The London School of Economics and Political Science announces 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).


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.

Lakatos Award Lecture

14 May 2009, 6:00pm

Old Lecture Theatre, London School of Economics

A World without Particles or Forces