My research focuses on the foundations and methodology of frontier physics. My main focus has been on quantum field theory and cosmology, though I have interests in quantum foundations and spacetime theories as well. I have been involved in a few different research projects, collaboratively and on my own. My main research interests are in the foundations of quantum field theory, early universe cosmology, theory construction in particle physics, and general philosophy of quantum theory
Foundations of QFT
Quantum field theory is the framework in which our best theory of matter – the standard model of particle physics – is constructed. Relativistic QFT is both the most precisely tested framework and the messiest formalism in frontier physics. I believe that the best way to understand the framework is to focus on methodology and the process of theory construction. By focusing on the process of constructing and using QFT, we shift focus away from the imprecise and sometimes ill-defined structure of the theory as a static entity. What makes QFT so successful is its flexibility and the diverse uses to which it can be put.
Though my focus on theory construction has largely centred on particle physics and quantum field theory, I am interested in the process of theory construction more generally in physics. I believe that the lessons from quantum field theory are generalizable: we learn more about the epistemology and methodology of physics by focusing on science as a process. This involves paying close attention to all methods and tools used within a discipline, and situating these studies within the social and historical context.
Early Universe Cosmology
The early universe is a great window into high-energy physics, where gravitational and quantum effects play prominent roles in dynamical evolution. This is the realm where we can stretch the applicability of our current best theories near their breaking point. Conceptual and foundational issues like the cosmological constant problem, the physical source of inflation, and early universe phase transitions may point the way to new physics like a quantum theory of gravity. My research focuses on the ways that these problems highlight the limitations of the effective field theory framework, and therefore provide a more direct testing ground for new high-energy theories.
More basic than particular concerns about the methods, tools, and evidence for quantum field theory and quantum gravity are questions about how to understand the ways in which quantum theory represents the world (if at all). Philosophers and physicists have long been focused on how to interpret quantum theory. I am interested in the new perspectives that recent information-theoretic reconstructions of quantum theory can provide for understanding the structure of quantum theory. Though these do not typically provide a full interpretation of quantum theory, they can provide physical motivations for the necessity of quantum behaviour.
A. Koberinski. “Regularizing (away) vacuum energy”, Foundations of Physics, 51.1 arXiv:2101.10891 (2021).
A. Koberinski. “Problems with the cosmological constant problem”, Forthcoming in Beyond Spacetime, Oxford University Press, PhilSci Archive:14244 (2021).
A. Koberinski and C. Smeenk. “QED, Q.E.D.” Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics, 71, 1-13 (2020).
A. Koberinski, L. Dunlap, and W. Harper. `”Do the EPR correlations pose a problem for causal decision theory?” Synthese 196.9, 3711-3722, PhilSci Archive:14104 (2019).
C. Fox, M. Gueguen, A. Koberinski, and C. Smeenk. “Philosophy of Cosmology.” Oxford Bibliography in Philosophy. doi: 10.1093/obo/9780195396577-0233 (2019).
A. Koberinski. “Parity violation in weak interactions: How experiment can shape a theoretical framework,” Studies in the History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 67, 64-77 (2019).
A. Koberinski and M. P. Müller. “Quantum theory as a principle theory: insights from an information-theoretic reconstruction,” 257-279, Physical perspectives on computation, computational perspectives on physics, Cambridge University Press, arXiv:1707.05602 (2018).
D. Fraser and A. Koberinski, “The Higgs mechanism and superconductivity: A case study of formal analogies,” Studies in the History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 55, 72-91, PhilSci Archive:12449 (2016).
A. Koberinski, A. Baglaenko, M. Stastna, “Schmidt number effects on Rayleigh-Taylor instability in a thin channel,” Physics of Fluids 27, 084102 (2015).
Works in Progress
A. Koberinski and C. Smeenk. “Lambda and the limits of effective field theory”.
A. Koberinski and C. Smeenk. “Early Universe Cosmology,” Under contract for Oxford Online Encyclopedia of Physics.
A. Koberinski and D. Fraser. “Renormalization group methods and interpretation of effective field theories”.
A. Koberinski and C. Smeenk. “Foundational issues with inflation as an effective field theory”.
A. Koberinski. “‘Fundamental’ constants in quantum field theory”.