Forthcoming events:

Analogue Experimentation (International Workshop)

16-17 July 2018

Previous events:

Causal Horizons in Physics

11 January 2017

Dave Sloan (University of Oxford): Through the Big Bang

26 April 2017

Abstract: I will show how the intrinsic definition of observables in relativity through dynamical similiarity (known as Shape Dynamics) leads to the continuation of Einstein's equations classically through the big bang singularity in simple cosmological scenarios. By appealing to general principles I argue that this is a generic feature, and that the singularity can be viewed as an artifact of the redundant description imposed by absolute length scales.

I will then lay out some other welcome features of intrinsic relational systems, and discuss the broader questions raised by a theory of physics that is independent of physical dimensions such as mass and length.

Henrique Gomes (Perimeter Institute): New Vistas from the Many-Instant Landscape

11 October 2017

Abstract: Quantum gravity has many conceptual problems. Amongst the most well-known is the "Problem of Time": gravitational observables are global in time, while we would really like to obtain probabilities for processes taking us from an observable at one time to another, later one. Tackling these questions using relationalism will be the preferred strategy during this talk. The 'relationalist' approach leads us to shed much redundant information and enables us to identify a reduced configuration space as the arena on which physics unfolds, a goal still beyond our reach in general relativity. Moreover, basing our ontology on this space has far-reaching consequences. One is that it suggests a natural interpretation of quantum mechanics; it is a form of ‘Many-Worlds’ which I have called Many-Instant Bayesianism. Another is that the gravitational reduced configuration space has a rich, highly asymmetric structure which singles out preferred, non-singular and homogeneous initial conditions for a wave-function of the universe, which is yet to be explored.

Patricia Palacios (Munich/Salzburg): Stock Market Crashes as Critical Phenomena? Explanation, Idealization and Universality in Econophysics.

18 October 2017

We study the Johansen-Ledoit-Sornette (JLS) model of financial market crashes. On our view, the JLS model is a curious case from the perspective of the recent philosophy of science literature, as it is naturally construed as a “minimal model” in the sense of Batterman and Rice (2014) that nonetheless provides a causal explanation of market crashes, in the sense of Woodward’s interventionist account

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