Sebastien Rivat

Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow (Aug 2020-Aug 2022)

Sébastien Rivat received a PhD in Philosophy from Columbia University in October 2020, after completing his studies in history and philosophy of science and theoretical physics at the University of Cambridge. His dissertation examines the implications of the new paradigm of effective theories in physics for the topics of realism and representation in science, and he has developed since then new research projects in the history of twentieth-century physics. His current project, “Effective Theories: Past, Present, and Beyond,” explores the rise of effective field theories in the 1960–80s and their impact on physicists’ conception of the nature of scientific inquiry in contemporary physics. Sébastien has also interests in the early modern philosophy and metaphysics, and has taught political philosophy and ethics in the Core Curriculum at Columbia University during the academic years 2018–20.




  • Rivat, Sebastien. “Drawing Scales Apart: The Origins of Wilson’s Conception of Effective Field Theories.” Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, forthcoming.
  • Rivat, Sebastien. “Effective Theories and Infinite Idealizations: A Challenge for Scientific Realism.” Synthese 198 (2021): 12107–36.
  • Rivat, Sebastien. “Renormalization Scrutinized.” Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 68C (2019): 23–39.
  • Rivat, Sebastien, and Alexei Grinbaum. “Philosophical Foundations of Effective Field Theories." The European Physical Journal A 56 (2020): 90.


Effective Theories: Past, Present, and Beyond


No projects were found for this scholar.