Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics
The Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute) is the largest research institute in the world specializing in general relativity and beyond. Learn more
In 1916, Albert Einstein suggested for the first time that it would be necessary to merge his newly constructed general theory of relativity and the emerging quantum theory. One hundred years later, this challenge remains unanswered, and the problem of constructing a theory of “quantum gravity” (as such a hypothetical merging came to be known) has become synonymous with physicists’ search for a final, fundamental theory. The Max Planck Research Group “Historical Epistemology of the Final Theory Program” will reflect on and evaluate this century-long search using the methods of historical epistemology. It is the explicit aim of the group to conduct historical research that connects directly to contemporary physical research, providing a novel, historico-critical view of its status and prospects. To this end the group will be working in collaboration with Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics in Potsdam-Golm.
The group’s study of the final theory program will be guided and structured by three main investigations, one dealing with the historically singular nature of the final theory program itself, the other two dealing with distinct opposition movements that emerged in the course of the second half of the twentieth century:
Hetzroni, Guy and Noah Stemeroff (2023). “Mathematical Analogies in Physics: The Curious Case of Gauge Symmetries.” In Mathematical Knowledge, Objects and Applications: Essays in Memory of Mark Steiner, ed. C. Posy and Y. Ben-Menahem, 229–262. Cham: Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-21655-8_11.