Alexander Blum in the inner courtyard of the MPIWG, leaning against a wall

©Amac Garbe/MPG.


Alexander Blum

Research Group Leader (Nov 2017-Jan 2025)


Alexander has a PhD in theoretical particle physics from the University of Heidelberg (research at the MPI for Nuclear Physics, 2009). In 2010 he joined the MPIWG, where he started out as a member of the Quantum History Project (until 2012). After that he was a Research Scholar at the MPIWG, coordinating, among other things, the cooperative project with the Lindau Nobel Laureates Meeting Foundation from 2013–14. In 2017 he was awarded leadership of an independent Max Planck Research Group. Alexander has organized several workshops at the MPIWG (and externally) bringing together physicists, historians, and philosophers to discuss the history and foundations of quantum theory. He also co-organized the large conference celebrating the centenary of general relativity (2015) and is currently a member of the international committee preparing the centenary of quantum mechanics (2025).

Alexander’s research interests lie in the history and philosophy of modern physics, with a strong emphasis on the postwar period. His books include a commented sourcebook on the earliest attempts to bring together quantum theory and general relativity (together with Dean Rickles of the University of Sydney) and a monograph on Werner Heisenberg’s attempts at constructing a final theory in the 1950s. He is currently completing a book for Cambridge University Press on the debate on whether quantum field theory is (or can be turned into) a consistent mathematical framework. He teaches both at the physics department of the FU Berlin and at the history of science department of the TU Berlin.


History and Foundations of Quantum Field Theory


Scientific Questions Then and Now


The Renaissance of General Relativity in the Post-World War II Period


No projects were found for this scholar.

Selected Publications

Blum, Alexander S. (2022). ‘Es wäre vermessen, Gott mit absoluter Sicherheit auszuschließen.’ Interview by Sasan Abdi-Herrle. Die Zeit December 23, 2022.

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Blum, Alexander S. (2022). “From Wood Chuck Holes to Worm Holes — A Look into the Notebooks of John A. Wheeler.” Annalen der Physik 534 (8, Article 2200244).

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Blum, Alexander S. and Bernadette Lessel (2022). “The Interpretation Debate and Quantum Gravity.” In The Oxford Handbook of the History of Quantum Interpretations, ed. O. Freire Jr, G. Bacciagaluppi, O. Darrigol, T. Hartz, C. Joas, A. Kojevnikov,…

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Blum, Alexander S. and Martin Jähnert (2022). “The Birth of Quantum Mechanics from the Spirit of Radiation Theory.” Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 91: 125–147.

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Past Events

Nachrichten & Presse

Alexander Blum wird in Nature-Artikel über Bose-Einstein-Statistik zitiert


Der Spiegel zitiert Alexander Blum in einem Artikel zu Robert Oppenheimer und Forschungsethik


Approximation Methods in the Sciences“ (Frist: 31. Dezember 2023)