Observational cosmology, with particular focus on the formation and evolution of large scale structures in our universe like clusters of galaxies as large as 500 million light years. “Weighing” the universe, and mapping out the mysterious dark matter it contains.
The origin and evolution of the largest observable structures in the universe (much larger than entire galaxies); understanding why the expansion of the universe is accelerating. Observational techniques: cosmic microwave background, gravitational lensing and gravity waves.
Philosophy of physics, puzzles about the content and status of foundational principles – the logic of physicists’ basic assumptions, especially with regards to space and time, and the history of science, e.g. exactly how Einstein made his discoveries.
Applications of quantum theory to cryptography and computation; understanding in more concrete, physical terms what quantum theory is telling us about the nature of reality. Applications of information theory to better understand the quantum “wave function”.
Will big questions be answered when the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) switches on in 2007? What will scientists find? Where might the research lead? Nima Arkani-Hamed, a noted particle theorist, is a Professor of Physics at Harvard University. He investigates a number of mysteries and interactions in nature puzzles that are likely to have experimental consequences in the next few years via particle accelerators, like the LHC, as well as cosmological observations.
The universe computes: every atom, electron, and elementary particle registers bits of information, and every time two particles collide those bits are flipped and processed. By hacking the computational power of the universe, we can build quantum computers which store and process information at the level of atoms and electrons. This computational capacity underlies the generation of complex systems, and provides insight into the origin of life and its future. Seth Lloyd is a professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Einstein\'s famous equation E=mc2 asserts that energy and mass are different aspects of the same reality. It is usually associated with the idea that small amounts of mass can be converted into large amounts of energy. For fundamental physics, however, the more important idea is just the opposite. Researchers want to explain how mass itself arises, by explaining it in terms of more basic concepts. In this lecture targeted for a general audience, Prof. Wilczek will explain how this goal can, to a remarkable extent, be achieved.
Long before the emergence of planets, stars, or galaxies, the universe consisted of an exploding quantum soup of elementary particles. Encoded in this formless, shapeless soup were seeds of cosmic structure, which over billions of years grew into the beautiful and complex universe we observe today. The lecture will explore the connection between the inner space of the quantum and the outer space of the cosmos. The inner space/outer space connection may hold the key to the nature of the dark matter holding together our galaxy and the mysterious dark energy pulling apart our universe.
This is a story of how the impossible became possible. How, for centuries, scientists were absolutely sure that solids (as well as decorative patterns like tiling and quilts) could only have certain symmetries - such as square, hexagonal and triangular - and that most symmetries, including five-fold symmetry in the plane and icosahedral symmetry in three dimensions (the symmetry of a soccer ball), were strictly forbidden.