Listen to these sounds of black holes merging and falling into one another and the "white noise" of the Big Bang. A TED Talk with Janna Levin that stirs the mind.
An astrophysicist who studies the shape of the universe, Janna Levin has also explored her science by writing a novel about two pivotal 20th-century mathematicians, Kurt Gödel and Alan Turing. Both men pushed at boundaries where mathematics presses on grand questions of meaning and purpose. Such questions, she says, help create the technologies that are now changing our sense of what it means to be human.
Pertinent Posts from the On Being Blog
A classic comic on faith in equations. "You take two numbers and when you add them, they magically become one new number!"
Video of a Seed salon with Janna Levin and fiction writer Jonathon Lethem.
Physicists have long sought to describe the universe in terms of equations. Now, James Gates explains how research on a class of geometric symbols known as adinkras could lead to fresh insights into the theory of supersymmetry — and perhaps even the very nature of reality.
A visualization showing how three mathematical concepts translate into simple objects in nature.
“Every single thing that religion provides, rationality, empiricism, and science can provide. And not only that — they can provide it better.” ~Dr. Lawrence Krauss
The physicist and atheist talks with Krista Tippett about what science may reveal about the origins of life and human consciousness.
A reflection on Einstein's "cosmic" religious sense and how it's deeply kindred with the religious and spiritual yearnings of our age.
Janna Levin launches a new film about Alan Turing at the World Science Festival.
About the Image
Located in the Bolivian Andes, Salar de Uyuni is the world's largest salt flat. The irregular, hexagonal cells are naturally occurring phenomena called Bénard cells. Scientists are trying to understand why these convective cells adhere to deterministic laws at the microscopic level but result in a non-deterministic arrangement, as you see here.
Voices on the Radio
Host/Executive Producer: Krista Tippett
Executive Editor: Trent Gilliss
Senior Producer: Lily Percy
Technical Director: Chris Heagle
Associate Producer: Mariah Helgeson
Parallel realities and the deep structure of space-time sound like science fiction. These are matters of real scientific inquiry. Lord Martin Rees is an astrophysicist and self-professed atheist who paints a fascinating picture of how we might be changed by what we do not yet know.
A mission scientist with NASA's Kepler Space Telescope, Natalie Batalha hunts for exoplanets — Earth-sized planets beyond our solar system that might harbor life. She speaks about unexpected connections between things like love and dark energy, science and gratitude, and how "exploring the heavens" brings the beauty of the cosmos and the exuberance of scientific discovery closer to us all.
Science and religion are often pitted against one another; but how do they complement, rather than contradict, one another? We learn how one man applies the deepest insights of modern physics to think about how the world fundamentally works, and how the universe might make space for prayer.
Mathematical equations are like sonnets says Keith Devlin. What most of us learn in school, he says, doesn’t begin to convey what mathematics is. And technology may free more of us to discover the wonder of mathematical thinking — as a reflection of the inner world of our minds.