Irvine-Munich Workshop on the Foundations of Classical and Quantum Field Theories (December 14th 2014)
Idea and Motivation
Since its introduction in the nineteenth century, the concept of a field as an independent physical entity has become central to modern physics. Many highly successful classical theories, most notably electromagnetism and gravitation, were reformulated along field-theoretic lines, leading to advances in the understanding of their respective subject matters as well as enriching knowledge of field theory itself. The great development of these classical field theories influenced the founders of quantum mechanics, with the subsequent formulation of quantum field theories providing molds from which the Standard Model of particle physics has been cast. Yet the profound difficulties of finding a quantum field theory that incorporates gravitation have forced physicists and philosophers to confront the foundations of field theory with more scrutiny. While the multifaceted nature of the difficulties with quantum field theory may have reopened inquiry into classical field theories in hopes of finding potent analogies, this study has developed a rich life of its own. This workshop brings together communities of researchers working from different viewpoints on the foundations of both classical and quantum field theory.