Evidence in the Natural Sciences:
A Discussion with Brian Greene & Jim Baggott
FRIDAY, MAY 30, 2014
Tea: 4:30 - 5:15 PM
Discussion: 5:15 - 6:45 PM
Reception: 6:45 - 7:45 PM
Gerald D. Fischbach Auditorium
160 5th Avenue, New York, New York, 10010
What is the difference between evidence, fact, and proof? Can we quantify evidence; is something more evident than something else? What does it take to convince a scientist, a scientific community, and the general public of the correctness of a scientific result in the era of very complicated experiments, big data, and weak signals?
Co-hosted by the Simons Foundation and John Templeton Foundation, and in collaboration with the World Science Festival, this discussion between Brian Greene and science writer Jim Baggott will address these and related questions. It will be of interest to established researchers, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students and the well-informed general public.
Discussion: Brian Greene, Columbia University & Jim Baggott, Science Writer
About the Speakers
Brian Greene is a professor of physics and mathematics at Columbia University, and is widely recognized for a number of groundbreaking discoveries in superstring theory, including the co-discoveries of mirror symmetry and topology change. His first book for general audiences, The Elegant Universe was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and has sold more than a million copies worldwide. His more recent books, The Fabric of the Cosmos and The Hidden Reality, were both New York Times bestsellers, and inspired the Washington Post to call him “the single best explainer of abstruse concepts in the world today.”
Greene makes frequent media appearances on programs such as Charlie Rose, The Colbert Report and David Letterman. He has hosted two NOVA specials, based on The Elegant Universe and The Fabric of the Cosmos, which were nominated for four Emmy Awards and won a George Foster Peabody Award. Professor Greene is co-director of Columbia’s Institute for Strings, Cosmology, and Astroparticle Physics, and with producer Tracy Day, he is co-founder of the World Science Festival.
Jim Baggott is a freelance science writer and author. He trained as a scientist, gaining a doctorate in chemical physics at the University of Oxford and working as a postdoctoral research associate with Richard N. Zare at Stanford University in California before becoming a lecturer at the University of Reading, England, where he also ran a small research team studying aspects of chemical kinetics and high-energy molecular vibrations.
After five years of academic life, he decided on a complete change of career direction and joined Shell International Petroleum. He worked for Shell for 11 years, including a 3-year expatriate assignment in post-apartheid South Africa, before stepping out to set up his own business consultancy and training practice. In recent years he has been privileged to work with both Shell and Microsoft.
When he left academia, Jim vowed that he would find a way to keep science in his life. He has retained a passion for communicating complex ideas, and has written many books on aspects of contemporary physics, philosophy and science history. His most recent books include The Quantum Story: A History in 40 Moments (2011), Higgs: The Invention and Discovery of the ‘God Particle’ (2012) and Farewell to Reality: How Fairy-tale Physics Betrays the Search for Scientific Truth (2013). He was awarded the Glaxo prize for science writing in 1992. His books have been translated into more than a dozen different languages.
Jim has participated in numerous discussions on radio and in 2013 appeared for the first time on television, in an episode of Morgan Freeman’s Through the Wormhole science series.
He is a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA).
The symposium on Evidence in the Natural Sciences is co-hosted by the Simons Foundation and John Templeton Foundation and in collaboration with the World Science Festival. For more information on these organization's activties, please visit their websites below.
John Templeton Foundation
World Science Festival
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