09/23/2022

Diving Into The Biggest Ideas In The Universe

16:52 minutes

a book cover with a light blue planet at the center and various eclipses and overlays of other planets below and above the main planet. the text says "the biggest ideas in the universe: space, time, and motion, sean carroll, new york times bestseller"

Can mere mortals learn real physics, without all the analogies? Dr. Sean Carroll, Homewood Professor of Natural Philosophy at Johns Hopkins University and author of The Biggest Ideas in the Universe: Space, Time, and Motion, says yes—if you’re willing to accept a bit of math.

Carroll says that he dreams of a world in which ordinary people can have informed ideas on physics, and might argue about the latest black hole news as urgently as they might debate a sports team’s performance in last night’s game. His new book starts with some of the basics of motion that might be taught in an introductory physics class, then builds on them up through concepts like time and black holes.

Carroll joins Ira to talk about the book, exploring where physics equations leave off and philosophical concepts begin, and the nebulous world in between.


Further Reading

  • Read an excerpt from Sean Carroll’s The Biggest Ideas in the Universe: Space, Time, and Motion.

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Segment Guests

Sean Carroll

Dr. Sean Carroll is the author of The Biggest Ideas in the Universe: Space, Time, and Motion, and is the Homewood Professor of Natural Philosophy at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.

Segment Transcript

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About Charles Bergquist

As Science Friday’s director, Charles Bergquist channels the chaos of a live production studio into something sounding like a radio program. Favorite topics include planetary sciences, chemistry, materials, and shiny things with blinking lights.

About Ira Flatow

Ira Flatow is the host and executive producer of Science FridayHis green thumb has revived many an office plant at death’s door.

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