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Dr William Simpson

Dr William Simpson

Philosophy and theology of nature

Metaphysics of science


William Simpson is a Junior Research Fellow of Wolfson College, Cambridge, and an Honorary Research Fellow of the University of St Andrews. His research interests span philosophy, physics and theology. His current work is funded by the John Templeton Foundation as part of the international project, God and the book of nature.

William holds doctorates in both philosophy and physics. He obtained a PhD in philosophy at the University of Cambridge (2016-20), 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", for which he received an Expanded Reason Award. Prior to his 'conversion' to analytic philosophy, 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.

William 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

Narration  (ACX profile)

  1. 2020: The Screwtape Letters,  by C.S. Lewis. (Read for Wolfson College, Cambridge).

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

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

“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.


Current students and supervisors can access the Faculty’s Moodle page by clicking on the image below.