Category Archives: Science

Congratulations to Grant and Jason!

Advising graduate students as they make the journey from learners to working scientists is one of the great pleasures and privileges of academic life. Last week featured the Ph.D. thesis defenses of not one, but two students I’ve been working … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Personal, Science | 4 Comments

Guest Post: Nathan Moynihan on Amplitudes for Astrophysicists

As someone who sits at Richard Feynman’s old desk, I take Feynman diagrams very seriously. They are a very convenient and powerful way of answering a certain kind of important physical question: given some set of particles coming together to … Continue reading

Posted in Guest Post, Science | 6 Comments

Is Inflationary Cosmology Science?

[tl;dr: Check out this article in Scientific American by Ijjas, Steinhardt, and Loeb suggesting that inflation isn’t science; this response by Guth, Kaiser, Linde, and Nomura that was co-signed by a bunch of people including me; and this counter-response by … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy, Science | 23 Comments

What Happened at the Big Bang?

I had the pleasure earlier this month of giving a plenary lecture at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society. Unfortunately, as far as I know they don’t record the lectures on video. So here, at least, are the slides … Continue reading

Posted in Science, Time | 71 Comments

Quantum Is Calling

Hollywood celebrities are, in many important ways, different from the rest of us. But we are united by one crucial similarity: we are all fascinated by quantum mechanics. This was demonstrated to great effect last year, when Paul Rudd and … Continue reading

Posted in Entertainment, Science | 5 Comments

Thanksgiving

This year we give thanks for a feature of the physical world that many people grumble about rather than celebrating, but is undeniably central to how Nature works at a deep level: the speed of light. (We’ve previously given thanks … Continue reading

Posted in Science | 25 Comments

Gifford Lectures on Natural Theology

In October I had the honor of visiting the University of Glasgow to give the Gifford Lectures on Natural Theology. These are a series of lectures that date back to 1888, and happen at different Scottish universities: Glasgow, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, … Continue reading

Posted in Big Picture, Philosophy, Religion, Science | 11 Comments

Talking About Dark Matter and Dark Energy

Trying to keep these occasional Facebook Live videos going. (I’ve looked briefly into other venues such as Periscope, but FB is really easy and anyone can view without logging in if they like.) So here is one I did this … Continue reading

Posted in Science | 54 Comments

Entropy and Complexity, Cause and Effect, Life and Time

Finally back from Scotland, where I gave a series of five talks for the Gifford Lectures in Glasgow. The final four, at least, were recorded, and should go up on the web at some point, but I’m not sure when. … Continue reading

Posted in Big Picture, Science, Time | 27 Comments

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