The Origins of the Universe: Why Is There Something Rather than Nothing?

The Origins of the Universe: Why Is There Something Rather than Nothing?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The New York Academy of Sciences

Presented By

Presented by The Nour Foundation, The New York Academy of Sciences, and Wisconsin Public Radio's nationally-syndicated program To the Best of Our Knowledge

 

Video of the full event is available on the Nour Foundation's YouTube channel.

Perhaps the greatest mystery is why the universe exists in the first place. How is it possible for something to emerge from nothing, or has a universe in some form always existed? This question of origins — both of the universe as a whole and of the fundamental laws of physics — raises profound scientific, philosophical, and religious questions, culminating in the most basic existential question of all: Why are we here?

*Reception to follow.

Featuring

David Albert, PhD
Professor of Philosophy, Columbia University
Author of "Quantum Mechanics and Experience and "Time and Chance"

Jim Holt

Writer, Essayist, and Critic
Author of "Why Does the World Exist?"

Neil Turok, PhD

Director, the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics
Co-author of "Endless Universe: Beyond the Big Bang"

Moderator

Steve Paulson

Executive Producer, Wisconsin Public Radio's nationally-syndicated program To the Best of Our Knowledge

Registration — Individual Lecture Prices

Member$5
Member (Student / Postdoc / Resident / Fellow)$5
Nonmember$15
Nonmember (Student / Postdoc / Resident / Fellow)$7


Presented by

  • The New York Academy of Sciences
  • Nour Foundation
  • To the Best of Our Knowledge

 

Media Sponsor

 


This event is part of the Beyond the Big Bang series.

Moderated by Wisconsin Public Radio's Steve Paulson, this intriguing three-part series brings together leading physicists, philosophers, historians, and writers to explore the multiple scientific and philosophical dimensions suggested by modern physics, including how recent discoveries are impacting our enduring search for meaning in the universe.

To learn more about each lecture and to purchase tickets, click on the links below.

 

Speakers

Featuring

David Albert, PhD

Professor of Philosophy, Columbia University
Author of "Quantum Mechanics and Experience and Time and Chance"

David Albert is the Fredrick E. Woodbridge Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University. He received his PhD in theoretical physics from the Rockefeller University in 1981, and has taught since then both in physics and philosophy departments in Tel Aviv University, the University of South Carolina, Harvard, Princeton, and Columbia. Most of his work has been focused on issues at the foundations of quantum mechanics, and on fundamental questions about the direction of time. He is the author of numerous scientific and philosophical articles and three books: "Quantum Mechanics and Experience, Time and Chance," and "After Physics" (all of which are published by Harvard University Press, and the third of which is forthcoming in January of 2015).

Jim Holt

Writer, Essayist, and Critic
Author of "Why Does the World Exist?"

Jim Holt is a longtime contributor to the New Yorker, where he has written on string theory, time, infinity, numbers, laughter, logic, truth, and bullshit, among other topics. He also writes regularly for the New York Times, the New York Review of Books, and the London Review of Books. His bestselling 2012 book "Why Does the World Exist?: An Existential Detective Story" was a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist for general nonfiction and was named one of the ten best books of the year by the New York Times Book Review; it is being published worldwide in 18 languages. Holt received his B.A. and M.A. in mathematics from the University of Virginia, and was a faculty fellow in the philosophy department at Columbia University. He is currently at work on a book about free will, weakness of will, rationality, self-deception, and happiness.

Neil Turok, PhD

Director, the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics
Co-author of "Endless Universe: Beyond the Big Bang"

Neil Turok is one of the world’s leading theoretical physicists. Formerly Professor of Physics at Princeton and Chair of Mathematical Physics at Cambridge, he is currently Director and Niels Bohr Chair at Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Canada. Neil's research focuses on developing fundamental theories of cosmology and new observational tests. His predictions for the correlations of the polarization and temperature of the cosmic background radiation (CBR) and of the galaxy-CBR correlations induced by dark energy have been recently confirmed. With Stephen Hawking, he discovered instanton solutions describing the birth of inflationary universes. With Paul Steinhardt, he developed an alternative, cyclic cosmology, whose predictions are so far in agreement with observational tests. Born in South Africa, Turok founded the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS), a network of five centres across Africa. For his scientific discoveries and his work founding and developing AIMS, Turok was awarded a TED Prize in 2008.

Moderator

Steve Paulson

Executive Producer, Wisconsin Public Radio's nationally-syndicated program To the Best of Our Knowledge.

Steve Paulson is the executive producer and an interviewer with To the Best of Our Knowledge, the Peabody Award-winning radio program produced at Wisconsin Public Radio and syndicated nationally by Public Radio International. Paulson has written for Salon, Slate, Huffington Post, The Chronicle of Higher EducationThe Independent and other publications. His radio reports have also been broadcast on NPR's Morning Edition and All Things Considered. His recent book, "Atoms and Eden: Conversations on Religion and Science," was published by Oxford University Press.

Travel & Lodging

Our Location

The New York Academy of Sciences

7 World Trade Center
250 Greenwich Street, 40th floor
New York, NY 10007-2157
212.298.8600

Directions to the Academy

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