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Dr William Simpson

Dr William Simpson

Philosophy and theology of nature

Metaphysics of science


William Simpson is a Research Associate of the Divinity Faculty, and a member of Peterhouse. His research interests span philosophy, physics and theology. He pursued a doctorate in philosophy at the University of Cambridge (2016-19), supported by a full doctoral scholarship from Peterhouse, and wrote a thesis on the metaphysics of science entitled, "What's the matter? Toward a neo-Aristotelian ontology of nature." He obtained an MPhil in the History and Philosophy of Science from the University of Cambridge in 2016. He obtained a PhD in Theoretical Physics at the University of St Andrews (2010-14), supported by a SUPA Prize full doctoral studentship, and wrote a thesis entitled, "Surprises in Theoretical Casimir Physics", for which he was awarded the Springer Thesis Prize. He obtained a first class MPhys in Theoretical Physics and Mathematics from the University of St Andrews in 2010, and completed a research project on Solar Flares, for which he was awarded the Duncan Prize and Medal.

William Simpson is an associate member of the Ian Ramsey Centre for Science and Religion at the University of Oxford. He was a visiting scientist at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel (2010-12).

The profile picture was taken by Gillian Gamble.

Other Professional Activities

Public Science Exhibitions

  1. 2012: Exhibitor in Best of Scottish Science Exhibition, (Group: Leonhardt), The Royal Society of Edinburgh, Edinburgh.

  2. 2011: Exhibitor in Summer Science Exhibition 2011, (Group: Leonhardt), The Royal Society, London

Key Publications

Edited volumes

neo Aristotelian 

Neo-Aristotelian Perspectives on Contemporary Science, William M. R. Simpson, R.C Koons and N. J. Teh (Contributing Editors), Routledge, 2017.

quantum forces 

Forces of the Quantum Vacuum: an introduction to Casimir Physics, William M.R. Simpson, U. Leonhardt (Contributing Editors), World Scientific Publishing, 2015.


surprises casimir  Surprises in Theoretical Casimir Physics, William M.R. Simpson, Springer, 2014 

Select papers in philosophy

“What’s the matter with Super-Humeanism?”, W.M.R. Simpson, British 
Journal for the Philosophy of Science, (accepted; forthcoming in 2019).

“Half-baked Humeanism”, in Neo-Aristotelian Perspectives on Contemporary 
Science, Eds. W.M.R. Simpson, R.C. Koons, N. J. Teh, Routledge, 2017.

“Ontological aspects of the Casimir Effect”, Studies in Hist. and 
Philos. of Modern Physics, 2014

Select papers in physics

“Exact solution for the Casimir stress in a spherically symmetric 
medium”, Leonhardt, U., Simpson, W. M. R., Phys. Rev. D, 2011.

“Divergence of the Casimir stress in inhomogeneous media”, Simpson, 
W.M.R, Horsley, S.A.R, Leonhardt, U., Phys. Rev. A, 2013.

“Casimir forces at the cutting edge”, Simpson, W.M.R., Leonhardt, U., 
Decca, R., Buhmann, S.Y., in Forces of the Quantum Vacuum: an 
introduction to Casimir Physics. World Scientific, 2015.

Papers in theology and literary studies

“Knowing nature”, in Knowing Creation, Eds. A. B. Torrance, T. H. 
McCall, Zondervan, 2017.

“The Science of Saruman”, Simpson, W.M.R., The Journal of Inklings Studies, 2015.

“The Significance of Andrew Perriman’s ‘Faith, Health and Prosperity’ in 
the Word of Faith Debate” Simpson, W.M.R, in the Journal of Pentecostal 
Theology, Vol 16(1) 64-96.

Other Publications

Philosophical journalism:

“The Law Pebble”, Philosophy Now, Issue 116, 2016.

Book reviews:

 “What the heavens declare”, SACB, Paternoster Periodicals, Vol 26, 2013.

 “Is Religion Irrational?” SACB, Paternoster Periodicals, Vol 25, 2013.

 “Philosophy Made Slightly Less Difficult”, Pneuma Review, Vol. 9, No. 3, 2006.


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