Visit us!

We welcome requests from scholars interested in short visits to the Beyond Spacetime research group, located at the philosophy departments at the University of Geneva, and the University of Illinois at Chicago. (At the present time we are unable to provide any financial assistance, but continue to welcome visitors to participate in the activities of the project.)

A list of Chicago hotels and hostels is found here.

A list of Geneva hotels near the department can be found here.

Past Visitors:

Joshua Norton (American University of Beirut), at UIC, February 2018.

I had the privilege to visit with the Beyond Spacetime group on two occasions, once in Geneva (2016) and once in Chicago (2018). During both of these visits, I was able to discuss issues at the forefront of quantum gravity with some of the leaders in the field. On both occasions, I was able to give presentations to both groups since they film and live stream all their colloquia. During both meetings, visitors and students from other programs were present which helped stimulate productive, thoughtful, and critical conversations. The talk I gave in 2016 was eventually published in Synthese and the talk I gave in 2018 is currently under review. I mention these facts as evidence of the importance of my time in Geneva and Chicago. 

Lucy James (Bristol), at Geneva, February 27 – March 9 2018.

My time visiting the Geneva Symmetry Group was rich, rewarding and productive. I had the opportunity to present my work on fundamentality at a seminar where I received some very helpful and instructive feedback. I also learnt a lot from the workshop on Spacetime Functionalism, where there were some inspiring speakers and a great atmosphere. I was impressed by the hospitality of everyone in the group throughout my stay and profited from many fruitful discussions, in particular with Niels, Karen and Baptiste. Thanks for everyone and especially to Chris for making the visit possible.

Rawad El Skaf (Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, IHPST), at Geneva, March 13-27 2018.

Unlike most members and visitors, my research interest in the history and philosophy of scientific thought experiments is not directly related to the research conducted within the Spacetime After Quantum Gravity project at the University of Geneva. My visit was thus unexpected, but very fruitful. Indeed, all members of the project had quite an interest in the epistemology of thought experiments. Most importantly, the Quantum Gravity literature contained several case studies, one of which (i.e. Eppley and Hannah) looks quite interesting and having their expert input on the function of such a theoretically loaded thought experiment helped clarifying it. I also had the chance to be familiarized with some key philosophical issues surrounding Quantum Gravity. Finally, my stay in Geneva allowed me to finalize and submit two articles, which I also presented for the Beyond Spacetime group as well as for the Geneva philosophy of biology research group (lgBIG).

Valeriya Chasova (Université catholique de Louvain), at Geneva, March 1-8 2018.

During a week-long visit to Geneva I attended a conference, a lecture and two seminars in addition to presenting myself. I appreciated this rich programme, a welcoming attitude of Geneva Symmetry Group members and their feedback on my work concerning Einstein’s elevator empirical symmetry.

Niels Linnemann (Geneva), at UIC, March 12-21 2018.

Visiting our partner group in UIC was an outstanding opportunity to take a look at the philosophy of quantum gravity from another angle: unlike the Geneva Symmetry Group, Nick Huggett’s group has a strong focus on the philosophy of string theory. I am very grateful to Prof. Huggett for general clarifications on string theory, instructive discussions on ongoing work at UIC as well as extensive feedback on my own work. I also benefitted a lot from the presence of two BeyondSpacetime predoctoral fellows (Menon, Read) with whom I could finish a collaboration now accepted for publication (see http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/14576/). This said, I would like to use this opportunity to say thank you again to Prof. Huggett and his staff for their hospitality, and the John Templeton Foundation for financial support for this trip.

Rasmus Jaksland (Norwegian University for Science and Technology), at Geneva, April 9 – May 4 2018.

As someone working with the philosophy of quantum gravity, I benefited greatly from my visit to the Geneva Symmetry Group: Within this field the collective expertise of the members of Geneva Symmetry Group is, in my view, second to none. The scope of insightful discussion ranged from metaphysical to very technical aspects quantum gravity which helped me advance all elements of my research on the topic. I am very grateful for the invitation and warm hospitality of the group.

Vera Matarese (Czech Academy), at Geneva, April 23-May 4 2018.

My visit to the Geneva symmetry group was a very enriching experience. First of all, I was able to make substantial progress on my project on Loop Quantum Gravity and to get inspiring feedback. Moreover, I greatly enjoyed stimulating discussions on different areas of philosophy of physics with all the members of the group (Chris, Niels, Rasmus, Baptiste, Karen, Augustin). Special thanks go to Niels for his warm hospitality, and of course to Chris for giving me this wonderful opportunity.

Sonali Mohapatra (Sussex), at Geneva, May 1-14 2018.

I had the privilege of being hosted at the Geneva Symmetry Group and deliver a seminar to them. The group was dynamic, working on the forefront of quantum gravity philosophy and the mixture of physics and philosophers was a refreshing atmosphere and a very vibrant and stimulating one. I made very helpful connections and some of the questions that were asked has opened up possible new research investigations for me. I am grateful for the Junior Visiting Fellowship for this opportunity and would recommend a visit highly.

Kian Salimkhani (Bonn), at Geneva, May 1-18 2018.

I am very grateful to Chris Wüthrich for this opportunity to visit the Geneva Symmetry Group. I benefited greatly from presenting and discussing work in progress and really enjoyed the welcoming hospitality of all group members. It was a very productive and highly motivating visit for me, especially due to the many stimulating discussions with Rasmus Jaksland, Niels Linnemann, Niels Martens, and Sonali Mohapatra. Special thanks to Niels Linnemann for his outstanding hospitality and the very fruitful collaboration.

Niels Martens (RWTH Aachen), at Geneva, May 2-9 2018.

Visiting the Geneva Symmetry Group allowed me to present my work and discuss it in detail with the group. The time period was chosen exactly right, as it overlapped with the visits of many others, such as Vera Materese, Rasmus Jaksland, Kian Salimkhani and Sonali Mohapatra. My time in Geneva was extremely motivating, due to many discussion on physics and philosophy of physics till deep into the night. The Geneva Symmetry Group is very friendly and welcoming, and I would recommend anyone to pay them a visit.

Arno Keppens (Space Pole, Belgium) at Geneva, December 19-22 2017.

Visiting the Space and Time After Quantum Gravity research group at the University of Geneva allowed me to present and extensively discuss my ongoing work on the complex systems foundations of emergent quantum gravity with, amongst others, Christian Wüthrich, Niels Linnemann, Karen Crowther, and Baptiste Le Bihan. Our sharing of views and ideas has contributed significantly to the writing of an article that is foreseen to appear in an Entropy Special Issue (http://www.mdpi.com/journal/entropy/special_issues/EmQM17). Yet next to regular work, I have been given a very warm welcome and I have been able to participate in many group activities, which made me feel as being part of the team. I am therefore very grateful for having been given this opportunity and look forward to future collaborations.

Alexei Grinbaum (CEA-Saclay) at Geneva, September 24-29 2017.

Visiting the Geneva Symmetry Group was a nice experience. I’ve particularly appreciated long and detailed discussions with Niels Linnemann.

Sam Fletcher (Minnesota) at Geneva, May 22-29 2017.

Michael Miller (Pittsburgh) at UIC, May 1-5 2017.

Tiziana Vistarini (Colorado) at UIC, March 17-24 2017.

Visiting the “Space and Time After Quantum Gravity” research group at the University of Illinois at Chicago was extremely beneficial to my work and it was a truly enjoyable experience. I presented some of my metaphysical and formal work on background independence in string theory and the discussion generated by my talk was very stimulating and enlightening.

Philipp Berghofer (Graz) at Geneva, February 27-March 4 2017.

Visiting the Geneva group contributed significantly to my paper “Ontic structural realism and quantum field theory: Are there intrinsic properties at the most fundamental level of reality?” Besides receiving many helpful comments and remarks concerning my work, I have also learned much about philosophy of quantum gravity in general, had many interesting and fruitful discussions about very specific issues such as field interpretations of QFT, and most certainly had an enjoyable time. I look forward to further productive collaborations.

David Yates (Lisbon) at Geneva, November 14-25 2016.

As a metaphysician with expertise in areas of the metaphysics of science such as emergence, laws of nature, and powers ontologies, but working on extending my research into the emergence of spacetime in quantum gravity, it was extremely helpful to visit Geneva. A paper of mine on spacetime functionalism will benefit greatly from some excellent feedback both from the Geneva Beyond Spacetime group, and (via Skype) the Chicago group. In addition to presenting my work, I also attended a number of very useful seminars on philosophy of physics at Geneva, and a conference on philosophy of physics at Lausanne. All in all, my visit was a very busy and productive time, which has helped to set my research agenda for the coming year. I look forward to future collaborations with the project team.

Tushar Menon (Oxford University) at UIC, November 9-16 2016.

My visit to UIC in November 2016 played a significant role in the development of large parts of my DPhil thesis. In particular, discussions of non-commutative field theories with Nick Huggett and Keizo Matsubara made a huge difference to my approach to the conceptual foundations of spacetime theories and quantum gravity in general.

Marko Vojinovic (Belgrade) at Geneva, October 17-24 2016.

My visit to Geneva was certainly both beneficial and enjoyable! Up to now, my collaboration with philosophers of science has been quite limited, so visiting the Geneva group was both stimulating and enlightening for me.

I thank everyone in Geneva for the hospitality! Hopefully we will collaborate even more in the future.

Tatyana Shestakova (Southern Federal University, Rostovon-Don) at Geneva, October 3-14 2016.

I enjoyed this visit, and I am grateful to all members of the Geneva group. Now I am preparing a paper on the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum theory and its possible role in constructing quantum gravity, it is based on my talk in Geneva, and in the final version of my paper I am going to take into account the results of our discussion with the members of the Chicago group. Many thanks to everybody again! I hope our collaboration will be continued.

Karen Crowther (Geneva) at UIC, April 18-29 2016.

Giuliano Torrengo (Milan) at Geneva, April 12-21 2016.

James Read (Oxford) at UIC, April 5-13 2016.

My visit to Chicago in April 2016 was certainly beneficial – discussing with Keizo Matsubara and Nick Huggett gave me the opportunity to expand and improve upon my B.Phil. thesis. The thesis went on to get high marks and win awards; I’m confident this wouldn’t have been the case without the trip. I’m currently working on a few papers (relating to spacetime in string theory, and the foundations of general relativity), which also came out – at least in part – from work undertaken on that visit.

Jonathan Dorsey (Texas Tech) at Geneva, March 20-25 2016.

My visit helped me with several papers. Directly, two papers, one concerning the problem of defining the physical and the second concerning my own definitional approach. This material (especially the material from the former paper) is what I presented while there. My visit helped indirectly with two other papers, one concerning the possibility of point particles and the second concerning the nature of space. I discussed this material informally with the excellent pre-doctoral students there. The visit was generally, from start to finish, very stimulating and very productive.

Alastair Wilson (Birmingham) at UIC, February 22-March 1st 2016.

My work most certainly was aided by the visit to UIC. The paper that I presented there (forthcoming in a project volume) obviously has been significantly improved and shaped by the comments and feedback, but another substantial paper of mine (“Metaphysical Causation”) benefited significantly, especially from discussions with Mahrad Almotahari, about how to cash out my ‘meta-dependence’ proposal. This paper is just about to appear online in Nous.

As well as the feedback on my own work, it was great to talk with Keizo Matsubara, Nick Huggett and Richard Dawid at some length. Dawid’s work is of great interest to me but I’d never met him previously, so I’m grateful for that opportunity. Likewise, it was very good to get to talk to Nick properly for the first time.

Moreover, Chicago is a great environment to get some thinking and work done, and I had an overall generally productive visit. 

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