Monday, 19 November 2012

Time: facts of physics and fibs of the brain?

Time is not what it seems...
Time is money, time is ticking, time is of the essence, time is many things. But what is time really?

Since Einstein's theories of special and general relativity, physicists understand time very differently from our every-day experience of time. 

I look at time the way physicists understand it with Emmanuel Olaiya, a particle physicist at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxford in the UK.

I also speak with Craig Callender, a philosopher of physics at the the University of California in San Diego, about his quest to find why we are so hung up on a past, present and future with neatly flowing time between them.

You can find the feature on the FQXi website here. Just scroll down to the second feature. 

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Hello again and The Holographic Universe (podcast)

Holograms in Space
While it has been a year since I last wrote anything on my blog, I have not been idle. I will be posting some of the things I have been doing and add new material as well. 

I have recently started working for the Foundational Questions Institute in the US. FQXi funds research in physics and philosophy. Here's what they say about themselves: 

"We support research on questions at the foundations of physics and cosmology, particularly new frontiers and innovative ideas integral to a deep understanding of reality, but unlikely to be supported by conventional funding sources."

They have asked me to profile their researchers in the FQXi podcast. Needless to say, this is very much outside my comfort zone, but a fun challenge. Having the opportunity to learn about a hole new field of science has been enormously rewarding. In the past weeks I have been learning that time in the physical world is very different from the time we experience in our daily lives, that no matter how powerful quantum theory might seem, it probably isn't the full story, and what we can learn from black hole physics about the birth of the universe. I am very pleased with the results and will be posting links to the packages as and when FQXi puts them up.

Here's the first one: 
Always wondered what holograms can teach us about the birth of the universe? Grant holders Alex Maloney and Robert Brandenberger tell me why the holographic principle is potentially a very powerful tool that can help us understand whether or not the Big Bang was indeed the beginning of our universe.  Click here for the podcast and scroll down to the second feature.