The Department of Logic & Philosophy of Science Colloquium Series presents

"On Topological Objects in Field Theory"
with Nicholas Teh, Trinity College, University of Cambridge

Friday, February 17, 2012
3:00 p.m.
Social Science Tower, Room 777

Since the 1970s, classical field theory has experienced a renaissance in its methods and emphasis, in large part due to the discovery of a novel type of object known as the "topological soliton". This talk will be an introduction to the philosophy and foundations of these objects, with an eye toward the foundations of quantum field theory. Teh will discuss:

  1. The history of topological objects in field theory, and how the general idea and motivation for constructing them was to some extent anticipated by the "vortex atom" theory of Tait and Thomson, and later on by Dirac. 
  2. The special case of BPS monopoles and how they give rise to a rich "emergent metaphysics" of part-whole structure, but also to puzzles about individuation and identity.
  3. The more general implications of these objects for the topics of "levels of fundamentality" and "theoretical equivalence" in field theory.

For further information, please contact Patty Jones, patty.jones@uci.edu or 949-824-1520.

 

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