Deadline: 19.12.2021

The History, Philosophy, and Sociology of Large Physics Experiments

Call for Contributions for an International Spring School in Wuppertal, Germany on March 13–20, 2022. Deadline: December 19, 2021

Large experiments such as the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observer (LIGO), and the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) play an essential role at the frontiers of contemporary fundamental physics. These experiments employ big research facilities, they probe nature at vast energy and length scales, they produce immense amounts of data, and they involve great numbers of researchers. We will discuss questions such as those arising from the history and philosophy of fundamental physics, the methodological challenges of big data, and the history and sociology of large research collaborations.

Confirmed Speakers (more to be added)

Arianna Borrelli, TU Berlin (Philosophy/History) | web

Laura Covi, Universität Göttingen (Physics) | web

Katharina C. Cramer, Universität Bonn (Political Science/History)  | web

Richard Dawid, Stockholm University (Philosophy) | web

Gregor Kasieczka, Universität Hamburg (Physics) | web

Dennis Lehmkuhl,  Universität Bonn (Philosophy/History) | web

Martina Merz, AAU Klagenfurt (Science Studies) | web  

David Wallace, University of Pittsburgh (Philosophy) | web

Christian Zeitnitz, BU Wuppertal (Physics) | web

Practical Information and Location Details

The ongoing pandemic will be monitored carefully. It will be decided by early January 2022 whether the spring school will take place or not. The spring school will not be moved online.

The school will feature a number of morning and evening lectures by distinguished members from each of the respective fields (see above). Additionally, there will be working groups in the afternoon that cover selected topics from particle physics. A selection of participants will also get a chance to present their own work. 

The cost of participation will be € 450 and include full board and lodging. The school will be held

The school venue is located on top of a hill in a central area of Wuppertal, near a large park (the "Hardt") and Wuppertal's botanical garden. It is sufficiently secluded to ensure a calm and quiet atmosphere but central enough to get to and fro fast.

The venue can be reached directly by bus no. 643 from Wuppertal main station and is proximate to the exit “Wuppertal-Elberfeld” on expressway 46. The closest airports are Düsseldorf (approx. 50 km / 30 miles or 1 hour and 10 minutes’ train ride) and Cologne/Bonn (approx. 70 km / 40 miles or 1.5 hours’ train ride).

Call for Participation

We invite up to 30 graduate students and early career researchers from history, philosophy, sociology, and physics. The application process will be competitive and participants will be selected according to qualification and research focus. 

To apply, please send the following material in a single pdf file to

  • a letter of motivation,
  • a cv.

Moreover, a selection of students will be able to give presentations of their own work as part of the school. The presentations will be followed by a short commentary from a professional researcher and a discussion with other students.

In case you intend to give a presentation, you will be required to provide in addition:

  • the title of your talk,
  • a short abstract, between 300 and 500 words (pdf).

The research unit is strongly committed to creating equal opportunities. In case of equal qualification, preference will be given to underrepresented groups.

We are organizing on-site child care. Please indicate in your application if you intend to bring your child or children.

We offer a small number of stipends to students with limited funding opportunities.  To apply for a stipend, please also prepare and submit a letter (pdf) no longer than one page, explaining your financial situation.

The deadline for application is 19 December 2021.

Call for Contribution and Further Information (Link)