Author Archives: Sean Carroll

Consciousness and Downward Causation

For many people, the phenomenon of consciousness is the best evidence we have that there must be something important missing in our basic physical description of the world. According to this worry, a bunch of atoms and particles, mindlessly obeying … Continue reading

Posted in Big Picture, Philosophy, Science | 421 Comments

Maybe We Do Not Live in a Simulation: The Resolution Conundrum

Greetings from bucolic Banff, Canada, where we’re finishing up the biennial Foundational Questions Institute conference. To a large extent, this event fulfills the maxim that physicists like to fly to beautiful, exotic locations, and once there they sit in hotel … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy, Science | 102 Comments

You Should Love (or at least respect) the Schrödinger Equation

Over at the twitter dot com website, there has been a briefly-trending topic #fav7films, discussing your favorite seven films. Part of the purpose of being on twitter is to one-up the competition, so I instead listed my #fav7equations. Slightly cleaned … Continue reading

Posted in Science | 47 Comments

Space Emerging from Quantum Mechanics

The other day I was amused to find a quote from Einstein, in 1936, about how hard it would be to quantize gravity: “like an attempt to breathe in empty space.” Eight decades later, I think we can still agree … Continue reading

Posted in arxiv, Science | 70 Comments

Father of the Big Bang

Georges Lemaître died fifty years ago today, on 20 June 1966. If anyone deserves the title “Father of the Big Bang,” it would be him. Both because he investigated and popularized the Big Bang model, and because he was an … Continue reading

Posted in Science | 150 Comments

The Big Picture: The Talk

I’m giving the last lecture on my mini-tour for The Big Picture tonight at the Natural History Museum here in Los Angeles. If you can’t make it, here’s a decent substitute: video of the talk I gave last week at … Continue reading

Posted in Big Picture | 152 Comments

Give the People What They Want

And what they want, apparently, is 470-page treatises on the scientific and philosophical underpinnings of naturalism. To appear soon in the Newspaper of Record: Happy also to see great science books like Lab Girl and Seven Brief Lessons on Physics … Continue reading

Posted in Big Picture | 20 Comments

Big Picture Part Six: Caring

One of a series of quick posts on the six sections of my book The Big Picture — Cosmos, Understanding, Essence, Complexity, Thinking, Caring. Chapters in Part Six, Caring: 45. Three Billion Heartbeats 46. What Is and What Ought to … Continue reading

Posted in Big Picture | 34 Comments

Big Picture Part Five: Thinking

One of a series of quick posts on the six sections of my book The Big Picture — Cosmos, Understanding, Essence, Complexity, Thinking, Caring. Chapters in Part Five, Thinking: 37. Crawling Into Consciousness 38. The Babbling Brain 39. What Thinks? … Continue reading

Posted in Big Picture | 133 Comments

Big Picture Part Four: Complexity

One of a series of quick posts on the six sections of my book The Big Picture — Cosmos, Understanding, Essence, Complexity, Thinking, Caring. Chapters in Part Four, Complexity: 28. The Universe in a Cup of Coffee 29. Light and … Continue reading

Posted in Big Picture | 14 Comments