Big News – Summer School Video!

We are really happy to announce that (almost) all the video of lectures from the recent Summer Institute are now available online, click above or go here:

(or to our YouTube site). We have included the schedule, so if you like you can follow the same course of lectures that we did. Or you can choose á la carte.

Lectures from: Wüthrich, Ismael, Rovelli, Belot, Ney, Minic, and Matsubara, and (soon) more. Enjoy, and please tell your friends!


Reply to Read

Sebastian De Haro has written a response to James Read’s talk on background independence – and Read has written a reply to it. If you watch the talk, they are recommended reading: the two of them have discussed the matter at length, and are actively pursuing the discussion. Find the paper here:

or linked on YouTube to the video itself.

2017 Essay Prize Competition

We are happy to announce our second Essay Prize Competition! Up to three prizes of $1000 will be awarded for papers on any topic concerning the philosophical foundations of quantum gravity. We are particularly (but not exclusively) interested in work that addresses the foci of the ‘Space and Time After Quantum Gravity’ project: Does quantum gravity eliminate spacetime as fundamental structure? How does quantum gravity explain the appearance of spacetime? What are the broader implications of quantum gravity or of the emergence of spacetime for metaphysical (and other) accounts of the world?

Please see more details here:

Talks this week!

This Friday June 17th 2016 at UIC at 3pm we have a double header from our two Geneva predoctoral fellows – please join us.


Radin Dardashti (Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy, and Geneva): Testing Theories, Theory Space and Scientific Practice

Abstract: “Many scientific theories in fundamental physics are lacking empirical support. While in some cases future experiments may allow empirical testing (supersymmetry), this is less obvious in other cases (theories of quantum gravity, cosmic inflation). One possible way of addressing this problem is to analyse whether empirical evidence provides the only means to confirm our theories. In this talk I will present a generalised perspective on theory confirmation, which relies on the concept of theory space. This allows us to extend the notion of theory confirmation to evidence, which is not necessarily made more or less likely by the theory itself. I will discuss the advantages of this more general perspective on scientific theory assessment, discuss some examples and what their normative implications are for the practicing scientist.” In terms of technical difficulty, this talk rates 2/5 2

Juliusz Doboszewski (Jagiellonian University, and Geneva): Is anti-de Sitter spacetime physically reasonable?

Abstract: “Solutions of classical general relativity are often divided into physically reasonable and physically unreasonable ones. For example, physically reasonable spacetimes are sometimes expected to satisfy some energy condition, be globally hyperbolic, inextendible, hole free, or stable against perturbations. I will discuss (a) how conditions used to draw such a divide apply to anti-de Sitter spacetime, and (b) how violation of some of them should be interpreted in the context of gauge/gravity duality.” In terms of technical difficulty, this talk rates 4/5 4

First Talk by a Prize Winner – Henrique Gomes

One of the winners of our essay prize, Henrique Gomes (Perimeter Institute) will speak on Wednesday May 25th 2016 at UIC. His title is Timeless Quantum Mechanics in Configuration Space

Abstract: “In this talk, I will argue in favor of a  ‘transition amplitude’ approach to quantum gravity. For such a position to be internally consistent, not all types of symmetries are allowed. I will describe which ones are and we will see how refoliations become problematic – I will contend that they should only be recovered dynamically (as an on-shell, or effective, symmetry). Given this ‘transition amplitude’  point of view, I will further elaborate on how the allowed symmetries select a unique ‘in state’  for the amplitude. We can thereby use this ‘in state’ to produce a static wavefunction of the Universe, much like some of the interpretations of the Wheeler-DeWitt. Lastly, I will describe how one can extract our usual notion of time from such a fundamentally timeless view, at least semi-classically, through a structure called ‘semi-classical records’. Time allowing (no pun intended), I will further speculate on some recent progress in a relation between renormalization group flow and a notion of instantaneous duration (this part will be pure speculation).”
Please join us at UIC, or Geneva, or on YouTube.