Professor Sean Carroll, Caltech
Monday 16th November 2009
6 pm - 6.50 pm with discussion 6.50 pm - 7.30 pm
Eastern Avenue Auditorium, The University of Sydney
All welcome, admission free
One of the most obvious facts about the universe is that the past is different from the future. The world around us is full of irreversible processes: we can turn an egg into an omelet, but can't turn an omelet into an egg. Physicists have codified this difference into the Second Law of Thermodynamics: the entropy of a closed system always increases with time. But why? The ultimate explanation is to be found in cosmology: special conditions in the early universe are responsible for the arrow of time. I will talk about the nature of time, the origin of entropy and how what happened before the Big Bang might be responsible for the arrow of time we observe today.
Sean Carroll is a theoretical physicist at the California Institute of Technology. He received his Ph.D. in 1993 from Harvard University and has previously worked at MIT, the Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the University of Chicago. His research ranges over a number of topics in theoretical physics, focusing on cosmology, particle physics and general relativity. He is the author of From Eternity to Here, a popular book on cosmology and the arrow of time; Spacetime and Geometry, a textbook on general relativity; and has produced a set of introductory lectures for The Teaching Company entitled Dark Matter and Dark Energy: The Dark Side of the Universe. Carroll is a co-founder of the popular science blog Cosmic Variance (cosmicvariance.com). He was recently awarded the 2009 Viktor Hamburger Outstanding Educator award. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, writer Jennifer Ouellette.
This event is jointly sponsored by the University of Sydney’s Centre for the Human Aspects of Science and Technology (CHAST), the Centre for Time and the Sydney Centre for the Foundations of Science, and supported by the Australian Institute for High Energy Physics (AUSHEP).