Cosmology and Physics Lectures: Hawking, Greene and others

Video Lectures

Displaying all 7 video lectures.
Lecture 1
Stephen Hawking: Asking big questions about the universe
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Stephen Hawking: Asking big questions about the universe


February 2008



About this talk



In keeping with the theme of TED2008, professor Stephen Hawking asks some Big Questions about our universe -- How did the universe begin? How did life begin? Are we alone? -- and discusses how we might go about answering them.



Stephen Hawking: Theoretical physicist




Stephen Hawking's scientific investigations have shed light on the origins of the cosmos, the nature of time and the ultimate fate of universe. His bestselling books for a general audience have given an appreciation of physics to millions.



Why you should listen to him:



Stephen Hawking is perhaps the world's most famous living physicist. A specialist in cosmology and quantum gravity and a devotee of black holes, his work has probed the origins of the cosmos, the nature of time and the universe's ultimate fate -- earning him accolades including induction into the Order of the British Empire. To the public, he's best known as an author of bestsellers such as The Universe in a Nutshell and A Brief History of Time, which have brought an appreciation of theoretical physics to millions.



Though the motor neuron disorder ALS has confined Hawking to a wheelchair, it hasn't stopped him from lecturing widely, making appearances on television shows such as Star Trek: The Next Generation and The Simpsons -- and planning a trip into orbit with Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic. (He recently experienced weightlessness aboard Zero Gravity Corporation's "Vomit Comet.") A true academic celebrity, he uses his public appearances to raise awareness about potential global disasters -- such as global warming -- and to speak out for the future of humanity: "Getting a portion of the human race permanently off the planet is imperative for our future as a species," he says.

Lecture 2
Brian Greene: The universe on a string
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Brian Greene: The universe on a string


February 2005



About this talk



Physicist Brian Greene explains superstring theory, the idea that minscule strands of energy vibrating in 11 dimensions create every particle and force in the universe.



Brian Greene: Physicist



Brian Greene is perhaps the best-known proponent of superstring theory, the idea that minuscule strands of energy vibrating in 11 dimensions create every particle and force in the universe.



Why you should listen to him:



Brian Greene is perhaps the best-known proponent of superstring theory, the idea that minuscule strands of energy vibrating in 11 dimensions create every particle and force in the universe.



Greene was a math prodigy and a Rhodes scholar, who has written several best-selling and non-technical books on the subject, such as The Elegant Universe, a Pulitzer finalist, Aventis winner and the basis for a three-hour Nova special. He is a professor at Columbia University's Institute for Strings, Cosmology, and Astroparticle Physics.



Greene is the co-founder of the 2008 World Science Festival, to be held May 28-June 1 in New York City.



"Greene has a rare gift for explaining the most challenging scientific ideas, and everyone can appreciate his refreshingly insightful explanations."



Jennifer Birriel in Astronomy



Source: http://www.ted.com

Lecture 3
Garrett Lisi: A beautiful new theory of everything
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Garrett Lisi: A beautiful new theory of everything

14 October 2008



About this talk



Physicist and surfer Garrett Lisi presents a controversial new model of the universe that -- just maybe -- answers all the big questions. If nothing else, it's the most beautiful 8-dimensional model of elementary particles and forces you've ever seen. (Recorded February 2008 in Monterey, California. Duration: 21:26.)



Garrett Lisi: Physicist



Physicist Garrett Lisi has proposed a new "theory of everything" -- a grand unified theory that explains all the elementary particles, as well as gravity.

Why you should listen to him:



Working from principles of differential geometry, physicist Garrett Lisi is developing a new unified theory that purports to explain all the elementary particles, and gravity, in one elegant model. His theory is based on a mathematical shape called E8. With 248 symmetries, E8 is large, complex and beautiful -- and Lisi believes the relationships of its symmetries correspond to known particles and forces, including gravity.



His work, explained in his paper "An Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything," and in an ongoing discussion on FQXi, is still on science's speculative fringe. But some physicists believe he could be pointing the way toward a truly unified theory.



"This is an 'all or nothing' kind of theory -- meaning it's going to end up agreeing with and predicting damn near everything, or it's wrong. At this stage of development, it could go either way."

Garrett Lisi on physicsforums.com



Source: http://www.ted.com

Lecture 4
Brian Cox: What really goes on at the Large Hadron Collider
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Brian Cox: What really goes on at the Large Hadron Collider

March 2008



About this talk



"Rock-star physicist" Brian Cox talks about his work on the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. Discussing the biggest of big science in an engaging, accessible way, Cox brings us along on a tour of the massive project.



Brian Cox: Physicist




Physicist Brian Cox has two jobs: working with the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, and explaining big science to the general public. He's a professor at the University of Manchester.

Why you should listen to him:



Based at the University of Manchester, Brian Cox works at CERN in Geneva on the ATLAS experiment, studying the forward proton detectors for the Large Hadron Collider there. He's a professor at the University of Manchester, working in the High Energy Physics group, and is a research fellow of the Royal Society.



He's also become a vital voice in the UK media for explaining physics to the public. With his rockstar hair and accessible charm, he's the go-to physicist for explaining heady concepts on British TV and radio. (If you're in the UK, watch him on The Big Bang Machine.) He was the science advisor for the 2007 film Sunshine. He answers science questions every Friday on BBC6 radio's Breakfast Show.



"If people don’t have an understanding of what science is and what scientists do, then they can tend to think that global warming, for example, is just a matter of opinion."

Brian Cox in Seed magazine

Lecture 5
George Smoot: The design of the universe
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George Smoot: The design of the universe


May 2008



About this talk



At Serious Play 2008, astrophysicist George Smoot shows stunning new images from deep-space surveys, and prods us to ponder how the cosmos -- with its giant webs of dark matter and mysterious gaping voids -- got built this way.



George Smoot: Astrophysicist




Astrophysicist, cosmologist and Nobel Prize winner George Smoot studies the cosmic microwave background radiation -- the afterglow of the Big Bang. His pioneering research into deep space and time is uncovering the structure of the universe itself.



Why you should listen to him:



George Smoot looks into the farthest reaches of space to the oldest objects in the known universe: fluctuations in the remnants of creation. Using data collected from satellites such as COBE and WMAP, scanning the cosmic microwave background radiation (a relic of the heat unleashed after the Big Bang), he probes the shape of the universe. In 1992 he and his Berkeley team discovered that the universe, once thought to be smooth and uniform at the largest scale, is actually anisotropic -- or varied and lumpy.



Smoot continues to investigate of the structure of the universe at the University of California at Berkeley, mapping billions of galaxies and filaments of dark matter in hope of uncovering the secrets of the universe's origins.



"The very detailed observations that the Laureates have carried out from the COBE satellite have played a major role in the development of modern cosmology into a precise science."

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, on Smoot's Nobel Prize

Lecture 6
Patricia Burchat: The search for dark energy and dark matter
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Patricia Burchat: The search for dark energy and dark matter


February 2008



About this talk



Physicist Patricia Burchat sheds light on two basic ingredients of our universe: dark matter and dark energy. Comprising 96% of the universe between them, they can't be directly measured, but their influence is immense.



Patricia Burchat: Particle physicist



Patricia Burchat studies the structure and distribution of dark matter and dark energy. These mysterious ingredients can't be measured in conventional ways, yet form a quarter of the mass of our universe.



Why you should listen to her:



Patricia Burchat studies the universe's most basic ingredients -- the mysterious dark energy and dark matter that are massively more abundant than the visible stars and galaxies. She is one of the founders of the BaBar Collaboration at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, a project that's hoping to answer the question, "If there are as many anti-particles as there are particles, why can't we see all these anti-particles?"



She's a member of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope project, which will allow scientists to monitor exploding supernovae and determine how fast the universe is expanding -- and map how mass is distributed throughout the universe. She's also part of Fermilab Experiment E791, studying the production and decay of charmed particles. Burchat received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2005.



"By the time I arrived at Stanford, I knew I was a reductionist at heart. I am most interested in trying to understand nature at its most fundamental level."

Patricia Burchat

Lecture 7
Jill Tarter: Why the search for alien intelligence matters
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Jill Tarter: Why the search for alien intelligence matters

20 February 2009



From TED2009! The SETI Institute's Jill Tarter makes her TED Prize wish: to keep looking for cosmic company. Using a growing array of radio telescopes, she (and all of us) can listen for patterns that may be a sign of intelligence elsewhere in the universe. (Recorded February 2009 in Long Beach, California. Duration: 21:23.)



Jill Tarter: Astronomer



SETI's Jill Tarter has devoted her career to hunting for signs of sentient beings elsewhere, and almost all aspects of this field have been affected by her work.

Why you should listen to her:



Astronomer Jill Tarter is director of the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute’s Center for SETI Research, and also holder of the Bernard M. Oliver Chair for SETI. She led Project Phoenix, a decade-long SETI scrutiny of about 750 nearby star systems, using telescopes in Australia, West Virginia and Puerto Rico. While no clearly extraterrestrial signal was found, this project was the most comprehensive targeted search for artificially generated cosmic signals ever undertaken.



Tarter serves on the management board for the Allen Telescope Array, a massive new instrument that will eventually include 350 antennas, each 6 meters in diameter. This telescope will increase the speed and the spectral range of the hunt for signals from other distant technologies by orders of magnitude.



Tarter is committed to the education of future citizens and scientists. Beyond her scientific leadership at NASA and the SETI Institute, Tarter has been actively involved in developing curriculum for children. She was Principal Investigator for two curriculum development projects funded by NSF, NASA, and others. One project, the Life in the Universe series, created 6 science teaching guides for grades 3-9. The other project, Voyages Through Time, is an integrated high school science curriculum on the fundamental theme of evolution in six modules: Cosmic Evolution, Planetary Evolution, Origin of Life, Evolution of Life, Hominid Evolution and Evolution of Technology.



"'Are we alone?' Humans have been asking [this question] forever. The probability of success is difficult to estimate but if we never search the chance of success is zero."

Jill Tarter