Dr. Neil Turok's Lecture September 24, 2008

13/01/2009 04:25 PM

Dr. Neil Turok

The Perimeter Institute ongoing lecture series continued at the Bruce County Museum and archives under the direction of Nancy White, Museum Program Director and Wayne MacDonald volunteer organizer.

Turok a Professor at Cambridge University and a close friend of Steven Hawking, is one of the world's foremost scientists.

Turok's lecture was "What Banged". 

Growing up in Africa and taught by a woman he admired, he met her later in life and she asked him "What Banged?"

Mixing insights and deep physics, Turok took the audience on a journey to the heart of present day cosmology.

The puzzle has been partially solved, but the parts are not perfect and some of the fits are awkward.  He spoke of possible other universes and the cataclysmic beginnings of our own.

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Turok painted a picture of a universe beginning 13.5 Billion years ago with all the mass concentrated in a tiny super dense 'point'  It was a place of strange physics without time and without the number of elements that we know now.  Was it a repeating process? -- unlikely.  Was it the result of something outside of the 'what' of What Banged?  Could it have been the result of two or more universes colliding?

He outlined a 'rough' formula of 'Everything'.  It included in one line all the basic findings of Maxwell, Einstein and Dirac with a nod to Heisenberg and Bohr.  The formula had 18 free variables.  It was not tidy.  "Dangling' on the end of it were conjectures about the Higgs Boson, which is being investigated by the Large Hadron Collider on the Swiss-French Border.

He told us about an expanding universe that is populated by dark energy, which is little understood.  As the universe expands over billions of years the bright stars, galaxies and nebulae will gradually dim and be extinguished.  The universal lights will go out.

If we could live along side and part of such a universe, we too would lose energy and become virtually extinguished.  This relentless journey to disorder seems to be the work of one of the basic laws of the universe, which is the 2nd law of thermodynamics.  It has many forms, but the one that applies here is that things tend to move from order to disorder in a relentless manner.  Heat goes to cold and light to darkness.

Professor Turok told us that more and more scientists will soon be able to peer into the past and see the Big Bang using signature information.

Dr Turok is the new head of the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo Ontario.  It's is one of the best research organizations in the world and it was funded by Mike Laziredes of Blackberry and RIM fame.