Dissertation, University of Western Ontario (2019)

Authors
Adam Koberinski
University of Waterloo
Abstract
Science is a process, through which theoretical frameworks are developed, new phenomena defined and discovered, and properties of entities tested. The goal of this dissertation is to illustrate how high-energy physics exemplified the process of theory construction from the 1950s to 1970s, and the promising ways in which it can continue to do so today. The lessons learned from the case studies examined here can inform future physics, and may provide methodological clues as to the best way forward today. I examine the discovery of parity nonconservation in weak interactions, the emergence of Yang-Mills theories as the foundation of the standard model, and contemporary precision testing of quantum electrodynamics. In each of these cases, I examine the details of the physicists’ practice to draw conclusions regarding the epistemology behind successful episodes of theory construction. I reconstruct the methodology of each episode in order to find generalizable lessons to apply to contemporary issues at the frontiers of the search for a theory of quantum gravity. In order to understand the many moving parts in each case study, I introduce a new terminology to distinguish the “parts” of a scientific discipline, inspired by the literature on scientific modelling. These terms—theoretical framework, dynamical model, phenomenological model, experiment, and mathematical tools—are meant to aid in investigating other quantitative scientific disciplines beyond high-energy physics. Ultimately, high-energy physics is at its best when various avenues of theoretical ideas are being pursued, spurring the development of new mathematical techniques to use as tools, and new ideas are quickly and vigorously tested experimentally. Proliferation of new ideas in response to theoretical developments is characteristic of the era of construction of the standard model, and is still ongoing in precision testing of quantum electrodynamics today.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 63,323
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas S. Kuhn - 1962 - University of Chicago Press.
Philosophy of Cosmology.Chris Smeenk - 2013 - In Robert Batterman (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Physics. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 607-652.
The Higgs Mechanism and Superconductivity: A Case Study of Formal Analogies.Doreen Fraser & Adam Koberinski - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 55:72-91.
Problems with the Cosmological Constant Problem.Adam Koberinski - forthcoming - In Christian Wüthrich, Baptiste Le Bihan & Nick Huggett (eds.), Philosophy Beyond Spacetime. Oxford University Press.

View all 6 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Ontological Commitment in Quantum Field Theory.Andrew Zachary Wayne - 1994 - Dissertation, University of California, San Diego
Models as a Tool for Theory Construction: Some Strategies of Preliminary Physics.Stephan Hartmann - 1995 - In William Herfel, Władysław Krajewski, Ilkka Niiniluoto & Ryszard Wójcicki (eds.), Theories and Models in Scientific Processes. Rodopi. pp. 49-67.
The Case of the Composite Higgs: The Model as a “Rosetta Stone” in Contemporary High-Energy Physics.Arianna Borrelli - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 43 (3):195-214.
What Can Be Tested in Quantum Electrodynamics?K. Ringhofer & H. Salecker - 1980 - Foundations of Physics 10 (3-4):185-196.
Reduction, Unity and the Nature of Science: Kant's Legacy?Margaret Morrison - 2008 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 63:37-62.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2019-10-19

Total views
18 ( #586,282 of 2,448,721 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
3 ( #224,503 of 2,448,721 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes