DRAFT

Seminar on History and Philosophy of Science

Wednesday, March 16, 2016
4:00pm to 5:00pm
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Dabney Hall 110 (Treasure Room)
Quantum Field Theory and the Limits of Knowledge
Sean Carroll, Research Professor of Physics, Division of Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy, Caltech,

Abstract

Quantum Field Theory (QFT) is the successful paradigm underlying modern theoretical physics, including the "Core Theory" of the Standard Model of particle physics plus Einstein's general relativity. I will argue that QFT, and in particular the notion of an "effective field theory," grants us a unique insight: each QFT model comes with a built-in specification of its domain of applicability. Hence, once a model is tested within some domain (of energies and interaction strengths), we can be confident that it will continue to be accurate within that domain. Currently, the Core Theory has been tested in regimes that include all of the energy scales relevant to the physics of everyday life (biology, chemistry, etc.). Therefore, we have reason to be confident that the laws of physics underlying the phenomena of everyday life are completely known.

For more information, please contact Fran Tise by phone at 626-395-3609 or by email at ftise@hss.caltech.edu.