Category Archives: Uncategorized

Talk: Anna Ijjas

Please join us in person at UIC, remotely at UNIGE, or online via zoom or YouTube on Wednesday, 6 April (11:15 Chicago time) for a talk by Anna Ijjas (NYU).

Entropy, Black Holes, and the Early Universe. “Emerging from a big bang in which gravity is strongly coupled and quantum fluctuations of stress-energy and spacetime are both large, the natural expectation is that the total entropy should be nearly maximal and equally distributed among both stress-energy and gravitational degrees of freedom. However, the observed entropy distribution on the last scattering surface is puzzlingly different, as Penrose has emphasized. In this talk, I will introduce the cosmological entropy problem and discuss our recent proposal to evade it.”

More information on our Speakers page.


Grants for scientists from Ukraine

We would like to draw your attention to the following:

Dear Colleagues, 

As researchers at the Institute of Quantum Optics and Quantum Information in Vienna (IQOQI-Vienna), Austria, we would like to draw your attention to the opening of two types of grants for scientists from Ukraine:

JESH-Ukraine Emergency Call of the Austrian Academy of Sciences,

Special fellowship program in the fields of mathematics and physics by the Erwin Schrödinger Institute. (the ESI is across the street from IQOQI)

Please follow the instructions in the links to apply for the fellowships.  IQOQI-Vienna is pleased to serve as a host institution for the applicants and is particularly suitable for young researchers in physics working or wishing to work in various aspects of quantum theory, in particular quantum information, quantum optics, and quantum foundations, as well as topics in general relativity, quantum gravity, and quantum field theory. Our capacity is limited, but we hope to contribute to continuation of the scientific development of the scientists from Ukraine and to mitigate the interruption of their academic activity due to the war. 

IQOQI-Vienna team

Beyond Spacetime Summer School

We invite applications to the International Summer Institute in Philosophy of Physics on the PHILOSOPHY OF COSMOLOGY and the PHILOSOPHY OF QUANTUM GRAVITY, hosted by the University of Geneva-University of Illinois at Chicago Cosmology Beyond Spacetime project, in Morzine, France, 26 June – 1 July 2022.

More information under the conferences tab – deadline March 15th.

Hope to see you there!

Feraz Azhar speaks 12/1/21

We are excited to announce that we will have hybrid (in-person and online) talks in December, starting Wednesday, 1st December 2021 at UIC, with Feraz Azhar (Notre Dame) speaking at UIC on Effective field theories as a novel probe of fine-tuning of cosmic inflation.

Abstract: The leading account of several salient observable features of our universe today is provided by the theory of cosmic inflation. But an important and thus far intractable question is whether inflation is generic, or whether it is finely tuned—requiring very precisely specified initial conditions. In this talk I will present work that argues that a recent, model-independent characterization of inflation—-that treats inflation as an effective field theory (EFT)—-promises to address this question in a thoroughly modern and significantly more comprehensive way than in the existing literature. Along the way, I will highlight recent work that addresses the initial conditions problem within the context of a dynamical systems analysis of a specific EFT of inflation, and will describe a roadmap for how such work might be extended to realize the promise claimed above.

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

See the Speakers page for details of timing and location. Hope to see you there!

Predoctoral Fellowship in the Philosophy of Quantum Gravity

The philosophy of physics group at the Department of Philosophy at UIC solicits applications for a junior visiting fellowship for advanced PhD students, starting January 2022 or as soon as possible thereafter, for six months. Candidates must be ABD in a PhD program at an accredited university, working on a dissertation related to the philosophy of quantum gravity or cosmology, broadly construed.

If you are a current PhD student, please consider applying. If you aren’t, please pass this message on!

Full details here:

Visitor program restarts

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 2022. 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