23-30 July 2018
International Summer School on the
Philosophy, History and Sociology of Particle Physics

Particle Physics at the Crossroads

Extended deadline for application: 28 February 2018

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Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Past, Present and Future of Particle Physics

With the discovery of the Higgs boson, the last missing piece of the Standard Model of particle physics has been found. The “hunt” for the Standard Model particles has thus come to an end and new aims and challenges will take centre stage in the practice of particle physics: precision measurements of the Standard Model’s parameters, the search for particles beyond the Standard Model, motivated in part by cosmological evidence, and the exploration of yet uncharted experimental and theoretical territory. To meet these challenges ever more sophisticated and larger experimental facilities will be required as well as an ever more critical assessment of the virtues and shortcomings of various theoretical proposals. A better understanding of this new phase of particle physics calls for a concerted effort of physics and the social sciences reflecting on it. The summer school will bring together physicists, philosophers, historians and sociologists of science to address questions such as:


  • In which direction do particle physicists expect their field to evolve and what steps are taken to realize this?
  • How are their ideas and guiding principles embedded in the current concepts of philosophy of science?
  • What are the potentials and limitations of the complementing methods of particle physics and cosmology?
  • How did and will the status of experimental and theoretical knowledge change?
  • How and why did particle physics begin to require multi–billion Euro facilities and will it continue to do so?


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Confirmed Speakers


John Ellis, King's College London (UK) | web

Margarete Mühlleitner, Karlsruhe Institute of Techology (Germany) | web

Christian Zeitnitz, BU Wuppertal (Germany) | web



Rafaela Hillerbrand, Karlsruhe Institute of Techology (Germany) | web

Chris Smeenk, Western University (Canada) | web

Kent Staley, Saint Louis University (USA) | web



Friedrich Steinle, TU Berlin (Germany) | web

Catherine Westfall, Michigan State University (USA) | web



Olof Hallonsten, Lund University (Sweden) | web

Martina Merz, AAU Klagenfurt (Austria) | web  



Practical Information and Location Details

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 goups 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 "Tagungszentrum" 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.


Check in will be possible from 1 pm on Monday, 23 July. A first meet and greet with coffee will be held at 3pm that day. The Tagungszentrum 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 participants, from advanced students to early career researchers, from the history, philosophy, and sociology of physics, as well as from physics itself. 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 SummerSchool.ELHCuni-wuppertal.de:

  • a letter of motivation, no longer than two pages,
  • a cv in tabular form,
  • a list of publications (if available).


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).

Upon request, participants will receive a confirmation that the summer school is equivalent to a workload of 2 ECTS.

The research unit has a high interest in creating equal opportunities. Assuming equal qualification, preference will therefore be given to underrepresented groups.

To ensure equal opportunities, we are currently also organizing on-site child care. Please indicate in your application if you intend to bring your child or children (and if the latter, how many) with you to the school.

We furthermore offer a limited number of stipends to students with limited financing. The exact number and the amount granted will, however, depend on the needs of potential participants and will be determined at the conclusion of the application phase only. To apply for a stipend, please also prepare and submit a letter (pdf) no longer than one page, explaining your financial situation.

The extended deadline for application is 28 February 2018.




... will be released as soon as possible.




Earlier Editions

The summer school is the third in a row of successful schools on the philosophy of particle physics, broadly construed. Its predecessors, the 1st and 2nd International Spring School on Particle Physics and Philosophy, were hosted in Wuppertal during spring 2011 and 2014 respectively, and each supported by the IZWT and the BU Wuppertal.

For more information, pleases see the archive.




Organization & Contact

For further information you can contact the organizers, Adrian Wüthrich (TU Berlin) and Florian Boge (BU Wuppertal), at SummerSchool.ELHCuni-wuppertal.de