Melissa Jacquart

Doctoral Student

Department of Philosophy

Research Area:
Philosophy of Physics
Philosophy of Science
Philosophy Education

Melissa Jacquart is currently a doctoral student in the philosophy department. Her research interests are primarily in the history and philosophy of science, particularly the philosophy of physics and cosmology. She is also interested in philosophy education and ethics & values in science. Before coming to Western University, she worked as a science assistant for the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the Washington, D.C. area. As a science assistant, Melissa assisted with all aspects of proposal processing and evaluation, preparing numerous reports for the Foundation, as well as outcome reports for the public and U.S. congress. Melissa received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, majoring in astronomy, philosophy, and physics, and her Master’s degree from Western.

My interests fall primarily in philosophy of cosmology, and in the foundations of physics. Much of my current research has been driven by my interest in the role of evidence in reasoning in cosmology, as well as in science more broadly. I’m interested in methodological and epistemic issues of theory-observation interaction, philosophical issues connected with the cosmological principle of observational astronomy, and the nature of interaction between observation and theory. I‘m also interested in how cosmologists think about their models in practice, and how they use models as tools for information and understanding. Through investigating these philosophical issues, I would like to better understand scientific reasoning in cosmology by making more explicit the form, scope and limits of cosmological theories.

In regards to philosophy education, I’m interested in research related to the development of reasoning and critical thinking skills as a way to improve scientific literacy among world citizens. Currently, I am working on research relevant to developing K-12 outreach activities that promote critical thinking through the history and philosophy of science.

My time spent working at the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the Science, Technology, and Society (STS) program and the Ethics Education in Science and Engineering (EESE) program has also left me with an interest in how ethics & values play a role in science. I’m particularly interested in exploring how different disciplines identify and handle values and ethical assumptions. My time at NSF has also left me with a general interest in science policy.

MA Thesis:

Underdetermination in Cosmology and the Case of Dark Energy. Western University, 2012 (Supervisor: Chris Smeenk).

Book Chapters:

Kronz, F. and Jacquart, M. “The Scientific Method” in Leadership in Science and Technology: A Reference Handbook. Edited by William Sims Bainbridge. SAGE Publications, Inc. 2011. ISBN 141297688X

Conference Presentations (selections):

“Critical Thinking and Public Understanding of Science” (Invited). Science, Technology, and Society (STS) Department, Drexel University. Philadelphia, PA. October 2015.

“Critical Thinking and Public Understanding of Science” (Invited). American Philosophical Association, Pacific Division, panel on Philosophical Expertise and Public Engagement of Science. Vancouver, BC, Canada. April 2015.

“Lead TAs: A Peer Graduate Student Teacher Training Program”. American Association for Philosophy Teachers (AAPT) Conference. Collegeville, MN. August 2014.

“Equality of Opportunity, Education, and the Case of MOOCs”. Robert Macmillan Graduate Research in Education Symposium, Western University. April 2013

“Fair Teaching Practices, Inclusivity, and Working Towards Equitable Representation in the Classroom” with Y. Benétreau-Dupin (Invited). Women and the Academy: Listen, Speak, Learn Workshop. The Women’s Committee of PSAC Local 610 Union, Western University. March 2013.




Fall/Winter 2014-2015, Introduction to Philosophy, Western University, (Teaching Assistant)

Fall/Winter 2013-2014, Philosophy Department Lead Teaching Assistant, Western University

Fall/Winter 2012-2013, Critical Thinking, Western University (Teaching Assistant)

Winter 2012, Einstein for Everyone, Western University (Grader)

Fall 2011, Media Ethics, Western University (Grader)