James T. Cushing

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James T. Cushing
James Thomas Cushing

4 February 1937
Died29 March 2002 (2002-03-30) (aged 65)
Alma mater
Scientific career
FieldsTheoretical physics
Philosophy of science
InfluencesLarry Laudan[1]

James Thomas Cushing (/ˈkʌʃɪŋ/; 4 February 1937 – 29 March 2002) was an American theoretical physicist and philosopher of science. He was professor of physics as well as professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame.[2]

Life and career[edit]

He studied physics in several universities in the US, obtaining his BSc from Loyola University, Chicago, Illinois in 1959, his MSc from Northwestern University in 1960 and his PhD, also in physics, from the University of Iowa in 1963. He then performed research at the University of Iowa, the Imperial College in London and the Argonne National Laboratory, after which he joined the University of Notre Dame, initially as assistant professor from 1966 to 1969, then advancing to associate professor and, from 1978 onwards, as professor of physics. From 1990 to 1993, he additionally was professor of philosophy at the same university.

Cushing's main areas of research were the history and philosophy of 20th century physics and the foundations of quantum theory. He investigated in particular interpretations of quantum mechanics, including the historical reasons for the success of the Copenhagen interpretation over hidden-variable theories or the de Broglie–Bohm theory (causal interpretation of quantum mechanics).

Since 2004, an annual prize is awarded in honor of James T. Cushing to younger scholars for significant work in the history and philosophical foundations of modern physics.[3]


James T. Cushing has authored more than 100 scientific articles.[4]

  • James T. Cushing, Philosophical Concepts in Physics: The Historical Relation between Philosophy and Scientific Theories, Cambridge University Press, 1998
  • J. T. Cushing, A. Fine, S. Goldstein (eds.), Bohmian Mechanics and Quantum-Theory: An Appraisal, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht 1996 (Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science, 184)
  • James T. Cushing, Quantum Mechanics: Historical Contingency and the Copenhagen Hegemony, The University of Chicago Press, 1994[5]
  • James T. Cushing, Theory Construction and Selection in Modern Physics: The S Matrix, Cambridge University Press, 1990[6]
  • James T. Cushing and Ernan McMullin (eds.), Philosophical Consequences of Quantum Theory, University of Notre Dame Press, 1989
  • James T. Cushing, C. F. Delaney and Gary Gutting (eds.), Science and Reality: Recent Work in the Philosophy of Science, University of Notre Dame Press, 1984
  • James T. Cushing, Applied Analytical Mathematics for Physical Scientists, John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 651 pages (1975).


  1. ^ Cushing 1998, p. 377.
  2. ^ Howard, Don; McGlinn, William (October 2002). "Obituary: James Thomas Cushing". Physics Today. 55 (10): 70. doi:10.1063/1.1522181.
  3. ^ The Cushing Memorial Prize
  4. ^ James T. Cushing, curriculum vitae, University of Notre Dame
  5. ^ Loewer, Barry. "Copenhagen versus Bohmian interpretations of quantum theory." (Review of Quantum Mechanics by J. T. Cushing) (1998): 317–328. JSTOR 688118
  6. ^ Franklin, Allan (September 1992). "Review of Theory Construction and Selection in Modern Physics: The S Matrix by James T. Cushing". The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science. 43 (3): 431–433. JSTOR 687768.

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