Questions or comments: Jacob Barandes, <lastname>(at)g.harvard.edu (organizer)

Interpreting Toy Theories, With an Application to Symmetries” (August 9, 2022)
David Baker (University of Michigan)


“The Disappearance and Reappearance of Potential Energy in Classical and Quantum Electrodynamics” (July 26, 2022)
Chip Sebens (California Institute of Technology)


Mini-Workshop on the Quantum Measurement Problem (June 29, 2021)
– Lev Vaidman (Tel Aviv University): “The Measurement Problem and its Solution in the Framework of the Many-Worlds Interpretation”
Vanessa Seifert (University of Bristol): “The Measurement Problem as a Solution to Chemical Problems”
David Chalmers (New York University), Kelvin McQueen (Chapman University): “Consciousness and the Collapse of the Wave Function”


Mini-Workshop on QBism and the Interpretation of Quantum Theory (May 25, 2021)
– Christopher Fuchs (University of Massachusetts Boston): “QBism and the Philosophers

– Jacques Pienaar (University of Massachusetts Boston): “Challenges to Defining a QBist Ontology”
– Chris Timpson (Oxford): “QBism, Ontology, and Explanation”


Mini-Workshop on Infinities and Idealizations (April 27, 2021)
– Patricia Palacios (Salzburg): “The Paradox of Infinite Limits: A Realist Response”
– Elay Shech (Auburn): “Scientific Understanding, Modal Reasoning, and (Infinite) Idealization”
– Samuel Fletcher (Minnesota): “Emergence, Explanation, and (Infinite) Idealization”


Mini-Workshop on Naturalness and Renormalization (March 30, 2021)
Arianna Borrelli (Leuphana University Lüneburg): “An Argument for All Seasons: Naturalness and the Hierarchy Problem as Flexible Heuristic Tools in High Energy Physics”
Alexander Franklin (King’s College London): “Emergence, Autonomy, and Naturalness”
Joshua Rosaler (RWTH Aachen University): “Dogmas of Effective Field Theory: Fundamental Parameters, Scheme Dependence, and the Many Faces of the Higgs Naturalness Principle”


Mini-Workshop on Structural Realism (February 16, 2021)
James Ladyman (Bristol): “What is Ontic Structural Realism?”
Kerry McKenzie (UCSD): “Structuralism as a Stance”
Emily Adlam (Western Ontario): “Generalized Probabilistic Theories as Structural Realism”


Mini-Workshop on Black Holes (January 19, 2021)
Erik Curiel (LMU Munich): “Singularities in Classical and Semi-Classical Gravity—Theory Failure or New Physics?”
Mina Himwich (Harvard): “Illuminating Black Holes”
Lydia Patton (Virginia Tech): “Theories and Parameters: Building a Testing Framework for Black Hole Astronomy”


Mini-Workshop on Probability and Undecidability (December 15, 2020)
Snow Xueyin Zhang (Princeton): “The Borel-Kolmogorov Paradox as a Paradox for Physical Chance”
Klaas Landsman (Radboud University Nijmegen): “Determinism and Undecidability: You Can’t Eat Your Cake and Have it Too”
Markus Müller (Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information): “The Room in the Elephant: From Undecidability as Undifferentiation to Physics Without a World”


Mini-Workshop on the History of Quantum Foundations (November 17, 2020)
Adam Becker: “ ‘Not Merely False, but Foolish’: The History of Bell’s Two Theorems”
Elise Crull (CCNY): “Grete Hermann’s Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics”
Chris Mitsch (UC Irvine): “Von Neumann’s Axiomatic Completion of Quantum Mechanics”


Mini-Workshop on Causation (October 22, 2020)
Holly Andersen (Simon Fraser): “Causation is to Information as Work is to Energy”
Matthew Leifer (Chapman): “Block Universe Ontological Models: A Framework for Theories with Retrocausality”
Eric Cavalcanti (Griffith): “Implications of Wigner’s Friend Paradox for Quantum Causality”


Mini-Workshop on the Foundations of Spacetime (September 22, 2020)
Alyssa Ney (UC Davis): “From Quantum Entanglement to Spatiotemporal Distance”
Eleanor Knox (King’s College London): “How to be a Spacetime Functionalist”
Karen Crowther (Oslo): “Principles of Quantum Gravity”


Mini-Workshop on the Many Worlds of Everettian Quantum Theory (August 18, 2020)
Sean Carroll (Caltech): “Mad-Dog Everettianism”
David Albert (Columbia): “Worries About Accounts of Probability in Everettian Understandings of Quantum Mechanics”


Mini-Workshop on the Foundations of Thermodynamics (July 15, 2020)
Orly Shenker (Hebrew University of Jerusalem): “Is Everything Physical? The Entropy of Computation and the Computational Theory of Mind”
Katie Robertson (Birmingham): “In Search of the Holy Grail: How to Reduce the Second Law of Thermodynamics”
Eddy Keming Chen (UC San Diego): “Nomic Vagueness, the Past Hypothesis, and Time’s Arrow in a Quantum Universe”


Mini-Workshop on the Meaning of the Wave Function (June 15, 2020)
Valia Allori (Northern Illinois): “The Wavefunction is as the Wavefunction Does”
David Wallace (Pittsburgh): “A Critique of Wave-Function Realism”
Nina Emery (Mount Holyoke and UMass Amherst): “The Governing Conception of the Wavefunction”


Mini-Workshop on the Foundations of Quantum Field Theory (May 15, 2020)
Chip Sebens (Caltech): “Electron Spin and Field Quantization”
Jacob Barandes (Harvard): “How Quantum or Field-Theoretic is Quantum Field Theory?”
Noel Swanson (Delaware): “CPT, Spin-Statistics, and Non-Causal Explanation”