Scientific Controversies: Is Reality Beautiful?

Radio Show
Pioneer Works Radio Channel

Scientific Controversies: Is Reality Beautiful?

Produced by Ethan Primason , James Clark
Richard Wright's breathtaking gold leaf fresco
Richard Wright's breathtaking gold leaf fresco

Beauty--a prosaic artifice, a distraction from deeper raw truths, maybe even ugly truths--has faded in contemporary art. As the exceptional physicist Frank Wilczek (Nobel Prize, Physics) describes in his new book, A Beautiful Question, Beauty has proven a luminous ally, a faithful adviser in his discoveries of remarkable truths about the world. But actual experiments are messy and noisy, the elegance of the theory implied but never directly observed. Glennys Farrar (Professor of Physics, NYU) joins to discuss the subtle question: Is Reality Beautiful?

This live event was recorded June 18, 2015 at Pioneer Works.

About the Participants:
Frank Wilczek is a Nobel Laureate, Herman Feschback Professor of Physics at MIT, author of The Lightness of Being and A Beautiful Question: Finding Nature’s Deep Design.
Glennys Farrar is a Professor of Physics, Astrophysics, and Cosmology at NYU with interests in dark matter detection and cosmic ray experiments

About the Series:
Major scientific discoveries can disrupt the traditional order, leaving scientists adrift in concepts that resist familiar intuitions and beliefs. Of the new ideas that emerge, some will be wrong and some will be right. Honest and open scientific controversy helps disentangle one from the other. Eventually, one side of a debate grows in strength and finds confirmation in experiments, while the other atrophies. But both sides of a controversy contribute to the breakthrough of actual discovery – when the utterly abstract barges into the realm of the concrete. This series celebrates that passionate spirit of scientific debate.

Originally aired 8/3/15
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