All posts by nickhggtt

Beyond Spacetime collection published!

We are very happy to announce that the first of a pair of volumes of papers from our project has been published! Many of the papers are from talks we haver organized or our annual essay contest. The full table of contents is here. You can access it online today, and the print version will follow soon (it already exists, but has not reached the stores yet). Many, many thanks to our contributors!



Talk: Wednesday May 6th – Andrew Geraci

• Wednesday 6 May 2020 at UIC at 09:30 (14:30 UTC) – Andrew Geraci (Northwestern): Searching for “Fifth-forces”, Dark Matter, and Quantum Gravity in the Lab

We normally think of large accelerators and massive detectors when we consider the frontiers of elementary particle physics, pushing to understand the universe at higher and higher energy scales. However, several tabletop low-energy experiments are positioned to discover a wide range of new physics beyond the Standard model of particle physics, where feeble interactions require precision measurements rather than high energies.  In high vacuum, optically-levitated dielectric nanospheres achieve excellent decoupling from their environment, making force sensing at the zeptonewton level (10-21 N) achievable.  In this talk I will describe our progress towards using these sensors for tests of the Newtonian gravitational inverse square law at micron length scales.  Optically levitated dielectric objects and show promise for a variety of other applications, including searches for gravitational waves and Dark Matter.  Cooling these objects into the quantum regime of their motion paves the way for tests of quantum coherence in macroscopic objects and tests of whether gravity can destroy such coherence. Looking forward, these systems may enable us to examine the role that gravity plays in quantum mechanical entanglement.

In terms of technical difficulty, this talk rates 2/52. (Except for a more technical part at the end!)

Zoom Meeting ID: 980 9933 8823
Password: 4J?9eEs3

Or livestream on our YouTube channel:

Curiel talk this Thursday!

• Thursday 30 April 2020 at Geneva at 16:15 (14:15 UTC) – Erik Curiel (LMU Munich): On the mathematical, physical, and conceptual cogency of quantum field theory on curved spacetime

Quantum field theory on curved spacetime (QFT-CST) is the framework within which our current theories about quantum effects around black holes are formulated.  The results of their study, including most famously the Hawking effect and its infamous spawn the information-loss paradox, have revealed several surprises that threaten to overturn the views of space, time, and matter that general relativity and quantum field theory each on their own suggests.  In partiular, they appear to point to a deep and hitherto unsuspected connection among our three most fundamental theories, general relativity, quantum field theory and thermodynamics.  As such, work in QFT-CST provides some of the most important, central, and fruitful fields of study in theoretical physics, bringing together workers from a variety of fields such as cosmology, general relativity, quantum field theory, particle physics, fluid dynamics, condensed matter, and quantum gravity, providing bridges that now closely connect disciplines once seen as largely independent.  The framework, however, has serious mathematical, physical and conceptual problems.  In this talk, I will provide a sketch of the framework and a survey of some of the most important problems it faces.

In terms of technical difficulty, this talk rates 4/5 4.

The meeting is open to all and will be held over ZOOM (, with the meeting ID 286-342-072. This will be the meeting ID for all our Thursday seminars this semester. In order to directly join, please use
We will record this meeting, and plan to livestream it on our Youtube channel ‘Beyond Spacetime:
Anyone is welcome to participate!

Metaphysics and Methodology in Gravity and Cosmology Workshop – UPDATE!!!


On Wednesday February 26th 11AM-3PM we will host a small workshop at UIC. (Lunch will be provided from 1pm)

• Niels Linnemann (Bremen) – In Favour of a Philosophy of Generation: a Plea from Quantum Gravity

• Neil Dewar (Munich) – An Intrinsic Theory of Quantity

• Eddy Keming Chen (UCSD) – Nomic Vagueness

Please go here for more information and to register: (We request registration to help estimate catering numbers.)

Metaphysics and Methodology in Gravity and Cosmology Workshop

On Wednesday February 26th 2:30-6:30 we will host a small workshop at UIC. (Lunch will be provided from 1pm)

• Niels Linnemann (Bremen) – In Favour of a Philosophy of Generation: a Plea from Quantum Gravity

• Neil Dewar (Munich) – An Intrinsic Theory of Quantity

• Eddy Keming Chen (UCSD) – Nomic Vagueness

Please go here for more information and to register: (We request registration to help estimate catering numbers.)

PhD Fellowship at UIC

Our new Templeton grant will make possible a modest additional fellowship for PhD students admitted to UIC as Teaching Assistants to pursue philosophy of physics.

“A two-year top-up fellowship of $2,500/year is available for a suitable student admitted with a TAship. The student would have demonstrated interest and ability in philosophy of physics, and working with the Beyond Spacetime group under the direction of Professor Nick Huggett. No special application is required, but the application should address qualification to pursue philosophy  of physics, and suitable candidates will be interviewed by Professor Huggett before a decision is reached”

Please pass this on to any undergraduates considering where to apply for graduate school for philosophy of physics.

Information on applying to UIC is found here:

Visitor program at UIC

The funded visitor program is closed for now – we will re-advertise here when it starts again.

We invite interested scholars for short visits to the Cosmology Beyond Spacetime research group located in the philosophy department at the University of Illinois at Chicago in Spring 2020. To facilitate visits we can offer financial assistance for travel and lodging, office facilities, and of course excellent intellectual company. Visits can be from a few days to a few weeks (or possibly longer).

We hope to have range of visitors: faculty and graduate students; general philosophers, philosophers of physics, and physicists; those sharing their expertise, and those learning about the philosophy of quantum gravity and the work of our group and speakers. Visitors will help us inform the philosophical and physics communities about philosophical issues in quantum gravity; and they will help us learn more about these philosophical dimensions though our interactions. While visitors will be credentialed philosophers or physicists, in some cases a credible interest in professional engagement with the group will be more important than prior work in quantum gravity.

In the first instance, potential visitors are requested to send a brief (one page) letter of interest, explaining their current academic status, research focus, and interest in our project. Please also explain any special activities you would like to undertake with the group, date(s) you would like to visit, and estimated cost of a flight. We will request further information as needed, and discuss times and budgets (up to $500, with the possibility of more for longer visits, depending on demand) with successful applicants.

We especially encourage applications from women and underrepresented minorities.

Review of requests will be ongoing.

Send letters of interest to And please share the invitation.

Nick Huggett, UIC