• Academy Events

  • Origins of Time's Arrow

    October 15 - 16, 2007
    The New York Academy of Sciences

    Presented by the String Theory, Astrophysics, and Cosmology Discussion Group, Columbia University Institute for Strings, Cosmology, and Astroparticle Physics (ISCAP), Perimeter Institute, and UNC Chapel Hill

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    This conference will involve a concentrated focus of leading world experts from a wide range of perspectives on one of the most outstanding issues in cosmology and theoretical physics - why time unfolds with a definite orientation even though the underlying laws are time reversal invariant.

    The meeting is first in a series aimed at stimulating progress on outstanding topics in theoretical physics.


    Monday, October 15

    8:45am - 9:00am
    Welcoming Remarks by Brian Greene

    9:00am - 9:45am
    The Emergent Nature of Time and the Complex Numbers in Quantum Cosmology
    Gary Gibbons, Cambridge

    9:45am - 10:30am
    Physics and Chance
    David Albert, Columbia University

    10:30am - 11:00am
    Coffee Break

    11:00am - 11:45am
    Why Did The Universe Start In Such An Extraordinarly Ordered State?
    Laura Mersini-Houghton, UNC-Chapel Hill

    11:45am - 12:30pm
    The Arrow of Time and Cosmic Inflation
    Andreas Albrecht, UC Davis

    12:30pm - 2:00pm

    2:00pm - 2:45pm
    The Origin of Time and Complexity: Why Was the Entropy So Low, and Why Wasn't It Even Lower?
    Max Tegmark, MIT

    2:45pm - 3:30pm
    Time as a Fundamental, Non-emergent, Aspect of Reality
    Lee Smolin, Perimeter Institute

    3:30pm - 4:00pm
    Coffee Break

    4:00pm - 4:45pm
    Holographic Cosmology and the Arrow of Time
    Tom Banks, Rutgers and UC Santa Cruz

    4:45pm - 5:30pm
    Black Hole Constraints on the Particle Species
    Gia Dvali, New York University

    6:00pm - 7:00pm

    7:00pm - 9:00pm
    Panel Discussion

    Tuesday, October 16

    9:00am - 9:45am
    Time's Arrow and the Strength of Inflation
    Leonard Parker, UW Milwaukee

    9:45am - 10:30am
    Quantum Mechanics with Real Clocks
    Jorge Pullin, Louisiana State University

    10:30am - 11:00am
    Coffee Break

    11:00am - 11:45am
    The Arrow of Time and the Initial Conditions of the Universe
    Robert M. Wald, Chicago

    11:45am - 12:30pm
    Time Evolution and Dimension in String Theory
    Eva Silverstein, Stanford University

    12:30pm - 2:00pm

    2:00pm - 2:45pm
    String Theory Insights into the Arrow of Time
    Gary Horowitz, UC Santa Barbara

    2:45pm - 3:30pm
    Hidden Assumptions and Unaddressed Problems of Time Asymmetry
    Paul Davies, Arizona State University

    3:30pm - 3:50pm
    Phantom Bounce
    Katie Freese, University of Michigan

    3:50 pm - 4:00 pm
    Closing Remarks

    Scientific Organizing Committee

    • Brian Greene (Columbia University)
    • Justin Khoury (Perimeter Institute)
    • Laura Mersini-Houghton (University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill)


    • National Science Foundation
    • Perimeter Institute
    • Bahnson Fund
    • University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
    • Columbia University Institute for Strings, Cosmology, and Astroparticle Physics (ISCAP)
    • Foundational Questions Institute (FQXi)