After training as a physicist, I switched fields after my PhD and have been working on the history of modern (20th Century) physics, with an emphasis both on technical-mathematical and epistemological analysis. After beginning my work as a historian in a project on the genesis of quantum mechanics (1900-1930), my research as a group leader has focused on the attempts to find a final theory of physics in the decades after World War II.

Education and positions held

  • 2017 – present
    • Research Group Leader since November
  • 2012 – 2017
    • Research Scholar at MPI for the History of Science, Berlin
  • 2010 – 2012
    • Postdoctoral Fellow at Fritz Haber Institute of the MPG, Berlin
  • 2006 – 2009
    • PhD in Physics at MPI for Nuclear Physics, Heidelberg

Research Summary

I am investigating the stagnation of the “traditional” final theory narrative, which proceeds further and further into the microscopic to find the ultimate constituents of matter, and contrast it with the emergence of new narratives in the second half of the twentieth century, such as narratives of epistemology (interpretation of quantum mechanics, central role of information), of complexity (emergent phenomena) or of mathematical structure.

Key publications

  • Heisenberg’s 1958 Weltformel and the Roots of Post-Empirical Physics
    Springer Briefs in History of Science and Technology (2019)
  • The State is not abolished, it withers away: How Quantum Field Theory became a Theory of Scattering
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science B (Volume 60: 46-80, November 2017)
  • From Dressed Electrons to Quasiparticles: The Emergence of Emergent Entities in Quantum Field Theory
    with Christian Joas
    published in Studies in History and Philosophy of Science B (Volume 53: 1-8, February 2016)
  • The Reinvention of General Relativity: A Historiographical Framework for Assessing One Hundred Years of Curved Space-time
    with Roberto Lalli and Jürgen Renn
    Isis (Volume 106: 598-620, September 2015)
  • QED and the man who didn’t make it: Sidney Dancoff and the infrared divergence
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science B (Volume 50: 70-94, May 2015)