Research Group Leader Alexander Blum Awarded SISFA Best Paper

Alexander Blum, leader of the Research Group "Historical Epistemology of the Final Theory Program," has been awarded "Best Paper" prize at the Società Italiana degli Storici della Fisica e dell’Astronomia (Italian Society of Historians of Physics and Astronomy, SISFA) conference in Sicily, Italy. His paper, “The State Is Not Abolished, It Withers Away: How Quantum Field Theory Became a Theory of Scattering" explored how, from Newtonian physics to quantum mechanics, physical processes have been modeled as states (of the world, or of a system) evolving in time. In post-WWII elementary particle physics, this setup was largely abandoned in favor of a blackbox in-out analysis of physical processes. Blum's paper traced this transformation to the need to deal with the grave theoretical difficulties encountered when attempting to reconcile quantum physics and the special theory of relativity.