Amidst Rocky Peaks, Physicists Ponder the Universe — The Aspen Center for Physics, a mountain retreat for theoretical physicists, turns 50 this year.
Tagged with “theoretical physics” (12)
If you care about the big questions of the physical world, then Lisa Randall would be great company at a dinner party. Over drinks, the Harvard physicist could tell you what we know and don’t know about particle physics and cosmology.
During dinner she’d use poetry to describe the Large Hadron Collider – the biggest machine ever built – and the mysteries it could soon reveal. And with dessert — a passionate argument for the value of scientific thinking and what we lose when we put faith over logic.
Leonard Susskind of the Stanford Institute for Theoretical Physics discusses the indestructability of information and the nature of black holes in a lecture entitled The World As Hologram.
Leonard Mlodinow and co-author Stephen Hawking say that you can explain the existence of everything without requiring God. Charles Yu’s novel details some of the perils of existence in multiple time streams. James Kakalios says that some of the early quantum physicists were inspired by science fiction. John Polkinghorne is the author of many books on the subject of bridging the gap between science and religion. Michio Kaku tells us exactly why the impossible just takes a little longer.
When writing the Principia Mathematica, Isaac Newton declared his hand on most of the big questions in physics. He outlined the nature of space, explained the motions of the planets and conceived the operation of gravity. He also laid down the law on time declaring:
“Absolute, true, and mathematical time, of itself and from its own nature, flows equably without relation to anything external.”
For Newton time was absolute and set apart from the universe, but with the theories of Albert Einstein time became more complicated; it could be squeezed and distorted and was different in different places.
Time is integral to our experience of things but we find it very difficult to think about. It may not even exist and yet seems written into the existence of absolutely everything.
Jim Al-Khalili, Professor of Theoretical Physics and Chair in the Public Engagement in Science at the University of Surrey
Monica Grady, Professor of Planetary and Space Sciences at the Open University
Ian Stewart, Professor of Mathematics at the University of Warwick
(sometimes, they pull these shows after a week…but there’s a real audio stream available on their site: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/history/inourtime/rams/inourtime_20081218.ram)
Please Explain is all about matter, anti-matter, and dark matter. Lisa Randall, Professor of Theoretical Physics at Harvard University; Michael Tuts, Professor of Physics at Columbia University and Mordecai Mark Mac-Low, Chair of the Department of Physics at the American Museum of Natural History tell us all about what it is and what it means.
New theories in physics claim that each of us has many exact replicas of ourselves in other universes - in theory you could get in a spaceship and if you travelled far enough, meet your identical self in an identical world! Some cosmologists say that if you accept space is infinite, then even the most improbable event must take place eventually. Join our panel of cosmologists and philosophers and bend your mind. Cafe Scientific at the Sydney Writers Festival Hosted by Dr Paul Willis, reporter ABC Catalyst
Lawrence Krauss is a professor in the Department of Physics at Arizona State University. His lecture entitled Life, the Universe and Nothing was recorded at the Isabel Bader Theatre in Toronto on March 27th, 2009.
Neil Turok on the "Endless Universe" and the Q2C:Quantum to Cosmos Festival.
The evidence that the universe emerged 14 billion years ago from an event called ‘the big bang’ is overwhelming. Yet the cause of this event remains deeply mysterious. In the conventional picture, the ‘initial singularity’ is unexplained. It is simply assumed that the universe somehow sprang into existence full of ‘inflationary’ energy, blowing up the universe into the large, smooth state we observe today. While this picture is in excellent agreement with current observations, it is both contrived and incomplete, leading us to suspect that it is not the final word. In this lecture, the standard inflationary picture will be contrasted with a new view of the initial singularity suggested by string and M-theory, in which the bang is a far more normal, albeit violent, event which occurred in a pre-existing universe. According to the new picture, a cyclical model of the universe becomes feasible in which one bang is followed by another, in a potentially endless series of cosmic cycles. The presentation will also review exciting recent theoretical developments and forthcoming observational tests which could distinguish between the rival inflationary and cyclical hypotheses.
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