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Origins & The Big Questions: Conference 2008. Part 2

Origins & The Big Questions: Conference 2008. Part 2

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The Origin of the Universe, of the Laws of Nature,
and of Time and Time’s Arrow

Dr. Leonard Susskind

Dr. Leonard Susskind lectured on the origin of the universe, what might have triggered the big bang, what might have existed before our universe, how the big bang itself created both space and time, and how string theory may present a way for us to understand and ultimately test a final theory of everything.

Dr. Leonard Susskind, the discoverer of string theory, is the Felix Bloch Professor in theoretical physics at Stanford University and the author of the controversial new book The Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics. His contributions to physics include the discovery of string theory, the string theory of black hole entropy, the principle of “black hole complementarity,” the holographic principle, the matrix description of M-theory, the introduction of holographic entropy bounds in cosmology, and the idea of an anthropic string theory “landscape.” He has written numerous articles for the non-specialist including an award winning article on black holes in the Scientific American.

Dr. Paul Davies

Dr. Paul Davies, the theoretical physicist and wildly popular science writer, presented the latest research on the origin of the laws of nature, how they appear to be fine-tuned for life, how this might have come about through natural forces, and why the god hypothesis does not add anything to the scientific search for an explanation for the universe or the laws of nature.

Dr. Paul Davies is a theoretical physicist, cosmologist, astrobiologist, author and broadcaster. His research institute at Arizona State University will examine fundamental concepts in science. His research has ranged from the origin of the universe to the origin of life, and includes the properties of black holes, the nature of time and quantum field theory. Davies is known as a passionate science communicator. He gives numerous public lectures each year throughout the world and has written 27 books, including The Mind of God, The Goldilocks Enigma, God and the New Physics, and Cosmic Jackpot. He is the recipient of the 1995 Templeton Prize.

Dr. Sean Carroll

Dr. Sean Carroll visually striking lecture covered the origin of time and time’s arrow, why the universe can only go in one direction (time cannot flow backwards) because of entropy, and what this all means for understanding the nature of the deity (nothing, because science can say nothing useful about the supernatural).

Dr. Sean Carroll is a Senior Research Associate in Physics at the California Institute of Technology. His research focuses on cosmology, field theory, particle physics, and gravitation. He is currently studying the nature of dark matter and dark energy, connections between cosmology, quantum gravity, and string theory, and whether the early universe underwent a period of inflationary expansion. He is the author of Spacetime and Geometry: An Introduction to General Relativity, recorded a set of introductory lectures on cosmology for the Teaching Company, and is a contributor to the blog Cosmic Variance.

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