Greetings from Norway, where we’re about to embark on what is surely the most logistically elaborate conference I’ve ever attended. Setting Time Aright starts here in Norway, where we hop on a boat and cross the North Sea to Copenhagen. The get-together is sponsored by the Foundational Questions Institute, although it came together in an unusual way; I was part of a group that was organizing a conference, and we applied to FQXi for funding, at which point they mentioned they were planning almost exactly the same conference at the same time. So we joined forces, and here we are. Unity ’11!
The topic, if you haven’t guessed, is time. That’s a big subject, one that can hardly be done justice by sprawling books with hundreds of (admittedly quite charming) footnotes. You can see why the conference has to spread over two countries. We’re trying an experiment in interdisciplinarity: while the conference is a serious event meant for researchers, we have a wide variety of specialties represented, including biologists, computer scientists, philosophers, and neuroscientists, as well as the inevitable physicists and cosmologists. (There is also a public event, for those of you who find yourselves in Copenhagen next week.) I can’t wait to hear some of these talks, it should be a blast.
My job is to open the conference with an introductory talk that hits on some of the big questions. Here are the slides, at least as they are right now; last-minute editing is always a possibility. I think I put enough in there to provoke almost everyone at the conference one way or another.