Since 2002 Perimeter Institute has been recording seminars, conference talks, and public outreach events using video cameras installed in our lecture theatres. Perimeter now has 7 formal presentation spaces for its many scientific conferences, seminars, workshops and educational outreach activities, all with advanced audio-visual technical capabilities. Recordings of events in these areas are all available On-Demand from this Video Library and on Perimeter Institute Recorded Seminar Archive (PIRSA). PIRSA is a permanent, free, searchable, and citable archive of recorded seminars from relevant bodies in physics. This resource has been partially modelled after Cornell University's arXiv.org.
Apart from Einstein, Paul Dirac was probably the greatest theoretical physicist of the twentieth century. Dirac, co-inventor of the most revolutionary theory for 150 years 'quantum mechanics' is now best known for conceiving of anti-matter in his head and also for his deeply eccentric behaviour. For him, the most important attribute of a fundamental theory was its mathematical beauty, an idea that he said was 'almost a religion' to him. In this talk, Farmelo will argue that this obsession originated in his early life and training as an engineer and mathematician.
To study the continuum limit of a microscopic model of gravity we need microscopic observables that have a clear interpretation in terms of continuum geometry. In general the construction of such observables is notoriously difficult. In the model of causal dynamical triangulations (CDT) it is clear what the microscopic observables are, but at present the only known well-behaved observables with a continuum interpretation are spatial volumes.
Paul Dirac has been called ‘the first truly modern theoretical physicist’. In the latter part of his life, he was obsessed by the idea that the fundamental laws of nature must have mathematical beauty. This was ‘almost a religion to him’, he said. In this talk, I shall trace the origins of his fascination with this idea (going back to his school education) and question the account he gave of his contribution to quantum mechanics and field theory, which he often said emerged from his aesthetic perspective.