Talk this week: Vidotto

Please join us (virtually) on Feb 17, at 10:15ET for Francesca Vidotto, speaking on “Quantum Gravity in Practice”. Full details and registration at

Abstract: I present a recent concrete calculation in Spinfoam Cosmology -the application of the covariant LQG techniques to the cosmos- as an example to discuss a number of conceptual issues that are at the core of quantum gravity and cosmology. These include: What are the observables when localization does not rely on background space and time? What are the degrees of freedom? What is the role of quantum fluctuations of spacetime? What’s the interplay between the Planck scale and the cosmological scale? How should we think about time in this picture?

Talk this week: Wüthrich

On Wednesday February 10th, our very own Christian Wüthrich will present  “Laws Beyond Spacetime”, as part of our online seminar series at the Pittsburgh Center for Philosophy of Science. Please join us. Full details and registration at

Abstract: Quantum gravity’s suggestion that spacetime may be emergent and so only exist contingently would force a radical reconception of extant analyses of laws of nature. Humeanism presupposes a spatiotemporal mosaic of particular matters of fact on which laws supervene. I will show how the Humean supervenience basis of non-modal facts can be reconceived, avoiding a reliance on fundamental spacetime. However, it is unclear that naturalistic forms of Humeanism can maintain their commitment to there being no necessary connections among distinct entities. This talk is based on a joint project with Vincent Lam.

Talk this week

The first talk of our seminar series – by Nick Huggett – is on Wednesday February 3rd, at 9.15 CST.

Laws for Nowhere: the standard concept of law is, I suggest, significantly spatiotemporal, posing the question of how there can be laws in non-spatiotemporal theories, and most pointedly how laws could hold in non-spatiotemporal regions of spacetime. I describe a couple of quantum gravity models of the Big Bang (in string theory and group field theory), in a provisional attempt to demonstrate how such questions might arise.

Please come via zoom, or watch on Facebook. Details at

Speaker series

UPDATE: Participants please register here:

We are happy to announce an online seminar series that we are running in conjunction with the Center for Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh, featuring talks by Francesca Vidotto, Lee Smolin, Chris Smeenk, Fay Dowker, on the intersection of quantum gravity and cosmology. The first lecture is on February 3rd. Full details are here:

Please join us via zoom!

Talk on 9 December: Nora Boyd

We are pleased to announce a talk by Nora Boyd (Siena College): Observation and Intervention are Irrelevant to Empirical Science, on 9 December 2020, at 18:15 Geneva time (17:15 UTC), via zoom. Find full details at Hope to see you there!

Or follow our YouTube livestream:

Talk – Mike Schneider

We are pleased to announce a talk by Mike D. Schneider (Pittsburgh), Trans-Planckian Philosophy of Cosmology, on November 25, 2020, at 11.15am Chicago time (5.15 UTC), via zoom. Find full details at Hope to see you there!

Or follow our YouTube livestream:

Talk on 11 November: Robert Brandenberger

  • Wednesday, 11 November 2020 over Zoom at 17:15 UTC — Robert Brandenberger (McGill): Is inflationary cosmology consistent with fundamental physics?

Abstract: The inflationary scenario has become the paradigm of early universe cosmology. However, recently challenges have been raised as to whether the scenario can be compatible with fundamental physics. I will review the inflationary scenario, introduce the challenges (Swampland Criteria and Trans-Planckian Censorship Conjecture (TCC)), and show that there are alternatives to inflation which are in agreement with current observations, and also satisfy both the swampland criteria and the TCC.

Zoom Meeting ID: 915 9958 6401
Password: 599357

Or livestream on our YouTube channel: