Tom Bunce is a postgraduate researcher.
His primary interests are the historiography of science, historical and philosophical issues in quantum mechanics and scientific realism.
The Life, Science and Philosophy of Max Born
Max Born (1882 - 1970) is a significant, if somewhat neglected, figure in the history of quantum mechanics. He played an important role in the development of matrix mechanics - it was he who told Heisenberg about the existence of matrices, after the latter's discovery of non-commutation if quantum systems and was one of the co-authors of the famous 'dreimanarbeit' that formalised it. The statistical interpretation of the wavefunction and the introduction of probability into the new quantum mechanics is his alone. He is also notable for his extensive correspondence with Einstein and his role in the post-war German nuclear disarmament movement.
In his later life he wrote a number of more philosophical works on, amongst other things, causation and determinism in physics.
The project will consist of an examination of Born's philosophy of science. I will attempt to both elucidate his position in relation to modern philosophical categories and set out and explain his position on causation in physics. I will attempt to trace the development of the notions of probability that are involved in quantum mechanics and give an account of why Born chose to interpret the wavefunction in the way he did.
I will also perform a detailed examination and justification of presentist historiography, a technique that this project will draw heavily upon.
'Presentist Historiography and the Integration of the History and Philosophy of Science', Eidos Presentation, Durham, November 2010.
'Historiographical Issues in Alchemy', North-East Postgraduate History of Chemistry Workshop, Durham, September 2010.
Durham Research Community
Durham University has specialists in many areas of philosophy. If you would like to work with world-leading academics in an area which fascinates you, please have a look through our postgraduate degree programs here.