Research in the philosophy of physics at UC Irvine is primarily directed towards conceptual and foundational questions that arise within physics itself, or which are motivated by the structure and content of our best physical theories.

Jeffrey Barrett  Much of Professor Barrett's work has focused on attempts to resolve the quantum measurement problem in non-relativistic quantum mechanics and in quantum field theory.  His most recent work in this area has concerned Hugh Everett's interpretation of quantum mechanics.  He also has research interests in the proper metaphysics and epistemology of physics.

JB Manchak  Professor Manchak works on the foundations of general relativity, with a focus on issues concerning the global topological and causal structure of spacetime.  Some of his recent work has concerned time travel and spacetime singularities. 

James Weatherall  Professor Weatherall works on philosophy of cosmology and on the mathematical and conceptual foundations of classical field theories, including general relativity, Newton-Cartan theory, and (classical) Yang-Mills theory, and on quantum field theory.  Some topics of special recent interest have included the role of geometry and symmetry in classical field theories and the status of various central principles of these theories, such as the "geodesic principle" of general relativity. 

The philosophy of physics faculty maintain close research ties with the Departments of Physics and Astronomy and of Mathematics at UC Irvine.  In addition, they work closely with Charlotte Werndl (Salzburg) and her research group through the Salzburg Exchange Program; in addition, the Irvine-London-Munich-PoliMi-Salzburg network in philosophy and foundations of physics aims at fostering the collaboration between faculty, researchers and students based in the Department of Logic and Philosophy of Science at the University of California, Irvine, the London School of Economics, Kings College, London, the Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, the Department of Mathematics and the META group at the Politecnico di Milano, and the Department of Philosophy at the University of Salzburg.  The activities of the network include the circulation of scholars among the four schools, as well as the organization of regular workshops on dedicated topics and an annual international conference for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows.  In addition Professor Weatherall has an ongoing collaboration with Professor Chris Smeenk of the University of Western Ontario on the Philosophy of Cosmology, including regular joint group meetings. The Southern California Philosophy of Physics Group -- consisting of faculty, post-docs, and graduate students from colleges and universities throughout Southern California, including UCSD, UCLA, USC, Occidental, CSU LA, and Chapman -- meets two to three times per quarter at UC Irvine.

Upcoming and Recent Workshops

Conceptual and Mathematical Foundations of Science

Symmetry and Structure Workshop

Math-First Structural Realism Workshop

Dark Energy Workshop

Summer Institute: Philosophy of Cosmology

The Philosophy of Howard Stein and its Contemporary Interest

Cosmology and the Future of Spacetime

Methodology and Epistemology in Cosmology

Philosophy of Cosmology Kick-Off Workshop

Field Theories

Fourth Irvine-Pittsburgh-Princeton Conference on the Mathematical and Conceptual Foundations of Physics

Equivalent Theories in Physics and Metaphysics

Third Irvine-Pittsburgh-Princeton Conference on the Mathematical and Conceptual Foundations of Physics

Foundations of Gauge Theories

Second Irvine-Pittsburgh-Princeton Conference on the Mathematical and Conceptual Foundations of Physics

First Irvine-Pittsburgh-Princeton Conference on the Mathematical and Conceptual Foundations of Physics

Relativistic Causality in Quantum Field Theory and General Relativity

Philosophy of Physics Workshop

Ongoing Activities of the Physics Group


Southern California Philosophy of Physics Group

Philosophy of Physics Reading Group

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