Perimeter Public Lectures
Even the greatest scientists have made some serious blunders. "Brilliant Blunders" concerns the evolution of life on Earth, of the Earth itself, of stars, and of the universe as a whole.
In this talk, astrophysicist Dr. Mario Livio will explore and analyze major errors committed by such luminaries as Charles Darwin, Linus Pauling, and Albert Einstein. Dr. Livio will scrutinize the various types of blunders and attempt to explain how they happen. Blunders are not only inevitable, argues Dr. Livio, but also an integral component of the process of science.
How well can we predict our future climate? If the flap of a butterfly’s wings can change the course of weather a week or so from now, what hope trying to predict anything about our climate a hundred years hence? In this talk I will discuss the science of climate change from a perspective which emphasises the chaotic (and hence uncertain) nature of our climate system.
By creating an ultra-clean underground location with a highly reduced radioactive background, otherwise impossible measurements can be performed to study fundamental physics, astrophysics and cosmology. The Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) was a 1,000 tonne heavy-water-based neutrino detector created 2 km underground in a mine near Sudbury, Canada. SNO has used neutrinos from 8B decay in the Sun to observe one neutrino reaction sensitive only to solar electron neutrinos and others sensitive to all active neutrino flavors.
The ordinary atoms that make up the known universe, from our bodies and the air we breathe to the planets and stars, constitute only 5 percent of all matter and energy in the cosmos. The remaining 95 percent is a recipe of 25 percent dark matter and 70 percent dark energy, both nonluminous components whose nature remains a mystery.
Neutron stars are a celestial gift to scientists. These incredibly dense collapsed stars act as very precise cosmic beacons that help shed light on some of the most challenging problems in modern physics.
In her Feb. 3 talk at Perimeter Institute, astrophysicist Victoria Kaspi will explore these strange objects, explain how astronomers are using them to study issues ranging from the origins of the universe to the very nature of matter, and even let the audience hear the cosmic symphony they create.
Emerging techniques and technologies, drawn from many fields of science and medicine, are allowing us to peer inside the human body with unprecedented sensitivity and to probe the fundamental processes of life – in real time. TRIUMF’s Life Sciences Division is making such studies possible with isotopes, short-lived elements that are harnessed and incorporated into next generation pharmaceuticals designed to provide incredible insight into the complex systems that make up life.
Atomic clocks are the most precise timekeepers ever built. If you could keep an advanced atomic clock running long enough, it would neither gain nor lose a single second over the entire lifespan of the universe. With the availability of spectrally pure lasers and the ability to precisely measure optical frequencies, it appears the era of optical atomic clocks has begun. Advances in atomic clocks are expected to be important in a range of emerging technological applications, including quantum computers. Dr.
Fundamental physics has reached a turning point. The most powerful experiments ever devised are revealing the structure of the universe with unprecedented clarity. On the largest scales – the whole visible universe – and the tiniest, we are discovering remarkable simplicity, which our theories do not yet explain. In between, things are complex. But here too, new technologies are allowing us to access the quantum frontier, opening up new high-precision probes of the fundamental laws of nature and revolutionary new technologies.
Niels Bohr was Nobel-winning physicist – a pioneer of quantum theory – but his influence extended far beyond his own research. He was a gifted teacher who established one of the 20th century’s most important centres for physics, and was instrumental in the development of physics worldwide. He became a statesman following the Second World War, calling for international cooperation to avoid nuclear conflict.
String Theory LEGOs for Black Holes
Four decades ago, Stephen Hawking posed a paradox about black holes and quantum theory that still challenges the imaginations of theoretical physicists today. One of the most promising approaches to resolving the "information paradox" (the notion that nothing, not even information itself, survives beyond a black hole's point-of-no-return event horizon) is string theory, a part of modern physics that has wiggled its way into the popular consciousness.