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Winner of the 2008 Lakatos Award announced

Cover of Gauging What's Real: the conceptual foundations of contemporary gauge theoriesThe London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) is pleased to announce that this year's Lakatos Award, of £10,000 for an outstanding contribution to the philosophy of science, goes to Richard Healey (University of Arizona), for his book Gauging What's Real: the conceptual foundations of contemporary gauge theories| (Oxford University Press, 2007).

Photograph of Richard HealeyRichard (pictured left) will visit LSE to receive the award and give the award public lecture during the Summer Term.

Gauge theories have provided our most successful representations of the fundamental forces of nature. How though do such representations work to tell us what kind of world our gauge theories reveal to us? Professor Healey's book describes the representations provided by gauge theories in both classical and quantum physics. He argues that evidence for classical gauge theories of forces (other than gravity) gives us reason to believe that loops rather than points are the locations of fundamental properties. As well as exploring the prospects of extending this conclusion to the quantum gauge theories of the Standard Model of elementary particle physics, the book assesses the difficulties faced by attempts to base such ontological conclusions on the success of these theories.

The Lakatos Award is given for an outstanding contribution to the philosophy of science, widely interpreted, in the form of a book published in English during the previous five years. It was made possible by a generous endowment from the Latsis Foundation. The award is in memory of the former LSE professor, Imre Lakatos, and is administered by an international management committee organised from the LSE.

The committee, chaired by John Worrall, decides the outcome of the award competition on the advice of an international, independent and anonymous panel of selectors.

ENDS

For further details of the nomination procedure or more information on the Lakatos Award 2009, contact Tina Walker on 020 7955 7901 or email t.walker@lse.ac.uk|

Notes

Imre Lakatos, who died in 1974 aged 51, had been professor of logic with special reference to the philosophy of mathematics at LSE since 1969. He joined the Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method in 1960. Born in Hungary in 1922, he graduated (in physics, mathematics and philosophy) from Debrecen University in 1944. He then joined the underground resistance. (His mother and grandmother perished in Auschwitz).

After the war, he was active in the Communist Party and had an influential position in the Ministry of Education. In 1950 he was arrested and spent the next three years as a political prisoner. After his release, he was given refuge in the Hungarian Academy of Science where he translated western works in science and mathematics into Hungarian. After the suppression of the Hungarian uprising he escaped to Vienna and from there, with the aid of a Rockefeller fellowship, on to Cambridge, England. He there wrote his (second) doctoral thesis out of which grew his famous Proofs and Refutations (CUP, 1976). Two volumes of Philosophical Papers, edited by John Worrall and Gregory Currie, appeared in 1978, also from CUP.

The Lakatos Award has so far been won by: Bas Van Fraassen and Hartry Field (1986), Michael Friedman and Philip Kitcher (1987), Michael Redhead (1988), John Earman (1989), Elliott Sober (1991), Peter Achinstein and Alexander Rosenberg (1993), Michael Dummett (1994), Lawrence Sklar (1995), Abner Shimony (1996), Jeffrey Bub and Deborah Mayo (1998), Brian Skyrms (1999), Judea Pearl (2001), Penelope Maddy (2002), Patrick Suppes (2003), Kim Sterelny (2004), James Woodward (2005), and Harvey Brown and Hasok Chang (2006). There was no winner in 2007.

Nominations can now be made for the 2009 Lakatos Award, and must be received by Monday 27 April 2009. The 2009 Award will be for a book published in English with an imprint from 2004-2009 inclusive. A book may, with the permission of the author, be nominated by any person of recognised standing within the profession.

For further details of the nomination procedure or more information on the Lakatos Award 2009, contact the administrator Tina Walker on 020 7955 7901 or email t.walker@lse.ac.uk|

3 February 2009

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