The problem of quantum gravity is often viewed as the most pressing unresolved problem of modern physics: our theories of spacetime and matter, described respectively by general relativity (Einstein's theory of gravitation and spacetime) and quantum mechanics (our best theory of matter and the other forces of nature) resist unification. Covered with Deep Mist provides the first book-length treatment of the history of quantum gravity, focusing on its origins and earliest stages of development until the mid-1950s. Readers will be guided through the impacts on the problem of quantum gravity resulting from changes in the two ingredient theories, quantum theory and general relativity, which were themselves still under construction in the years studied. We examine how several of the core approaches of today were formed in an era when the field was highly unfashionable. The book aims to be accessible to a broad range of readers and goes beyond a merely technical examination to include social and cultural factors involved in the changing fortunes of the field. Suitable for both newcomers and seasoned quantum gravity professionals, the book will shine new light on this century-old, unresolved problem.
1 - On Writing a History of Quantum Gravity 2 - The Problem of Quantum Gravity 3 - 'Prehistoric' Quantum Gravity 4 - The Shock of the New 5 - Just Another Field? 6 - Forming the Canon 7 - Quantum Gravity as a Regulator and Resource 8 - Geon Wheeler 9 - Institutionalizing Quantum Gravitational Research 10 - Quantum Gravity on the Rise
Dean Rickles received his PhD from the University of Leeds in 2004, under the supervision of Steven French, with a thesis on conceptual issues in quantum gravity. He took up a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Calgary in 2005 (split between health sciences and philosophy), on the application of complex systems theory to population health. He joined HPS at the University of Sydney in 2007, receiving a five year ARC Australian Research Fellowship in 2008 and then a four year ARC Future Fellowship in 2014. He is now Professor of History and Philosophy of Modern Physics at the University of Sydney, where he also co-directs the Centre for Time.
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