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    Thread: Isaac Asimov Memorial - PANEL DISCUSSION: TOE in Modern Physics

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      Isaac Asimov Memorial - PANEL DISCUSSION: TOE in Modern Physics

      The talk was recorded at the American Museum of Natural History on March 7, 2011.

      This is an entertaining yet informative panel discussion hosted by our beloved Neil deGrasse Tyson. The discussion is ranging from different unifying theories in physics, string theory (and the advances over the past decade), m-theory, multiverse theories to astrophysics, several quantum theories and more. It is involving some highly regarded physicists of our time.

      I think this video is relatively easy to understand for layman (it doesn't get technical, yet some basics are assumed - like a general understanding of the four forces in our universe and the problems with gravity) in modern and theoretical physics and will provide an overall picture of the current state, although the time is sadly very limited. Those that continuously stay on track with the development in physics will most likely be aware of most that is being discussed, but even then it is interesting to see theses issues debated from slightly different professional perspectives and up to date.

      The purpose for this thread is firstly of course sharing the debate, but since there are quite a few people on this board that seem to be interested in physics, myself included, and I thought this would be a good and general basis for discussing the current state. So this thread is supposed to be a platform for questions, discussion of different theories, your opinions on the future of physics, practical implications, maybe even own ideas as to how a unification may be achieved, or why we may never be able to and anything related.

      The panelists are:

      Dr. Brian Greene, professor of physics and mathematics at Columbia University.
      Well known for his pioneering work with string theories and author of bestsellers like "the elegant universe" and "the fabric of the cosmos".

      Dr. Katherine Freese, professor of physics at the University of Michigan. More specifically she is a particle astrophysicist mostly working on dark energy and dark matter, which compose 96% of our universe and are entirely unaccounted for.

      Dr. Jim Gates, professor of physics at the University of Maryland-College Park and a theoretical physicist, who is working on a unifying mathematical piece providing an accurate description of our universe.

      Dr. Marcello Gleiser, professor of physics and astronomy at Dartmouth College. A theoretical physicist that has been doing a lot of work on string theory and extra dimensions, yet recently has changed his view on the outlook of the unification of physics.

      Dr. Janna Levin, professor of physics and astronomy at Barnard College. Opposed to her rather theoretical co-panelists, she has been studying black holes for the past years and how they influence and affect space and time and is trying to understand the implications of extra dimensions on more practical basis.

      Dr. Lee Smolin, theoretical physicist at Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. He has been formulating different theories on quantum gravity and different alternative approaches, but has also been involved in research about cosmology, elementary particles, string theory and quantum mechanics.

      Last edited by dajo; 03-28-2011 at 10:49 AM. Reason: cleaning up spelling
      PhilosopherStoned likes this.

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      Neil deGrasse Tyson doesn't know if he wants to be a comedian or an astronomer. I say pick a profession and stick with it! Anyway that's my cheap shot at him. As for the video, I may watch it sometime in the future when I'm bored, I'm pretty sure most of whats being discussed is pretty much stuff I already know about.

      And Michio Kaku isn';t on the panelist so I don't really see the point. :p
      Last edited by Ne-yo; 03-28-2011 at 07:55 PM.

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      I actually put in a remark like this about Tyson at first, but took it out before posting. He is generally good for mellow lectures on some interesting things about space with a lot of references to movies and pop culture. But nothing too deep. In this particular case it's even a bit worse, since he often times doesn't seem to really get it and is trying to play dumb and make jokes that just don't really work. But he is a good mediator and stays generally somewhat fair and balanced in his views and responses. But that's still just a small portion of the panel discussion - there is a lot of interesting discussion.

      However, I am also regularly keeping up on physics and was aware of everything discussed in the debate - nevertheless I found it to be quite interesting and to be a pretty good summary of most of the current state of physics. And since it gives a good overall picture for people interested, I thought I'd share it and am hoping for a debate about its content. (You don't actually have to watch it to post your thoughts).

      And concerning Michio Kaku, fair enough, I personally would have loved to see Susskind participate.

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      Rational Spiritualist DrunkenArse's Avatar
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      I would also love to have seen Susskind in it.
      Previously PhilosopherStoned

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      I'm sure you're aware, but his entire Stanford courses on relativity, quantum mechanics, etc. are available on the StanfordUniversity YouTube Channel.

      YouTube - StanfordUniversity's Channel

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      Rational Spiritualist DrunkenArse's Avatar
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      Yeah. His second series on entanglement isn't up. But they're a great resource. They're sort of annoying to watch because he dwells on the math so much that it slows things down but he's a very good instructor. I fully agree with his point that talking about physics is pretty meaningless if you don't understand the math. It's really a very impressive thing that he's doing.
      Previously PhilosopherStoned

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      Dionysian stormcrow's Avatar
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      Thank you so much for posting this debate Dajo. I found it to be extremely informative and entertaining. I'm definitely a layperson regarding physics but I found this video to be very accessible.
      I was particularly interested in part of Jim Gates' talk about finding the computer codes in the equations of string theory. It reminded me of the Pythagoras' idea that "all things are numbers" mixed with the matrix. I knew next to nothing about string theory before watching this video so it was a pretty good introduction and as always Tyson is awesome.

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      I'm glad you liked it. That was pretty much the main reason for me posting it.

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      I saw this a few times, some really awesome stuff is covered. My respect for Neil Degrass Tyson dropped down so much through when he interrupted Lee Smolin's question at 1:25 about the philosophy of science. Lee Smolin is one of my hero's and seeing Neal break his thought process to answer a really good question by "rewording it" completely wrong made me so mad, I don't know if I'll ever be able to forgive him after that haha

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      Ya Lee is probably one of my favorite debaters in this video. His voice is pleasantly relaxing. Lee gets interrupted quite a bit probably because he is very soft spoken. Tyson is kinda like the new Bill Nye, his job is to make science "fun" which in turn makes him look like a clown sometimes, but I still have mad love for him.

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      I'm also confused as to why Kaku wasn't in this. He wouldn't have made it more difficult to understand since he talks on a relatively understandable level to even a novice in physics. Not to mention he's fairly important to a String Theory-esque version of a TOE.

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      I don't like Kaku he looks like a goblin.
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