Saturday, November 16, 2013 - Why Symmetry Matters: a description of the beautiful simplicity of the universe
Despite appearances to the contrary, the universe is a very orderly, and surprisingly elegant, place. But at some level, the order of the universe is a broken one. Why does time run one way and not the other? Why are you made of matter and not antimatter? Why is Spiderman such an ill-conceived premise? Symmetry (and symmetry breaking) lie at the heart of it all. We'll take a fast-paced tour of symmetry in physical laws, and meet one of the great unsung heroines of mathematical physics: Emmy Noether. Noether provided the connected between symmetries and conservation laws, providing the groundwork for modern work on supersymmetry and the search for Grand Unified Theories.
Our speaker is Dave Goldberg, a theoretical cosmologist and professor of Physics at Drexel University. He is the author, most recently, of "The Universe in the Rearview Mirror: How Hidden Symmetries Shape Reality." Dr. Goldberg is very interested in the interface between science and pop culture and is especially prone to nerdly excess of sci-fi references. He writes a regular "Ask a Physicist" column for io9.com. He has also been featured on WNYC’s Studio 360, The Leonard Lopate Show, and WHYY's NewsWorks Tonight, and has contributed to Slate.com, Wired.com, and the L.A. Times.