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dr. S. (Sebastian) de Haro Ollé

Amsterdam University College
Photographer: onbekend

Visiting address
  • Science Park 113
  • Room number: 2.23
Postal address
  • Science Park 113
    1098 XG Amsterdam
  • Profile

    Sebastian De Haro

    Currently: visiting fellow in philosophy at Harvard University, Black Hole Initiative (until 28 Feburary 2019).

    Senior lecturer in philosophy, mathematics and theoretical physics at the Amsterdam University College and the Faculty of Science of the University of Amsterdam. Tarner scholar at Trinity College, Cambridge (2015-2020) in Philosophy of Science and History of Ideas, where I work with Jeremy Butterfield. Member of the Vossius Center for History of Humanities and Sciences at the University of Amsterdam. I did my PhD in theoretical physics in 2001 under Gerard 't Hooft (Nobel Prize in Physics 1999). See my list of publications and more information about my research under separate tabs.


    Some of my talks on Slideshare

    Talks for a General Audience

    • Physics, Metaphysics, and Emergence. Conference 'Can Science Shape a New Humanity?', London, 6 January, 2018.
    • Changing Views on Space, Time and Spacetime, Wijsgerig Festival Drift, 13 May, 2017. Joint talk delivered with F.A. Muller.
    • Emergence and Reduction in Science. International Interdisciplinary Seminar on 'What differentiates human persons from animals and machines?', London, 4 January, 2017.
    • Strings and Quantum Gravity. Consequences for Reductionism. University of Navarre, Pamplona, Spain. June 21, 2011.
    • De zoektocht naar een unificerende theorie. De Leidsche Fles, symposium 'De randvan de wetenschap', Universiteit Leiden, 10 november 2011.
    • Hiërarchisch of democratisch? Over de eenheid van de natuurwetenschap. Jaarlijkse nationale natuurkundeconferentie Fysica 2011, sessie  Interdisciplinariteit van de realiteit,  VU, April 15, 2011.
    • Black Hole Horizons: The Gravity of Paradigms.  CREA lecture series, March 9, 2011, Amsterdam.
    • Wat rechtvaardigt de eenheid van de wetenschap? Waar alfa, bèta en gamma samenkomen. College StudieMarathon, Oude Manhuispoort, UvA. 19 januari 2011.

    DLF Symposium Op de rand van de wetenschap

    Studiemarathon UvA

  • Research

    My current research in philosophy focuses on dualities, the equivalence of theories, and emergence. I have recently worked out a schema for dualities that can be applied in examples, and I am interested in how the schema relates to discussions of theoretical equivalence and physical equivalence. I am also interested in the bearing of recent accounts of equivalence for the notions of theory, model, and interpretation. Regarding emergence: I aim at explicating ontological vs. epistemic emergence, based on the notions of theory and interpretation developed in the project on dualities and equivalence. I am particularly interested in the applications of ontological emergence to the emergence of spacetime and the emergence of gravity. See my list of recent publications under the publications tab, and the full list under the research tab.

    I also work on scientific understanding with Henk de Regt, on the relation between science and philosophy, and on other aspects of the epistemology of science. I work on the history of quantum gravity with Jeroen van Dongen.

    I have active interests in the history and philosophy of information, the philosophy of technology, and philosophy of mind: on how these fields inform philosophy of science, and on how philosophy of science can be informed by them.

    See my recent list of publications and activities under a separate tab. My full list of publications is below.

    Full List of Publications

    See my full list of publications on Google scholar. For a recent list of publications and activities, see the separate tab.

  • Teaching

    Lecture Notes (download)

    Theses (undergraduate):

    General fields in which I can supervise your thesis:

    • Philosophy of physics and Philosophy of science
    • General philosophy
    • General relativity
    • Quantum Field Theory
    • String Theory and Quantum Gravity
    • Mathematical Physics


    Recent undergraduate theses:

    • Jasper Roosmale Nepveu (2018), Theories of massive vector fields: the Stueckelberg mechanism and the Higgs mechanism.
    • Khaled Tamimy (2018), Random Matrices and the Topological Expansion: A Case Study of the Saddle Point Method for Hermitian One-Matrix Models.
    • Sytze Bouma (2018), It's About Time. Rethinking philosophies of the passage of time (awarded 'thesis of distinction').
    • Samir Khan (2018), The Human in Alfred North Whitehead’s Cosmology.
    • Declan Jagt (2017), Different Strings and Different Behaviour: A comparison of the motion of fundamental and classical strings.
    • Basil van Wijk (2017), The Yukawa Model in a Field Theoretical Perspective.
    • Elena Dobretsova (2017), The Analysis of Secure Cryptographic Methods in Quantum Key Distribution Applied Over Long Distances.
    • Elio Monaco (2017), The WKB-Kemble one-dimensional model: Estimating the e ects of quantum tunneling in nuclear fusion.
    • Yolanda Murillo (2016), Three Interpretations for a Single Physical Reality.
    • Louis Leestemaker (2016), The Theory and Detection of Gravitational Waves (awarded 'thesis of distinction').
    • Kamiel Mobach (2016), Reconstructing Entropy from Objective Probabilities.
    • Paul Verhagen (2015), Understanding the Theory of Everything: Evaluating Criticism Aimed at String Theory.
    • Jens Maluck (2013), An Introduction to Supersymmetric Quantum Mechanics and Shape Invariant Potentials (awarded 'thesis of distinction').
    • Davide Dispenza (2013), Symmetry Breaking and the Higgs Mechanism.
    • Thomas Nutz (2013), The Instanton Approach to Quantum Gravity.
    • Djuna Croon (2012), The Holographic Framework for the Coleman-De Luccia Instanton (awarded 'thesis of distinction').
    • Stefano Lorini (2012), On the Emergence of Spacetime and the Origin or Gravity.
    • Emma Winkels (2012), The Black Hole Information Paradox.
    • Onno Huygen (2012), The Superconductor as a Hologram.
    • Stefan van der Sterren (2012), Black Hole Entropy.



    Theses (MA, MSc):

    Generally, I will supervise theses on one of the two following broad topics:

    • Philosophy of physics and philosophy of science
    • General philosophy 
    • History of science
    • Gauge/gravity dualities and the Holographic Principle
    • Topological Quantum Field Theory
    • Quantum Information and Origin of Gravity


  • Publications


    • Castellani, E., & De Haro , S. (Accepted/In press). Duality, Fundamentality, and Emergence. In D. Glick, G. Darby, & A. Marmodoro (Eds.), The Foundation of Reality: Fundamentality, Space and Time Oxford University Press.
    • De Haro, S. (2018). The Heuristic Function of Dualities. Synthese.
    • De Haro, S., & Butterfield, J. N. (2018). A Schema for Duality, Illustrated by Bosonization. In J. Kouneiher (Ed.), Foundations of Mathematics and Physics One Century After Hilbert: New Perspectives (pp. 305-376). Cham: Springer.
    • De Haro, S., & de Regt, H. W. (2018). A precipice below which lies absurdity? Theories without a spacetime and scientific understanding. Synthese.
    • De Haro, S., & de Regt, H. W. (2018). Interpreting Theories without a Spacetime. European Journal for Philosophy of Science, 8(3), 631–670. [details]








    • de Haro, S., Henke, J., & Tang, D. (2015). A. Cappelli, E. Castellani, F. Colomo and P. Di Vecchia (Eds.): The Birth of String Theory: [Review of: A. Cappelli, E. Castellani, F. Colomo, P. Di Vecchia (2012) The Birth of String Theory]. Foundations of Physics, 45(6), 657-660. [details]


    • De Haro, S. (2016). Prize competition for essays on Space and Time after Quantum Gravity.
    • De Haro, S. (2015). The Tarner scholarhsip, Trinity College, Cambridge.

    Talk / presentation

    • De Haro, S. (speaker) (19-10-2018). Towards a Theory of Emergence in the Physical Sciences, Boston Colloquium for Philosophy of Science, Boston University, USA.


    • De Haro, S. (participant) (2-11-2018). Equivalence and Duality of Physical Theories, Seattle, United States. Symposium organiser (organising a conference, workshop, ...).
    • De Haro, S. (visiting researcher) (12-10-2018 - 28-2-2019). Harvard University (visiting an external institution).
    • De Haro, S. (participant) (10-7-2018). Foundations 2018. Member of the programme committee. (organising a conference, workshop, ...).
    • De Haro, S. (participant) (24-8-2017). Duality, Equivalence, and Emergence, Munich, Germany. Symposium organiser (organising a conference, workshop, ...).


    • De Haro, S. (2013). Science and Philosophy: A Love-Hate Relationship.
    This list of publications is extracted from the UvA-Current Research Information System. Questions? Ask the library or the Pure staff of your faculty / institute. Log in to Pure to edit your publications. Log in to Personal Page Publication Selection tool to manage the visibility of your publications on this list.
  • Ancillary activities
    • Prometheus/Bert Bakker
      Writing a popular science book