Explaining Time, the Universe, and All That

By Sean Carroll | November 18, 2009 2:09 pm

Greetings from Down Under! Current at the CosPA conference in Melbourne, after spending a couple of days in Sydney — a brief fling through Adelaide up next.

It’s been a mixed bag so far; while I’ve had great fun interacting with people here in Australia, I’ve also been struggling with a nasty cold I picked up on the flight over. Spent yesterday mostly in bed, too fogged up to even work on my talk for Friday. But when I’ve had the strength to be up and about, it’s been a treat. Here’s an iPhone snap of the University of Sydney; that clocktower in the middle houses, appropriately enough, the Centre for Time.


One of the perks of civilization that hasn’t quite caught on in these parts is affordable internet access in hotel rooms, so don’t expect a lot of blogging over the next week or two. Instead, I can point you to a couple of recent videos. One is an extended interview for Edge, entitled Why Does the Universe Look the Way it Does? It is an interview (presented in text and video), not a carefully pre-planned document, so not all thoughts are arranged as elegantly as one might like. Here is some of the flavor:

We are in a very unusual situation in the history of science where physics has become slightly a victim of its own success. We have theories that fit the data, which is a terrible thing to have when you are a theoretical physicist. You want to be the one who invents those theories, but you don’t want to live in a world where those theories have already been invented because then it becomes harder to improve upon them when they just fit the data. What you want are anomalies given to us by the data that we don’t know how to explain.

The other one is a panel discussion on Time Since Einstein, from the World Science Festival. As the description there says, it features Roger Penrose, David Albert, and some other people it would be too exhausting to list individually. Here’s part 1 of 5:

World Science Festival 2009: Time Since Einstein, Part 1 of 5 from World Science Festival on Vimeo.

Now if only my immune system would finish off the little viral buggers inside me, I could get out and see a bit of this interesting country.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Personal, Time, Travel

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Random samplings from a universe of ideas.

About Sean Carroll

Sean Carroll is a Senior Research Associate in the Department of Physics at the California Institute of Technology. His research interests include theoretical aspects of cosmology, field theory, and gravitation. His most recent book is The Particle at the End of the Universe, about the Large Hadron Collider and the search for the Higgs boson. Here are some of his favorite blog posts, home page, and email: carroll [at] cosmicvariance.com .


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