Sebastien Rivat

Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow (Aug 2020-Aug 2021)

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 S., forthcoming, "Effective Theories and Infinite Idealizations: A Challenge for Scientific Realism." Synthese.
  • Rivat S., Grinbaum A., 2020. "Philosophical Foundations of Effective Field Theories." The European Physical Journal A, 56, 90.
  • Rivat S., 2019. "Renormalization Scrutinized." Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics, 68C, 23–39.


Effective Theories: Past, Present, and Beyond


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