Space-Time Theories: Historical and Philosophical Contexts

Jerusalem, January 5-8 2015

Gordon Belot  Yemima Ben-Menahem  Alexander Blum  Leo Corry  Robert Disalle Yuval Dolev  Peter Dougherty
Hanoch Gutfreund  Meir Hemmo  Daniel Kennefick  Diana Kormos-Buchwald Roberto Lalli
Dennis Lehmkuhl Gabriel Motzkin  Jürgen Renn  Daniel Rohrlich  Carlo Rovelli
Donald Salisbury  Orly Shenker  Lee Smolin  Kip Thorne  Jeroen van Dongen


2015 marks the centenary of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity (GTR), a theory whose revolutionary implications range from the theoretical underpinning of our concepts of space and time to the concrete empirical and technological advances it made possible.

To celebrate this anniversary, we bring together leading physicists, historians and philosophers of science, all working from different perspectives on problems inspired by GTR.

 The four-day conference has three sections:

  1. A joint day with the Jerusalem Winter School in Theoretical Physics, whose subject this year is Gravitation (Wednesday, January 7th). Physicists will present recent developments and open questions in Quantum Gravity.  Historians and philosophers will present their latest research on the history of GTR and the philosophy of space and time.  The Einstein Archive prepares a special display of focal documents and recent acquisitions, which participants will visit on that day.
  2. The historical section (Monday, January 5th; Tuesday, January 6th, morning). Talks in this section center on two subjects, The Renaissance of General Relativity in Mid Twentieth Century and Einstein Studies. The historical part is organized in cooperation with Professor Diana Kormos-Buchwald and her team at the Einstein Papers Project in Caltech, and Professor Jürgen Renn and his team at the Max Planck Institute in Berlin.
  3. The philosophical section (Tuesday, January 6th afternoon; Thursday, January 8th). Papers in this section address questions in the foundation of theories of space and time such as the direction of time, the reality of time, causality and retro-causality, non-locality, geometrical and gauge symmetries.

A follow-up conference will be held at the Max Planck Institute at the end of 2015. This dual format is designed to encourage scholars to interact during the year so that by the time of the second conference papers will be ready for publication.

A_Horseshoe_Einstein_Ring_from_Hubble - Public domain

The conference will take place at the van Leer Jerusalem Institute, 43 Jabotinsky Street, Jerusalem (map) and at the Edmond J. Safra campus, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (map).

More Information

Program (final)

Book of Abstracts (updated)

Admission is free.