Lisbon Philosophy of Physics Seminars: Paula Reichert (1 June on Zoom)

On Wednesday 1 June, Paula Reichert (Ludwig Maximilian University) will give a talk titled “Shape Dynamics and the Big Bang” (abstract below).


The series of online seminars is organized in the context of the activities of the LanCog Research Group at the Centre of Philosophy of the University of Lisbon, and will focus on the foundations of quantum and spacetime physics.


The meeting will be online on Zoom (17:00-19:00 CEST). If you have not registered yet, you can do so here.


You can address any question to Andrea Oldofredi (


Shape dynamics is a relational theory of gravity in the spirit of Leibniz and Mach. It was developed as an alternative to Newton’s theory with the aim to eliminate absolute space and time from the description. Today’s shape dynamics serves as an alternative to Einstein’s theory of general relativity, where it tracks 4d diffeomorphism invariance for 3d spatial conformal invariance plus relational time. In the first part of this talk, I will introduce the conceptual and mathematical ideas behind shape dynamics and present the way it has developed historically. In the second part of the talk, I will focus on the way it tackles the Big Bang which, in Einstein’s theory, arises as a singularity of zero scale. This does not necessarily affect the shape (that is, conformal or angular) degrees of freedom which might be evolved through the singularity thus providing an eternal one-past-two-futures evolution of our universe.