Sabine Hossenfelder

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Sabine Hossenfelder
Sabine Hossenfelder.jpg
Born (1976-09-18) 18 September 1976 (age 43)
Alma materGoethe University Frankfurt
EmployerFrankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies
Known forQuantum gravity

Sabine Hossenfelder (born 18 September 1976) is an author and theoretical physicist who researches quantum gravity. She is a Research Fellow at the Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies where she leads the Analog Systems for Gravity Duals group. She is the author of Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray, which explores the concept of elegance in fundamental physics and cosmology.


Hossenfelder completed her undergraduate degree in 1997 at Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität in Frankfurt am Main.[1] She remained there for a Master's degree under the supervision of Walter Greiner, entitled "Particle Production in Time Dependent Gravitational Fields", which she completed in 2000.[2] Hossenfelder received her doctorate "Black Holes in Large Extra Dimensions" from the same institution in 2003, under the supervision of Horst Stöcker.[3][4]


Hossenfelder remained in Germany until 2004 as a postdoctoral researcher at the GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research in Darmstadt, Germany.[1] She moved to North America and completed research fellowships at the University of Arizona, Tucson, University of California, Santa Barbara and Perimeter Institute, Canada.[5][6][7] She joined Nordita Institute for Theoretical Physics, Sweden, in 2009 as an Assistant Professor.[8][9] In 2018 she was a Research Fellow at the Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies.[10]

Hossenfelder's research interest is in the phenomenology of quantum gravity.[8] She focuses on the role of Lorentz invariance and locality, which would be altered in the discovery of quantum gravity.[8] Hossenfelder is trying to find experimental evidence of quantum gravity.[11][12][13][14] Since 2007 she has been involved with the annual conference series "Experimental Search for Quantum Gravity".[15] Hossenfelder has created a number of YouTube videos exploring the topic.[16][17][18] She has been employed by the Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies since 2015, where she leads the Analog Systems for Gravity Duals group.[19] Hossenfelder has also been researching since at least 2008 on how technology is changing researchers ability to publicize, discuss, or publish their research, when she co-organized the “Science in the 21st Century” workshop.[20]

Public engagement[edit]

Hossenfelder is a freelance popular science writer who has kept a blog since 2006.[21] She contributes to the Forbes column "Starts with a Bang"[22] as well as Quanta Magazine,[23] New Scientist,[24] Nature,[25] Scientific American,[26] Nautilus[27] and Physics Today.[citation needed] In 2016, Hossenfelder offered to act as a physics consultant on her blog—$50 USD for twenty minutes of discussion—and had to recruit five extra physicists to deal with the demand.[28][29] In 2017 she created cards featuring pioneering quantum physicists.[30] Live Science and The Guardian quoted Hossenfelder as an authority when trying to evaluate the importance of Stephen Hawking's last scientific publication.[31][32]

Basic Books are the publishers of Hossenfelder's first book, Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray, released in June 2018.[33][34][35] A review in Nature described it as "provocative",[36] and Frank Wilczek recommended it as an "intensely personal and intellectually hard-edged" book, even though he disagreed with it "on many points".[37] Peter Woit summarized the book's theme as follows:

At various points Hossenfelder makes it clear that her worry is that physicists are getting stuck due to outdated notions of "beauty", while at the same time she still believes that successful new ideas will come with their own new form of "beauty".[38]

Hossenfelder also is invited for talks, about "What is wrong with physics" for example.[39]

Other activity[edit]

Hossenfelder wrote and sang a number of songs available on YouTube[40] and SoundCloud.[41]


  • Sabine Hossenfelder, Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray, Basic Books, June 2018.
  • Sabine Hossenfelder and Stacy S. McGaugh, "Is Dark Matter Real? Astrophysicists have piled up observations that are difficult to explain with dark matter. It is time to consider that there may be more to gravity than Einstein taught us", Scientific American, vol. 319, no. 2 (August 2018), pp. 36–43.


  1. ^ a b "Bio". Retrieved 2019-01-17.
  2. ^ Hossenfelder, Sabine; Schwarz, Dominik J.; Greiner, Walter (2003). "Particle production in time-dependent gravitational fields: the expanding mass shell". Classical and Quantum Gravity. 20 (11): 2337–2354. arXiv:gr-qc/0210110. Bibcode:2003CQGra..20.2337H. doi:10.1088/0264-9381/20/11/325. ISSN 0264-9381.
  3. ^ Hossenfelder, Sabine; Bleicher, Marcus; Hofmann, Stefan; Stöcker, Horst; Kotwal, Ashutosh V. (2003). "Black hole relics in large extra dimensions". Physics Letters B. 566 (3–4): 233–239. arXiv:hep-ph/0302247. Bibcode:2003PhLB..566..233H. doi:10.1016/s0370-2693(03)00835-9.
  4. ^ DeBakcsy, Dale (September 26, 2018). "Sabine Hossenfelder and the Trials of 21st Century Physics". Women You Should Know. Retrieved 9 November 2018.
  5. ^ "The Multiverse at Perimeter | Not Even Wrong". Retrieved 2018-01-27.
  6. ^ Horgan, John. "Physicist Sabine Hossenfelder Fears Theorists, Lacking Data, May Succumb to "Wishful Thinking"". Scientific American Blog Network. Retrieved 2018-01-27.
  7. ^ Hossenfelder, S. (2008). "Bimetric theory with exchange symmetry". Physical Review D. 78 (4): 044015. arXiv:0807.2838. Bibcode:2008PhRvD..78d4015H. doi:10.1103/physrevd.78.044015.
  8. ^ a b c Mühlen, Hans. "Sabine Hossenfelder - NORDITA". Retrieved 2018-01-27.
  9. ^ Are we there yet? : the search for a theory of everything. Emam, Moataz H. [Saif Zone, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates]: Bentham Science Publishers. 2011. ISBN 9781608052141. OCLC 759158465.CS1 maint: others (link)
  10. ^ "Sabine Hossenfelder |". Retrieved 2018-01-27.
  11. ^ "Talks". Retrieved 2019-01-17.
  12. ^ Sabine Hossenfelder (2015-10-10). "News from Quantum Gravity Phenomenology". Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  13. ^ Hossenfelder, Sabine (2010-10-17). "Experimental Search for Quantum Gravity". In V. R. Frignanni (eds.). Classical and Quantum Gravity: Theory, Analysis and Applications. 5. Nova Publishers. arXiv:1010.3420. Bibcode:2010arXiv1010.3420H.CS1 maint: uses editors parameter (link)
  14. ^ Hossenfelder, Sabine; Marletto, Chiara; Vedral, Vlatko (2017-09-06). "Quantum gravity: Quantum effects in the gravitational field". Nature. 549 (7670): 31. Bibcode:2017Natur.549...31H. doi:10.1038/549031a. PMID 28880282.
  15. ^ "Experimental Search for Quantum Gravity (19-30 September 2016)". Indico - FIAS Events. Retrieved 2018-01-27.
  16. ^ Sabine Hossenfelder (2017-10-11), What could we learn from quantum gravity?, retrieved 2018-01-27
  17. ^ Selen Atalay (2016-08-27), Sabine Hossenfelder talks about Quantum Gravity Phenomonology in 3 mins, retrieved 2018-01-27
  18. ^ Sabine Hossenfelder (2012-07-30), My research area: The Phenomenology of Quantum Gravity, retrieved 2018-01-27
  19. ^ "Analog Systems for Gravity Duals / FIAS". Retrieved 2018-07-19.
  20. ^ "Science in the 21st Century | Perimeter Institute". Retrieved 2019-03-03.
  21. ^ "About". Retrieved 2018-01-27.
  22. ^ Hossenfelder, Sabine. "Why Trust A Theory? Physicists And Philosophers Debate The Scientific Method". Starts With A Bang. Forbes. Retrieved 2018-01-27.
  23. ^ "Sabine Hossenfelder | Quanta Magazine". Retrieved 2018-01-27.
  24. ^ "Strangely familiar: Is dark matter normal stuff in disguise?". New Scientist. Retrieved 2018-01-27.
  25. ^ Hossenfelder, Sabine (2017-04-05). "Science needs reason to be trusted". Nature Physics. 13 (4): 316–317. Bibcode:2017NatPh..13..316H. doi:10.1038/nphys4079.
  26. ^ Hossenfelder, Sabine (2015). "Head Trip". Scientific American. 313 (3): 46–49. Bibcode:2015SciAm.313c..46H. doi:10.1038/scientificamerican0915-46.
  27. ^ Hossenfelder, Sabine. "What Quantum Gravity Needs Is More Experiments". Nautilus.
  28. ^ "Q&A with Sabine Hossenfelder: Consultant for Armchair Physicists". Retrieved 2018-01-27.
  29. ^ "What I learned as a hired consultant to autodidact physicists – Sabine Hossenfelder | Aeon Ideas". Aeon. Retrieved 2018-01-27.
  30. ^ "The Quantum Quartet". Retrieved 2019-09-22.
  31. ^ "Stephen Hawking's Last Paper (Probably) Doesn't Prove We Live in a Multiverse". Live Science. Retrieved 2018-03-29.
  32. ^ Sample, Ian (2018-03-14). "A life in science: Stephen Hawking". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-03-29.
  33. ^ Hossenfelder, Sabine (2018). Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray. Basic Books. ISBN 9780465094264.
  34. ^ "Review of Lost in Math". Kirkus Reviews. April 2018.
  35. ^ "Review of Lost in Math". Publishers Weekly. 30 April 2018.
  36. ^ "Interactions: Conversation with Sabine Hossenfelder : On your wavelength". Retrieved 2018-07-19.
  37. ^ Wilczek, Frank (2018-09-01). "Has elegance betrayed physics?". Physics Today. 71 (9): 57. doi:10.1063/PT.3.4022.
  38. ^ Woit, Peter (2018-06-11). "Lost in Math". MAA Reviews. Mathematical Association of America.
  39. ^ Was läuft falsch in der gegenwärtigen Physik?, University of Stuttgart, 2019-05-14.
  40. ^ "Sabine Hossenfelder: Music Videos". YouTube. Retrieved 15 September 2019.
  41. ^ "Dr. B". SoundCloud. Retrieved 15 September 2019.

External links[edit]