Fourth year LPS graduate student Ben Feintzeig gave two papers at conferences this March.  The first paper, entitled "Symmetry Breaking in Classical Systems,” was presented at the Third Annual Irvine-Pittsburgh-Princeton Conference on the Conceptual and Mathematical Foundations of Physics, hosted by Princeton University.  The second paper was presented at the Munich Graduate Conference in Mathematical Philosophy, in Munich, Germany, under the title "Toward an Understanding of Parochial Observables.” Both papers come from Feintzeig's dissertation, which explores the relationship between classical and quantum physics.  The particular focus of Feintzeig's work concerns a puzzle known as the Problem of Inequivalent Representations, which many contemporary philosophers have argued plagues quantum field theory, the fundamental theory governing all matter in the universe.  According to Feintzeig, a strongly analogous puzzle arises in classical theories, but in that context, the solution is obvious; he then goes on to adapt that same solution to the quantum case, arguing that this provides a useful guide to interpretation.

 

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