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


History for Physics

"Quantum Foundations" September 23–24, 2019

Contact Bernadette Lessel or Flavio Del Santo for further information




September 23rd-24th 2019


Lise Meitner HS, Faculty of Physics of the University of Vienna (Strudlhofgasse 4, 1090, Vienna, Austria)



Invited Tandems

  • 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)



Despite its tremendous success in terms of predictive power, quantum physics still faces fundamental problems that range from the interpretations of the conceptual tools (the epistemic or ontic value attributed to the wave function) to the counterintuitive features of irreducible randomness and non-locality. Due to the intertwining of peculiar historical events, foundations of quantum mechanics garnered renewed interest only relatively recently, starting from the 1980s, with the advent of quantum information theory. In this meeting, physicists Daniel Greenberger and Christopher Fuchs will retrace some of the momentous results of the early days of modern quantum foundations and the rise of quantum information theory. At the same time, historians of physics Olival Freire Jr. and David Kaiser will reconstruct the historical context in which this “second quantum revolution” took place, providing insights on the main open questions and discoveries of that time, as well as on the difficulties that the protagonists of the period had to face to be recognized with a new independent field of research.



Day 1

  • 09:00 Registration
  • 09:30 Welcome
  • 09:45 Bernadette Lessel: Why History for Physics?
    • 10:15 Coffee Break
  • 10:45 Tandem 1, First Speaker
    • 11:45 Short Break
  • 11:55 Tandem 1, Second Speaker
  • 12:55 Discussion
    • 13:25 Lunch
  • 15:00 Panel
  • 17:00 End
    • 19:00 Get Together

Day 2

  • 10:00 Recap Day 1
  • 10:30 Tandem 2, First Speaker
    • 11:30 Short Break
  • 11:40 Tandem 2, Second Speaker
  • 12:40 Discussion of the Tandem
    • 13:10 Lunch
  • 14:30 Contributed Talks
    • 16:30 Coffee Break
  • 17:00 Contributed Talks
  • 18:00 End


Childcare Provision

We offer a professional childcare service for the children of the participants registered at the conference, from an age of one to 12 years old, with a ratio of a minimum of one babysitter for five children (more in case of small children):

  • Monday September 23, 12:00-21:00
  • Tuesday September 24, 12:00-18:00

Please register by September 1, mentioning the first and last name of the child as well as their date of birth, and if possible the desired timeframe, by emailing