I study the philosophy of physics, focusing on the foundations of quantum mechanics, classical field theory, and quantum field theory. I use tools from metaphysics and epistemology to assess competing proposals about what physical laws govern the quantum realm (such as Bohmian mechanics, the many-worlds interpretation, and GRW theory). I also work towards improving our understanding of classical field theories, including our theories of the electromagnetic, Dirac, and gravitational fields. At the intersection of these two topics, I am interested in the way that classical field theories are quantized to arrive at quantum field theories.
I am an assistant professor of philosophy at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). As a student I studied physics and philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Oxford, and the University of Michigan. Before coming to Caltech, I was an assistant professor at the University of California, San Diego.
Under Review or Being Revised
Eliminating Electron Self-Repulsion [arXiv]
The Fundamentality of Fields (forthcoming), in Synthese [arXiv]
Particles, Fields, and the Measurement of Electron Spin (2021), in Synthese [arXiv]
Electron Charge Density: A Clue from Quantum Chemistry for Quantum Foundations (2021), in Foundations of Physics [arXiv]
Putting Positrons into Classical Dirac Field Theory (2020), in Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics [arXiv]
Self-Locating Uncertainty and the Origin of Probability in Everettian Quantum Mechanics (2018), with Sean Carroll, in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science [arXiv] [blog I, II, III] [quanta]
Constructing and Constraining Wave Functions for Identical Quantum Particles (2016), in Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics [arXiv]
Many Worlds, the Born Rule, and Self-Locating Uncertainty (2014), with Sean Carroll, in Quantum Theory: A Two-Time Success Story, Yakir Aharonov Festschrift [arXiv (updated version)]
My thesis is available here. The majority of it appears in the articles above. However, the fourth chapter, "A Laws-First Introduction to Quantum Field Theory," is not available elsewhere.
Philosophy Through Science Fiction [spring 2022 syllabus]
Introduction to Philosophy of Science [winter 2022 syllabus]
Introduction to the Philosophy of Physics [winter 2022 syllabus]
Philosophical Issues in Quantum Physics [spring 2019 syllabus]
Review of Quantum Ontology: A Guide to the Metaphysics of Quantum Mechanics by Peter J. Lewis (2016), in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews
Philosophy Through Science Fiction (2019), interview with Whitney Clavin, Caltech Magazine
On the Edge of Philosophy and Physics (2019), interview with Whitney Clavin, Caltech News
Into the Impossible Podcast, Episode 25: A Discussion of Quantum Theory and the book “What Is Real?” by Adam Becker (2019), with Adam Becker and Andrew Friedman
Guest Post: Chip Sebens on the Many-Interacting-Worlds Approach to Quantum Mechanics (2014), on Sean Carroll's Preposterous Universe blog
The Disappearance and Reappearance of Potential Energy in Classical and Quantum Electrodynamics (2022), Foundations of Physics @Harvard Seminar (video)
Electron Spin and Field Quantization (2020), talk at Harvard Foundations of Quantum Field Theory Mini-Workshop (video)