iPlayer Radio What's New?
Image for Multiverses; Culture-driven Evolution; Lee Smolin on Time

Listen now 30 mins

Listen in pop-out player

Multiverses; Culture-driven Evolution; Lee Smolin on Time

Duration:
30 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 30 May 2013

Laura Mersini-Houghton is appearing at this weekend's How The Light Gets In festival of philosophy and music in Hay-on-Wye.Born in Albania, she is a cosmologist at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill whose theory of the origin of the visible universe has attracted a lot of attention for its strong observational predictions.
As she and Marcus Chown explain to Quentin Cooper, the recently released data from the Planck telescope lend particular support.

Could the big blue blotch on the Cosmic Microwave Background be a kind of shadow cast just after the big bang by a neighbouring universe beyond our own?

"Are evolutionary changes in our genome a cause or a consequence of cultural innovation?"

In last week's journal Science, a piece by Simon Fisher and Matt Ridley suggested that contrary to much received wisdom, we must consider whether sometimes in the evolution of the human genome, it is cultural changes which have led to genetic ones.
According to Ridley, mistaking cause for effect is common in the science, and this realisation could have profound consequencies for our understanding of who - and why - we are.

Is time real after all?

Many physicists and thinkers over the last century or so have treated our experience of the passage of time as an illusional human adaptation, and is actually unreal.
Some powerful physics relies on time being reversible, and a lot of particle physics works equally well backwards as forwards.
But in Lee Smolin's new book, Time Reborn, he outlines his conclusions from 20 years thinking, that time is real after all.
As he explains to Quentin, more importantly for him this implies the laws of physics are not constant, but have likely changed over the course of the history of the universe.

  • Multiverse

    Planck_CMB_node_full_image 2.jpg
    Have Planck’s observations proven that there could be millions of universes beyond our own or is the evidence far from proof?
  • Culture and evolution

    tv001941290.jpg
    Could culture, rather than random genetic mutations, have driven the evolution of humans?
  • Time Reborn

    476px-Flickr_-_Duncan~_-_Old_Father_Time.jpg
    Throughout history the concept of time as an illusion has been commonplace. Relativity reveals that time is not absolute. Lee Smolin argues that this denial of time is holding back both physics, and our understanding of the universe.

Broadcasts

Inside Science

Image for Inside Science

Adam Rutherford explores the research that is transforming our world.

Free download

  1. Image for Material World

    Material World

    Weekly science conversation, on everything from archaeology to zoology, from abacus to the…

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.