“The Origin of the Universe and the Arrow of Time”
Saturday 4:00 pm :: Mitchell Physics Building Room 205
One of the most obvious facts about the universe is that the past is different from the future. We can remember yesterday, but not tomorrow; we can turn an egg into an omelet, but can’t turn an omelet into an egg. That’s the arrow of time, which is consistent throughout the observable universe. The arrow can be explained by assuming that the very early universe was extremely orderly, and disorder has been increasing ever since. But why did the universe start out so orderly? I will talk about the nature of time, the origin of entropy, and how what happened before the Big Bang may be responsible for the arrow of time we observe today.
Sean Carroll is a Research Professor of theoretical physics at the California Institute of Technology. He received his Ph.D. in 1993 from Harvard University. His research focuses on fundamental physics and cosmology, especially issues of dark matter, dark energy, spacetime symmetries, and the origin of the universe. Recently, Carroll has worked on the foundations of quantum mechanics, the arrow of time, and the emergence of complexity. He is the author of The Particle at the End of the Universe, From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time, and the textbook Spacetime and Geometry: An Introduction to General Relativity, as well as several lecture courses for The Great Courses. He has been awarded prizes and fellowships by the National Science Foundation, NASA, the Sloan Foundation, the Packard Foundation, the American Physical Society, the American Institute of Physics, the Royal Society of London, and the Guggenheim Foundation. He frequently consults for film and television, and has been featured on shows such as The Colbert Report, PBS’s Nova, and Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman.