CFP: Conference on the Foundations of Cosmology and Quantum Gravity (FCQG 2020)

Submission deadline: October 19, 2019

Conference date(s):
January 19, 2020 - January 21, 2020

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Conference Venue:

NYU Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Topic areas



Conference on the Foundations of Cosmology and Quantum Gravity (FCQG 2020)

At New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) on January 19-21, 2020. 

The conference is being jointly sponsored by the NYUAD Institute and two generous grants from the Templeton Foundation—one supporting the ‘Beyond Spacetime’ project based at Illinois-Chicago and Geneva, and the other supporting the `New Directions in Philosophy of Cosmology’ based at UC-Irvine and Western University.


Robert Brandenberger (Physics, McGill University)

Karen Crowther (Philosophy, University of Oslo)

Richard Dawid (Philosophy, Stockholm University)

Daniele Oriti (Physics, Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics)

Mairi Sakellariadou (Physics, Kings College London)

Chris Smeenk (Philosophy, Western University)

The problem of reconciling general relativity with quantum theory remains a persistent problem in theoretical physics. Competing approaches make salient deep conceptual disagreements that engage physicists, mathematicians, and philosophers alike. These disputes are particularly pressing in the cosmological context, both because the interaction between gravitational and quantum effects are likely to be pronounced in the early universe and because cosmology offers an arena in which one might conceivably adjudicate between competing approaches. Moreover, the ‘ingredient theories’ of modern and quantum cosmology: general relativity, statistical mechanics and quantum mechanics — possess their own unique conceptual difficulties and puzzles. In general relativity, for example, there are significant questions about how to understand the nature of spacetime singularities, and in quantum theory there are persistent questions about how to understand measurements, observers, and the phenomenon of decoherence when the framework is extended to the universe as a whole. How do these issues interact and inform each other in the development of quantum gravity, and what new conceptual puzzles does quantum gravity engender?

This conference explores the relationship between modern cosmology and theorizing about quantum gravity—in short, the foundations of quantum cosmology—with the aim of assessing recent proposals and exploring new directions for research. 

We anticipate bringing together philosophers and physicists whose work is at the forefront of foundational issues in these fields. We solicit papers on any topic in the philosophical foundations of cosmology and quantum gravity. We are particularly interested in work that addresses foundational issues involved in the interaction of quantum gravity with modern cosmology and astrophysics including blackholes.

Please submit an extended abstract of around 500 words, together with the title of the talk. The abstract should be anonymized for blind refereeing. Advanced PhD students or recent PhDs are particularly invited to submit abstracts, as are women and underrepresented minorities. All sessions will be videoed for public distribution after the meeting.  Accommodation and most meals will be covered for all selected speakers. In addition an honorarium of at least $600 if coming from Europe (or comparable distance) and at least $1200 if coming from North America (or comparable distance) will be provided for. (Contributing speakers will be responsible for their own travel costs.)

Deadline: 20th Oct 2019, with decisions being communicated by the second week of November.

Abstracts should be submitted to:

Organizing Committee:

Kevin Coffey (New York University, Abu Dhabi)

Nick Huggett (University of Illinois at Chicago)

Joshua Norton (University of California, Irvine) 

Chris Smeenk (Western University)

Francesca Vidotto (Western University)

Jim Weatherall (University of California, Irvine)

Christian Wüthrich (University of Geneva) 

Please direct correspondence to: [email protected] and [email protected]

Support for this conference is provided by the John Templeton Foundation and the NYUAD Institute. 

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