Vitaly Pronskikh

Applications Physicist I

Modeling/Energy Deposition/Theory Department

Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory



Vitaly Pronskikh is a physicist and a philosopher of science. He holds a PhD in Physics (Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, Dubna) and has been a PhD Candidate in Philosophy of Science at Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (his area of specialization was philosophy of scientific experimentation). Until 2010 he had worked as a Senior Scientist at Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, Dubna, Russia. Since then, he has been a Research Associate (postdoc), and an Application Physicist of Modeling/Energy Deposition/Theory Department (Accelerator Physics Center) at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Batavia, USA.

In physics, his research is centered on particle physics (rare decays), computer modeling and simulations for the instrumentation design, nuclear physics, and nuclear energy. He has published ~100 papers in those fields in cooperation with other scientists and international collaborations. Many people he met and learned from since his graduate studies, e.g. senior colleagues or University professors, were philosophically-minded scientists or scientists contributing to philosophy. Therefore, also in his view, science and philosophy should converge for a thoughtful practitioner of either field.

In philosophy, he focuses on philosophy of scientific experimentation in a broad sense: epistemology of modeling and simulations (e.g. verification and validation problem), history and philosophy of large research projects in big science and megascience, epistemology of large collaborations (e.g. epistemic stratification, unity, and epistemic justice), types of theory ladenness and exploratory experimentation, roles of experimental background.

He is a member of Philosophy of Science Association and American Physical Society. At Fermilab, Vitaly is a member of Fermi Society of Philosophy.

Representative Publications

  • Interlacing of theory, experiment and instrument in accelerator-based experiments: the “theoretical-operational” model, Investigated in Russia, 2009, (with A.I. Lipkin)
  • How to Model the World?, Metascience, November 2014,Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 597-601 (a review of M. Weisberg’s Simulation and Similarity).
  • Epistemic Disunity of Experimentation in Megascience and Approaches to its Surmounting, Epistemology & Philosophy of Science, 2015 (forthcoming, in Russian).
  • Philosophy of Scientific Experimentation, In: Philosophy of Science/ Handbook for Graduate Schools/ ed. A.I.Lipkin, Urait , 2015, p.512. (with A.I. Lipkin, in Russian).