Cushing Memorial Prize for 2014

Giovanni Valente
University of Pittsburgh

Giovanni Valente

The John J. Reilly Center for Science, Technology, and Values, along with the Graduate Program in History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Notre Dame and the Advisory Committee of the James T. Cushing Memorial Prize in History and Philosophy of Physics are pleased to announce the award of the Cushing Prize for 2014 to Dr. Giovanni Valente, assistant professor of philosophy and fellow in the Center for Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh, for his paper, “Local Disentanglement in Relativistic Quantum Field Theory,” published in Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics (2013). The Cushing Prize carries a $1000 award plus an invitation to deliver a lecture as part of the History and Philosophy of Science Colloquium at the University of Notre Dame.

Dr. Valente was nominated by Jeffrey Bub, whose nominating letter discussed the significance of the winning paper: “Giovanni’s paper challenges a well-known result by Clifton and Halvorson that entanglement in relativistic quantum field theory can’t be destroyed by local operations—in contrast with the situation in non-relativistic quantum mechanics. The Clifton-Halvorson result is important because it gives further weight to Einstein’s worry that entanglement compromises the separability of systems and creates a methodological problem for formulating and testing physical theories. Following a review of entanglement in algebraic quantum field theory, Giovanni argues that Clifton and Halvorson rely on a notion of ‘local operation’ that is too strong. He shows that a weaker notion suffices to ensure that acting locally does not instantaneously influence a remote system, and he proves that local disentanglement is possible in the sense of this weaker notion.”

Dr. Valente received his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland in 2009, working under the supervision of Prof. Bub. He has been a Visiting Fellow at the Tilburg Center for Logic and Philosophy of Science in the Netherlands, at the Centre for Time in Sydney, Australia, at the Institut d’Histoire et de Philosophie des Sciences et des Techniques, Paris, and at the University of California at Irvine. Following a post-doctoral position at the Laboratoire des Recherches sur les Sciences de la Matière in Saclay, France, he joined the Department of Philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh in 2010.