Sean CarrollTheoretical Physics and Astrophysics
Moore Center for Theoretical Cosmology and Physics
Division of Physics, Mathematics, and Astronomy
California Institute of Technology
I'm a theoretical physicist at Caltech in sunny Pasadena, California. I do research on theoretical aspects of cosmology, field theory, and gravitation. I want to learn about fundamental physics by studying the structure and evolution of the universe. These days I'm especially interested in inflation, the arrow of time, and what happened at or before the Big Bang. I've done work on dark matter and dark energy, modified gravity, topological defects, extra dimensions, and violations of fundamental symmetries. See my research page for more details.
I've written a popular-level book on cosmology and the arrow of time: From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time. I also wrote a graduate textbook, Spacetime and Geometry: An Introduction to General Relativity, and recorded lectures for the Teaching Company on Dark Matter and Dark Energy and the Mysteries of Time. I started blogging back in 2004, and keep it up to this day.
My latest book, which came out in November 2012, is The Particle at the End of the Universe: How the Higgs Boson Leads us to the Edge of a New World. It's about the Large Hadron Collider, the search for the Higgs Boson, and the people who made it happen. I'm also at work on a special for PBS's NOVA on the same topic, scheduled to air in 2013.
In addition to theoretical physics and book-writing, there are a bunch of other things I'm interested in, somewhat haphazardly collected on my activities page. If you'd like more details, see writings, talks or videos.
Extending tentacles into other social networks and internet phenomena:
In the picture on the upper right I'm joined by my lovely wife Jennifer Ouellette. That photo was taken in Downtown LA by my Mom; the monochromatic one on the front page is by Ken Weingart. The clock image on the top banner is from the Mechanical Clock screensaver by 3planesoft.
Blog and Twitter
Some interviews and articles from here and there.
Stuffy Official Bio
Sean Carroll is a physicist at the California Institute of Technology. He received his Ph.D. in 1993 from Harvard University. His research focuses on theoretical physics and cosmology, especially the origin and constituents of the universe. He has contributed to models of interactions between dark matter, dark energy, and ordinary matter; alternative theories of gravity; and violations of fundamental symmetries. Carroll is the author of From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time, Spacetime and Geometry: An Introduction to General Relativity, and the forthcoming The Particle at the End of the Universe. He has been awarded fellowships by the Sloan Foundation, Packard Foundation, and the American Physical Society, as well as the MIT Graduate Student Council Teaching Award and the Villanova University Arts and Sciences Alumni Medallion. Carroll is a contributor to the blog Cosmic Variance. He has appeared on TV shows such as The Colbert Report and Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman, and frequently serves as a science consultant for film and television. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, writer Jennifer Ouellette.
Here are some representative research papers:
- S.M. Carroll and H. Tam, 2010, Unitary Evolution and Cosmological Fine-Tuning.
- S.M. Carroll, M.C. Johnson, and L. Randall, 2009, Dynamical compactification from de Sitter space.
- L. Ackerman, M.R. Buckley, S.M. Carroll, and M. Kamionkowski, 2008, Dark Matter and Dark Radiation.
- L. Ackerman, S.M. Carroll, and M. Wise, 2007, Imprints of a Primordial Preferred Direction on the Microwave Background.
- S.M. Carroll and J. Chen, 2004, Spontaneous Inflation and the Origin of the Arrow of Time.
- S.M. Carroll, V. Duvvuri, M.S. Turner, and M. Trodden, 2003, Is Cosmic Speed-Up Due to New Gravitational Physics?
- S.M. Carroll, M. Hoffman, and M. Trodden, 2003, Can the Dark Energy Equation-of-State Parameter w be Less Than -1?
- S.M. Carroll, 1998, Quintessence and the Rest of the World.
- S.M. Carroll, E. Farhi, A.H. Guth and K.D. Olum, 1994, Energy-Momentum Restrictions on the Creation of Gott Time Machines.
- S.M. Carroll, G.B. Field and R. Jackiw, 1990, Limits on A Lorentz and Parity-Violating Modification of Electrodynamics.
Plenty more listed on my CV.
Until Fall 2006 I was on the faculty of the Physics Department and Enrico Fermi Institute of the University of Chicago. Before that I was a postdoc at the Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of California in Santa Barbara, a postdoc at the Center for Theoretical Physics at MIT, a graduate student at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and an undergraduate at the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at Villanova University. Before even that I attended Pennsbury High School, where my partner Bill Koehler and I came in second place in the state debate championships on a highly controversial 3-2 decision. Still haven't quite gotten over that.
To figure out where I might be in the future, check my schedule under activities.
My mailing address is:
Department of Physics, Caltech 452-48
1200 East California Boulevard, Pasadena, CA 91125
Office: 626/395-6830, Fax: 626/568-8473
By far the best way to reach me is by email: seancarrollatgmaildotcom, suitably decoded. I usually don't even pick up my phone, so there's not much point in calling.
I love giving talks to all sorts of audiences. You can email me, or get directly in touch with the BrightSight Group, who handles my speaking engagements. Their email is info[at]brightsightgroup.com, or call (609) 924-3060.
If you are interested in becoming a student or postdoc at Caltech, please feel free to contact me by email. I am happy to talk about Caltech, although the actual application process is fairly formalized: prospective undergraduates go here, graduate students here, and postdocs here.
Unfortunately, I am not able to help with questions about physics, theories of the universe, and so on. There just isn't enough time. I recommend checking out one of the various online discussion forums devoted to that kind of thing:
- Quora: http://www.quora.com/Physics
- Physics Stack Exchange: http://physics.stackexchange.com/
- Physics Forums: http://www.physicsforums.com/
- PhysForum: http://www.physforum.com/
- PhysicsGRE.com: http://www.physicsgre.com/
Unsolicited compliments, on the other hand, are always welcomed.