“The unfinished revolution: Finishing what Einstein started”

September 19, 2005

Lee Smolin will give a public lecture at the Berlin Urania on Wednesday, October 12 at 7:30 pm, An der Urania 17, 10787 Berlin

100 years ago, Einstein started a revolution with the theory of relativity and the light quantum hypothesis. This revolution continues, since we do not yet have a theory that combines quantum theory with space and time. Lee Smolin will explain the latest developments in this field, including string theory and loop quantum gravity. Smolin will also address the question of whether quantum theory itself is correct or needs to be reformulated before it can be unified with our understanding of space and time. Einstein was convinced of this, and Smolin believes that he was most likely right. The US theoretical physicist Lee Smolin, who conducts research on quantum gravity at the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo (Canada), will speak at the conference “LOOPS '05”, which will take place from 10-14 October 2005 at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute) in Potsdam. He will also give a public lecture in English at the Urania in Berlin.

Smolin has contributed fundamental ideas to the development of so-called loop quantum gravity. He argues that string theory and loop quantum gravity, the two competing models for a unification of quantum and relativity theory, could possibly be two partial aspects of the same basic theory. He also works on the foundations of quantum mechanics, cosmology, elementary particle physics and theoretical biology. Perhaps his most famous and also most controversial idea is the model of the “fertile universe”, in which Smolin applies the principles of biological evolution to cosmology. In this model, each collapsing black hole causes the formation of a new universe with natural constants that are slightly different from ours, such as the speed of light or Planck's constant. These mutations can in turn produce new universes, so that a kind of evolutionary process favours universes with many black holes. Lee Smolin is a founding member and long-term researcher at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Canada. Previously, he was an assistant professor at Yale University and professor at Syracuse and Pennsylvania State University.

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