The Quantum, the Thermal and the Gravitational Reconciled: Physics and Philosophy in the Varied Landscape of the Intersections, Munich, Germany

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Date:  2022-06-24  -  2022-06-26

Location:  Munich, Germany

Quantum, thermal, and gravitational theories constitute the three great pillars of modern fundamental physics. Each is, prima facie, conceptually and physically independent of the other two, and finds its application in regimes well separated from those of the others. Indeed, central principles of each are in manifest tension with those of the other, if not outright contradiction: general relativity admits causal and topological structures seemingly inconsistent with quantum mechanical dynamics; the superpositions of quantum mechanics conflict with general relativity’s fixed causal structures; and both are in manifest tension if not outright contradiction with the most characteristic features of thermodynamics, viz., irreversibility and temporal asymmetry.

It is thus of paramount importance that we investigate how our three best, most fundamental theories fit together, if indeed they do at all. In the past and in recent times, physicists and philosophers have worked together in remarkably fruitful ways in each of the three fundamental fields. This conference will explore these philosophical and foundational issues that arise where two or more of these three frameworks intersect. Our aim is to foster such collaboration at the intersections of the three. As such, we will be guided by the irenic spirit (and person) of Jeremy Butterfield, whose work, magisterially spanning these topics, has inspired and continues to inspire, all of us.

Public-health conditions permitting, we plan to hold the conference in-person, with no video connections, although the talks and Q&A will be recorded (pending agreement by the speakers). Please send registration requests by 29 May 2022 using the following form:

*Confirmed Speakers*

– Guido Bacciagaluppi, Utrecht University
– Harvey Brown, University of Oxford
– Fay Dowker, Imperial College London
– Flaminia Giacomini, Perimeter Institute
– Stephan Hartmann, LMU Munich
– Klaas Landsman, Radboud University
– Dennis Lehmkuhl, University of Bonn
– Michela Massimi, University of Edinburgh
– John Norton, University of Pittsburgh
– Kasia Rejzner, University of York
– Jos Uffink, University of Minnesota
– Francesca Vidotto, University of Western Ontario
– Lena Zuchowski, University of Salzburg