Large Grants
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Previous Programs

2018 Agency in the Physical World
Awardees; RFP download

2016 Physics of the Observer
Awardees; RFP download

2015 The Physics of What Happens
Awardees; RFP download

2013 Physics of Information
Awardees; RFP download

2010 The Nature of Time
Awardees; RFP download

2008 Foundational Questions in Physics and Cosmology
Awardees; RFP download

2006 Foundational Questions in Physics and Cosmology
Awardees; RFP download

Lucien Hardy
Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics

Jamie Vicary
University of Oxford

Project Title

Categorical Compositional Physics

Project Summary

Our most successful theories of physics, such as gravity and quantum mechanics, tell us a lot about what physical systems are made of, and how they behave. Exciting new ideas tell us that this may be the wrong approach: instead of asking what systems are made of, we should ask how they are composed from their parts. This is called 'compositional physics', and gives us new ways to describe what happens to a physical system. In this project, we will deepen the mathematical foundations for compositional physics, turning it into a fully-rigorous basis for describing physical systems, which can be applied to many different types of theory: from furniture and impossible objects, to biological systems and quantum gravity.

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