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Posts Tagged ‘Sean Carroll

“When physicists say ‘we don’t understand what’s going on here,’ they really, really mean it”*…

 

Theoretical physicists and cosmologists deal with the biggest questions, like “Why are we here?” “When did the universe begin?” and “How?” Another questions that bugs them, and likely has bugged you, is “What happened before the Big Bang?”

To be perfectly clear, we can’t definitively answer this question—but we can speculate wildly, with the help of theoretical physicist Sean Carroll from the California Institute of Technology. Carroll gave a talk last month at the bi-annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Grapevine, Texas, where he walked through several pre-Bang possibilities that would result in a universe like ours…

Consider the options at: “What Was Our Universe Like Before the Big Bang?

* Theoretical physicist Peter Woit, Columbia University

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As we scrutinize the singularity, we might spare a thought for E. E. Barnard; he died on this date in 1923. Recognized as a gifted observational astronomer, he is probably best known for his discovery of the high proper motion of Barnard’s Star in 1916, which is named in his honor.  But, drawing on his experience as a photographer’s assistant in his adolescence (and building on the work of John William Draper), Barnard also contributed mightily to the development of celestial photography.

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Written by LW

February 6, 2017 at 1:01 am

Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so*…

 

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From Sean Carroll, theoretical physicist at Cal Tech and author of From Eternity to Here, a report from Setting Time Right, a conference that he kicked off in Norway late last month…

“Time” is the most used noun in the English language, yet it remains a mystery. We’ve just completed an amazingly intense and rewarding multidisciplinary conference on the nature of time, and my brain is swimming with ideas and new questions. Rather than trying a summary (the talks will be online soon), here’s my stab at a top ten list partly inspired by our discussions: the things everyone should know about time. [Update: all of these are things I think are true, after quite a bit of deliberation. Not everyone agrees, although of course they should.]

Sean’s list– like his books, clear and provocative– is at “Ten Things Everyone Should Know About Time.”

* – Douglas Adams

 

As we wind our watches, we might recall that it was on this date in 2008 that two of Carroll’s ten points– #4 (“You live in the past”) and #9 (“Aging can be reversed”)– were illustrated, as MTV threw the full weight of its VMA Awards behind Britney Spears’ comeback.  Spears performed on the telecast and won three awards, including video of the year for “Piece of Me.”  The following year she completed her highest-grossing global concert tour.

Oops!… I Did It Again (source)

 

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