Paradox: The Nine Greatest Enigmas in Physics
Throughout history, science has progressed by setting out to find answers to the most puzzling of questions: Can the second law of thermodynamics be broken? Is the Universe infinite? Do we have free will? Is it possible to travel back in time? In considering these puzzles the scientist is frequently confronted by a paradox – a statement that leads to a circular and self-contradictory argument, or one that describes a logically impossible situation. This is a sure sign that we have not understood something about how the Universe works. Nature should never be paradoxical, so exploring and resolving perceived paradoxes is a way of deepening our scientific understanding.
In this event, as in his latest book, Paradox: The Nine Greatest Enigmas in Science, Professor Jim Al-Khalili selects some of his favourite scientific puzzles and conundrums, all of which have famously been referred to as paradoxes, but which turn out not to be paradoxes at all when considered carefully and viewed from the right angle. Some of these paradoxes may be familiar, such as Schrödinger’s famous cat, which is seemingly alive and dead at the same time, while others will be new to the reader, but no less bizarre and fascinating.
The event is supported by Lloyd’s Register Educational Trust.
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Professor Jim Al-Khalili, OBE is an academic, author and broadcaster. He is a leading theoretical physicist based at the University of Surrey, where he teaches and carries out research in quantum mechanics. He presents the weekly programme The Life Scientific on BBC Radio 4 and has presented several television and radio documentaries, including the BAFTA-nominated Chemistry: A Volatile History and The Secret Life of Chaos. He has written a number of popular science books, with his most recent being Paradox: The Nine Greatest Enigmas in Science. He was awarded the 2007 Royal Society Michael Faraday medal and the 2011 Institute of Physics Kelvin medal, both for his science communication work. Visit his website at www.jimal-khalili.com.
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