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Event Series to Explore ‘The Physics of Everything’ at the New York Academy of Sciences

Scientists, philosophers, educators, and ethicists come together to reflect on the current state of modern physical sciences.

Published April 01, 2016

NEW YORK, April 1, 2016 — "Is physics in the business of describing ultimate reality, as Einstein believed? Or is it just a gadget for predicting the outcomes of experiments, as Hawking believes?" asks Jim Holt, Writer and Essayist; author of Why Does the World Exist? An Existential Detective Story.

These questions underlie a new lecture series hosted by the New York Academy of Sciences, The Physics of Everything, which will run on six evenings from April 5 through June 29 at its headquarters in New York City and simultaneously via Livestream. Holt is one of the speakers at the series, supported by the John Templeton Foundation. It unites vibrant public intellectuals and communicators-from scientists to philosophers, and ethicists to educators-to discuss the utility of physics to help answer some of the most intriguing questions faced by humanity, such as, "Is there a limit to human knowledge?" and "Are we alone in the universe?"

The speakers will explore how modern physics can-and cannot-help us answer these questions, now and in the future.

"Often you don't know the right question to ask until you focus on what are the questions you even can ask," says event speaker Neal Weiner, PhD, Professor of Physics and Director, Center for Cosmology and Particle Physics, New York University. "For instance, we look for dark matter, but what to look for depends on what it is. We cannot find it without considering whether it can be found at all."

The series is comprised of the following events:

  • April 5: What Does the Future Hold for Physics: Is There a Limit to Human Knowledge?
  • April 25: Where do Physics and Philosophy Intersect?
  • May 9: Complexity: A Science of the Future?
  • May 23: The Rise of Human Consciousness
  • June 13: Are We Alone in the Universe?
  • June 29: Did Einstein Kill Schrödinger's Cat? A Quantum State of Mind

"Quantum mechanics lies at the foundation of our understanding of the world. Without it we cannot explain the burning of stars, the existence of solid matter, the functioning of microchips, or the chemistry of life," says event speaker Daniel Harlow, PhD, Harvard University Center for the Fundamental Laws of Nature.

For media queries, including requests for press passes, contact Diana Friedman (; 212-298-8645).

Statement of Support

This project was made possible through the support of a grant from the John Templeton Foundation. The opinions expressed in this event are those of the speaker(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the John Templeton Foundation.

About the New York Academy of Sciences

The New York Academy of Sciences is an independent, not-for-profit organization that since 1817 has been committed to advancing science, technology, and society worldwide. With more than 20,000 members in 100 countries around the world, the Academy is creating a global community of science for the benefit of humanity. The Academy's core mission is to advance scientific knowledge, positively impact the major global challenges of society with science-based solutions, and increase the number of scientifically informed individuals in society at large. Please visit us online at

About the John Templeton Foundation

The John Templeton Foundation ( is a philanthropic catalyst for discoveries relating to the Big Questions of human purpose and ultimate reality. The Foundation supports research on subjects ranging from complexity, evolution, and infinity to creativity, forgiveness, and free will. It encourages civil, informed dialogue between scholars and the public at large.


Marie Gentile
Director, Communications