David I. Kaiser

Professor of Physics
Germeshausen Professor of the History of Science (STS)
Research focuses on early-universe cosmology, foundations of quantum theory, and history of modern physics.

Research Interests

Early-Universe Cosmology ; High-Energy Theory ; History of Science

Biographical Sketch

David Kaiser is Germeshausen Professor of the History of Science and Professor of Physics at MIT. He is the author of several award-winning books on the history of modern physics, including Drawing Theories Apart: The Dispersion of Feynman Diagrams in Postwar Physics (2005) and How the Hippies Saved Physics: Science, Counterculture, and the Quantum Revival (2011). His latest book is Quantum Legacies: Dispatches from an Uncertain World (2020). Kaiser co-directs a research group on early-universe cosmology with Alan Guth in MIT’s Center for Theoretical Physics, and has also designed and helped to conduct novel experimental tests of quantum theory. A Fellow of the American Physical Society, Kaiser has received MIT’s highest awards for excellence in teaching. His work has been featured in Science, Nature, the New York Times, and the New Yorker magazine. His group’s efforts to conduct a “Cosmic Bell” test of quantum entanglement were featured in a documentary film, “Einstein’s Quantum Riddle,” which premiered on US Public Television stations in 2019.

More info:

A conversation with David Kaiser, Physicist and Historian of Science at MIT
Courtesy of ICE at Dartmouth | YouTube

Awards & Honors

  • 2021 // Quantum Legacies: Dispatches from an Uncertain World (University of Chicago Press, 2020), named to the "Best of the Year" lists of Physics Today and Physics World magazines.
  • 2016 // George Sarton Memorial Lecturer, History of Science Society
  • 2013 // Davis Prize (History of Science Society) for best book aimed at a general audience
  • 2012 // Physics World Magazine "Book of the Year" Award
  • 2012-22 // Margaret MacVicar Faculty Fellow, MIT (Honors MIT's Best Teachers)
  • 2012 // Frank E. Perkins Award for Excellence in Graduate Advising, MIT
  • 2010 // American Physical Society Fellow "For his outstanding publications that combine technical mastery of twentieth-century physics with a deep knowledge of recent developments in the history, philosophy, and sociology of science."
  • 2007 // History of Science Society Pfizer Award for best book in the field
  • 2006 // Harald E. Edgerton Faculty Achievement Award, MIT
  • 2001 // Levitan Prize in the Humanities, MIT
  • 1993 // Leroy Apker Award (APS) "for outstanding achievements in physics by undergraduate students."

Key Publications

  • R. Nguyen, J. van de Vis, E. I. Sfakianakis, J. T. Giblin, Jr., and D. I. Kaiser, “Nonlinear dynamics of Preheating after Multifield Inflation with Nonminimal Couplings,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 123: 171301 (2019), arXiv:1905.12562.

  • D. Rauch et al. (Cosmic Bell collaboration), “Cosmic Bell Test using Random Measurement Settings from High-Redshift Quasars,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 121: 080403 (2018), arXiv:1808.05966.

  • J. Formaggio, D. I. Kaiser, M. Murskyj, and T. Weiss, “Violation of the Leggett-Garg Inequality in Neutrino Oscillations,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 117: 050402 (2016), arXiv:1602.00041.