LSE hosts the largest permanent group of philosophers of physics in Europe outside of Oxford, as part of a historic research group founded in 1946.
The exploration of physics and its philosophical foundations is an essential part of understanding the deep structure of the world. It also plays a crucial role in understanding the nature of probability, complex systems and causal structure. As a result, the philosophy of physics has always been a central concern of the Department of Philosophy, Logic & Scientific Method, with past faculty such as Karl Popper, Imre Lakatos, Nancy Cartwright and Michael Redhead. The philosophy of physics group remains one of LSE’s most active and diverse research groups and a central part of the unique research environment at the School.
LSE philosophers of physics meet on Monday evenings during term for the Sigma Club lecture series, a London hub for philosophers, physicists and mathematicians interested in discussing philosophical foundations, with past lecturers including Stephen Hawking and Karl Popper. The group also hosts a wide variety of international conferences, including Foundations 2016, as well as PhD/MSc courses such as Ph451/Ph551 Advanced Topics in Philosophy of Physics.
The permanent philosophy of physics faculty include Roman Frigg, Miklós Rédei, Bryan W. Roberts and John Worrall. The group is regularly joined by philosophers of physics from around the world through the Visiting Scholars and Research Associates programmes at the Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Sciences (CPNSS), as well as by members of the Sigma Club.
Selected Research Read more
- Becoming large, becoming infinite: the anatomy of thermal physics and phase transitions in finite systems
A. Lavis, David, Kühn, Reimer and Frigg, Roman (2021) Becoming large, becoming infinite: the anatomy of thermal physics and phase transitions in finite systems. Foundations of Physics. ISSN 0015-9018 (In Press)
- Temperature variability and long-run economic development
Linsenmeier, Manuel (2021) Temperature variability and long-run economic development. Geography and Environment Discussion Paper Series (26). Department of Geography and Environment, LSE, London, UK.
- Magnetic topology of actively evolving and passively convecting structures in the turbulent solar wind
Hnat, B., Chapman, S. C. and Watkins, N. W. (2021) Magnetic topology of actively evolving and passively convecting structures in the turbulent solar wind. Physical Review Letters, 126 (12). ISSN 0031-9007
- Time-energy uncertainty does not create particles
Roberts, Bryan W. and Butterfield, Jeremy (2020) Time-energy uncertainty does not create particles. Journal of Physics: Conference Series, 1638 (1). ISSN 1742-6588
- Overlapping magnetic activity cycles and the sunspot number: forecasting sunspot cycle 25 amplitude
McIntosh, Scott W., Chapman, Sandra, Leamon, Robert J., Egeland, Ricky and Watkins, Nicholas W. (2020) Overlapping magnetic activity cycles and the sunspot number: forecasting sunspot cycle 25 amplitude. Solar Physics, 295 (12). ISSN 0038-0938
- When do Gibbsian phase averages and Boltzmannian equilibrium values agree?
Werndl, Charlotte and Frigg, Roman (2020) When do Gibbsian phase averages and Boltzmannian equilibrium values agree? Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics, 72. 46 - 69. ISSN 1355-2198
In this talk from ETH Zurich’s Workshop on Time in Physics, Bryan Roberts introduces weak interactions and argues that the laws of nature are directed in time.
In the latest issue of Scientific American, Professor Christian List discusses the philosophical foundations of Einstein’s view of quantum mechanics.
It’s often been thought that Curie’s principle says something that’s just obviously true about the world. However, Bryan Roberts has discovered a simple way in which Curie’s principle fails.