Interview with Niels Linnemann

Uncategorized
Niels is our project's newest member. He is a Philosopher of Physics. He studied Physics, Maths and Philosophy at Münster (BSc Physics, BSc Mathematics), Lund, Oxford (MSt in Philosophy of Physics) and Cambridge (MASt in Advanced Mathematics, also known as Part III). We talked to Niels to learn more about his work and his interest in the New Directions project. Tell us a bit about your background I finished my PhD on the philosophy of quantum gravity in Geneva under the supervision of Christian Wüthrich last December. For my dissertation, I investigated how we motivate, construct, pursue and pre-empirically evaluate theories of quantum gravity. I also dealt with the conceptual gap problem between general relativity and quantum gravity. Since January 2020, I have been employed as an `assistant’ at the…
Read More
Interview with Adam Koberinski

Interview with Adam Koberinski

Uncategorized
Adam Koberinski is a Postdoctoral researcher in the Philosophy department at Western University. His research focuses on the intersection of particle physics and cosmology. We talked to Adam to learn more about his research and what sparked his interest in cosmology. Tell us a bit about your research and what first sparked your interest in cosmology From my teenage years I have always been interested in the big questions posed by fundamental physics: what are the fundamental building blocks of the universe? What is the nature of space and time? How did the universe begin? and so on. I mostly fueled this interest by reading popular science books written by physicists, and had little understanding of the actual physics behind such popular accounts. I had some vague dreams of getting…
Read More
Reflections on background independence: or thoughts on choosing a research program

Reflections on background independence: or thoughts on choosing a research program

Uncategorized
by: Dimitrios Athanasiou One of the main problems periodically facing the scientific community is how to decide on the direction of future research: evaluate what programs are worth pursuing, what kind of principles should underlie their foundations and what kind of phenomena they need to account for. Ever since its formulation it has become clear that the standard model of particle physics cannot be the final word in high energy physics. The reason of course is that it does not include one of the four fundamental interactions, gravity. Although gravitational effects might not be detectable with the level of technology we currently possess, we expect that any description of nature at its most fundamental level will be complete and will still incorporate them. In fact, this goal seems less quixotic…
Read More
Does inflation need justification?

Does inflation need justification?

Uncategorized
by: Helen Meskhidze and Jingyi Wu   ΛCDM, the “standard model” of cosmology, is thought to face two issues: the horizon problem and the flatness problem. Cosmologists supplement ΛCDM with a period of rapid expansion in the early universe, also known as inflation, as a possible explanation for these two issues. In his blog post, Adam Koberinski argues that we need not posit inflation to account for the above two issues; relatedly, in the cosmology community, there has been a debate on whether cosmology needs inflation (originally between Ijjan, Steinhardt & Loeb (2013) and Guth, Kaiser & Nakamura (2013) but since expanded to include many more). Richard Dawid takes the debate to reflect a bigger question about what it means for a theory to be confirmed, especially when the theory is underdetermined…
Read More