Sanne Vergouwen awarded Hanneke Janssen Memorial Prize

Award for best Master's thesis in history & philosophy of modern physics

Sanne Vergouwen
Sanne Vergouwen

Sanne Vergouwen has been awarded the Hanneke Janssen Memorial Prize for her thesis "Emergent Solitons and the Philosophy of Non-Perturbative Quantum Field Theory", submitted to Utrecht University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the History & Philosophy of Science Master Programme. The thesis sheds new light on the concept of emergence in the context of quantum field theory—in particular the non-perturbative case studies of sine-Gordon and Seiberg-Witten soliton solutions. Sanne Vergouwen convincingly argues for the value of non-perturbative solutions for interpreting and understanding quantum field theory.

The Jury was impressed with the way in which this Thesis combined the traditions of philosophy of science, philosophy of QFT and theoretical physics in a novel way, and was able to draw surprising conclusions.

The choice for the winning thesis was a unanimous decision made by the following jury:

  • Jos Uffink (Chair)
  • Guido Bacciagaluppi
  • Klaas Landsman
  • Cristoph Lehner
  • Francesca Vidotto

Hanneke Janssen Memorial Prize

Hanneke Janssen was a very promising historian and philosopher of physics until she was killed in a tragic traffic accident on 11 November 2008. She was the Managing Editor of the Journal Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physicsand had just received a cum laude distinction from Radboud University for her Master's thesis, also on quantum theory. The prize, dedicated to her memory, has been awarded since 2010 for the best Master's thesis in history and/or philosophy of modern physics worldwide.

Sanne Vergouwen is the second student from Utrecht University to have been awarded the Hanneke Janssen Memorial Prize, following up on Ruward Mulder in 2018. She has since started a PhD position within the Utrecht Philosophy of Astronomy & Cosmology Research Group.