University of Pittsburgh
Primary Faculty

Porter Williams

Assistant Professor, Co-Director of Admissions, Webmaster


1017 CL
My research is focused on philosophical and historical questions in quantum mechanics, quantum field theory, and related topics in applied mathematics. I am particularly drawn to methodological issues that arise in the practice of modern high energy physics, along with topics in the conceptual and mathematical foundations of quantum field theory. In the philosophy of applied mathematics, I am interested in what we learn about scientific representation from the the gap between the mathematical foundations of a physical theory and the (often unrigorous) calculational strategies that physicists develop to verify its empirical adequacy. On the historical side, I am especially interested in the conceptual exchange that developed between particle physics, condensed matter physics, mathematics, and computation after World War II.


PhD, Columbia University, 2016

BA, University of California, Irvine, 2009

Selected Courses Taught

Foundations of Quantum Mechanics (graduate)

Causal Reasoning (undergraduate)

Philosophy of Science (undergraduate)

Selected Publications

"Naturalness, the Autonomy of Scales, and the 125 GeV Higgs." Studies in the History and Philosophy of Modern Physics,51 (2015): 82-96.

"Renormalization Group Methods." The Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Physics, E. Knox and A. Wilson (eds.) (forthcoming).