Live from Waterloo: The future of the universe

Our live-stream of tonight’s Perimeter Public Lecture, bringing high science to the masses

 Nima Arkani-Hamed, from Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study, will be tonight's speaker at the Perimeter Public Lecture. (Photograph by Gabriela Secara)

Nima Arkani-Hamed, from Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study, will be tonight’s speaker at the Perimeter Public Lecture. (Photograph by Gabriela Secara)

On my frequent trips to Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont., to write about the little empire of thought that Mike Lazaridis built, I’ve covered a lot of stories: from the work of the physicists at the Perimeter Institute to the rapid development of PI’s most famous student, Jacob Barnett, the impression Stephen Hawking leaves when he visits, and Perimeter director Neil Turok’s extraordinary side project in Africa, about which I don’t really think I’ve begun to tell you enough.

One element of the Perimeter Institute story I’ve mentioned less often is its impressive work bringing the Kitchener-Waterloo community, and the entire country, in on discovering science. On Thursday night, we’ll invite Maclean’s readers to watch that work in action.

The occasion will be a live webcast, here on our site, of the latest Perimeter Public Lecture, the latest in a decade-long series of lectures in Kitchener-Waterloo by world-leading physics theorists and experimenters. The lecture series was an experiment from the outset, but it paid off immediately: tickets are free but must be picked up beforehand. On that basis, almost every Perimeter Public Lecture has played to a packed house of people who know they’ll hear about cutting-edge science from people who aren’t interested in talking down.

Thursday’s webcast is an experiment too: Is there a national audience for these lectures? In conjunction with Perimeter, Maclean’s will find out. The lecturer is auspicious: Nima Arkani-Hamed, from Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study. His hipster delivery and intense style—he reminds me a bit of the comedian Bobcat Goldthwait—belie one of the keenest and most controversial minds in physics. He’s concentrated lately on the “hierarchy problem,” which can be summed up as: “Why doesn’t the universe blow up? Because, you know, the math is a bit off.” A year ago he discovered this… imaginary crystal thing that radically simplifies the solution of some fundamental physics problems.

Here’s a short video of Arkani-Hamed discussing his work with Howard Burton, whose Ideas Roadshow I’ll have to write about soon.

There’ll be more along these lines Thursday evening. The live-stream is directly below. (Editor’s note: The live-stream has now been replaced with a full video replay of the event.)


Live from Waterloo: The future of the universe

  1. I think Hawking is wrong about Chronology Protection Conjecture. An entity smarter than me has critiqued my WMD sensor network plans. One innovation is to turn it off if it can’t be enforced.
    A better plan is to focus upon R+D that facilitates future technologies and defences yet doesn’t lead to AI or pandemics…A Wpg lecturer mentioned superconductors as useful for advancing computation.
    I like their ability to enable safe particle physics experiments but such technology may lead to AI.
    I’ll have a blueprint for long-term R+D that facilitates the utilization of such technologies without enabling AI or other WMDs. It is better to focus on future technological applications of big physics experiments than research blindly; I like the international nature of such R+D. For instance, researching the interior of blackholes can help bridge quantum theory and gravity. I’m interested in tachyons and how if they converge in the past, perhaps at some early unverse expansion shockwave of some sort, what would be the consequenses. LHC has not been good for supersymmetry. I’d like all future experiments to consider the Multiverse as real. It may be possible to use graviton sensors to look for details of how our universe’s worldline interacts with parallel worldlines. I’d like realistic proposals for scaling up Star-shade; unless is a trick/trap I believe the odds of civilizations have increased as a results of the msgs/contact I’ve received.
    A Greek stopped infighting by redrawing ridings to encompass part of Athens, part of the interior and part of the coast. Is the opposite of Congressional boundaries. And their rural Senate makes the Prez’s power the only potentially progressive game in USA town. For us, we overrepresent rural ridings. These ununiversity rural voters are not good for handling technological risks…an Intellignece Agency like Crown, perhaps global in scope, may be needed. It is hard to guage how strongly a person is religious. But education/environment screening along with mental health tests will needed by whoever is to operate the future sensor network.

    • …It seems Chivalry arose out of Christian respect for women’s/poor/children’s rights along with English feudalism’s political representation of long-term land-holder/-worker interests. And between 800AD and 1000AD the Vikings decided only to pursue the Throne rather than failing UK conquer attempts. Late Rome and Greece both lost this valour and honour, supscribing to a market forces mentality. I believe this Chivalry is why Charlesmagne embraced Monastery education and why R.Bacon was able to promote the scientific method. I can see 3 of Aristotle’s 13 virtues which lead to winning a Victoria Cross. This is insufficient for rationality too, but is a good start for getting effective future WMD leadership. I love the Celtic mythology; it certainly didn’t hurt England to have their own arts.

      • …Instead of “All Good Things…”, their primary worry in restricting tachyon usage might be this guess:
        they know our light cone (if we are in the same one) is not being invaded by AI from outside the light-cone. The point of that Oceania hidden msg mind**** of a 3rd sentence may be that they are worries if they pollute the light cones outside our own, that it may breed an AI that can attempt to conquer us. I like Waterloo; I hope Wpg turns the Imax into a lecture hall. The Christians in charge of Canada/GWB-USA won’t learn much from rehearing the same books over and over every Sunday: if someone reaps where they don’t sow and vice versa you should tell the farmer; Bible is bad farming and mgmt. Chaucer fought the Catholic Church long before the Reformation. If they would all just listen to excerpts from Spencer/Shakespeare/Marlowe instead, they would be able to help handle technologies. All 3 authors had heroes/characters that grew.
        They are relatively okay with enacting responsible sensor networks administrators and enforcers, and selecting good technologies along the way and not even coming close to AI (they don’t want to interfere anymore than necessary). They suggested looking for superior differences in the cdn system:
        we are funnier, we aren’t AI corporatist, we aren’t AI property rights defenders, education is cheaper…
        but they have more technologies and (I think) better defence Crowns.
        The Koran, Old Testament, and The Odyssey all have similiar excerpts about humanitarians. It seems to be all about interpretation. Islam went wrong when Al-Ghazali abandoned reason for mysticism. They and most strongly religious people were afraid to perish for a better world. I was in a bad mood until I had juice. Dehydrated I’m not as good a person and should be temporarily lowered in status. Same for JFK when his back flared up under most circumstances. The administrators of a sensor network will need to take this stuff into account and need to have read the best classics. Maybe there is, maybe there isn’t malevolent life in the Galaxy, I already knew that answer to the word.

        • …23rds through Smolin’s 2013 book. He is ignoring quantum theory. He claims quantum phenomena are time reversible. Probably he means some limited definition of the 1930s version of the Schroedinger Equation. Then he opens a chapter stating quantum entanglement is a quantum phenomena.
          Here is a though experiment:
          Take two entangled particles. Run them backwards. When they are still apart, have one of them be interfered with. I 2013 Russian paper says tachyons (neutrinos with mass) take far random paths between two points kind of like the magnetic force lines of a magnet, but even if so the QE particles can be within hot gas or something and interact with a pasma ion or whatever…now what do you have? You have two decohered particles trapped in impossible world lines. They can’t have ever been QE-ed if they never met in the 1st place! Embrace the multiverse. The block universe is for cowards.

  2. I asked about pandemics.
    They gave me some details and told me a way in which my cancelled in September biosensor network was flawed. Later they told me what I do with this info will determine what else they tell me. They told me this test is a trial and there will be more trials before FC is made with another generation.
    I’m deliberated on this untimed test to inform no one, or to inform a handful of people, or to blog about, or to reiterate this post. I’m not so much worried about the specifics as I am that this conversation resulted in the first tacit help from them for a short-term problem. I’m recommending moderately trusting them at least as long as we are exposed to pandemic threats. These will end at the latest when we have rotating colonies, and at the earliest if the circa 2011 strategy of stockpiling/quickly-manufacturing vaccines/treatments/antidotes/cures is successful. If I post their specifics, people will be more likely to believe me to trust them, at least until we build them a future portal to invade us if it is a trick or trap.
    The existing strategy for pandemics seems to be to react to a future event, hope it is only Spanish Flu bad, and all along hope that some comes up with a better strategy. I previously rushed my strategy because I was getting diminishing study returns. On CSPAN, a USA General was asked by a student or reporter (Think as a ramification of Snowden) how good policy can be generated if the info is classified and the deliberations are assumingly classified? In the ocntext of emerging tech threats, he said he didn’t know. One detail I will post is they said for a sensor network, the target’s underlying economy may progress so rapidly as to make the network obsolete. But of course, the existing strategy depends on innovation such as vaccines in a bioreactor instead of chicken egg. I’m wondering how many people with brain wave reporter implants are needed to operate a good AI and a good biosensor network? Too much robotics is of course a risk too. We seem to be on course to get good brain sciences before AI. I don’t know if they want to eliminate AI in 90% of worldlines, or 99% or 100%, and I suppose getting a mind science before most pandemic risks is icing on the cake. And as I’ve said before superconductors be an example of a technology to outlaw/restrict…

    • …I did something right either accepting their overture or asking if posting the scenario was okay mid-conversation last night. I’ve critiqued their suggestions and am kicking my self for not thinking things through myself but am hampered by lack of public discussion of these matters.
      They sketched out my envisioned biosensor network: a researcher accidently creates a bioweapon. A police officer with mental illness comes to investigate and uses the weapon. The End.
      Then they sketched out some improvements: the researchers, military, engineers are subject to brain sensors. The researcher has an autoclave. He is ordered to put the experiment in an autoclave. If he doesn’t he is a terrorist. Military wearing PPE come in. If he is symptomatic shooting him is more humane…presumably I had the order of operations out of whack and the sensors are the last step. An honour system with autoclaves is better. The beauty of the flaw of my Sept/2014 envisionsed system is it forces a potentially mentally ill party where there previously was likely no risk. Presumably military is superior as has superior rules of engagement, better training, potentially international scope…the researchers will need brain implants that look for engineering thoughts. All their leaders have their thoughts read out before engaging in any potentially publicly harmful acts/enbineering. Anyone who views a schematic or procedure needs a brain chip. Presumably it will be a lifelong surveillance for some careers. Not necessarily public politicians for starters. So this will help my thought sensors lobby. I was only watching the watchers, not enforcing.

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