Written in the stars? TV and radio science presenter Professor Jim Al-Khalili to discuss the role of determinism in our universe

Posted by ew205 at Jan 05, 2018 10:02 AM |
University of Leicester to host the Institute of Physics 2018 Prestige Lecture on Tuesday 16 January

Do you consider your actions the result of free will, or of a preordained path we are destined to follow? At the Institute of Physics 2018 Prestige Lecture, hosted at the University of Leicester, physicist and presenter Professor Jim Al-Khalili OBE will lead a whistle-stop tour of modern physics and discussion of whether the future is ‘knowable’.

The lecture, entitled “Written in the Stars: how to live happily in a deterministic universe” will be taking place on Tuesday 16 January in the University of Leicester’s Rattray Lecture Theatre, commencing at 6.30pm.

For this lecture, Professor Al-Khalili will describe how views on the subject of scientific determinism have changed over the centuries- beginning with Newton’s notion of a ‘clockwork universe’, progressing on to Pierre-Simon Laplace’s ‘demon’ articulation of determinism, and Einstein’s block universe of four-dimensional spacetime.

The lecture will discuss whether quantum mechanics, resting as it does in the realms of chance and probability, can provide the fuzziness that might give us back an open future, and with it our free will. The lecture’s final conclusion might shock and disturb, highlighting that this subject is as fascinating and infuriating as ever.

Jim Al-Khalili OBE is a Professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of Surrey where he currently teaches and conducts research in quantum physics. He has published over a hundred papers in nuclear reaction physics and quantum biology, and has written a range of books on popular science and the history of science, between them translated into over twenty-five languages.

Professor Al-Khalili is also a regular presenter of TV science documentaries, as well as the award-winning weekly BBC Radio 4 programme, The Life Scientific. He is a recipient of the Royal Society Faraday medal and the inaugural Stephen Hawking medal.

Dr Darren Wright, from the Department of Physics and Astronomy, said: “We are very fortunate to have such an outstanding scientist and well-known public speaker as Professor Al-Khalili presenting this year’s Prestige Lecture, and I am particularly pleased that this year the lecture is being held at the University of Leicester. This will be an excellent event for both public and members of the University”.

Please register your interest in attending this event here: https://www.events.iop.org/e/jim-al-khalili-written-in-the-stars-how-to-live-happily-in-a-deterministic-universe-annual-prestige-lecture-78734a0edf444a319026359a10b4dc8c/page.html

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