The Unification of Physics: The Quest for a Theory of Everything

The holy grail of physics has been to merge each of its fundamental branches into a unified “theory of everything” that would explain the functioning and existence of the universe. The last step toward this goal is to reconcile general relativity with the principles of quantum mechanics, a quest that has thus far eluded physicists. Will physics ever be able to develop an all-encompassing theory, or should we simply acknowledge that science will always have inherent limitations as to what can be known? Should new theories be validated solely on the basis of calculations that can never be empirically tested? Can we ever truly grasp the implications of modern physics when the basic laws of nature do not always operate according to our standard paradigms?

*Reception to follow.

Featuring:

Katherine Freese, PhD
Director, Nordita - Nordic Institute for Theoretical Physics
Professor of Physics, University of Michigan
Author of The Cosmic Cocktail - Three Parts Dark Matter

Marcelo Gleiser, PhD
Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Dartmouth College
Co-founder of NPR science blog 13.7 Cosmos & Culture
Author of The Island of Knowledge: The Limits of Science and the Search for Meaning

Lee Smolin, PhD
Faculty member, the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics
Author of Time Reborn: From the Crisis in Physics to the Future of the Universe and The Trouble with Physics: The Rise of String Theory, the Fall of a Science, and What Comes Next

Max Tegmark, PhD
Professor of Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Author of "Our Mathematical Universe: My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality"

Moderator

Steve Paulson

Executive Producer, Wisconsin Public Radio's nationally-syndicated program To the Best of Our Knowledge

 

The New York Academy of Sciences
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM