January saw me visit Cologne to give a seminar talk at the Gravitation and Relativity group of the University’s Institute for Theoretical Physics and at the conference on Quantum Information, Quantum Computation, and the Exact Sciences that I helped organize. (Don’t fret: my submission was double-blind reviewed, too!) Also, an article of mine, “Similarity, Topology, and Physical Significance in Relativity Theory,” has finally appeared online at the British Journal for the Philosophy of Science. In that article, I show that the notion of the “physical significance” of a property of a relativistic spacetime depends on whether sufficiently similar spacetimes also have that property, hence on articulating how different spacetimes can be similar. This can be done by choosing a topology on all the different spacetimes, but I argue that there cannot be one true topology: different choices are required for different contexts of investigation. Check out an abstract or the full text (in HTML or PDF).
Now that the 10-week break between the German winter and summer terms has commenced, you might think that it would be time for some quiet days at the office. But nothing could be further from the truth! It’s a convenient—perhaps too convenient!—time to give talks and visit colleagues outside of Germany without worrying about scheduling conflicts at home (in Munich). First up on February 11 is a visit to the Department of Philosophy, Communication and Media Studies at the University of Rome 3, where I’ll be speaking in their Current Research in Philosophy of Science Seminar Series.
Next, starting at the end of February, is a series of visits, including my first trip to the Netherlands! This series starts in Paris on February 27, where I’ll be giving a talk at the Institute for History and Philosophy of Sciences and Technology (IHPST), a joint research institute of the Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, ENS, and CNRS. A short ride on Thalys will bring me to Amsterdam University College on March 2, where I’ll be leading an introductory (and interactive!) discussion on some aspects of mathematical philosophy in the Who’s in Town lecture series. The next two days, March 3–4, will be a research visit to Radboud University Nijmegen, where I’ll have a lunch seminar on some of my work in mathematical physics and also talk with Sean Gryb about the boundaries and relationships between shape dynamics and general relativity. March 5 I’ll find myself in Utrecht to give a lecture for the HPS Master’s program, then the next day in Rotterdam for a workshop on Space-Time Structuralism (both graciously organized by Fred Muller). Finally, before returning to Munich, I’ll jaunt up to Groningen to speak at a March 9 double colloquium in the Faculty of Philosophy on the Likelihood Principle!
After a very brief respite, I’ll fly to Belgrade to give talks at the Astronomical Observatory on March 12 and the Department of Philosophy on March 13 before flying to Berlin for the enormous 79th annual meeting of the German Physical Society, which runs from March 15–20. My own talk at the meeting is at 9:30 on Thursday, March 19. I’m looking forward not only to meeting many colleagues, but also to catching up on the latest developments in other areas of physics.
After traveling for over three weeks, I’ll then be glad to be back home in Munich, if only for about five days! Indeed, I’ll be giving a talk at the March 26–28 conference on “Formal Methods and Science in Philosophy” at the Inter-University Centre Dubrovnik, then traveling to Dorfgastein, Austria for an Alpine retreat on “Rethinking Foundations of Physics” from March 28–April 4 with other twenty other young philosophers, mathematicians, and physicists. It should be an intense experience!
Returning from the fresh mountain air (and having avoided the radon baths!), I’ll have about five days to complete the last preparations for the first Munich Graduate Workshop in Mathematical Philosophy, which runs from April 9–11. The topic this year, yes, is philosophy of physics! As one of the co-organizers (along with Brian Padden, Patricia Palacios, and Karim Thébault), I’m particularly excited about the somewhat innovative format: in addition to the usual keynote and student talks, there will be three working groups that will meet daily for focused discussion on some open questions at the forefront of contemporary research. Soon after the workshop is completed I’ll head back to Dubrovnik from April 13–17 for the annual Philosophy of Science conference, whose three topics this year are: philosophy of physics; science, technology, and values; and the philosophy of the history of science.
The summer term will already be in swing by the time I return—again (!), for about five days—before I make my first trip to Scandinavia on April 23–24 for the third annual meeting of the Nordic Network for Philosophy of Science in Helsinki. At this point—unsurprisingly—about another five days will transpire before my next talk on April 30, but—surprisingly—it will be right at home in Munich (as a part of the Work in Progress Colloquium)!
Who needs to schedule lectures with vacations like these?