Quantum Century

Over the past hundred years, physics has undergone a major revolution with the development of quantum mechanics. Unlike the theory of relativity, this development relied on the international collective effort of many researchers and quickly spread worldwide, inspiring significant further contributions in different countries and cultures. While the theory contained many puzzling features and generated considerable discontent and philosophical debate, quantum concepts penetrated many fields of scientific research, both in and beyond physics, irrevocably transforming the foundations of many disciplines and the scientific worldview writ large. New technologies and devices built on quantum principles and effects have fundamentally transformed human societies and some of the most essential aspects of daily life.

The Quantum Century Working Group aims to explore these historical changes – intellectual, technological, philosophical, cultural, and social – brought about by the development of quantum physics and complex interactions between theory, experiment, and various applications. One hundred years after it was constructed, quantum mechanics remains one of the central pillars of modern science and the source of life-changing innovations. It continues to answer previously unresolved problems and generate new puzzles promoting research further into unexplored territories. We invite papers representing the variety of scientific and technological experiences associated with the quantum worldview and its development over the last century, reflecting the practices of science in wider social and intellectual contexts in different disciplines, geographies, and cultures.

 

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Group Conveners

  • ablum's picture

    Alexander Blum

    Alexander Blum is Research Group Leader at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin. His research group (2018-2025) investigates the search for a final theory of physics in the twentieth century. He received his master’s and PhD degrees in theoretical physics from Michigan State University and the University of Heidelberg, respectively. He has worked extensively on the history of quantum field theory, general relativity and their proposed unification in a quantum theory of gravity, and has published, e.g., a monograph on Werner Heisenberg’s failed attempt at a theory of everything and a commented sourcebook on quantum gravity in the first half of the twentieth century. He is currently completing a book on the historical debate concerning the mathematical and logical consistency of quantum field theory.

     

  • JinyanLiu's picture

    Jinyan Liu

    Jinyan Liu is an Associate Professor of the history of modern physics at the Institute for the History of Natural Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences. She got her master’s and PhD degrees in theoretical physics, respectively at Liaoning Normal University (2010) and the Institute of Theoretical Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences (2013). Her research field currently is the history of particle physics, especially for the high-energy physics development in China. She has published a monograph (in Chinese) on the history of Chinese physicists’ construction of the Straton model in 1965-1966, in addition to papers on China and the Soviet Union’s physics collaboration in the 1950s and 1960s, as well as distinguished Chinese-American physicists’ contribution to China’ S&T exchange with the world since the 1970s.

     

     

  • cpsneto's picture

    Climério Paulo da Silva Neto

    Climerio Paulo da Silva Neto is an Associate Professor of physics and history of science at the Federal University of Bahia and the author of the book Materializing the Foundations of Quantum Mechanics. His research deals with the history of physics in the 20th century from the perspective of the circulation of materials, knowledge, and ideologies, through real and imaginary boundaries such as nation states, racial, gender, and political affiliations. He is currently investigating the Socialist approach to scientific internationalism and science diplomacy during the Cold War based on case studies from Soviet physics. He holds a master's and a PhD in History and Philosophy of Science and Science Teaching from the Federal University of Bahia. He has been a professor of History of Science at the Federal University of Western Bahia (2015-2020), Brazil, and a visiting scholar at the History Department of Drexel University (2023-2024).

     

     

6 Members