Foundations of Physics
Scientists work on achieving and establishing adequate accounts of physical phenomena, testing and improving our current theories, and at the same time extending them to new domains, pushing forward the frontier of knowledge. This is manifest. What is less apparent is that, in doing so, we are often called for a revision of the very foundations of our understanding of the physical world, the basic pillars of our knowledge. It may happen that the message we get from the frontiers of knowledge, in other words, is not just "we need to improve our theories" or "there is a bunch of new phenomena we did not know about"; rather, the message can be as radical as "the very basic concepts we have been using to categorize the world and on which all our theories, the whole of our knowledge, are based are faulty and need to be replaced".
There is increasing evidence, from various corners of modern physics, that new foundations are now needed. Some such evidence comes from quantum gravity, the search for a new theory of gravitation and spacetime going beyond our current theory, i.e., General Relativity. More evidence comes from quantum information theory and modern approaches to quantum many-body systems, shedding new light on the quantum revolution. Complex systems, in statistical physics, condensed matter as well as biological systems, pose altogether new challenges at both conceptual and theoretical level. And all these challenges merge and call for new insights in cosmology, the science of the structure and evolution of our universe. To meet these challenges and achieve the needed novel understanding, we need revise the foundations for physics.
The directions in which foundations of physics will have to be modified are several and variously interconnected: the nature of space and time themselves, the implications of quantum entanglement and the interpretation of quantum mechanics, the role of observers and the meaning of information, the cosmological beginning and the arrow of time, the role of complexity in the building up physical systems and in the emergence of spacetime itself, the nature of probabilities and the epistemic aspects of physical laws, the epistemological challenges of spacetime-free physics and of the quantum revolution, methodological issues in quantum gravity and cosmology. Therefore, this next step at the frontiers of knowledge will be much more than the discovery of new physics. It will force us to radically reassess our understanding of the natural world, at multiple levels, and, with this, to reconsider our place in the universe, as observers and cognitive agents. To make justice of the multiplicity but also of the necessary coherence of all these foundational issues, we build up a synergic effort, bringing together top scientists to explore and start to rebuild the foundations of physics in a coordinated manner.
- Dr. Daniele Oriti (Theoretical Physics)
- Dr. Erik Curiel (Philosophy of Science)
- Dr. John Dougherty (Philosophy of Science)
- Prof. Dr. Erwin Frey (Statistical and Biological Physics)
- Prof. Dr. Stephan Hartmann (Philosophy of Science)
- Prof. Dr. Stefan Hofmann (Cosmology)
- Prof. Dr. Dieter Lüst (Mathematical Physics and String Theory)
- Dr. phil. habil. Alexander Reutlinger (Philosophy of Science)
- Prof. Dr. Ulrich Schollwöck (Theoretical Nanophysics)
- Prof. Dr. Harald Weinfurter (Experimental Quantum Physics)
Panel discussion with Prof. Dr. Stephan Hartmann and Dr. Daniele Oriti "Shaking the Foundations of Physics. A Dialogue between a Theoretical Physicist and a Philosopher of Science"
(9th May 2022, 7:00 p.m.)
- Workshop led by Dr. Jibril Ben Achour, Dr. Christophe Goeller, Luca Marchetti, Dr. Daniele Oriti und Dr. Andreas G.A. Pithis (LMU) – "Quantum Gravity, Hydrodynamics and Emergent Cosmology"
(8th December 2022 – 9th December 2022) | (Winter Semester 2022/23)
- Panel Discussion with Dr. Erik Curiel, Prof. Dr. Dieter Lüst and Dr. Marlene Weiß – "Black Holes Hide the Key to New Foundations for Physics"
(25th Janaury 2023, 6:30 p.m.) | (Winter Semester 2022/23)
- Workshop led by Erik Curiel, Ph.D. (MCMP), Daniele Oriti, Ph.D. (CAS Young Center/LMU). Dr. Manus Visser (Cambridge) und Dr. Aron Wall (Cambridge) – "Foundations of Observational, Classical and Semi-Classical Gravitational Physics and The Problem of Agency and Laws of Nature"
(28th March 2023 - 31st March 2023 | (Winter Semester 2022/23)
- Vortrag von Prof. Michela Massimi, Ph.D. (Edinburgh) | Moderation: Erik Curiel, Ph.D. (LMU) – "Scientific Knowledge, Multiculturalism, and the Right To Science"
(16th May 2023, 7:00 p.m.) | (Summer Semester 2023)
- Lecture by Prof. Časlav Brukner (Wien) | Moderation: Dr. Jasmin Meinecke (LMU) – "Is the Moon There When Nobody Looks?"
(22nd June 2023, 7:00 p.m. ) | (Summer Semester 2023)
- Workshop led by Dr. Andreas Pithis (CAS Researcher in Residence/LMU) – "Lorentzian Quantum Gravity: Renormalization Group and Phase Structure"
(7th and 8th September 2023) | (Summer Semester 2023)
- Workshop led by Daniele Oriti, Ph.D. (CAS Young Center/LMU) – "Rethinking the Foundations of Physics"
(11th and 12th September 2023) | (Summer Semester 2023)
"Dialogues on the Foundations" – Recordings
- Prof. Jeremy Butterfield, PhD (University of Cambridge, UK) and Dr. Daniele Oriti (LMU) – "Philosophy and Physics must cooperate!"
(Winter Semester 2022/23)
- Prof. Robert Brandenberger (McGill University, Montreal, Canada) and Dr. Daniele Oriti (LMU) – "The Foundations of Cosmology"
(Winter Semester 2022/23)