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Kiki Timmermans (King’s College London) Sigma Club: Analogies and Frameworks in Quantum Field Theory

15 May, 2:00 pm3:30 pm

This will be a hybrid lecture: you can attend in person in our usual LAK 2.06 seminar room, or on Zoom:

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Meeting ID: 852 3006 9457
Passcode: 297258

Abstract: In the philosophy of quantum field theory (QFT) it is common to analyse questions concerning the interpretation of theoretical structure appearing in both high energy particle physics (HEP) and condensed matter physics (CM), ubiquitously across these two domains. This prompts the question of how these domains and their theories and concrete models relate. Fraser (2020, 2022) argues that the two domains can be strictly delineated and are related only by formal analogy. If this is right, inferences concerning physical interpretation should never be expected to carry over from one domain to the other. In this paper, I argue against this view. Contrasting with Fraser and Koberinski’s (2016) discussion of the Higgs mechanism and superconductivity, I present the case of the phases of strongly interacting quark matter, specifically the colour-superconducting phase, which I believe cannot be adequately captured in Fraser’s account. In line with Wallace (2020) I suggest that it is best to view the two domains as instantiated by the abstract, physical framework theory of QFT and I propose a way of thinking about analogies within this view.

Kiki Timmermans is a Doctoral student of the Philosophy of Physics at King’s College London.


15 May
2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
Event Category:


Bryan W. Roberts


LAK 2.06
Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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