The California condor is the biggest flying bird in North America, a title that it has held since the Late Pleistocene Epoch. It’s just one example of an organism that we share the planet with today that seems lost in time, out of place in our world.
For all of you who have been clamoring for the video of my TEDx Lancaster on the Scientific Method, it’s here!
Brian Greene is a theoretical physicist, mathematician, and string theorist. He has been a professor at Columbia University since 1996 and chairman of the World Science Festival since co-founding it in 2008. His new book “Until the End of Time” is now available: https://amzn.to/2ug680o
86:48yeah so there’s something in there86:49there’s something that interacts with86:51the physical structure of your body and86:52and and I would say there isn’t so86:57that’s the whoo-whoo version is that the87:02brain itself and the body the physical87:04so this this this spiritual self you are87:08merely an antenna that’s tuning into the87:11the the great consciousness of the87:14universe but why but then you have to87:17answer what it we know what we are made87:20of yes oh we know how those particles87:22behave and interact so so why do the87:25particles not in any way interact with87:29that stuff because we interact we don’t87:31if that’s true we don’t only just87:33interact with it we interact extremely87:36strongly with it we’re interacting with87:38it now yeah every movement I make is the87:41interaction between those every matter87:43yeah yes what everything if I move my87:46fingers everything that I’m doing right87:48is an interaction between that stuff and87:50me so it’s a very strong interaction87:52with matter but we don’t see it in all87:55our precision measurement well the87:58answer for that dancer is because it’s88:00not there the answer is Jesus and you88:02can’t measure God that may be an answer88:06but the point is you as we talked about88:08earlier with absolute space yeah if you88:10can’t measure it yeah it’s not there hmm>> Can you measure consciousness?88:14right it’s but for whatever reason for88:19people there is some incredible88:21motivation to find a divine something or88:27another that’s there’s something greater88:30than this physical being there’s88:32something what do you think that is like88:34what is that compulsion we we’ve already88:36sort of talked a bit about it I think it88:39goes to the the hearts of this question88:43of what it means to be human88:44mmm88:44so I would say that being human the88:49answer to the it’s not the answer to the88:53meaning but it an answer would be we are88:58small finite beings right which are just89:02clusters of atoms as we said before89:05they’re very rare but we understand89:07roughly how they how they came to be and89:10we have a limited amount of time not89:13actually unfortunately but because of89:16the laws of nature that the laws of89:18nature forbid us to be immortal89:20they-they-they immortality’s ruled out89:24by the laws of physics but also actually89:28what’s interesting about if you look at89:30the basic physics of the universe going89:32from the Big Bang to where we are today89:34then the physics is driven by the fact89:37that the universe began in an extremely89:40ordered state so it was a very highly89:42ordered system and it is tending towards89:46a more disordered system at the moment89:48and that’s called the second law of89:49thermodynamics and it’s that basic89:51common-sense thing that things go to89:54[ __ ] basically the second law of89:56thermodynamics what we strongly suspect89:59and and I would say know is that in that90:05process of going from order to disorder90:08complexity emerges naturally for a brief90:12period of time so it’s a natural part of90:15the evolution of the universe that you90:17get appeared in time when there’s90:18complexity in the universe so stars and90:21planets and galaxies and life and90:23civilizations but they are they exist90:26because the universe is decaying not in90:29spite of the fact the universe is90:31decaying so our existence in that sort90:34of picture is necessarily finite and90:37necessarily time limited and it is a90:40remarkable thing that that complexity90:43has got so far that there are things in90:45the universe that can think and feel and90:47explore it and I think that is the90:50answer if you want an answer to the90:51meaning of it all it’s that that you are90:54part of the universe because of the way90:57the laws of nature work90:58you are allowed to exist but you’re91:01allowed to exist for a temporary or a91:03small amount of time in a possibly91:05infinite universe91:07one of the biggest mind-blowing moments91:11I think of my limited comprehension of91:14what it means to be a living being was91:16when I found out that carbon and all the91:20stuff that makes us has to come out of a91:23dying star yeah like there that alone91:25that there’s this very strange cycle of91:28these enormous fireballs that Forge the91:33material that makes Brian Cox yeah like91:37what that that one alone that there is91:40some strange loop of biological life91:47that comes from stars which is like the91:51most elemental thing that we can observe91:53we see these things in this can we see91:54the Sun in the sky it’s this91:56all-powerful ball of fire91:59yeah and that that is where the building92:02blocks for a person come from and then92:04is it so and they will be from the92:07carbon atoms in our body that you’re92:08right they all got made in styles92:10because there were none of it at the Big92:12Bang92:13there’s only hydrogen and helium tiny92:15bit of lithium to be precise but nothing92:17else and so it was all made in stars and92:20it’s probably from different styles you92:22know the atoms in your body they’re not92:23all from one star that cooks it and then92:25died there’ll be a mixture of stuff from92:27many stars in your body now and I agree92:31with you the what more do you want you92:33know when I see people who got I want92:35more than that I want you know it was92:37there must be more to it92:39what do you mean the the we have we have92:41we were the ingredients now bodies were92:44assembled in their hearts of long dead92:46stars over billions of years and have92:48assembled themselves spontaneously into92:50temporary structures that can think and92:53feel and explore and then those92:55structures will decay away again at some92:57point and in a very far future there’ll92:59be no structures left so there we are we93:02exist in this little window when we can93:03observe this magnificent universe why do93:06you want any more insults I think to93:09people I think a lot of people aren’t93:11aware of93:12all the all the information right and93:14then I think on top of it for some93:16people it’s just it’s so overwhelming93:20you know this this concept of 13.893:24billion years of everything to get to93:27this point that we’re at right now it’s93:29so overwhelming that they want to93:30simplify it you want to put it into some93:33sort of a fable structure something93:36where it’s something that’s very common93:39and similar and familiar yeah I I agree93:43and and but I think that’s the the it’s93:48the the the journey that we go on the93:50real treasure I think is in that journey93:54of trying to face the incomprehensible93:56yes it’s it’s in that realization that94:00it’s almost it’s it’s almost impossible94:03to believe that we exist that’s that’s94:08that’s a wonderful thing yeah and I94:11think that that’s what I think you miss94:12out I think if you decide to simplify it94:15because you don’t want to face that you94:17don’t have faced the infinity that’s out94:19there in front of us and you don’t want94:22to face those stories as you said that94:24you look at your finger and its94:26ingredients was cooked in multiple stars94:29over billions of years that that’s a to94:32me a joyous and powerful thing to think94:35about yes and I think you’re missing out94:37if you don’t want to face that well I94:39think the distribution of information94:41has changed so radically over the last94:43couple hundred years and particularly94:44over the last twenty that you’re seeing94:47these trends now where more people are94:49inclined to abandon a lot of the even if94:54you remain religious or remain you keep94:59a sought or a belief in a higher power95:02people are more inclined to entertain95:06these concepts of science and to take in95:09the understanding of what has been95:11observed and documented and written95:13about among scholars and academics and95:17there’s more there’s more people95:19accepting that have you look at the95:20number of agnostic people now as opposed95:22to twenty thirty years ago it’s it’s95:24it’s rising95:25it’s changing and I think there’s also95:27because of you and because of Neil95:30deGrasse Tyson and you know Sean Carroll95:33and all these other people that are95:34public intellectuals that are discussing95:35this kind of stuff people like myself95:37have a far greater understanding of this95:40then I think people did 30 40 years ago95:42yeah and that trend is continuing I95:44think in a very good direction yeah I95:47mean I don’t you know what we should say95:50is that science we don’t know all the95:53answers so we don’t know where the laws95:55of nature came from we don’t know why95:59the universe began in the way that it96:02did if indeed it had a beginning so I96:04don’t know why the Big Bang was very96:06very highly ordered which is ultimately96:08as Sean Carroll actually mentioned him96:11often points out means right but the96:14whole difference the only difference96:16between the past in the future the96:18so-called arrow of time is that in the96:20past the universe was really ordered and96:23it’s getting more disordered and that’s96:25that that that necessary state of order96:30at the start of the universe which is96:32really the reason that we exist that’s96:34the reason because the universe began in96:36a particular form we don’t know why that96:39was so we will probably find out at some96:43point and it will be something to do96:45with the laws of nature but so I’m96:47always careful I don’t want to science96:50can sometimes sound arrogant right it96:51can sometimes sound like it’s the it’s96:53the discipline of saying to people while96:55you’re not right yeah and it’s not the96:57discipline of saying you’re not right96:59it’s saying this is what we found out97:01yeah so I like to say that it provides a97:05framework within which if you want to97:07philosophize or you want to do theology97:10or you want to you want to ask these97:12deep questions about why we’re here you97:15have to operate within that framework97:16because it’s just an observational97:18framework yes everything we’ve said is97:20stuff we’ve discovered it’s not stuff97:23that someone made up we we we you know97:26we understand nuclear physics we can97:27build nuclear reactors for example so we97:30understand the physics of stars so we97:32understand that the Stars built the97:34carbon oxygen and we know how they did97:36it and we can see it because as I said97:38before we can97:39if you look far out into the universe97:41you’re looking way back in time and as97:43you look back in time you see less97:45carbon and less oxygen so we have a97:48direct observation that in the earliest97:50universe there wasn’t any because we can97:53see it and now we see that there is some97:55and we know how it was made so I think97:58it’s so it’s important to be humble when98:02you’re talking about science and you’re98:03not saying this is the way that it is I98:06mean your own a sense but you know it’s98:09not it’s not able to answer ultimate98:12questions at the moment it’s not able to98:14answer even whether the universe had a98:16beginning or not we don’t even know that98:18and I gave a talk to him I was asked to98:21give a talk to some bishops in the UK98:23about cosmology and I said yeah that’d98:26be great fun and so when I gave him this98:29talk and at the end I said I’ve got some98:31questions so if the universe is eternal98:34and it might be it might not have had a98:37beginning if it’s eternal what place is98:40there for a creator you know that’s98:42that’s a good question Brian I didn’t98:44they didn’t have an answer of course98:45right an eternal creator but yeah but I98:48think that these it might be eternal and98:51we might discover that so we don’t know98:54at the moment but we might so I think my98:57point is that these other human desires99:02very natural to religions and natural99:04thing right people you see all across99:06the world in all different cultures but99:08I think that in the 21st century it99:11religion needs to operate within that99:14framework if it’s going if it’s going to99:16operate there are still great mysteries99:18and it is appropriate to think about99:21what it means to be human and are giving99:23you my view of what it means but but I99:26don’t think the problem comes when you99:28when your your theology or your99:30philosophy forces you to deny some facts99:34some measurement now these things at99:36measurements we’re not saying it’s not99:39my opinion the universe is 13.8 billion99:41years old we measured it it’s like99:43having an opinion between the distance99:44from LA to New York no you can’t have an99:46opinion on that right know what it is99:48and it’s the same you know excited out99:51that these things99:52people say the Earth’s flat or whatever99:54there so it isn’t and we’ve measured it99:56so it’s just stop it either said but99:58that doesn’t mean you can’t be spiritual100:00and you can’t be really just I would100:03saying it doesn’t mean you can’t believe100:04in God or God’s100:06that’s not ruled out by science but some100:11stuff’s ruled out well I love the way100:14you communicate this because it takes100:16into consideration human nature and like100:18I love Dawkins he’s fantastic I think100:21he’s very very very valuable but he100:24likes to call people idiots and the100:26problem with that is people go [ __ ] you100:28you’re an idiot it like is a natural100:31inclination when you insult people to100:34argue back and to sort of dig their100:37heels in yeah and you don’t do that and100:40I think that’s very important and I100:42think that a guy like doc has just gets100:44frustrated from all these years of100:46debates with people who educated are100:48saying ridiculous things and he’s a bit100:49of a curmudgeon you know and he seems to100:51be softening as he’s getting older well100:53he’s the evolutionary biology yes and100:54that’s the the front line in some sense100:57isn’t it yes yeah I mean the thing about100:58particle physics is that you don’t get a101:00lot of [ __ ] because people don’t101:02understand what you’re talking about101:05right there so I understand his101:08frustration oh I do too101:10having said that you know I’ve kind of101:13softened a bit over the years actually101:15because now I think at this point both101:18in the u.s. actually and in Britain and101:20in some of the countries we are at a101:23point you’ve alluded to it where101:25everybody’s angry no a lot of anger and101:27a lot of it’s justified by the way whom101:29you could talk about that you know101:30income inequality and all those things101:31so it’s justified anger but it seems to101:34me that there are people of goodwill who101:36need to band together to diffuse the101:39anger in our societies otherwise we101:41won’t have countries like the United101:42States yes the United States because101:44it’s United and everybody101:45you’ve got the United flag there you101:48know said that there’s a sense of101:50belonging identity and togetherness in a101:52country which you’ve got to preserve and101:54so I’ve stopped actually um picking I101:57Isis for example quite enjoy picking101:59fights with Deepak Chopra on Twitter102:02it’s just for me to laugh102:06he says some crazy stuff in his hand but102:08I saw Thomas I’ve stopped doing it going102:10well but relative to some of the other102:13people right he’s he’s someone who means102:18well yes I don’t agree with virtually102:21anything he says however he’s a102:23well-meaning person yeah and so I’ve102:25started trying to seek common ground now102:27that’s why I for example gave a talk to102:31the bishops they asked me to come you I102:32don’t agree with them on the framework102:35their theological framework but they102:37mean well most of them yeah so I think102:40seeking consensus and diffusion anger as102:42you said is it is incumbent all of us102:45especially people like us you have a102:46public voice we need to defuse some of102:49this anger because otherwise it will102:50consume everyone yes I’ve tried very102:53hard to evolve in that respect and just102:57get better at communicating ideas and102:59get better at understanding how people103:00receive those ideas and I think that’s103:02it’s there’s it’s easy to get lazy and103:06to insult and especially me I mean I’m a103:12comedian what I do people yeah for humor103:18I want to entertain people that’s the103:20whole idea behind it but I think in103:22terms of like discussing ideas103:23especially that are so personal to103:25people like religion I’ve I’ve103:28reexamined the way I interpret these103:31ideas and the way I talk about these103:33things103:33yeah there’s a it’s interesting there’s103:37a I did a BBC program my age that I was103:40asked to do it on the thing call the103:41wreath lectures the babies that the BBC103:45have done since 1952 I think he was and103:47Robert Oppenheimer did them in 53 and it103:51was it’s fascinating you can get the103:53transcripts online they’re free and you103:55can get one recording of the five they103:57taped over the other four and you103:58believe it they raised them they wanted104:01to tape something but one of them104:05existed often Jaime giving these104:06lectures oh my god but you can read104:14better and Russell didn’t do the Reaver104:16they taped over them Bertrand Russell104:20because tape was so expensive but he104:24talks of raising yeah but it’s brilliant104:26it’s cause science in the common104:28understanding and they weren’t very104:29well-received because he thought he was104:31gonna talk about their Manhattan104:32projects so they thought he was gonna104:33talk about the atom bomb meaning is that104:35he was she ran it basically but he104:37didn’t he talked about how its thinking104:40like a scientist which means thinking in104:43the way that nature forces you to think104:45can be valuable in other areas and it’s104:48a that’s an insight in itself the great104:50thing the unique thing about science is104:53nature forces you to think like that you104:56can’t have an opinion can I have an104:57opinion about gravity just be gentle as105:00a building you can hit the ground that’s105:02it doesn’t matter what your opinion is105:03and and he said so if you think about105:07for example quantum mechanics so105:09sometimes you think of as particle like105:11an electron sometimes it has to it’s a105:13point like object may behave like a105:16little billiard ball thing pool ball105:18that bounces around but sometimes it105:20behaves like an extended thing like a105:22wavy thing and nature forces you to hold105:25both ideas in your head at the same time105:27you know there’s a get a complete105:28picture of the objects they’re a105:31description of an electron and he said105:33that’s the valuable thing about quantum105:35mechanics you know unless you’re doing105:37electronics or inventing lasers you105:39don’t need to know this stuff but if you105:41want to learn how to think you it’s105:43valuable to be forced to hold different105:46ideas in your head at the same time mmm105:48it’s really teaching you not to be an105:49absolutist straight teaching you the105:51example he uses is because he was I105:54think he was had problems with McCarthy105:56and all those things didn’t he so you105:57think he’s writing in the 50s so he said105:59you can either be you could be a106:01communist which in his definition would106:03be that you think the needs of the many106:06outweigh the needs of the few right so106:07so societies all that matters106:09oh it could be a libertarian all right106:11on the far conservative end where you106:13think that the individual is the only106:15thing that matters and that’s it but106:17actually of course to have a function in106:19society you need a mixture of the two106:21and we can wait it one way or the other106:23but you need to hold both ideas in your106:26head at the same time and that’s he said106:28that one of the most valuable things106:30about science because it forces you into106:32modes106:32thought they’re valuable and that’s what106:35we’re talking about here it’s so106:36absolute physicians are always a just a106:41blinkered sort of subset of what’s106:44actually happening you can’t understand106:46the world by being an extremist yeah106:48you’ve got to hold all these views in106:50your head well that I find that so often106:55on this podcast because I talk with106:57people I agree with end disagree with106:59and I always try to put myself in the107:01head of the person that I disagree with107:03I always try to figure out how they’re107:06coming to those conclusions or where107:08they’re coming from yeah and I think107:10it’s so it’s so important to not be107:13married to ideas I got a conversation107:15with someone about this and they said107:18like sometimes you change your opinions107:19a lot I go yeah I do flip-flopping I’m107:25not a politician like I’m not107:27flip-flopping I’m thinking yeah I’m not107:29sure I’m not sure like I I will have one107:32opinion on a thing whether it’s a107:34controversial thing like universal basic107:36income I’ll change my mind a hundred107:38percent in two weeks107:39yeah now I think it’s probably a good107:41idea yeah and then I’ll go back and107:43forth no no no no no people need but107:45it’s as cruel as it seems they need107:47motivation they need and I don’t know I107:49bounce around with these things yeah but107:51I’ve tried really hard as I’ve gotten107:54older to have less absolute opinions107:56yeah yeah Richard Fineman another great107:59physicist wrote a similar essay a108:01similar time to Oppenheimer and he also108:03works in the Manhattan Project it’s108:05called the value of science and I think108:07that was 1955 and they both shared108:09actually a surprise I think that they108:13were still alive because they thought108:14that the power they’d given to the108:16politicians the atom bomb would destroy108:19everything they didn’t think that a108:20political system would control it and it108:22did so that’s an emotion remarkable108:24thing yeah we’re still here but in in in108:26that essay he said the the most valuable108:31thing about science is the realization108:33that we don’t know and he said he said108:36in that statement he calls science is108:39satisfactory philosophy of ignorance by108:41the way he said in that statement is the108:43open door the open channel he called it108:46if we want to make progress we have to108:48understand that we don’t know everything108:51and we have to leave things to future108:53generations and we can be uncertain and108:55we can change our minds and he said that108:57that’s that it’s a great last line I109:00come exactly what he says but he said109:01it’s something like is our duty as109:03scientists to communicate the value of109:05uncertainty and the value of freedom of109:07thoughts to all future generations109:08that’s the point that’s what freedom of109:11thought means freedom of thought means109:13the freedom to change your mind in fact109:16said that’s what democracy is if you109:17think about it democracy is a trial and109:19error system so it’s the it’s the109:21admission that we don’t know how to do109:24it therefore we’ll change every four109:26years we’ll change the president or109:28every eight years we’ll change the109:29president why because the president109:31doesn’t know how to do it so that109:33someone better they will do someone109:35better that comes along and then someone109:37worse and someone better but it’s a109:38trial and error system and he’s right109:41and he’s right that that is the open109:42door that’s that that’s the road to109:45progress he’s certainly better than109:46humility yeah one of the things that I109:48love so much about Bertrand Russell and109:50about Fineman was how human they were109:52they were very human I mean finally like109:55to play the bongos and who’s chasing109:57girls and Bertrand Russell was addicted109:59to tobacco he would talk about how he110:01wouldn’t fly unless he could smoke like110:04he had to get us was back when they had110:06smoking sections on airplanes and he had110:09his pipe and he just refused to fly110:11without tobacco and he couldn’t imagine110:12being without tobacco well yeah that’s110:14so strange for such a brilliant guy to110:17be addicted to such a gross thing yeah110:20you’re right because I think these these110:22are faithful that found existence joyous110:26yeah wanted to know they just wanted to110:28know stuff yeah didn’t want to know110:29everything because you can’t know110:31everything right yeah I suppose that’s110:33what if you think about what the job of110:36the scientist is is to is to stand on110:38the edge of the known because you’re a110:41research scientist so if there’s nothing110:42to know then you’ve got no job so you110:45have to be naturally comfortable with110:47not knowing and if there’s one thing I110:50really do think we was how do we begin110:53to patch our countries back up again one110:56of the reasons I think in education is110:58to teach people the value of on110:59certainty but not knowing it is not weak111:02right to not know it’s actually natural111:06not to know and that’s one of the111:09freedom is with religion is to say that111:11you know when you do not hard to say111:13that you have absolute truth and111:15absolute knowledge of something yeah111:17when it can’t really exist yeah I mean111:19history tells us doesn’t it that yeah111:20anyone who thinks they’ve got absolute111:22knowledge is a cause he’s trouble yeah111:25did you see ex machina yeah did you111:28enjoy it yes yes I know him Alex Garland111:31because he wrote sunshine oh right 28111:34days later111:35yeah and yeah new movie the weird one111:38the alien movie he wrote that as well111:39right yes a great soundtrack yeah yeah111:45did you are you scared of artificial111:48life artificial intelligence and you111:51know I might scare the [ __ ] out of me111:53yeah when he talked about it like he111:55talks about it like were in the opening111:58scene of a science fiction movie where112:01he’s trying to warn people and then they112:03don’t listen to the genius and it goes112:05south so depends I chaired a debate on112:09this for the role sites in London a few112:12weeks ago and the so it’s treating now112:16at the moment what people seem to be112:18frightened of a general a is no I AG I112:20they call artificial general112:21intelligence which is like what we112:23talked about earlier a human-like112:25capability thing yes and we miles away112:29from that we don’t have to do it we112:31haven’t got them and we’re miles away so112:33at the moment artificial intelligence is112:35expert systems and very focused systems112:38that do particular things you can be112:40scared of them in a limited economic112:43sense because they’re going to displace112:45people’s jobs and actually interestingly112:47in this panel discussion we had it’s112:49going to be like why you Mike on112:50middle-class jobs in the UK so112:52white-collar jobs it’s not actually why112:54people are interested in universal basic112:56income to sort of replace money that’s112:58kind of lost because there will be no113:00jobs for all these people otherwise we113:01have just a mass catastrophe yeah113:03they’re very good someone said that113:05these systems are special intelligence113:07systems at the moment they’re very good113:09at doing things like lot lawyers work so113:11they’re very good at reading contracts113:12and things113:13that’s interesting it’s a revolution113:15it’s not like the Industrial Revolution113:16where it’s manual labor that gets hit113:19necessarily this is kind of interesting113:21because it hits that kind of113:23intermediate level that usually escapes113:26so you’re right one of the answers is to113:28tax there was an example was a robot113:31tank so in a car factory you say to the113:34manufacturer well okay you can have a113:35robot well you pay the robot the same as113:37you pay a person and then that money113:39goes into funding universal basic income113:41or something like that113:42mhm so I think there’s got to be an113:43economic change because these systems113:45will be there but all the experts I113:49suppose who agreed the the idea of a113:52Terminator style general intelligence113:54taken over the world is miles away and113:58so whilst we might start thinking about114:01the regulation it’s not going to happen114:04soon is the general point I think so I114:08would disagree with him on that I think114:11I think it’s too far in the future at114:13the moment I thought it might be one of114:15those people that’s okay it’s gonna be114:17all right right and then then you know114:18my iphone takes me out on the way so a114:24choice at the moment isn’t it I mean114:25don’t don’t give your iPhone a laser114:28that doesn’t matter if it goes crazy and114:31tries to take over the world I know I114:32know that’s a bit facetious because they114:34can he would say they could take over114:36power grids and all that kind of stuff114:37yeah well it’s these concepts that are114:40really hard to visualize like sir Kurt’s114:43Wiles idea of the exponential increase114:46of technology leading to us to a point114:49in the near future where you’re gonna be114:51able to download your consciousness into114:52a computer you talk to computer expert114:54still like there’s no way we’re miles114:55away from that yeah on you’re a114:56scientist yeah scientist one brain cell115:02probably we can but Kurzweil is115:04convinced that what’s gonna happen is115:06that as technology increases it can115:08increases in this wildly exponential way115:11where we really can’t visualize it we115:14can’t even imagine how much advancement115:17will take place over 50 years but in115:19those 50 years something’s going to115:21happen that radically changes our idea115:23of what’s possible and I think Elon115:25shares this idea as well that115:27gonna sneak up on us so quickly that115:29when it does go alive it’ll be too late115:30yeah I mean it’s worth putting the the115:33the framework in place115:34I think the regulatory framework even as115:37you said for the more realistic problem115:39which is people’s jobs are going to get115:40displaced yes115:41and there’s a great I was at a thing and115:44some someone said I come he was but they115:46said that the jury was a politician the115:48the job of the innovation system is to115:50create jobs faster than it destroys them115:53so you’ve always got to remember that as115:54a government and as regulators if you’re115:57going to allow technologies into the115:59marketplace that destroy people’s jobs116:01it is your responsibility to find a way116:04of replacing those jobs or compensating116:07those people as you said otherwise you116:09get breakdown so human being those that116:12people need some meaning like they just116:15giving them income I think is just gonna116:18mean just my speculation but it’s gonna116:21create mass despair even if you provide116:24them you provide them with food and116:25shelter they need people need things to116:28do so it’s there’s going to be some sort116:31of a demand to find meaning for people116:34give them occupations give them116:36something some tasks let’s say it seems116:39to be one of the critical parts of being116:42a person so we need things to do that we116:45find meaning in you know like you were116:47talking about we’re the only things that116:49we know of that have meaning that find116:52meaning and share meaning and believe in116:54that we’re gonna need something like116:57that if universal basic income comes116:59along I don’t think it’s going to be117:00enough to just feed people and house117:02them yeah they couldn’t want something117:04to do if you know a person is a you’re117:07doing something for an occupation and117:09this is your identity and then all117:11sudden that occupation becomes117:12irrelevant because computer does it117:13faster cheaper quicker these people are117:17gonna have this incredible feeling of117:19despair and just not being valuable yeah117:22I mean oh what wonder utopian so their117:25version of this is that everybody gets117:27to do what we’re doing now Rush’s make a117:29living so thinking and creating and now117:32that kind of you know so that that’s the117:34the utopian ideal is you don’t need to117:36do the stuff the job that you don’t117:38really want to do in the factory117:41you can do the thing that humans are117:43best at that but I agree it’s that’s a117:46very utopian view yeah does everybody117:49want to do that or does everybody have117:51their mindset well because we’re117:53education if everybody had an interest117:55like that if everybody went on to make117:57pottery and painting and doing all these118:00different things they’ve always really118:01wanted to do and their needs are met by118:04you know the universal basic income118:06money they receive every month but boy118:09there’s a lot of people I don’t think118:10have those desires or needs and to sort118:13of force them onto them at age 55 or118:16whatever it’s gonna be yeah seems to be118:18very very difficult yeah yeah I agree118:22yeah it’s a big challenge but I think118:25that in concept at least it’s inevitable118:28that we do have some sort of an118:30artificial intelligence that resembles118:32us or that resembles something like ex118:35machina if people choose to create that118:39I mean choose to create it in our own118:41image but that’s very godlike isn’t it118:44God created us in his own image yeah and118:46again yeah see I don’t know that when I118:51talk to people in the field as you118:54probably have most of them say don’t118:56have to do it yes it’s really right it’s118:59gonna be miles away so maybe I’m hiding119:01my head in the sand a bit but I don’t119:04think so I think it’s I think we’ll know119:08it when I don’t think anyone’s gonna do119:09it accidentally right so I I don’t think119:12it’s just suddenly going to be upon us I119:14I think we will see we’ll see ourselves119:18getting acquiring that capability we’ll119:21see ourselves getting close we’ll see119:22their systems beginning to emerge in119:25them we’ll think about it just think 200119:28years ago if you wanted a photograph of119:30something you want to picture something119:31you had a draw it I mean there was no119:35photography 200 years ago yeah I mean119:38just think of that it’s almost119:40inconceivable no automobiles no119:43photography what was automobile about119:45maybe there was some sort of machines119:47that drove people around right something119:49close there wasn’t three is earlier than119:52that119:52right you go back 500 years you have119:55almost nothing yeah it’s crazy how we’ve119:57been quick it’s so fast119:59it’s so fast I mean and then this what120:02we’re doing right now that there’s120:03people right now in their car that are120:05streaming this so they’re in their car120:07and they’re listening as they’re driving120:08on the road maybe they have a Tesla120:10maybe they have an electric car they’re120:12driving down the road streaming to120:14people talking where it’s ones and zeros120:17that are broken down and there’s some120:19audible form and you can listen to it in120:21your car that is bananas yeah I agree120:26we’ve been quick so quick well think of120:28the world you know the internet I mean120:30it’s a it said not long I mean I120:33remember it being invented yeah you know120:35oh well certainly the web went on so the120:39web well it was very early for me120:41because I was in doing particle physics120:43and of course that the web comes from120:45CERN the WWE bit right so it’s certainly120:48in the early 90s I was involved in that120:51you know in the university environment120:54with email and all that kind of stuff120:56so I don’t know when it kind of didn’t120:59really you could you could have a web121:01browser that just the only sites they121:03were there in NASA and I think NASA had121:06one of the early sites and CERN it was121:08very little oh when did you become121:09involved with CERN so that would be I121:12started doing particle physics in 95 and121:16when was when did the Large Hadron121:18Collider go alive that was an I remember121:222000 and 2007 I think he pause of 2008121:28is so long ago about 10 years ago but he121:31started that we stayed up and then we121:32had a problem with it and then it took a121:34bit a while to fix it hasn’t been taking121:37data that long but it’s a tremendously121:40successful thing now and its operating121:43beyond its design capabilities it’s121:45quite incredible it’s so stunning a121:47physical thing that this how large is it121:50how long is in its 27 kilometres so I121:53sat about 60 miles 16 miles and it’s a121:56circular yeah sort of a building yeah121:58well I say it’s a big cube I mean you122:00think basically is mainly under France122:02and partly under Switzerland and it122:04accelerates protons122:06around in a circle both ways they won’t122:08one beam goes well my one goes the other122:10way and they go around 11,000 times a122:12second because that’s so very close to122:15speed of light 99.999999% the speed of122:18light and then we cross the beams and122:20collide the particles and in those122:22collisions you’re recreating the122:24conditions that were present less than a122:26billionth of a second after the Big Bang122:28so we know that physics so going back we122:32said about the carbon and the oxygen we122:34can trace that story back way beyond the122:36time when they were protons and neutrons122:38so when there were quarks and gluons122:40around and and go all the way back and122:43the Higgs boson doing its thing back122:45then and we so we can see all that122:48physics in the lab so that’s why we have122:51some a lot of confidence in that story122:53it’s so fascinating that they were able122:56to talk someone into funding that that122:59they got a bunch of people together and123:01that you you were able to explain to you123:05know politicians and and you know123:08regular people what what you’re trying123:11to do it’s a great example of how you123:14get something done so it was the night123:15the fifties when certain was established123:18I think was 53 or 54 can’t quite123:21remember it something like that and then123:23it was built out from the Second World123:25War so you have Europe at the end of the123:27war and it was realized that the only123:30way forward for you it was collaboration123:31to rebuild the scientific base and in it123:36for peace for peaceful purposes and so123:38CERN was set up as an international123:40collaboration in Europe initially with123:42that political ideal that it was it was123:45explore nature just for the freely and123:51for peace for peaceful means and123:54peaceful reasons and and so that was a123:56the pilet the politics was right so it123:58was said it by international treaty so124:01that the member states are bound124:03together by treaty and they pay a small124:06amount relatively small amount each into124:08CERN every year which is a percentage of124:10their GDP and that’s the money they used124:13to build do the experiments and build124:14the accelerators so it’s very hard to124:17get out of it and you wouldn’t really124:19want124:20because it’s a small amount of money per124:21country and CERN doesn’t extra money to124:24build things124:25it just takes its money and basically124:27saves up and plans itself but because124:29it’s got a regular stream of money it124:31can do it so you can say we’re gonna124:32build this machine and it will take 8124:34years because that’s how much money124:35we’ve got and we’ll build it in 8 years124:38and we know how much money we’ve got so124:39we can do it you know it’s a lesson I124:41mean that the reason that the u.s.124:42Collider the SSC failed is because it’s124:47the problem you have in the US with the124:48funding system as you’ve seen in the124:50last few weeks yeah is that it’s very124:52arbitrary and it’s open to political124:54maneuvering and things can be shut down124:57and take and uncertain is not like that124:59CERN has got a guaranteed stream of125:02funding small from each country and so125:05you can do these projects and the one in125:06the u.s. that was during the Clinton125:08administration so what it was yeah it125:11was close125:12was it Clinton it was closed down by125:14Congress and a very slim vote and it was125:18in Texas so it was it was one of those125:20things where you got States vying for125:22money and he was half built mm-hmm and125:25everyone was there you know I mean the125:27thing it was bigger than the LHC it was125:30so you waste a lot of money is that a125:32huge disappointment for a scientific125:34community like where people very hopeful125:36that this was going to go along yeah it125:37was being built dug half the tunnel what125:40would it be able to do that the LHC125:42couldn’t it was a higher energy125:44accelerator than the LHC so it would125:46have discovered the Higgs particle first125:48had it been running but the the half125:51bill part is it useless now or can they125:54I think you know so that’s the thing it126:02you can do these wonderful things for126:05not a lot of money if you just do it126:09over many years and have stable funding126:11yeah it’s commit to doing it the filling126:13in in part asleep and you look at CERN126:15as well and people you have people ask126:16me now I think the UK pays about it’s126:19about one hundred million dollars a year126:21that’s what the UK pays in and it’s126:23about same for Germany same for friends126:25and so on and so people say what do we126:27get for that I mean first of all it’s126:28not the whole budget of CERN is about126:30the same as a budget of a medium-sized126:33university126:33so it’s not a lot it’s about a billion126:36dollars a year or something which is126:37what a university has so it’s not a lot126:41in the scheme of things what’s it done126:44though126:45well we invented the world wide web as126:46we’ve just said a lot of the medical126:48imaging technology they were use comes126:50from CERN it’s pioneered the use of126:52these very high field magnets which is126:54what it needed126:55so it’s engineering at the edge and126:57engineering at the edge generates127:00spin-offs and expertise to get used in127:02other fields so there’s cancer treatment127:04so-called hadron beam therapy so if127:06you’ve got a brain tumor now it’s quite127:08likely that you’ll have one of these127:10targeted particle beam therapies which127:12is like very highly targeted sort of127:15chemotherapy it’s not chemotherapy it’s127:16radiation that you can target in the127:18beam into your head and attack the tumor127:21and those those are particle127:23accelerators so most particle127:25accelerators today are in hospitals and127:28in medicine but they came from doing127:31particle physics that so the the127:34spin-offs of these big experiments at127:37the edge of our capability are always127:39immense which is why they worth funding127:42at these very low levels but it’s not127:45just the knowledge it’s the engineering127:47expertise that there is a practical127:49application for every everyday127:51there always is it’s just finding out127:52how to do hard things is usually useful127:55the model and it wasn’t just the Higgs127:58boson particle that you guys are127:59discovered what is quark gluon plasma128:03yes that that’s a shortly after the128:06billionth of a second after the Big Bang128:07yeah you end up with a soup of quarks128:11and gluons so quarks are the building128:13blocks of protons and neutrons and128:15gluons are the things that stick them128:16together and so a proton has two up128:19quarks and a down quark and in each one128:21has two down quarks and up quark and so128:23on so their constituents the protons and128:24neutrons which are the constituents of128:26our atomic nuclei so we go if you go to128:29very high temperatures our high energies128:31then the protons and neutrons fall to128:33bits then you end up with a soup of128:36quarks and gluons128:38then that’s a quark gluon plasma and128:40it’s insanely dense right128:42yeah well very high-energy so so you get128:46that so128:47we’ve been exploring that by could we128:48don’t only collide protons together we128:50can collide lead nuclei together or128:53silver nuclei together at the LHC and128:56that’s when you make these kind of soups128:58of nuclear matter if you like very hot129:02nuclear matter to explore that physics129:04to that and that nuclear physics Wow and129:07I was reading something about the the129:09weight of of that stuff that like a129:13sugar cube like what is that what is the129:16actual weight well it depends our129:18density is that so don’t they’re I mean129:21they were the thing I remember is it the129:23sugar cube of a neutron star material129:25which is I don’t know how many hundred129:29million tons I can you know that it129:31depends but so I don’t know with the129:33quark-gluon plasma I don’t know what129:34number you there was something it was129:36one of the things after the discovery129:38they were talking about the massive129:40weight of quark gluon plasma and like129:44yeah almost incomprehensible yeah yeah I129:46don’t know the number of it but129:48something crazy yeah yeah now one once129:51these you got something here does 40129:55billion oh my god a cubic centimeter129:58would weigh 40 billion tons oh yeah the130:09densest matter created in the Big Bang130:10machine what are they doing right now130:13it’s a closed for engineering and130:16upgrades upgrades yeah I mean one thing130:19we’re trying to do is one of the things130:20in particle physics is that you want as130:22many collisions per second as you can130:25generate and then they we have a130:28collision whether what’s got a bunch130:30crossing LHC we can bury it but it’s130:33something like 25 nanoseconds different130:35they don’t want so it’s really we get a130:37lot of collisions per second and and the130:39more collisions per second you can get130:41the more chance you have in making130:44interest in things like Higgs particles130:45or whatever else may be out there130:47waiting to be discovered that means it’s130:49possible there are other particles out130:51there that we haven’t yet discovered130:53that could be within the reach of the130:54LHC and if this one that was in Texas130:58had gotten built and it was more130:59powerful131:00then the LHC you’d have even more131:02opportunity to do something like that131:03yeah now when these things are created131:06by these collisions how long do they131:09last131:10oh fractions of a second so that the131:14general rule in physics in particle131:16physics is that they’re the more massive131:18it is and the more things it can decay131:20into the faster it will do that so131:23basically the heavy things decay into131:25light things and so the only the stable131:28particles are things like electrons and131:31some of the quarks and the up quarks and131:34down quarks are stable things but so131:38everything tends to decay very fast so131:40we’re talking fraction billionths of a131:41second fractions and how are they less131:44than that are they registering its131:47existence like what is uh what is being131:50used to measure it so what you see if131:52you collide what are they I see we131:54collide protons together then-president131:57got loads of stuff in them loads of131:58gluons and the quarks so you get a big132:01mess first of all so most of it’s a load132:03of particles Asprey and I wish you’re132:06not interested in but sometimes when you132:08when let’s say a couple of the gluons132:10bangs together and they can make132:12something interesting like a top quark132:14or a Higgs particle what’s a top quark132:17it’s up quite a very heavy there’s six132:19quarks it says up and down charm and132:21strange bottom and top from end strange132:25yeah so it so strange was literally in132:27there was it the fifties I we discovered132:30them someone said that’s really strange132:32strange a new kind of particle and so132:35that yes we have six quarks and they’re132:37in three families so the up and down or132:39warm family and then the Chairman132:42stranger another family in the top and132:43bottom of the third family and so we for132:45some reason so the only thing the only132:47particles we need to make up you and me132:49they’re up quarks down quarks and132:51electrons but for some reason there are132:53two further copies of those which you’re132:56identically every way except they’re132:58heavier so there’s the charm and the133:00strange quark and if they’re in a heavy133:01electron called a muon and then there’s133:04a the top and the bottom quark and133:05another heavy electron called the tail133:07and that’s it133:09so that there’s this weird pattern that133:11we don’t understand so we don’t seems133:13like133:14you only needed the first family to133:17build a universe right right but for133:19some reason there are two copies now133:22heavy ones decay into the lighter ones133:24is the point so when you make them133:25they’re not around very long and just133:28answer your question what happens is133:29that when they decay they throw their133:31decay products out into our detector so133:34we take a photograph of the cascade of133:37particles that comes from these heavier133:39particles decaying and the trick is to133:42patch it all up to see to try and so133:45work out what everything came from Wow133:47now when they five find these unexpected133:50particles then what happens then there’s133:53the study of them then there’s then133:56everybody gets together and go okay what133:57the hell is that133:58yeah what is that what do we do so we134:01want to know with a Higgs particle we134:03know what it does which is it gives mass134:04to everything so it’s fundamentally the134:08thing that gives mass to all the other134:10things in the universe at the most134:11fundamental level so so electrons for134:14example and the up and down quarks there134:17get their mass from their interaction134:20with the Higgs that’s why they’re134:21massive that’s another reason we exist134:23you know we go right back we wouldn’t134:25exist if there wasn’t mass in the134:27universe and the Higgs is ultimately134:29responsible for that mass I keep saying134:33I keep caveat in it because then you get134:35other sorts of mass that generated but134:38but that the fundamental basic seed is134:41it were it’s from its from the Higgs and134:43so what we want to know is we want to134:45know how that thing behaves and their134:48weight so we’re study is so you want to134:49make a lot of them so you can take a lot134:52of pictures of it and study a lot and134:53see exactly how it does that and so134:55that’s what we’re doing that’s what134:57we’re engaged in at the moment we’re134:58making high-precision measurements of135:00the way that particle behaves so we can135:03understand the laws of nature and that135:06daddy’s the laws of nature135:07how are those particles behaving and135:09what are they doing but it is possible135:12that some new form of some new form of135:17particles something else could be135:18discovered yeah the way we know about135:20yet because we know almost no that there135:24are other particles out there in the135:25universe we almost know a thing called135:27matter yes so we look how into the135:29universe and we see that there’s a lot135:31of stuff there that it’s interacting135:33gravitationally but it’s not interacting135:36strongly with the matter out of which we135:38are made and the stars are made so it’s135:41almost certain that that’s some form of135:44particle that fits beautifully and we135:47see lots of different observations the135:49way galaxies rotate and interact and135:51even that oldest lie in the universe the135:53so-called cosmic microwave background135:54radiation we see the signature of that135:57stuff in that light as well so we think135:59that there’s some of the particle out136:01there and and to be honest we thought we136:04would have detected it I think at LHC we136:07have lots of theories called136:08supersymmetric theories that make136:10predictions for all sorts of different136:12particles that would interact weakly136:13with normal matter and I yeah I think136:17it’s broadly seen as a surprise that we136:20haven’t seen them at LHC so that just136:22may well mean that either their vote136:26they’re a bit too massive so we need136:28more energy to make them and we just136:30haven’t quite got enough well we’re not136:32making enough of them often enough to136:33see them which is one of the reasons we136:35upgrade in the LHC so we also look for136:38them by the way directly so we have136:42experiments under mountains we bury them136:45under mountains so the cosmic rays from136:46space don’t interfere with them and136:48we’re looking for the rare occasions136:51when these dark matter particles bump136:52into the particles of matter in the136:55detector so it’s so because ya D would136:57be these rooms full of them I mean the136:59galaxies swimming with matter as far as137:02we can tell but it interacts very weakly137:04with this matter so it doesn’t bump into137:07us very often so we’re looking for the137:09direct detection of it and we’re looking137:11to make those particles LHC so it’s137:14everywhere but it doesn’t interact with137:16us very weakly137:17and so interacts through gravity and the137:20the the archetypal particle that’s137:22everywhere that doesn’t interact137:23strongly is a neutrino so we do know137:26about neutrinos we’ve detected those and137:28there there are something like sixty137:32billion per centimeter squared per137:34second passing through your head now137:36from the Sun so they get made in nuclear137:39reactions in the Sun but they go137:41straight through137:41and actually straight through the earth137:43pretty much137:44occasionally one of them bumps into137:46something and we can detect those137:48because with so many of them going137:51through but we only detect you know know137:53one or two a day and the idea is that137:56dark matter encompasses an enormous137:59percentage of the universe yes it’s five138:02times as much matter is dark matter than138:06is normal matter and the number is138:09twenty five percent of the universe so138:11it’s roughly speaking about five percent138:13of the universe is normal matter stars138:17in gas 20 say percent as dark matter yes138:20oh yeah five Norma about 25 dark matter138:23in about 70s dark energy that’s the138:25other thing yeah yeah so what the hell’s138:28that don’t know know what it does so138:32again what see we got we talked about138:34Einstein’s theory earlier so Einstein’s138:37theory which works spectacularly well138:39says that if you put stuff into the138:42University we said before then it warps138:44and deforms and stretches and it very138:47precisely tells you given the stuff that138:50you put in it how much does it stretch138:51and how does it stretch and the the138:55measurement we have is how its138:56stretching so so we observe the thing we138:59observe is how the universe is expanding139:01and how that expansion rate is changing139:04and how it’s a ship how it’s changed139:06over time so we have very precise139:08measurements of that so then we can use139:10the theory to tell us what’s in it given139:12that we know what how it’s responding to139:14that stuff and that’s how we discover139:17dark energy so we noticed that the139:19universe’s expansion rate is increasing139:22so the universe is accelerating in its139:24expansion which is exactly the opposite139:27of what we thought noticed in the 1990s139:29that we discovered that so we can work139:32out what sort of stuff and how much of139:35that stuff you need to put in the139:36universe to make that happen and that’s139:38where we get these numbers from was your139:42resistance to that when that was first139:43proposed yeah I remember my one of my139:45friends at Brian Schmidt got the Nobel139:47Prize for that and then I remember I139:49talked to him and he said he was a139:52postdoc I think at the time so young139:55and he made he’s making measurements of139:56supernovae the light from supernova139:58explosions which is so bright that you140:00can see them you know hundreds and140:02millions billions of light years away140:03and he noticed that if you look at the140:06date so the light is stretched in the140:08wrong way so we look at the stretch of140:11light as it travels across the universe140:13and the universe is expanding it140:14stretches the lights so it changes the140:16color and he noticed that it was a140:18discrepancy which which said that the140:21universe that the expansion rate is140:23speeding up it’s been speeding up for140:26him think something like seven billion140:28years or so it’s been speeding up so he140:31thought these done something wrong140:33because it you know so so he checks it140:36and checked in checked it and he140:37couldn’t find anything wrong so he did140:39what a good scientist does which is he140:40published it so that somebody else could140:42find out what he’d done wrong and he140:44said that he thought it would be the end140:45of his career he thought I’d be a140:46laughingstock you know then he got the140:48Nobel Prize because he was right it is140:50stretched Wow140:52it’s a great lesson means that if you if140:54you’re sure that you can’t see what140:57you’ve done wrong then you publish it140:59because back to that thing about141:00humility we saw it earlier you know what141:02we ultimately we’re not trying to be141:03right we’re trying to find out stuff and141:06so the good scientists will be really141:09happy if they set out to be wrong141:11because they’ve learned something yeah141:12that’s that it’s good that yeah that’s141:14that because he got the Nobel Prize now141:16when he received the Nobel Prize in this141:18concept started being discussed what was141:21the initial reaction to it well it’s141:23it’s interesting because it’s allowed in141:27Einstein’s theory and it was in141:28Einstein’s original theory so it’s141:31called it’s got a name it’s called the141:32cosmological constant and that’s a it’s141:35it just allowed in the equations and141:37Einstein actually introduced it141:40initially so because I signs the141:43equations strongly suggest that the141:46universe is expanding or contracting and141:48not just sat there so even before we’d141:51observed anything141:52Einstein had a theory that suggested141:55that the universe is just not static and141:57actually really strongly suggest that141:59there’s a beginning right so that the142:02theory itself on its own suggests that142:05you can see that if the universe is142:06stretching today then142:08have been smaller in the past right142:09everything must’ve been closer together142:10let’s say that so the as a man that142:15chuckles George Lemaitre who was a who142:17worked independently of Einstein but the142:19same time in the early 1920s before we142:22even knew there were other galaxies142:23beyond the Milky Way and they noticed142:25that the the equation suggests the142:27universe might be stretching and so he142:30wrote to Einstein and said your theory142:32suggests there was a day without a142:34yesterday because he thought if142:36everything’s expanding now then he must142:38have been closer together in the past142:39and so there might be a time when it was142:41all together and he was a priest well so142:44it’s a Belgian priest so I think I mean142:48I wrote about this now it’s kind of mind142:49socialization of it but I think that he142:51was more predisposed to accept what the142:55equations were telling him because a142:57beginning an origin for a priest is143:00really a nice thing because it tells you143:02the creation event and Einstein tried to143:04dodge it and and put this allowed term143:08into his equation which is the almost143:10the stretchy term so say well if it’s143:13all if it’s all kind of contracting or143:16something can I put something in to make143:17it stretch a bit to balance it all out143:19so it can be eternal so an you can’t you143:22can’t make it eternal that way but he so143:25tried it then he took it out and called143:28it his biggest blunder taking it out was143:31ya know you can’t put any in his biggest143:33blunder or at least some people think143:36what what he’d done was miss the143:38prediction of the Big Bang really so by143:41trying to fiddle around to have a static143:44universe that’s stable143:46he missed what the equations were143:48screaming his own theory was screaming143:50to him which is that no the universe143:52expands or contracts and he missed it143:55right so I think that’s probably what he143:57meant by biggest blunder but in any case143:59he took it out and then later in the144:011990s it turns out there no it’s there144:04but it’s really small it’s a tiny tiny144:07effect but it’s still dominating the144:11universe now and it will and it will144:13dominate even more in the future so we144:15think that we’re in the universe that144:18will continue to expand essentially144:20doubling in size144:21a fixed time scale which is about twenty144:24billion years so within every twenty144:26billion years into the future forever144:28unless something happens the universe144:30will continue to expand and double in144:34size two years and that’s the dark144:36energy that’s driving it but nobody144:38knows what it is it’s the it’s one of144:41the cutting edge massive problems in144:44theoretical physics and what is being144:47done to try to get a better grasp of144:49what it is144:50I mean it’s theoretical at them I mean144:52we’re making very precise observations144:53of it right but it looks like this144:56constant so it looks like it’s basically144:58one number if you like in Einstein’s145:01equations and just really simple so it145:04looks like it’s something that’s maybe a145:05property of space itself don’t know but145:09it looks like a very simple thing that145:11doesn’t change over time and just stays145:14there so so it requires theoretical145:18advance as well and so people are trying145:21very hard to do that it’s so crazy when145:24you go from Galileo to modern145:27theoretical physics that they’re still145:28in the myths of this understanding yeah145:33of what all this stuff is yeah I mean145:35that these are you know these are145:38fundamental and difficult problems and145:40we’re talking about the origin and145:41evolution of the universe right that’s145:43what cosmology is and it’s also particle145:46physics I mean the way that these things145:48this stuff we keep talking like this145:50stuff in the universe that’s what the145:52LHC studies it studies how the stuff145:54behaves um right now these are it’s very145:58theoretical right they’re trying to wrap146:01their their minds around what this is146:03and what the properties of it are do you146:05envision a time where you can actually146:07physically measure this and then have a146:09a real clear understanding of what it is146:12and what its properties dark energy and146:14I I don’t know I mean for example there146:18are theories for example which you’re146:20probably not right but they’re not146:22necessarily wrong either there are146:24theories that try to link it to the146:25Higgs particle so the Higgs particle146:28which we’ve discovered and can measure146:30has some properties that we think the146:33dark energy would need146:35and also this inflation that I mentioned146:38way back at the start of the universe as146:40some of the prophecies that can do that146:42as well so for example there are146:44fearfully tries to link them so we do146:46have an observation of the Higgs we can146:48study that so are they linked don’t know146:51and so it could be that we can study it146:55even though it’s a very small weak146:58effect and it could be web direct access147:01food so it’s great I mean it’s just147:03these are big mysteries that there’s147:06something really profound we don’t147:07understand about the way that stuff in147:11particular the Higgs actually interacts147:13with space and time so very naively the147:17Higgs should blow the universe apart147:19just very naively it’s loads of energy147:22in a very small amount of space huge147:26amounts of energy in the Higgs field but147:28it doesn’t do anything apart from give147:30mass to things it doesn’t seem to it147:33doesn’t directly affect space but147:36everything else that you put in space147:38directly affects it so you know there147:42are there are kind of issues there that147:45we don’t and it just says we don’t get147:47it we don’t know we don’t get it yet147:49it’s just I can eat another one of those147:51they’d probably late that I if I stood147:53guess I’d say there’s some link there147:54you know there’s something going on and147:56solving one of them might solve the147:59other to inflation Higgs dark energy148:02something how many people worldwide148:05would you estimate are trying to grasp148:08this and working on this the good148:11question I don’t know I mean it’s a it’s148:13probably tens of thousands tens of148:15thousands if you can all the people who148:17work at CERN and the particle physicists148:19and the theoretical physicists there’d148:21be tens of thousands because it’s it’s148:24so important to for us to get an148:27understanding of what’s going on but yet148:30so outside of the grasp of most people148:34including me148:35like I’m listening to you talk about148:37this and I’m like thank God it’s people148:39like you think whatever thank the think148:41quarks there’s people like you out there148:43that are doing this but it it’s almost148:47like you’re speaking another language148:49it’s so strange to me was very new stuff148:52yes you know I mean even when I was at148:54school and so when I when I was at148:57university we hadn’t discovered the top148:59quark and we we sorta knew it was there149:01we thought the Higgs might be there but149:04we had no idea whether it was you know149:06so so we’re moving in my career we’re149:09moving quite fast and yet you’re right149:12these are the most fundamental questions149:14about what Weiser eat ultimately why is149:17the universe the way it is and even149:19possibly why is there a universe right149:21movie we’re away from that yet but if149:24we’re ever going to answer that it will149:26be by doing stuff like this and this is149:29all addressed in this live show that149:31you’re doing this world yeah live show149:33and certainly be they also the149:36consequences of the not that comes words149:39of knowledge but the the cosmology is149:41terrifying that as we’ve started with so149:46I think it as we’ve said it raises149:49questions it makes quite vivid questions149:52that we all have about you know what are149:55what are we doing here right this sigh149:58try I think it’s got all the way back to150:01me really been into Cal Sega and he150:04always used to try this you you try to150:06link it to things that people think150:09about naturally then that’s why people150:11are fascinated by this stuff because150:14they do actually think about it you150:15might not be with the right names or the150:17right words or the right facts even but150:20they’re thinking about how did I get150:21here how did I come to exist what is the150:24future do we have a future150:26what was our past yeah these these are150:29universal questions I think there150:31certainly are and the way you’re doing150:33this with your live show you were saying150:35that you have an enormous visual aspect150:37to it well we have a we we have the150:41biggest screen we can get in every venue150:43and it’s led it’s when the the150:44state-of-the-art modern LED screen so150:46they’re like Lego then you can build150:48them so you fill the venue with it so150:50you know Wembley Arena150:52then it’s 30 meters wide whatever by 8150:55meters high it’s enormous150:56you must have a huge crew carrying on150:58yeah 16 or 18 people and151:01to rock’n’roll show some of the venues151:03were doing in North America they’re in151:05Canada they’re a bit smaller venues but151:07we just fill it with screen as much as151:09we can get and then the graphics a lot151:11of the graphics I I have we’re done by a151:13Dean egg who did ex machina actually151:16Aunt Estella and the reason I I mean I I151:20say chose them I drank them up and goes151:22please please will you do this and they151:24said how much money have you got and you151:26know cuz it’s way lower than Chris Nolan151:28yeah they did it they were mean that151:30they just liked the idea of these151:32messages and these ideas so they use the151:34software that they use for interstellar151:36to create images of black holes Wow and151:39they they use general relativity they151:41coded it into their their graphics151:44software so they can rate race lights151:47around black holes and you can move the151:49camera around the black hole and it151:51traces the way all the light moves151:52around it so if you remember those151:54amazing get the gargantuan the black151:56hole in interstellar that’s that’s a151:58simulation it’s not an artist’s152:00impression it’s a simulation of what152:02Einstein’s theory tells as a black hole152:04will look like and so I can use that to152:06talk about what happens when you fall152:08into a black hole what would you see152:10watching someone fall in and you can152:13explain all that using Einstein’s theory152:15you know the idea that it’s kind of a152:17well-known idea it’s a bizarre idea that152:19if I was to fall into a black hole and152:22you were watching you’d never see me152:23falling you’d see time slowed down my152:26time slowed down as you watch me so in152:30the end I’d just slow down and slow down152:31and slow down and then I get frozen on152:33the event horizon and just fade away as152:36an image a reddening image on the event152:38horizon so time passes at different152:41rates as you move close to the black152:44hole and far away because space and time152:46have distorted by the mass of the black152:49hole and so I could I talk about all152:51that but I talk about all that with this152:52incredible image which we had it’s so152:56high resolution by the way that they it152:58was higher resolution than they’re used153:00for interstellar because my screen so153:02big so so we need a special machine to153:05play it you can buy the most expensive153:07Mac Pro in the world and it will not153:10play this stuff so I loved that from a153:13geek perspective153:14you have a special video player to play153:17the dampers just like a series of CPUs153:20are attached together and some sort of a153:21super yeah it’s yeah it’s one of those153:23this one’s a big sort of visualization153:25graphics things but but these files are153:27like you know there are 20 gig video153:29files Wow because there’s so many pixels153:31might the Pixar resoluteness is really153:33geeky in it fakes the resolution 6400 by153:361536 so impress my screen153:39it’s a lot like that yeah are you coming153:45to Los Angeles with this yeah wait a153:47month Taliban Theatre in May the end of153:50me I’m there yeah I’m here153:52oh yeah no you’ve gotta come 24th of May153:55oh you’re in San Diego as well153:56hey I gotta see one of these yeah it’s154:00gonna be great fun and however much154:02stuff we can fit into those handsome154:05devil look at that nice jacket on154:07looking good someone gave me that to154:11scrounge that but it’s cool cuz you’re154:13looking a cool guy cool guy with space154:16behind you that’s awesome man well154:18listen thank you so much for doing this154:20I really appreciate you appreciate154:22everything you’re doing it’s awesome154:24no thank you I always enjoy crying I154:26loved it last time and people still talk154:28about it when I was on less time more154:29people ask me about making you than but154:32should anybody else say get ready like154:34because it’s like a hundred times more154:36popular than it was back then is it it’s154:38gonna be very strange now but thank you154:39again really appreciate it I can’t wait154:41to see your show thank you so much thank154:42you154:45
Anthony Fauci’s at the pool, but Donald Trump’s in deep.
Never mind Johnny Depp and Amber Heard.
You want to see a real can’t-look-away train wreck of a relationship? Look to the nation’s capital, where a messy falling out is chronicled everywhere from the tabloids to a glossy fashion magazine, replete with a photo shoot by a swimming pool.
The saga has enough betrayal, backstabbing, recrimination, indignation and ostracization to impress Edith Wharton.
The press breathlessly covers how much time has passed since the pair last spoke, whether they’re headed for splitsville, and if they can ever agree on what’s best for the children.
It was always bound to be tempestuous because they are the ultimate odd couple, the doctor and the president.
- One is a champion of truth and facts. The other is a master of deceit and denial.
- One is highly disciplined, working 18-hour days. The other can’t be bothered to do his homework and golfs instead.
- One is driven by science and the public good. The other is a public menace, driven by greed and ego.
- One is a Washington institution. The other was sent here to destroy Washington institutions.
- One is incorruptible. The other corrupts.
- One is apolitical. The other politicizes everything he touches — toilets, windows, beans and, most fatally, masks.
After a fractious week, when the former reality-show star in the White House retweeted a former game-show host saying that we shouldn’t trust doctors about Covid-19, Donald Trump and Anthony Fauci are gritting their teeth.
What’s so scary is that the bumpy course of their relationship has life-or-death consequences for Americans.
Who could even dream up a scenario where a president and a White House drop oppo research on the esteemed scientist charged with keeping us safe in a worsening pandemic?
The administration acted like Peter Navarro, Trump’s wacko-bird trade adviser, had gone rogue when he assailed Dr. Fauci for being Dr. Wrong, in a USA Today op-ed. But does anyone believe that? And if he did, would he still have his job?
No doubt it was a case of Trump murmuring: Will no one rid me of this meddlesome infectious disease specialist?
Republicans on Capitol Hill privately confessed they were baffled by the whole thing, saying they couldn’t understand why Trump would undermine Fauci, especially now with the virus resurgent. They think it’s not only hurting Trump’s re-election chances, but theirs, too.
As though it couldn’t get more absurd, Kellyanne Conway told Fox News on Friday that she thinks it would help Trump’s poll numbers for him to start giving public briefings on the virus again — even though that exercise went off the rails when the president began suggesting people inject themselves with bleach.
“How did we get to a situation in our country where the public health official most known for honesty and hard work is most vilified for it?” marvels Michael Specter, a science writer for The New Yorker who began covering Fauci during the AIDs crisis. “And as Team Trump trashes him, the numbers keep horrifyingly proving him right.”
When Dr. Fauci began treating AIDs patients, nearly every one of them died. “It was the darkest time of my life,” he told Specter. In an open letter, Larry Kramer called Fauci a “murderer.”
Then, as Specter writes, he started listening to activists and made a rare admission: His approach wasn’t working. He threw his caution to the winds and became a public-health activist. Through rigorous research and commitment to clinical studies, the death rate from AIDs has plummeted over the years.
Now Fauci struggles to drive the data bus as the White House throws nails under his tires. It seems emblematic of a deeper, existential problem: America has lost its can-do spirit. We were always Bugs Bunny, faster, smarter, more wily than everybody else. Now we’re Slugs Bunny.
Can our country be any more pathetic than this: The Georgia governor suing the Atlanta mayor and City Council to block their mandate for city residents to wear masks?
Trump promised the A team, but he has surrounded himself with losers and kiss-ups and second-raters. Just your basic Ayn Rand nightmare.
Certainly, Dr. Fauci has had to adjust some of his early positions as he learned about this confounding virus. (“When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?” John Maynard Keynes wisely observed.)
“Medicine is not an exact art,” Jerome Groopman, the best-selling author and professor at Harvard Medical School, put it. “There’s lots of uncertainty, always evolving information, much room for doubt. The most dangerous people are the ones who speak with total authority and no room for error.”
Sound like someone you know?
“Medical schools,” Dr. Groopman continued, “have curricula now to teach students the imperative of admitting when something went wrong, taking responsibility, and committing to righting it.”
Some are saying the 79-year-old Dr. Fauci should say to hell with it and quit. But we need his voice of reason in this nuthouse of a White House.
Despite Dr. Fauci’s best efforts to stay apolitical, he has been sucked into the demented political kaleidoscope through which we view everything now. Consider the shoot by his pool, photographed by Frankie Alduino, for a digital cover story by Norah O’Donnell for InStyle magazine.
From the left, the picture represented an unflappable hero, exhausted and desperately in need of some R & R, chilling poolside, not letting the White House’s slime campaign get him down or silence him. And on the right, some saw a liberal media darling, high on his own supply in the midst of a deadly pandemic. “While America burns, Fauci does fashion mag photo shoots,” tweeted Sean Davis, co-founder of the right-wing website The Federalist.
It’s no coincidence that the QAnon-adjacent cultists on the right began circulating a new conspiracy theory in the fever swamps of Facebook that Dr. Fauci’s wife of three and a half decades, a bioethicist, is Ghislane Maxwell’s sister. (Do I need to tell you she isn’t?)
Worryingly, new polls show that the smear from Trumpworld may be starting to stick; fewer Republicans trust the doctor now than in the spring.
Forget Mueller, Sessions, Comey, Canada, his niece, Mika Brzezinski. Of the many quarrels, scrapes and scraps Trump has instigated in his time in office, surely this will be remembered not only as the most needless and perverse, but as the most dangerous.
As Dr. Fauci told The Atlantic, it’s “a bit bizarre.”
More than a bit, actually.
Humanity has been surviving plagues for thousands of years, and we have managed to learn a lot along the way.
A lot of English people believed 1666 would be the year of the apocalypse. You can’t really blame them. In late spring 1665, bubonic plague began to eat away at London’s population. By fall, roughly 7,000 people were dying every week in the city. The plague lasted through most of 1666, ultimately killing about 100,000 people in London alone — and possibly as many as three-quarters of a million in England as a whole.
Perhaps the greatest chronicler of the Great Plague was Samuel Pepys, a well-connected English administrator and politician who kept a detailed personal diary during London’s darkest years. He reported stumbling across corpses in the street, and anxiously reading the weekly death tolls posted in public squares.
In August of 1665, Pepys described walking to Greenwich, “in my way seeing a coffin with a dead body therein, dead of the plague, lying in [a field] belonging to Coome farme, which was carried out last night, and the parish have not appointed any body to bury it, but only set a watch there day and night, that nobody should go thither or come thence, which is a most cruel thing.” To ensure that no one — not even the family of the dead person — would go near the corpse or bury it, the parish had stationed a guard. “This disease making us more cruel to one another than if we are doggs.”
It felt like Armageddon. And yet it was also the beginning of a scientific renaissance in England, when doctors experimented with quarantines, sterilization and social distancing. For those of us living through these stay-at-home days of Covid-19, it’s useful to look back and see how much has changed — and how much hasn’t. Humanity has been guarding against plagues and surviving them for thousands of years, and we have managed to learn a lot along the way.
When a plague hit England during the summer of 1665, it was a time of tremendous political turmoil. The nation was deep into the Second Anglo-Dutch War, a nasty naval conflict that had torpedoed the British economy. But there were deeper sources of internal political conflict. Just five years earlier in 1660, King Charles II had wrested back control of the government from the Puritan members of Parliament led by Oliver Cromwell.
Though Cromwell had died in 1658, the king had him exhumed, his corpse put in chains and tried for treason. After the inevitable guilty verdict, the King’s henchmen mounted Cromwell’s severed head on a 20-foot spike over Westminster Hall, along with the heads of two co-conspirators. Cromwell’s rotting head stayed there, gazing at London, throughout the plague and for many years after.
War and social upheaval hastened the spread of the plague, which had broken out several years earlier in Holland. But when he wasn’t displaying the severed heads of his enemies, the king was invested in scientific progress. He sanctioned the founding of the Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, a venerable scientific institution known today as The Royal Society.
It was most likely thanks to his interest in science that government representatives and doctors quickly used social distancing methods for containing the spread of bubonic plague. Charles II issued a formal order in 1666 that ordered a halt to all public gatherings, including funerals. Already, theaters had been shut down in London, and licensing curtailed for new pubs. Oxford and Cambridge closed.
Isaac Newton was one of the students sent home, and his family was among the wealthy who fled the cities so they could shelter in place at their country homes. He spent the plague year at his family estate, teasing out the foundational ideas for calculus.
Things were less cozy in London. Quarantining was invented during the first wave of bubonic plague in the 14th century, but it was deployed more systematically during the Great Plague. Public servants called searchers ferreted out new cases of plague, and quarantined sick people along with everyone who shared their homes. People called warders painted a red cross on the doors of quarantined homes, alongside a paper notice that read “LORD HAVE MERCY UPON US.” (Yes, the all-caps was mandatory.)
The government supplied food to the housebound. After 40 days, warders painted over the red crosses with white crosses, ordering residents to sterilize their homes with lime. Doctors believed that the bubonic plague was caused by “smells” in the air, so cleaning was always recommended. They had no idea that it was also a good way to get rid of the ticks and fleas that actually spread the contagion.
Of course, not everyone was compliant. Legal documents at the U.K. National Archives show that in April 1665, Charles II ordered severe punishment for a group of people who took the cross and paper off their door “in a riotious manner,” so they could “goe abroad into the street promiscuously, with others.” It’s reminiscent of all those modern Americans who went to the beaches in Florida over spring break, despite what public health experts told them.
Pepys was a believer in science, and he tried to follow the most cutting-edge advice from his doctor friends. This included smoking tobacco as a precautionary measure, because smoke and fire would purify the “bad air.” In June of 1665, as the plague began, Pepys described seeing red crosses on doors for the first time. “It put me into an ill conception of myself and my smell,” he writes, “so that I was forced to buy some roll-tobacco to smell and chaw, which took away the apprehension.”
Quack medicine will always be with us. But there was some good advice, too. During the Great Plague, shopkeepers asked customers to drop their coins in dishes of vinegar to sterilize them, using the 1600s version of hand sanitizer.
Just as some American politicians blame the Chinese for the coronavirus, there were 17th century Brits who blamed the Dutch for spreading the plague. Others blamed Londoners. Mr. Pepys had relocated his family to a country home in Woolwich, and writes in his diary that the locals “are afeard of London, being doubtfull of anything that comes from thence, or that hath lately been there … I was forced to say that I lived wholly at Woolwich.”
By late 1666, the plague had begun its retreat from England, but one disaster led to another. In autumn, the Great Fire of London destroyed the city’s downtown in a weeklong conflagration. The damage was so extensive in part because city officials were slow to respond, having already spent over a year dealing with plague. The fire left 70,000 Londoners homeless and angry, threatening to riot.
While the mayor of London issued orders to evacuate the city, Pepys had more pedestrian concerns: He wrote about helping a friend dig a pit in his garden, where the two men buried “my Parmazan cheese, as well as my wine and some other things.” Even in the middle of a civilization-shaking event, people will still hoard odd things, like toilet paper — or cheese.
Despite the war, the plague and the fire, London survived. Urbanites rebuilt relatively quickly, using the same basic street layout. In 1667, Pepys was bustling around the healing city, putting his rooms back in order and turning his thoughts to new developments in politics.
Pepys survived. Scholars are still not sure whether he ever retrieved his cheese.