Philosophy of physics, philosophy of science, applicability of mathematics, analogies, history of physics (especially 17th, 19th and 20th Centuries)
Areas of graduate supervision
- History and Philosophy of Science
- Foundations of Quantum Theory
- Philosophy of Mathematics
many breakthroughs in twentieth century physics are traceable to mathematical formalisms being traded back and forth between particle physics and condensed matter physics. In recent publications I have argued that purely formal analogies were behind some of these successes. I am writing a book (under contract with OUP) that traces the implications for scientific realism, explanation, and the interpretation of quantum field theory, and advances new accounts of applied mathematics and analogical reasoning.
I am the PI on the SSHRC Insight Grant-funded project "How Mid-Level Theoretical Frameworks Are Used to Develop New Theories in Physics." Mid-level frameworks such as analytical mechanics or the spontaneous symmetry breaking paradigm are neither entirely abstract (e.g., pure mathematics) nor
entirely concrete (e.g., a model for a particular type of system, such as a pulley or the Higgs boson). The ultimate goals of this project are to glean
methodological lessons about how to successfully employ mid-level frameworks and to apply these methodological lessons to current programs for formulating new theories of quantum gravity and particle physics.
- “The development of renormalization group methods for particle physics: Formal analogies between classical statistical mechanics and quantum field theory,” Synthese, in press. [preprint]
- (with Adam Koberinski) “The Higgs mechanism and superconductivity: A case study of formal analogies,” Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 55 (2016): 72-91.
- “The fate of ‘particles’ in quantum field theories with interactions,” Studies in the History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 39 (2008): 841-859.
- Affiliate Member, Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, Waterloo
- Member, Rotman Institute of Philosophy, University of Western Ontario
- The Role of Concrete Models in the Revolution in Superconductivity
- Quantum Field Theory: Motivating the Axiom of Causality
- A Realist Critique of Structural Empiricism
Office: HH 330