Fig. 1: Werner Heisenberg presenting his "Weltformel" at the 1958 Planck Centenary in West Berlin. Source: DPA.


History for Physics

Symposium Series


Bernadette Lessel or Flavio Del Santo



The Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information Vienna (IQOQI-Vienna) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and the Research Group Historical Epistemology of the Final Theory Program of the MPIWG in Berlin are organizing a series of symposia on the history for physics. This initiative aims at demonstrating the importance of the history of physics for current research in physics itself

To forward this agenda, the core format will be that of tandem talks. Each tandem will pair two talks, one given by a physicist on a current research topic, the other given by a historian of physics providing the historical context to this topic. Every tandem will be followed by a discussion. In addition to the tandems, there will be a panel discussion on the role of the history of physics in both research and in academic structures.



Please click on the images for further information about an individual event.


Invited Tandems

Quantum Foundations, Vienna

  • David Kaiser (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and Christopher Fuchs (University of Massachusetts Boston)
  • Olival Freire Jr. (Federal University of Bahia) and Daniel Greenberger (City College of New York)

Quantum Gravity, Potsdam

  • Alexander Blum (MPIWG) and Hermann Nicolai (AEI)
  • Thiago Hartz (Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro) and Claus Kiefer (University of Cologne)


Call for Proposals

We are seeking proposals for contributed talks for the Quantum Gravity event. We welcome talks that are either:

  • single history talks on quantum gravity
  • physics/history-tandems on quantum gravity
  • presentations of historically relevant papers in quantum gravity

If you are interested in participating in tandem, but do not have a tandem partner, please contact the organizers who can try to match tandems together. We also highly welcome history talks by non-historians.

To contribute, please send an abstract of your proposed talk (no longer than half an A4 page), to The deadline for applications is November 1, 2019.


Attending and Registering for the Talks

Events are free of charge and open to all. We particularly welcome students and practitioners of physics who have not yet dealt with the history of their subject. Please register in advance by emailing


Childcare Provision

Please check the individual event pages for information about childcare availability.