A Cornucopia of Time Talks

By Sean Carroll | November 8, 2011 11:15 am

I don’t suppose “cornucopia” is the right collective noun, but what does one call a collection of talks centered on the subject of time? I previously linked to these talks from our time conference, but it’s clear from the viewing numbers that not nearly enough of you have taken advantage of them. There’s a lot of great stuff here! So let me pick out some of my very favorites, although I promise they are all good.

Here’s neuroscientist David Eagleman, talking about how we perceive time.

Here’s physicist-turned-complexity-theorist Raissa D’Souza, talking about complexity.

Here’s another physicist-turned-complexity-theorist, Geoffrey West, taking the complexity story even further.

Here’s former guest-blogger, now Discover blogger, and engineer/roboticist/neuroscientist/philosopher Malcolm Maciver, talking about making choices and the evolution of consciousness.

And to top things off, here’s one of those mock debates (where participants attempt to defend the side they don’t believe in). This time it’s David Albert vs. David Wallace, on the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics.

Seriously good stuff. There are still more talks not yet up, I’ll let you know.

Update: I didn’t realize my own talk was up. Here it is.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Science, Time, Top Posts
  • Joseph

    >I don’t suppose “cornucopia” is the right collective noun, but what does one call a collection of talks centered on the subject of time?


    • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/sean/ Sean

      Not bad.

  • scribbler

    Very good, Joseph!

  • Peter Croft

    “…what does one call a collection of talks centered on the subject of time?”

    Uh, a waste of time? 😉 Sorry, you walked into that one.

  • http://gnomonicablog.com Fernando Curiel

    But yours is missing Sean!

    • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/sean/ Sean

      Sorry about that, it should be up now. For some reason, FQXi likes to put up videos, wait until I link to them, then take them down and replace them with something else.

  • Peter O

    Thanks a lot for reposting. Excellent stuff that I would have otherwise missed. Also cool to see you in action.

  • James

    4 minutes into the first video and already I’m getting annoyed with the camera-work. Why don’t they just stay on the video Eagleman’s showing instead of cutting rapidly back and forth between him and the video?

  • http://gnomonicablog.com Fernando Curiel

    Hey! What a great talk about the perception of time from David Eagleman!

  • http://yourealoser.com Gizelle Janine

    What’s with the half turtleneck wet suit? Were you planning on going swimming afterwards?

    By the way, awesome talk. I really love watching these as much as possible, it’s unfortunate that somethings just arent recorded. *sniffle*

  • Tinytree

    It seems like they have not really come to terms with the new science of complexity.

    Google “markov chain universe” to get a good idea of what the new science is about.

    Fundamentally, entropy and information are orthogonal concepts, and for some reason, a large part of the community conflates these two and confuses them. It is a bit like confusing the height of something with its width. Both are aspects of its nature, but neither alone tells its whole story.

    The new science of complexity is beginning- join in the exploration at “Markov Chain Universe”

  • Neil

    @Peter Croft

    A waste of time. Like a murder of crows or a murmation of starlings. I like it.

  • Lord

    Any others as good as Geoffrey West on socio economic systems?

  • Joe


  • http://www.gunalsen.com günal şen

    Hey! What a great talk about the perception of time from David Eagleman!

  • http://www.cambridgesatcheloutlet.com cambridge satchel

    Thanks for the auspicious writeup. It in truth was once a enjoyment account it. Look complicated to more brought agreeable from you! However, how could we communicate?

  • Frank Martin DiMeglio

    The full understanding of time, of necessity, fully incorporates and involves instantaneity. There is no getting around this. The concept/understanding “in and with time” is also necessary to fully/properly understanding time.

  • Frank Martin DiMeglio

    Time and distance in space vanish electromagnetically, and in quantum mechanics. Time requires space. Meaningful and perceptible distance in space AND time require gravity, inertia, and electromagnetism. Importantly, as the philosopher Berkeley said, the purpose of vision is to advise of the consequences of touch in time. Instantaneity must be addressed as well, and that ultimately requires the union and balancing of gravity and inertia (both at half strength/force). We are talking about intelligibility here, and about what ultimately makes sense. ULTIMATELY, time requires a union and balancing of gravity, inertia, and electromagnetism in conjunction with half strength/force inertia and gravity. It is only then that time is fundamentally and fully demonstrated in conjunction with the fullness/completeness of instantaneity. Indeed, this is how to unify physics fundamentally in a fashion that makes sense.

  • Frank Martin DiMeglio

    Is ultimate truth in physics found in the inanimate? No. This is, however, how money is made.

    Time cannot be understood, ultimately and fundamentally, apart from the integrated and interactive natural extensiveness of being, experience, thought, and space.

  • Frank M DiMeglio

    The FUNDAMENTAL DEMONSTRATION/INCLUSION/INCORPORATION of instantaneity is not only fundamental to time, but it is also essential in order to generally and fundamentally unify physics. Instantaneity kills General Relativity.

    Physics [ultimately] happens in and with time. There is no getting around this.

    True gravitational and inertial equivalency and balancing fundamentally includes instantaneity. The key is to demonstrate space as potential and actual, equally (and both) invisible and visible. Combine, balance, and include larger and smaller space as the same space.

    It is critical to properly understand what are the theoretical requirements of the perfect/complete understanding and unification of physics (in and with time).

    The ultimate understanding of physics fundamentally combines, balances, and includes opposites (in physics, of course). Instantaneity occurs in and with time. No time AND time. Think! (Broad and consistent unification/understanding.)


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Cosmic Variance

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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