The P.I. would use this ACT Fellowship in order to acquire a Master’s degree in physics at her home institution, UC Davis. The P.I. is a metaphysician focusing on issues in the philosophy of physics and philosophy of mind; she was tenured in 2011. Much of her work focuses on the interpretation of quantum theories. In a series of papers, she explores an interpretation of quantum theories according to which the quantum wave function, a field on a very high-dimensional space, is the fundamental constituent of all matter in the universe. This interpretation suggests that space-time and macroscopic three-dimensional objects may be emergent phenomena deriving from this more fundamental non-spatiotemporal quantum reality. She draws on conceptual tools from contemporary analytic metaphysics to address this issue. Another focus of the P.I.’s research concerns the status of physicalism and addresses the question of whether current physical theories are properly viewed as providing a comprehensive picture of reality, one which may even provide the foundation for an explanation of such recalcitrant mental phenomena as intentionality and phenomenal consciousness. This fellowship would supplement the P.I.’s Bachelor’s education in physics which has limited her research focus primarily to the interpretation of nonrelativistic quantum mechanics. The coursework and immersion in the discipline provided by a Master’s in physics would equip the P.I. with the competency and experience to extend her research to the interpretation of theories at the cutting edge of physics including theories of quantum gravity. These theories have special relevance to the P.I.’s research on the emergence of space-time and low-dimensional objects. Steven Carlip, Professor of Physics, has agreed to be the P.I.’s fellowship mentor. He is a distinguished faculty member praised for his teaching excellence whose research focuses on quantum gravity, including the emergence of space-time.
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