David Albert

My research is focused mainly on questions of whether and how physics might amount to a fundamental and universal account of the entirety of nature.  I have a deep and long-standing interest in the foundations of quantum theory—and (in particular) in the quantum-mechanical measurement problem—precisely because that is the point at which the whole project of physics has often been declared to have reached its ultimate limits, precisely (that is) because that is the point at which the aspirations of physics to amount to a complete account of the world have often been declared to decisively and irreparably break down.   In recent years, I have also been thinking a great deal about the foundations of statistical mechanics, and the meaning of chance, and the arrows of time.  This work has exposed very fundamental and surprisingly intimate connections between (on the one hand) the second law of thermodynamics, and the fact that we have a very different sort of epistemic access to the past than we do to the future, and the fact that by acting now we can affect the future but not the past, and (on the other) the large-scale structure and origins of the universe.

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