February 25, 2010

Unheard Cuts with Dyson and Davies

Freeman Dyson

Einstein's Impact

» Download [mp3; 3:32]

Dyson, who was born in England at the height of Einstein's fame, recalls the impression Einstein made on his age, as a public personality and as a new moral face for science after the dark days of World War I.
First Encounter with Einstein

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Dyson recalls how he first heard about Einstein's ideas and came to understand them, and how Einstein changed scientists' fundamental view of the world.
Einstein's Approach to Quantum Physics

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Dyson made his mark on particle physics at Princeton's Institute for Advanced Studies, where Einstein spent the last two decades of his life. Here he describes how and why Einstein resisted the insights of quantum physics until the end of his life. Dyson illustrates how quantum physics challenged Einstein's approach to physics and his view of the cosmos.
"Matter Is Weird Stuff"

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Dyson has said, of discoveries in quantum physics, "matter is weird stuff." He explains that statement, including its implications for thinking about free will and "mind" in human beings and the universe.
The Stubborn Illusion of Time

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In his autobiography, Disturbing the Universe, Dyson cites a letter Einstein wrote to his oldest friend, Michele Besso: "Now he has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me. That means nothing. People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion." Here Dyson reflects on what Einstein meant when he said this, and how living with such ideas has formed his own approach to issues of time, mortality, and death.

Paul Davies

On Nature and Time

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Davies lives in Australia, where he's a theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and astrobiologist. He's the author of several books including About Time: Einstein's Unfinished Revolution. Here, he explains the relative nature of time.
First Encounter with Einstein

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Davies recalls the first encounter he had with Einstein. He was very young, and it wasn't immediately favorable. But eventually he learned to accept Einstein as an important part of his understanding of the universe.
Physics and Creation

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Davies is the 1995 winner of the Templeton Prize, for his work on science and religion. He discusses how physics and the notion of a Creator may be compatible, or not.
Working with Intelligent Design

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As an astrobiologist, Paul Davies discusses the often divergent concerns of physics and biology and how both may or may not fit within the scope of Intelligent Design.


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is a theoretical physicist and Professor Emeritus at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. He has published many scientific papers and written many books, including Disturbing the Universe.

is a theoretical physicist and director of BEYOND: The Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science at Arizona State University. He has written widely about Einstein's understanding of time, including How to Build a Time Machine.