St Cross Centre for the History and Philosophy of Physics

The St Cross Centre for the History and Philosophy of Physics (HAPP) has been established in the first instance to bring together the community of scholars in the history and philosophy of physics in Oxford, the United Kingdom and beyond.

Over the centuries Britain’s contribution to the international study of physics has been enormous with the University of Oxford playing a key role in many areas of its advancement. Oxford continues to be a centre of excellence for research both on the historical development of the discipline and the philosophy which shapes its inquiry.

HAPP does not simply focus on chronicling the history of the discipline as a retrospective exercise but also critically engages with the philosophy and the methodologies which inform how current research in physics is undertaken. Being based at St Cross College, the Centre is well positioned to investigate those milestones in the field in which the University of Oxford has played a leading role. Such scientific contributions extend from the emergence of the study of physics during the Middle Ages to the establishment of the Royal Society and the development of the modern discipline in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Topics covered so far include Wittgenstein and Physics, Voltaire and the Newtonian Revolution, Physics and the Great War, A History of the Sun - Our Closest Star, Medieval Physics in Oxford, The Nature of Time, A History of the Moon, The Émigrés in Oxford Physics and The Nature of Quantum Reality.