Ruetsche receives Lakatos Award for contribution to philosophy science

Laura Ruetsche, chair of the Department of Philosophy, has been named a co-recipient of the 2013 Lakatos Award for her book “Interpreting Quantum Theories” (Oxford University Press, 2011).

The Lakatos Award is given annually for an outstanding contribution to the philosophy of science, in the form of a book published in English during the current year or the previous five years. The award is in memory of Imre Lakatos, a professor of logic at the London School of Economics.


Ruetsche is the third woman to win the award in its 28-year history and the first woman philosopher of physics. Administered by the London School of Economics, the international recognition is considered the top honor in the field.

“I feel like I just won a lottery where one acquires a ticket by writing a decent book in philosophy of science,” Ruetsche says. “Still it’s a significant recognition because my field is so male-dominated. Receiving this award could help change expectations about what it takes to succeed in philosophy.” 

Ruetsche’s research focus is on the foundations of physical theories, particularly quantum theories. Her book, “Interpreting Quantum Theories” uses peculiar features of quantum field theories to challenge entrenched accounts of what constitutes a quantum theory and a law of nature.

Ruetsche shares the award with David Wallace of Oxford University for his book, “The Emergent Multiverse” (Oxford University Press, 2012). Each will win a prize of $12,500.

In 1995, U-M’s Lawrence Sklar, the Carl G. Hempel and William K. Frankena Distinguished University Professor of Philosophy, also won the Lakatos Award for his book “Physics and Chance: Philosophical Issues in the Foundations of Statistical Mechanics”  “Cambridge University Press, (1993).


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