The Big Picture: From the Big Bang to the Meaning of Life -Sean Carroll

Award-winning scientist and writer Sean Carroll ties together the fundamental laws of physics governing the workings of the cosmos with the everyday human experience we all share. Dr Sean Carroll is an astrophysicist at the California Institute of Technology. He has written a variety of popular science books along with textbooks and has long been interested in the biggest questions in astronomy: Where does probability come from? How does time work? What is dark matter and dark energy?

The talk, given at the Royal Institution in October 2016, will take us on a breath-taking journey from the origin of the Universe, through the evolution of life and consciousness, to the eternal question of what it all really means.

Q&A The Big Picture – with Sean Carroll

The Story of Earth: How Life and Rocks Co-Evolved

 Dr. Robert Hazen, Carnegie Institution for Science, Geophysical Laboratory:

The story of Earth is a 4.5-billion-year saga of dramatic transformations, driven by physical, chemical, and—based on a fascinating growing body of evidence—biological processes. The co-evolution of life and rocks, the new paradigm that frames this lecture, unfolds in an irreversible sequence of evolutionary stages. Each stage re-sculpted our planet’s surface, each introduced new planetary processes and phenomena, and each inexorably paved the way for the next. This grand and intertwined tale of Earth’s living and non-living spheres is only now coming into focus. Sequential changes of terrestrial planets and moons are best preserved in their rich mineralogical record. “Mineral evolution,” the study of our planet’s diversifying near-surface environment, began with a dozen different mineral species that formed in the cooling envelopes of exploding stars. Dust and gas from those stars clumped together to form our stellar nebula, the nebula formed the Sun and countless planetesimals, and alteration of planetesimals by water and heat resulted in the approximately 250 minerals found today in meteorites that fall to Earth. Following Earth’s growth and separation into the core, mantle, and crust, mineral evolution progressed by a sequence of chemical and physical processes, which led to perhaps 1500 mineral species. According to some origin-of-life scenarios, a planet must evolve through at least some of these stages of chemical processing as a prerequisite for life. Once life emerged, mineralogy and biology co-evolved, as changes in the chemistry of oceans and atmosphere dramatically increased Earth’s mineral diversity to the almost 5000 species known today.

Pranay Lal with Richard Fortey at the Zee Jaipur Lit Fest

Pranay Lal in conversation with Pradip Krishen introduced by Richard Fortey at the Zee Jaipur Literature Festival.  Pranay Lal is the author of “Indica” the wonderful book on the Natural History of the Indian Sub-continent. 


The Forgotten History of India’s Maritime Past | Sanjeev Sanyal

Sanjeev Sanyal is an Indian economist, bestselling writer, environmentalist, and urban theorist. He was also the Global Strategist & Managing Director at the Deutsche Bank. He is also the author of the best selling books “The Indian Renaissance: India’s Rise after a Thousand Years of Decline (Penguin and World Scientific), “Land of the Seven Rivers: A Brief History of India’s Geography”, (Penguin, 2012) and “The Incredible History of India’s Geography” published by Puffin in 2015. Sanjeev Sanyal’s talks at JNU , where he helped explore and understand India’s Maritime Past, that has been forgotten. 

The Concept of Mass with Jim Baggott

Interesting talk by Jimm Baggott on his latest book “Mass: The quest to understand matter from Greek atoms to quantum fields”. In this Royal Institution Lecture Jimm Baggott tries to answer questions like: Do elementary particles have mass? Does the Higg’s boson exist? 

Q&A: The Concept of Mass – with Jim Baggott

The Mysterious Architecture of the Universe – with J Richard Gott

This is a Royal Institution lecture by  J Richard Gott. He leads a journey through the history of our understanding of the Universe’s structure, and explains the ‘cosmic web’: the idea that our Universe is like a sponge made up of clusters of galaxies intricately connected by filaments of galaxies.

J Richard Gott was among the first cosmologists to propose that the structure of our Universe is like a sponge made up of clusters of galaxies intricately connected by filaments of galaxies – a magnificent structure now called the ‘cosmic web’. In this talk he shows how ambitious telescope surveys such as the Sloan Digital Sky Survey are transforming our understanding of the cosmos, and how the cosmic web holds vital clues to the origins of the universe and the next trillion years that lie ahead.

J Richard Gott is Emeritus Professor of Astrophysical Sciences at Princeton University and is noted for his contributions to cosmology and general relativity.

Professor Noam Chomsky looking back over his life and work

Melvyn Bragg hosts the first of the British Academy’s Global Perspectives series of events – Professor Noam Chomsky looking back over his life and work. Professor Noam Chomsky’s work over the past 60 years has profoundly changed the way we think about language. In this event he talks about his reflections on a lifetime of linguistics research and as one of the leading thinkers of our time. The event was held at The Royal Society in London on November 26 2014.

About the speaker: Noam Chomsky, linguist, philosopher and political activist, is Emeritus Professor of Linguistics and Philosophy at MIT. He was elected to the Fellowship of the British Academy in 1974.

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