The Unification of Physics: The Quest for a Theory of Everything

The Unification of Physics: The Quest for a Theory of Everything

Wednesday, December 10, 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.

The holy grail of physics has been to merge each of its fundamental branches into a unified “theory of everything” that would explain the functioning and existence of the universe. The last step toward this goal is to reconcile general relativity with the principles of quantum mechanics, a quest that has thus far eluded physicists. Will physics ever be able to develop an all-encompassing theory, or should we simply acknowledge that science will always have inherent limitations as to what can be known? Should new theories be validated solely on the basis of calculations that can never be empirically tested? Can we ever truly grasp the implications of modern physics when the basic laws of nature do not always operate according to our standard paradigms?

*Reception to follow.

Featuring

Katherine Freese, PhD

Director, Nordita - Nordic Institute for Theoretical Physics
Professor of Physics, University of Michigan
Author of "The Cosmic Cocktail - Three Parts Dark Matter"

Marcelo Gleiser, PhD

Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Dartmouth College
Co-founder of NPR science blog 13.7 Cosmos & Culture
Author of "The Island of Knowledge: The Limits of Science and the Search for Meaning"

Max Tegmark, PhD

Professor of Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Author of "Our Mathematical Universe: My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality"

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

Katherine Freese, PhD

Director, Nordita - Nordic Institute for Theoretical Physics
Professor of Physics, University of Michigan
Author of "The Cosmic Cocktail - Three Parts Dark Matter"

Dr. Katherine Freese is the George E. Uhlenbeck Professor of Physics at the University of Michigan. Starting in September 2014 she is Director of Nordita, the Nordic Institute for Theoretical Physics located in Stockholm. She works on a wide range of topics in theoretical cosmology and astroparticle physics. She has been working to identify the dark matter and dark energy that permeate the universe, as well as to build a successful model for the early universe immediately after the Big Bang. Recently, she has proposed dark stars as the first stars to form in the universe.

Freese received a BA in Physics at Princeton Univ., MA from Columbia Univ., and PhD from Univ. of Chicago. She held postdoctoral fellowships at Harvard Univ., Berkeley, and the Institute for Theoretical Physics in Santa Barbara. After an Assistant Professorship at MIT, Freese moved to Univ. of Michigan in 1991. Dr. Freese was awarded an honorary doctorate from Stockholm Univ. in September 2012, as well as a Simons Foundation Fellowship in Theoretical Physics in 2012. She is a Fellow of the American Physical Society.

Dr. Freese has written a popular-level book, The Cosmic Cocktail: Three Parts Dark Matter, published in June 2014 by Princeton University Press. Her work has been described in the New York Times, Scientific American, New Scientist, National Public Radio, BBC, Boston Globe, Dallas Morning News, and other popular media. Her public appearances include Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman on the Science Channel; CBC radio; TV Ontario; Big Think; The World Science Festival in New York; and the Isaac Asimov Debate at the Museum of Natural History in NY.

Marcelo Gleiser, PhD

Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Dartmouth College
Co-founder of NPR science blog 13.7 Cosmos & Culture
Author of "The Island of Knowledge: The Limits of Science and the Search for Meaning"

Marcelo Gleiser is a world-renowned theoretical physicist and award-winning author, currently the Appleton Professor of Natural Philosophy and a professor of physics and astronomy at Dartmouth College. He obtained his PhD from King's College London in 1986 and received the 1994 Presidential Faculty Fellows Award from the White House. He is a Fellow and General Councilor of the American Physical Society. "The Island of Knowledge: The Limits of Science and The Search for Meaning" (Basic Books, June 2014) is his fourth book. His previous, "A Tear at the Edge of Creation" (Free Press 2010), was published in 12 languages. He frequently participates in TV documentaries and radio shows in the US and abroad and is the co-founder of the NPR blog 13.7.

Max Tegmark, PhD

Professor of Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Author of "Our Mathematical Universe: My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality"

Known as "Mad Max" for his unorthodox ideas and passion for adventure, his scientific interests range from precision cosmology to the ultimate nature of reality, all explored in his new popular book "Our Mathematical Universe". He is an MIT physics professor with more than two hundred technical papers and has been featured in dozens of science documentaries. His work with the SDSS collaboration on galaxy clustering shared first prize in Science Magazine’s "Breakthrough of the Year: 2003."

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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