Nicholas Huggett

    Email Address: huggett@uic.edu
    College: Liberal Arts and Sciences Department: Philosophy
    Title: Space and Time After Quantum Gravity
    Office: 1413 UH M/C 267
    Webpage: http://www.beyondspacetime.net
    Participating in the Chancellor’s Undergraduate Research Awards program: Yes

    Research Interest:
    My current research involves a multi-year project with the University of Geneva, funded by the Templeton Foundation. We are studying the philosophical questions and implications raised by theories of quantum gravity -- string theory, loop quantum gravity, and others. In short, physics has fundamentally changed our conception of space and time, from Aristotle, to Galileo, to Newton, to Einstein -- from absolute to relative, from flat to curved, and from static to dynamic. Quantum gravity is still only barely understood, but already promises a similarly profound shift in our picture of space and time -- perhaps even showing that they are not fundamental, but the appearances of something deeper. Our project is to understand what, and how that could be. You can find more, including videos of lectures, on ourwebsite.

    Minimum time commitment in hours per week: 2-5

    Qualifications of a Student:
    I am happy to talk to anyone who thinks they are interested, and has some of the necessary skills: some experience in philosophy, some facility with mathematics, and some training in physics. I would expect candidates to have a strength in at least one, but we would also train promising students. In short, if you are interested, and have some relevant knowledge or training, we can talk it over to see if you are a good fit.

    Brief Summary of what is expected from the student:
    There are a number of ways an undergraduate research assistant could be involved. We have regular talks that a student could attend (including video conference talks from Geneva). We are making educational videos; we would especially like assistance with those, composing, delivering, and producing them. Depending on the student's background, we would help them develop their own written project on philosophy and quantum gravity, with regular meetings with project members. We also hope for assistance on papers we are writing: obtaining articles, compiling bibliographies, proof reading, and acting as a sounding board. The project also calls for lunchtime lectures for undergraduates, and we would like someone to help organize those.

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