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 Mar 05, 2014

Mathematics has proven to be "unreasonably effective" in understanding nature. The fundamental laws of physics can be captured in beautiful formulae. In this lecture I want to argue for the reverse effect: Nature is an important source of inspiration for mathematics, even of the purest kind.

 

Wednesday Feb 05, 2014
Speaker(s): 

The National Ignition Facility (NIF), at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, California, is the world’s most energetic laser system. NIF is capable of producing over 1.8 MJ and 500 TW of ultraviolet light, 100 times more than any other operating laser.

 

Wednesday Dec 04, 2013
Speaker(s): 

We can set foot on faraway planets, in a sense, by exploring the world beneath our
feet. Underground caves provide unique insights into what we might find beneath
alien landscapes. We are studying caves on Earth to understand how they
form, the spectacular minerals they produce, and the unusual creatures – from
microbes to vertebrates – that thrive in them.

By understanding the caves of our own planet, we can use them as models for the
subsurfaces of other planets. This work provides insights into the lava tubes

 

Wednesday Nov 06, 2013
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Nearly a century after there discovery, black holes remain one of the most striking, and problematic, predictions of general relativity.  Even more unsettling is the fact that they actually appear to exist!  With only a handful of exceptions, every galaxy contains a supermassive behemoth, millions to billions as massive as the sune, at their center.  These supermassive black holes are hardly incidental, they gravitationally power enormous outflows that rule the fates of their hosts.  Despite the critical role they play in our understandin gof gravity and impact upon the visible universe, a

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Tuesday Oct 01, 2013
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The world around holds amazing properties. What is even more amazing
is that we are able to understand them, to control them, and turn them
in to technologies. From fire to electricity and magnetism, these
properties have been tamed and have transformed society. But what is
coming up?
What are the properties of nature that will be tamed in the 21st century and impact all of us? Dr. Raymond Laflamme
will describe how the quantum world behaves, share the latest

 

Wednesday Jun 05, 2013
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While quantum mechanics is an immensely powerful and precise theory which seems to describe everything in the world, its insistence on only predicting what happens when we make "measurements" has left scientists and philosophers alike puzzled - as David Mermin summarized one of Einstein's concerns, "Is the moon there when nobody looks?" Dr.

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Wednesday May 01, 2013
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Based on her book, The Calculus Diaries, join, Jennifer Ouellette as she shows how calculus can be applied to everything from gas mileage, diet, the rides at Disneyland, surfing in Hawaii, shooting craps in Vegas and warding off zombies.  Even the mathematically challenged, can-and-should learn the fundamentals of the universal language.

 

Wednesday Apr 03, 2013
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What is time?  Is our perception of time passing an illusion which hides a deeper, timeless reality?  Or is it real, indeed, the most real aspect of our experience of the world?  Einstein said that "the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion,"  and many contemporary theorists agree that time emerges from a more fundamental timeless quantum universe. But, in recent cosmological speculation, this timeless picture of nature seems to have reached a dead end, populated by infinite numbers of imagined unobservable universes.  

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