2022-23

Upcoming talks

29 October 2022:

Jingyi Wu (UC Irvine), “Explaining Universality: Infinite Limit Systems in the Renormalization Group Method”

I analyze the role of infinite idealizations used in the renormalization group (RG hereafter) method in explaining universality across microscopically different physical systems in critical phenomena. I argue that despite the reference to infinite limit systems such as systems with infinite correlation lengths during the RG process, the key to explaining universality in critical phenomena need not involve infinite limit systems. I develop my argument by introducing what I regard as the explanatorily relevant property in RG explanations: the linearization* property; I then motivate and prove a proposition about the linearization property in support of my view. As a result, infinite limit systems in RG explanations are dispensable.

If you would like to read Jingyi’s paper in advance, it is available here.


3 December 2022:

Ricardo Karam (Copenhagen), “On the role of complex numbers in the birth of matrix mechanics

The idea that complex numbers are essential for quantum mechanics is widespread in the physics community, although some would argue that it is a matter of calculation convenience. The issue came to the forefront recently with the publication of a paper titled “Quantum theory based on real numbers can be experimentally falsified” and the subsequent report of experiments claiming to show that real-number quantum theory is incomplete. But what was the role played by complex numbers in the birth of quantum mechanics, more specifically in the seminal papers of published by Heisenberg, Born and Jordan in 1925? We will address this question by looking at how complex expressions – in particular complex representations of Fourier series – were motivated and physically interpreted in the context of the theory. This shall enable us to evaluate whether or not complex numbers were seen as indispensable for the very founders of quantum mechanics.


14 January 2023

Alex Franklin (Kings College London), TBD


11 February 2023

Laura Ruetsche (Michigan), TBD