University of Wuppertal, Germany
A Theory of Space-Time Theories
Dennis obtained his PhD from the University of Oxford in 2009, writing on questions pertaining to the structure and interpretation of general relativity and certain extensions of it. In particular, he investigated which spacetime theories are compatible with super-substantivalism, the idea that only spacetime is fundamental and that matter is reducible to spacetime.
From 2009, he was a Postdoctoral fellow at the Institute of Philosophy and the Interdisciplinary Center for Science and Technology Studies at the University of Wuppertal, Germany, where he was appointed Junior Professor in 2012. Since 2010, he has also been a visiting associate of the Einstein Papers Project at the California Institute of Technology and has become one of the editors of Einstein's Collected Papers.
While in Pittsburgh, he will work on systematic approaches of comparing theories of spacetime (theories of spacetime theories, so to speak); focusing in particular on theories that are empirically equivalent with general relativity in the solar system regime but differ significantly from GR in other regards. Furthermore, he will work on Einstein's maturing interpretaion of general relativity in the years 1917-1931, interpretational work on the status of Mach's principle and the foundations of geometry and field theory which Einstein worked on once the formalism of the theory had been mostly completed in 1915.
Dennis enjoys hiking, walking around aimlessly and getting lost, tea, tennis, soccer,... and chatting about philosophy and science during any of those activities.