Physics Interest Group

Meeting time: Friday afternoons (about every other week—see the calendar below), 1:30–3:00 pm Central time 
Meeting place: online via Zoom

The physics interest group (PIG) reads and discusses works of mutual interest in the history and philosophy of physics. We select readings for a variety of reasons: to keep up on the most exciting developments in the field, to help participants scrutinize literature relevant to their research projects (faculty or graduate student research), to provide feedback on works in progress being written by participants (graduate students, faculty, and Center visitors), to revisit classic articles in the literature, and sometimes just to have fun discussing a topic related to physics. For more information please contact Jos Uffink (jbuffink@umn.edu) or Samuel Fletcher (scfletch@umn.edu).

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Spring 2021

Please join our mailing list for the zoom invitation or email mcps@umn.edu

  • January 29: Acuña, P. (forthcoming) Must Hidden Variables Theories be Contextual? Kochen & Specker Meet Von Neumann and Gleason European Journal for Philosophy of Science. (pdf). Pablo Acuña will be joining the meeting.
  • February 12: Landsman, Klaas. 2020. Randomness? What randomness?. Foundations of Physics 50.2: 61-104. arXiv:1908.07068
  • February 26: Fine, Arthur. 1989, Do Correlations Need to be Explained?. In J.T. Cushing and E. McMullin (eds.) Philosophical Consequences of Quantum Theory Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press. pp 175-194. (pdf)
  • March 12: Chen, E.K. (forthcoming) Bell’s Theorem, Quantum Probabilities, and Superdeterminism. In The Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Physics ed by Eleanor Knox & Alastair Wilson. MiltonPark: Routledge (pdf)
  • March 26: Wiseman H.M., Cavalcanti E.G. (2017) Causarum Investigatio and the Two Bell’s Theorems of John Bell. In: Bertlmann R., Zeilinger A. (eds) Quantum [Un]Speakables II. The Frontiers Collection. Springer, Cham. Springer Press Link (pdf)
  • April 23: Fine, Arthur. 1982. Joint distributions, quantum correlations, and commuting observables. Journal of Mathematical Physics 23, 1306; DOI: 10.1063/1.525514 (pdf) and 
  • Fine, Arthur. 1982. Hidden Variables, Joint Probability, and the Bell Inequalities Phys. Rev. Lett. 48(5), 291-295; https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.48.291 (pdf)
     

Fall 2020

  • September 11: Kok-Wei Bong, Aníbal Utreras-Alarcón, Farzad Ghafari, Yeong-Cherng Liang, Nora Tischler, Eric G. Cavalcanti, Geoff J. Pryde & Howard M. Wiseman. 2020. A strong no-go theorem on the Wigner’s friend paradox. Nat. Phys. DOI: 10.1038/s41567-020-0990-x 
  • Brukner, Č. 2020. Facts are relative. Nat. Phys. DOI: 10.1038/s41567-020-0984-8
  • Optional reading: Musser, G. 2020 (August 17). Quantum paradox points to shaky foundations of reality. Science doi:10.1126/science.abe3693 
  • September 25: Franklin, Allan. 2018. Is It the 'Same' Result? Replication in Physics (Bristol: IOP Publishing). Introduction (Ch. 1) and Part 1 (Chs. 2-4: The discovery of the Higgs boson, The observation of gravity waves, and The scattering of antineutrons by protons). Please secure a copy of the book through purchase or library loan if you plan to participate.
  • October 9: Franklin, Allan. 2018. Is It the 'Same' Result? Replication in Physics (Bristol: IOP Publishing). Chs. 5-7 (Is there a Fifth Force?, Is there a Universal gravitational constant?, and Physical constants and the properties of elementary particles)
  • October 23: Franklin, Allan. 2018. Is It the 'Same' Result? Replication in Physics (Bristol: IOP Publishing). Chs. 8-10 (Millikan's measurements of the charge of the electron, Are there low-mass electron–positron states?, and The pentaquark)
  • This video from the Rotman 2018 Annual Conference: Understanding Replication Across the Sciences, October 12, 2018, by Allan Franklin gives an overview of his book. You may be interested in watching.
  • November 6: Franklin, Allan. 2018. Is It the 'Same' Result? Replication in Physics (Bristol: IOP Publishing). Chs. 11-12 (Whose neutrino is it, Majorana's or Dirac's?, and Conclusion)
  • November 20: Wayne Myrvold (2011): Statistical mechanics and thermodynamics: A Maxwellian view DOI: 10.1016/j.shpsb.2011.07.001 preprint.
  • November 27: No meeting - Thanksgiving
  • December 11: This week’s topic is the Stern-Gerlach experiment, and how physics textbooks in the 1920s and 30s  explained it, first in terms of orbital angular momentum, and later, electron spin. The readings are the Physics Today article and Clayton Gearhart's slide show.  Both are optional, as time permits. 
  • Friedrich, B. and Herschbach, D. 2003 Stern and Gerlach: How a Bad Cigar Helped Reorient Atomic Physics Physics Today 56(12):53-59. DOI: 10.1063/1.1650229