The Physicist (Is Time Real?)
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We all know time isn’t real. Or do we? In his new book, Time Reborn, controversial theoretical physicist Lee Smolin takes on revolutionary scientific thinkers from Plato to Newton to Einstein, by maintaining that time is not an illusion we must overcome, but a reality we must embrace in order to solve the current problems in physics. Smolin, known for his influential contributions to the search for a unification of physics, hopes that changing the way we think about time will directly impact our understanding of the world, in everything from the current economic crisis to climate control. In conversation with internationally recognized expert on time perception, Warren Meck.
About the Speakers
After graduating from Harvard, Lee Smolin helped to found the Center for Gravitational Physics and Geometry at Penn State University. He also held visiting positions at various times at Cambridge and Oxford Universities and at SISSA and the Universities of Rome and Trento in Italy. He was a Visiting Professor at Imperial College from 1999 to 2001. In September of 2001 he moved to Canada to be a founding member of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, where he has been ever since.
Smolin was, with Abhay Ashtekar and Carlo Rovelli, a founder of the approach known as loop quantum gravity, but he has contributed to other approaches including string theory and causal dynamical triangulations. He is also known for proposing the notion of the landscape of theories, based on his application of Darwinian methods to Cosmology. He has contributed also to the foundations of quantum mechanics, elementary particle physics and theoretical biology. He also has a strong interest in philosophy and his three books, Life of the Cosmos, Three Roads to Quantum Gravity and The Trouble with Physics are in part philosophical explorations of issues raised by contemporary physics. Dr. Smolin last appeared at the Rubin Museum in Talks about Nothing, 2011.
Warren Meck is Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke University. An internationally recognized expert on time perception, Prof. Meck’s research explores the neural basis of the “internal clocks” humans and other animals use to time events in seconds, minutes, and hours.
Meck is the recipient of fellowships from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, James McKeen Cattell Fund, French National Center for Scientific Research, and the National Science Council of Taiwan. He is the editor of Functional and Neural Mechanisms of Interval Timing.
His work has been featured in the BBC documentaries “The Body Clock: What Makes Us Tick?” (1999) and “Time” (2006), as well as the Red Hill Studios collaboration with the National Science Foundation “Exploring Time” documentary (2007).
About Brainwave: Illusion
The Buddha said that everything is illusion. What did he mean by that? This sixth edition of Brainwave will enlist the aid of neuroscientists to help us understand how the perception of our world is shaped by the surprising adaptability of our brains. Brainwave includes talks, special film screenings followed by discussions, interactive workshops, and much more!
Presenting Sponsor of Brainwave 2013