Conference on the Foundations of Cosmology and Quantum Gravity

Conference on the Foundations of Cosmology and Quantum Gravity 

At New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) on January 19-21, 2020. 

The problem of reconciling general relativity with quantum theory remains a persistent problem in theoretical physics. Competing approaches make salient deep conceptual disagreements that engage physicists, mathematicians, and philosophers alike. These disputes are particularly pressing in the cosmological context, both because the interaction between gravitational and quantum effects are likely to be pronounced in the early universe and because cosmology offers an arena in which one might conceivably adjudicate between competing approaches. Moreover, the ‘ingredient theories’ of modern and quantum cosmology: general relativity, statistical mechanics and quantum mechanics — possess their own unique conceptual difficulties and puzzles. In general relativity, for example, there are significant questions about how to understand the nature of spacetime singularities, and in quantum theory there are persistent questions about how to understand measurements, observers, and the phenomenon of decoherence when the framework is extended to the universe as a whole. How do these issues interact and inform each other in the development of quantum gravity, and what new conceptual puzzles does quantum gravity engender?

This conference explores the relationship between modern cosmology and theorizing about quantum gravity—in short, the foundations of quantum cosmology—with the aim of assessing recent proposals and exploring new directions for research.

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Ivan Agullo (Physics, Louisiana State University)

Siska de Baerdemaeker (Philosophy, University of Pittsburgh)

Baptiste Le Bihan (Philosophy, University of Geneva)

Béatrice Bonga (Physics, Radboud University)

Robert Brandenberger (Physics, McGill University)

Karen Crowther (Philosophy, University of Oslo)

Richard Dawid (Philosophy, Stockholm University)

Juliusz Doboszewski (Philosophy, University of Bonn)

Tushar Menon (Philosophy, Oxford University)

Elias Okon (Physics, National Autonomous University of Mexico)

Daniele Oriti (Physics, Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics)

James Read (Philosophy, Oxford University)

Mairi Sakellariadou (Physics, Kings College London)

Mike Schneider (Philosophy, University of California, Irvine)

Chris Smeenk (Philosophy, Western University)

Alexei Starobinsky (Physics, Landau Institute for Theoretical Physics)

Danial Sudarsky (Physics, National Autonomous University of Mexico)


Kevin Coffey (New York University Abu Dhabi)

Nick Huggett (University of Illinois at Chicago)

Joshua Norton (University of California, Irvine) 

Chris Smeenk (Western University)

Francesca Vidotto (Western University)

Jim Weatherall (University of California, Irvine)

Christian Wüthrich (University of Geneva) 

The conference is being jointly sponsored by the NYUAD Institute and two generous grants from the Templeton Foundation—one supporting the ‘Beyond Spacetime’ project based at Illinois-Chicago and Geneva, and the other supporting the `New Directions in Philosophy of Cosmology’ based at UC-Irvine and Western University.

Please direct correspondence to: and

Support for this conference is provided by the John Templeton Foundation and the NYUAD Institute.