Foundations of Physics
Rotman Institute of Philosophy
Western Interdisciplinary Research Building, 7140
London, Ontario, Canada
Canada Research Chair in Foundations of Physics;
Assistant Professor, Department of Applied Mathematics, and Department of Philosophy, Western University
Francesca Vidotto is a theoretical physicist. She tackles the problem of understanding the quantum properties of space and time from an interdisciplinary perspective, bringing together the mathematical, experimental and philosophical aspects of the problem. Much of work focuses on the application of Loop Quantum Gravity to cosmology and black holes.
She studied at the universities of Padova, Pavia, and Aix-Marseille, and she held postdoctoral positions in Grenoble, Nijmegen (as NWO Rubicon and Veni Fellow) and Bilbao. Since 2019 she is a member of the Physics and Astronomy Department and of the Philosophy Department at Western, where she holds a Canada research Chair in the Foundations of Physics.
Francesca Vidotto has been active in promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion, and is interested in feminist philosophy of science. She is also always keen to seek opportunities to bring together art and science.
Francesca Vidotto’s work addresses fundamental questions, such as the nature of space and of time, in the context of Loop Quantum Gravity, today’s the main non- perturbative approach to the quantization of gravity. The characteristic of her work is its interdisciplinary and the broad perspective, that integrates formal, phenomenological, and conceptual aspects. On one hand, Francesca Vidotto seeks concrete physical situations where quantum effects of the gravitational field are relevant and could potentially be measured. These are provided by primordial cosmology and by black holes. On the other hand, these problems open new conceptual questions, that require a reflection on the mathematical tools used and on the philosophical categories that we use to describe space, time, and matter.
In cosmology, Francesca Vidotto has worked on the removal of cosmological singularity in quantum cosmology and on the study of primordial quantum fluctuations. She worked on this in the framework of Loop Quantum Cosmology, with the canonical formalism, and she pioneered the use of the Spinfoam covariant formalism to tackle these problems. With her research group, she is currently focusing on the development of numerical techniques to understand primordial quantum fluctuations as a prediction of the full Loop Quantum Gravity Theory.
For black holes, with Carlo Rovelli she proposed the replacement of the central singularity with a “Planck Star”. This would lead to the evolution of a black hole into a white hole: Francesca Vidotto has contributed to different works to understand the astrophysical signature of black holes turning white. She then studied a possible further phase of black holes, that of quantum remnants. She is currently exploring the possibility for these remnants to contribute to dark matter.
Francesca Vidotto’s research is guided by the idea that relationality plays a fundamental role in contemporary physics. She is interested in developing further this idea in the context of understanding time. Concretely, she is interested in investigating the definition of clocks in cosmology, the covariant formulation of thermodynamics, and in general the role of boundaries and partitions in gauge theories.
Full list of Francesca Vidotto’s publication: https://scholar.google.com/citations? hl=en&user=qSUmchAAAAAJ
Covariant loop quantum gravity: an elementary introduction to quantum gravity and spinfoam theory
Carlo Rovelli and Francesca Vidotto
Cambridge University Press (2014)
Selected Physics Papers
Primordial fluctuations from quantum gravity Francesco Gozzini, Francesca Vidotto Front. Astron. Space Sci. 7:629466 (2021)
Quantum insights on Primordial Black Holes as Dark Matter Francesca Vidotto
Compact phase space, cosmological constant, discrete time Carlo Rovelli, Francesca Vidotto
Phys. Rev. D 91, 084037 (2015)
Carlo Rovelli, Francesca Vidotto
International Journal of Modern Physics D Vol. 23, No. 12, 1442026 (2014)
Evidence for Maximal Acceleration and Singularity Resolution in Covariant Loop Quantum Gravity
Authors: Carlo Rovelli, Francesca Vidotto
Phys. Rev. Lett. 111, 091303 (2013)
Selected Philosophy Papers
Time, space and matter in the primordial universe
Author: Francesca Vidotto
In the volume “Advances in Cosmology”, edited by M. Streit-Bianchi Marilena, P. Catapan, C. Galbiati, E. Magnani, Springer Nature (2022).
The relational ontology of contemporary physics
Author: Francesca Vidotto
In the volume “Quantum Mechanics and Fundamentality: Naturalizing Quantum Theory between Scientific Realism and Ontological Indeterminacy”, edited by Valia Allori, Springer Nature (2022)
Relational Quantum Cosmology
Author: Francesca Vidotto
In the volume “Philosophy of Cosmology”, edited by K. Chamcham, J. Barrow, J. Silk and S. Saunders, Cambridge University Press (2015)
Atomism and Relationalism as guiding principles for Quantum Gravity Author: Francesca Vidotto
Faculty Research Domains
Rotman Institute faculty members are listed below by shared research areas. Visit individual member profiles to learn more.