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Prof Harvey R Brown

Professor of Philosophy of Physics
Fellow of Wolfson College

Faculty of Philosophy, Radcliffe Humanities
Woodstock Road, Oxford OX2 6GG, UK

Research Interests

The foundations of quantum mechanics, relativity theory and thermal physics; the philosophy of space and time, the role of symmetry principles in physics, and aspects of climate change science.

Education and career

1968-1971 BSc (Hons) Physics, University of Canterbury (NZ)
1971-1978 PhD, Department of History and Philosophy of Science, Chelsea College, University of London
1978-1984 Assistant Professor in Department of Philosophy, São Paulo State University at Campinas (UNICAMP), Brazil.
1984- University Lecturer in Philosophy of Physics, Oxford University (Reader 1996, Professor 2006)

My current CV is avaiable here (PDF format)

Harvey Brown

Recent Publications

Robert Marsland III, H.R.B. and Giovanni Valente, ‘Ambiguities in order-theoretic formulations of thermodynamics’;;

H.R.B. and Dennis Lehmkuhl, ‘Einstein, the reality of space, and the action-reaction principle’, arXiv:1306.4902v1.

‘The theory of the rise of sap in trees; some historical and conceptual remarks’, Physics in Perspective, 15, 320-358 (2013). An updated version of this paper is at

‘Curious and sublime: the connection between uncertainty and probability in physics’, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A, 369, 1–15 (2011). doi:10.1098/rsta.2011.0075

Christopher G. Timpson and H.R.B., ‘Building with quantum correlations’, Quantum Information Processing 9 (2), 307-320 (2010).

‘Comment on Valentini, “De Broglie-Bohm Pilot-Wave Theory: Many Worlds in Denial?” in Many Worlds? Everett, Quantum Theory and Reality, (Eds.) S. Saunders, J. Barrett, A. Kent, D. Wallace, Oxford University Press, 2010, pp. 510-517. arXiv:0901.1278v1 [quant-ph].

H.R.B, Wayne Myrvold and Jos Uffink, ‘Boltzmann’s H-theorem, its discontents, and the birth of statistical mechanics’, Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 40, 174–191 (2009).

Physical Relativity: Space-time Structure from a Dynamical Perspective, Oxford University Press. Paperback edition October 2007.

H.R.B. and Christopher G. Timpson, ‘Why special relativity should not be a template for a fundamental reformulation of quantum mechanics’, in Physical Theory and Its Interpretation: Essays in Honor of Jeffrey Bub, W. Demopoulos, I. Pitowsky (eds.), Springer, 2006; pp. 29-41. arXiv:quant-ph/0601182.

H.R.B. and O. Pooley, ‘Minkowski space-time: a glorious non-entity’; in The Ontology of Spacetime, Dennis Dieks (ed.), Elsevier B. V., 2006; pp. 67-89. An earlier version is found in arXiv: physics/0403088 and PITT-PHIL-SCI 1661.

H.R.B. and David Wallace, ‘Solving the measurement problem: de Broglie-Bohm loses out to Everett’, Foundations of Physics 35, 517-540 (2005) quant-ph/0403094; PITT-PHIL-SCI 1659.

‘Einstein’s misgivings about his 1905 formulation of special relativity’, European Journal of Physics 26, S85—S90 (2005) (special Einstein issue).

Christopher G. Timpson and H.R.B., ‘Proper and Improper Separability’; International Journal of Quantum Information 3 (4), 679–690 (2005); quant-ph/0402094.

H.R.B. and Peter Holland, “Dynamical vs. variational symmetries: Understanding Noether’s first theorem”, Molecular Physics 102, (11-12 Spec. Iss), 1133-1139 (2004). PITT-PHIL-SCI 2194.

H.R.B. and Peter Holland, ‘Simple applications of Noether’s first theorem in quantum mechanics and electromagnetism’, American Journal of Physics 72 (1), 34-39 (2004). Quant-ph/0302062.

K. Brading and H.R.B. “Gauge symmetry transformations observed?”, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 55, 645-665 (2004). PITT-PHIL-SCI 1436.

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