Perimeter Institute Public Lecture Series

Perimeter Institute brings great thinkers from around the world to Canada to share their ideas on a wide variety of interesting and topical subjects. These lectures and debates are aimed at non-specialists. No mathematical or scientific knowledge is necessary or assumed. Each event is explicitly tailored for the general public and everyone is welcome to attend.

 

Wednesday Jun 04, 2008

At the beginning of the 20th century Einstein published three revolutionary ideas that changed forever how we view Nature. At the beginning of the 21st century Einstein\'s thinking is shaping one of the key scientific and technological wonders of contemporary life: atomic clocks, the best timekeepers ever made. Such super-accurate clocks are essential to industry, commerce, and science; they are the heart of the Global Positioning System (GPS), which guides cars, airplanes, and hikers to their destinations.

 

Wednesday May 07, 2008
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In the recent past, rapid scientific and technological developments have had tremendous impact on human society. Notably, the personal computer, internet and mobile telephones changed the world and shrank our planet. These developments are vastly different from the forecasts by science fiction authors who promised us space travel and intelligent humanoid robots. Could real scientists have done a better job in forecasting the future? What can we say about the future now?


 

Wednesday Apr 02, 2008
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Probabilities and randomness arise whenever we're not sure what will happen next.  They apply to everything from lottery jackpots to airplane crashes; email spam to insurance policies; medical studies to election polls. This exploration of odds and oddities will explain how a Probability Perspective can shed new light on many familiar situations in our everyday lives, and how computer algorithms which use randomness can be used to address problems in many branches of science.


 

Wednesday Mar 05, 2008
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The evidence that the universe emerged 14 billion years ago from an event called \'the big bang\' is overwhelming. Yet the cause of this event remains deeply mysterious. In the conventional picture, the \'initial singularity\' is unexplained. It is simply assumed that the universe somehow sprang into existence full of \'inflationary\' energy, blowing up the universe into the large, smooth state we observe today. While this picture is in excellent agreement with current observations, it is both contrived and incomplete, leading us to suspect that it is not the final word.

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Wednesday Feb 06, 2008
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In the \'second space age\', human spaceflight is no longer the domain of governments. Dream-chasing entrepreneurs and clever engineers are aggressively blazing new trails into the heavens and preparing the world for an era of space tourism, ultra fast point-to-point earth travel and even orbiting hotels.

 

Wednesday Dec 05, 2007

Do ideas about information and reality inspire fruitful new approaches to the hardest problems of modern physics? What can we learn about the paradoxes of quantum mechanics, the beginning of the universe and our understanding of black holes by thinking about the very essence of information? The answers to these questions are surprising and enlightening, but also controversial. The topic of information within physics has involved some of the 20th century\'s greatest scientists in long-running intellectual battles that continue to the present day.

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Wednesday Oct 03, 2007
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Many experts are convinced that large scale, practical implementations of quantum information systems hold great promise for society, much as the laser and the transistor have already revolutionized the world. This stems from a long history of research that included an intense, raging battle of epic proportions between scientific giants. In tracing these steps, you will learn why Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr argued over the nature of entangled states where pairs of sub-atomic particles are strangely correlated from 1935 until their very deaths.

 

Wednesday Jun 06, 2007
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Sixty-five million years ago dinosaurs ruled the warm Cretaceous Earth. Without warning, this world was swept away forever by the impact of an asteroid about 15 km in diameter, leaving a huge scar now called the Chicxulub crater in Yucatan, Mexico. This catastrophe set the stage for the ascendance of our own biological group, the mammals. Although the fact of this impact is now established beyond doubt, the precise means by which an impact could wipe out such a large fraction of the Earth\'s inhabitants is not fully understood.

 

Wednesday Apr 04, 2007
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Sensitive information can be valuable to others - from your personal credit card numbers to state and military secrets. Throughout history, sophisticated codes have been developed in an attempt to keep important data from prying eyes. But now, new technologies are emerging based on the surprising laws of quantum physics that govern the atomic scale. These powerful techniques threaten to crack some secret codes in widespread use today and, at the same time, offer new quantum cryptographic protocols which could one day profoundly alter the way we safeguard critical information.

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