Hermann and Friends

Van tot

A workshop of the international working group on Women in Quantum Physics

Organising committee:

Guido Bacciagaluppi (Utrecht University)  
Elise Crull (City University of New York)
Margriet van der Heijden (Technical University of Eindhoven)

Grete Hermann (1901-1984) was Emmy Noether’s first PhD student in Göttingen and then turned to philosophy. She worked with Heisenberg and Weizsäcker in Leipzig and produced a series of papers on the foundations of modern physics, including in 1935 a comprehensive philosophical treatment of quantum mechanics and Bohr’s complementarity. She was arguably one of the finest neo-Kantian philosophers and the most important philosopher of quantum mechanics between the wars, and devoted the latter half of her career to reconstructing mathematics and physics education in post-war Germany.

The international working group on Women in Quantum Physics (WiQP) is a subbranch of the APS international working group on the Quantum Century that coordinates activities around the world in the run-up to the centenary of quantum theory. As described in its charter, WiQP “aims to foster international collaborations, rich interdisciplinary scholarship, and heightened awareness/education regarding women from around the world who importantly contributed to quantum physics in the last century, yet whose roles have been largely overlooked. The long term goal is to contribute a robust suite of materials (completed or in progress) highlighting the work of these women as part of the Quantum Century Project (unveiling in 2025)”.

WiQP has already organised one session each at the March 2022 APS Meeting in Chicago and the April 2022 APS Meeting in New York. The Utrecht workshop is the first to be organised in Europe and altogether on a larger scale, with 16 international speakers, and organised jointly with the History and Foundations Section of the Netherlands’ Physical Society. It will include talks on Tatiana Afanassjewa, Elizabeth Monroe Boggs, Maria Lluïsa Canut, Laura Chalk, Johanna van Leeuwen, Lucy Mensing, Ilse Rosenthal-Schneider, Chien-Shiung Wu, on women in J. A. Wheeler’s research group, and a special focus on Grete Hermann.

Two of the workshop’s organisers have organised a previous workshop on Hermann in 2012, leading to the 2017 Springer volume Grete Hermann: Between Physics and Philosophy, and which significantly contributed to the revival on interest in her work. Hermann is now becoming a source of inspiration for new generations of women physicists (see e.g. the Grete Hermann Network.

The organisers wish to thank the Freudenthal Institute and the Descartes Centre of Utrecht University, as well as the Lorentzfonds, Stichting Physica and the Pieter Zeemanfonds for generous financial support.

Begindatum en -tijd
Einddatum en -tijd

Registration is free, but for reasons of space, please email Guido Bacciagaluppi at g.bacciagaluppi@uu.nl