Philosophy and Education
History and Philosophy of Science
History of science aims at understanding how the sciences originated and evolved, through the study of their practice and development, and how they related to their intellectual and social contexts; philosophy of science aims at scrutinizing science through a philosophical lens by addressing several aspects and linking them to ancient philosophical questions: what is the nature of space, time, and matter? what is life? what is thought? Those two approaches are interwoven, and studies of either or both raise many fundamental questions such as the nature of science and scientific activity, the emergence of theories and their acceptance in the scientific community, but also the moral and ethical dilemmas raised by the sciences.
PQI counts among its numbers faculty members whose area of expertise are in history and philosophy of physics with emphases on relativity, quantum theory, statistical physics, chaos theory, and thermodynamical irreversibility. The crucial and decisive role of mathematics in the formation and application of physical theories is also investigated. In addition, our researchers are also interested in the broader topics of the philosophy of science, such as issues of causality, time, non-locality, and ontology, approaches to confirmation theory, inconsistency in theories, and thought experiments, with a special interest in Einstein’s body of work on special and general relativity.
Quantum mechanics is intrinsically non-intuitive, with concepts that greatly differ from the principles of the classical world we navigate in. Those concepts may be hard to grasp and even harder to explain. PQI member Chandralekha Singh investigates pedagogical approaches for the teaching of quantum mechanics at an undergraduate and at an advance level. Moreover, close ties with local Taylor Allderdice High School offer opportunities to PQI faculty to promote quantum sciences and engineering to the next generation, and to the high school students to sneak a peek during outreach events into the daily lives of a quantum scientist.