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On the 24-25 November, 2016, Geraint Lewis and I will be running the 2016 Fine-tuning, the Multiverse and Life Workshop, hosted at the University of Sydney. We’re hoping to get a good crowd of physicists, astronomers and philosophers together to chat about these interesting issues.

Register now!

Abstract: Issues of fine-tuning and naturalness are central to evaluating such physical and cosmological theories as inflation and extension to the Standard model of particle physics, including supersymmetry. In addition, our values of the fundamental constants of nature have the seemingly rare ability to support the complexity required by life. This has become an important way to test multiverse theories: the predicted observed value of fundamental “constants” depends on the values that permit the existence of observers.

In light of these challenges, this workshop will bring together physicists, cosmologists, astronomers and philosophers of science for two days of invited and contributed talks, and discussion sessions. Topics covered will include:

  • The nature of fundamental constants,
  • Physical theories of the multiverse,
  • How to reason with (or, perhaps, avoid altogether) anthropic principles,
  • Fine-tuning as it relates to the foundations of science and metaphysics,
  • The role of probability theory in evaluating cases of fine-tuning and naturalness, and
  • The conditions for life and complexity in the universe.

Venue: Sydney Nanoscience Hub, School of Physics, University of Sydney

Date: Thursday 24 – Friday 25 November, 2016.

Places are limited to 60 attendees.

Note that this is immediately before the 2016 International Symposium on Cosmology and Particle Astrophysics (COSPA), also hosted at the University of Sydney, 28 Nov – 02 Dec 2016.

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Here’s a brief discussion of some of the questions raised (and some even answered!) in A Fortunate Universe, recorded during a visit to Cambridge University Press in May.

It’s available Now!
eBook: http://www.amazon.com/Fortunate-Unive…
Hardback: https://www.bookdepository.com/Fortun…

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Cambridge University Press’s blog, fifteeneightyfour, has published a sneak peek of part of Chapter 1 of A Fortunate Universe. You can find it here.

The eBook is available from Amazon, and the hardback from Book Depository.

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The video of the book! Please feel free to share to social media.

Available in eBook now. We believe that the quickest way to get the hardback is via Book Depository.

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It’s Real!


Available in eBook now, and in hardback very soon.

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I had in mind to write down a few thoughts about Sean Carroll’s latest book “The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself”. Following their excellent article by Alexander Vilenkin on the beginning of the universe, and other good articles by Gregory Chaitin and Jean-Pierre Luminet, I sent my review off to “Inference: International Review of Science”.

So, here it is. Not my original title, by the way.

I should make clear here just how much I enjoyed and was impressed by Sean’s book. (My final paragraph along these lines was cut by the editor, unfortunately.) It is a vast improvement on the average cosmologist’s foray into philosophy and beyond (especially in recent popular books), and I highly recommend it to anyone trying to think deeply about naturalism.

In future posts, I’ll make a few more comments on some things that I cut from the article for length. So stay tuned.

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On Friday, 16th September I’ll be speaking at the University of Sydney about fine-tuning. The event is open to the public: all welcome! There will be a lecture followed by an extended Q&A session.

Title: Life in a Finely Tuned Universe

Date: 16th September, 6:30-8:45pm

Location: University of Sydney, New Law Seminar Room 100

Organiser: HIKMA Research Students Association

Facebook event link.

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