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::: center home >> events >> conferences >> 2015-16 >> field theories

Field Theories

1-2 April 2016
Center for Philosophy of Science
817 Cathedral of Learning
University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA USA

Advance registration is appreciated, but not required.
To register for this conference, please email pittcntr@pitt.edu


Many of our most successful physical theories are field theories. Yet, often it is far from clear what is the physical significance of the mathematical fields. Fields are represented as quantities defined on dimensionless points. Insofar as these are to be associated with physical quantities—observables—that can possibly be measured in space and time, two important conceptual difficulties arise immediately. First, there are difficulties surrounding the notion of infinitesimal physical points and second, there are questions concerning the connections between the different spaces of points in which various field theories represent their physics. We intend the workshop to include talks on conceptual and foundational topics in relativistic, quantum, and classical field theories, including the historical development of these theories as well as contemporary issues. Our hope is that by integrating contributions from foundational work of this wide variety of topics, we will be able to triangulate a philosophically sophisticated understanding of the “field” concept.


Eleanor Knox (King's College London)
John D. Norton (University of Pittsburgh)
Laura Ruetsche (University of Michigan)
Robert Wald (University of Chicago)
Jim Weatherall (UC Irvine)
Lena Zuchowski (University of Salzburg)

This workshop will be immediately preceded by the Fourth Irvine-Pittsburgh-Princeton Conference on the Mathematical and Conceptual Foundations of Physics (IPP4) on March 31- April 1, also at the Center.

Organizing committee:
Nora Boyd (University of Pittsburgh)
John D. Norton (University of Pittsburgh)
Hans Halvorson (Princeton)
Giovanni Valente (University of Pittsburgh)
James Weatherall (UC Irvine)

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