Theories of Everything, by Frank Close
8 May 2017 | 4:48 pm

Steve Agnew suggests that physicist Frank Close's new book would be a good topic of discussion. According to the blurb, in his book (which has yet to be released in the US, but is available in the UK), Close takes the reader to the frontiers of science in a vividly told investigation of revolutionary science and enterprise from the seventeenth century to the present. He looks at what has been meant by theories of everything, explores the scientific breakthroughs they have allowed, and shows the far-reaching effects they have had on crucial aspects of life and belief. Theories of everything, he argues, can be described as those which draw on all relevant branches of knowledge to explain everything known about the universe. Such accounts may reign supreme for centuries. Then, often as a result of the advances they themselves have enabled, a new discovery is made which the current theory cannot explain. A new theory is needed which inspiration, sometimes, supplies."


We Are All Connected
5 May 2017 | 9:25 pm

Can you write a song about physics that is actually a good song? Not a joke song or a spoof song; not a song whose only purpose is to teach you the parts of an equation. A song that is on its own simply a good song, but that is also somehow about physics.

[youtube: I_0laAhvHKE, 560, 315]

To do that you have to understand at a deep, intuitive level what physics tells us about our world. And then you have to translate that into music.

[youtube: FDkfXCMDzZs, 560, 315]

I know of one person who can do it. Sabine Hossenfelder has just released two new songs, "Catching Light" and "Schrödinger's Cat". To go with the songs, there are two excellent videos that include short explainers of the physics from Sabine. I am happy to say the videos were funded by an FQXi mini-grant.

As well as a songwriter and videomaker, Sabine is a physics research fellow at the Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies, where her research is supported in part by an FQXi grant for her project on spacetime defects.

There is more information about the videos on Sabine's blog.

(And for an earlier song, which won "best/worst earworm" in our FQXi video contest, watch "I saw the future".)

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