I’ll be speaking in Sydney on Monday 16th January at the Macarthur Astronomy Forum. It’s free and open to everyone. The details:

The Universe for Beginners

Abstract: The night sky might seem to be a random collection of odd objects: stars, planets, asteroids, brown dwarfs, white dwarfs, supernovae remnants, pulsars, galaxies.

Are they just a menagerie, or can we make sense of them? I’ll show how a single question links the night sky’s occupants into a coherent scheme.

Date: 16th January, 2017

Time: 7:30pm

Location: Room 213, Building 30, Western Sydney University, Campbelltown Campus, Goldsmith Drive, CampbelltownMap

Forum Details

Macarthur Astronomy Forum is held in the small lecture theatre in Building 30 (School of Medicine) at Western Sydney University, Campbelltown Campus.

Members of the public are cordially invited to attend. We do not charge admission but your gold coin donation in our black box (at the front of the auditorium) would be very gratefully accepted. We provide self-service coffee, tea and biscuits after the meeting at a charge of $2.00 per head.



Gino Segre has kindly reviewed “A Fortunate Universe” for The Wall Street Journal, (Sat/Sun Dec 31, 2016 – Jan 1, 2017). It’s behind a paywall, unfortunately, but here are some highlights.

The astrophysicists Geraint Lewis and Luke Barnes open their charming, intelligent and exceeding well-written book by arguing that we live in “a fortunate universe”. … They then proceed to convincingly show why we should share their belief. This requires a gentle stroll through the details of the Standard Model of particle physics, as well as the Standard Model of cosmology, but they lead us with such a light hand, streak of humor and lack of pedantry that the information is easily absorbed. …

Where does science go from here? Does what has been popularly called a theory of everything exist? Is there a multiverse? Must we be satisfied with an anthropic principle? The authors discuss these questions and more in a final dialogue. As Mr. Barnes states in concluding it: “Irrespective of how many other dead and sterile universes are out there, in this one I have a pair of kids that need a bath.” Life goes on.

Also, Charlie Lineweaver has reviewed our book in The Conversation. Charlie gave the impression that “intelligent design” was the main thesis of the book. It’s a good time to remind everyone that Geraint is, in his own words, “no kind of god botherer”.

Planning on being in Crete in June 2017? Then why not come along to Oxford University’s International Conference on the Physics of Fine-Tuning:

The Consolidation of Fine-Tuning Project’s capstone conference, “The Physics of Fine-Tuning”, will consist of two dozen talks on physics and the philosophy of physics, focussed on specific questions of fine-tuning within physics and astrophysics. We will have talks on inflation, structure formation, dark matter, inflationary cosmology, quantum cosmology, chemical physics, exoplanet research, explanation in physics, and astrobiology. The conference will take place from 19-22 June 2017 at the Aquila Rithymna Beach Resort, in Crete, Greece.

The poster is below. You’ll notice they’ve listed the speakers in order of importance. (It’s only coincidentally alphabetical.)


Sydney Talk Next Monday

Just a reminder that you can see Geraint Lewis and myself talking at Westmead in Sydney next Monday, 5th December. It’s free!

Why are we here? Physics and the Fortunate Universe

Professor Geraint Lewis and Dr Luke Barnes, authors of A Fortunate Universe, offer to take you on a tour of the cosmos, demonstrating that humanity appears to be part of a remarkable set of circumstances involving a special time around a special planet, which orbits a special star, all within a specially constructed universe. It is these sets of conditions that have allowed humans to ponder our place in space and time.

A Sydney Ideas, Westmead forum
Co-presented with School of Physics, Faculty of Science
Date: Monday 5 December, 2016
Time: 5.30 to 7pm
Venue: Conference Room, Westmead Institute
176 Hawkesbury Rd
Westmead NSW
Cost: Free and open to all with online registration requested.

More details can be found here.

Free! Register here!

Hosted by Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, join authors Geraint Lewis and Luke Barnes on a scientific journey to the amazing conclusion that our universe is fine-tuned for intelligent life. A presentation will be followed by a panel discussion, Q&A, and an opportunity to meet the authors.

Messel Lecture Theatre,
Sydney Nanoscience Hub
The University of Sydney
25th Nov 2016, 6:30pm – 8:30pm


Talking book things, here are a few relevant events and interviews for your perusal.

Sydney Ideas Talk: Why Are We Here? Physics and the Fortunate Universe

Geraint and I will be speaking at the Sydney Ideas event “Why Are We Here? Physics and the Fortunate Universe” at the Westmead Institute. They’re a hospital, as all Sydney-siders will know, but interested in public lectures on scientific topics more widely.

Date: 5 December, 5:30-7pm
Location: Westmead Institute, Sydney
Cost: Free, but be sure to register here.

STEMpunk Podcast Episode

Geraint and I recently sat down with Tom, Christie and Shane from the outstanding STEMpunk podcast to talk about the book and all things science and such, including the curly question ‘What role should science have in politics?’. You can find the episode online here, or (even better) subscript to STEMpunk on iTunes here.

Unbelievable Radio: Multiverse Show 2

I also had a chat recently with the philosopher Max Andrews about the multiverse, on Justin Brierly’s Unbelievable radio show. The show was partly in response to a previous episode about the multiverse that featured Phil Harper and Jeff Zweerink. I raised a few worries that I had about the multiverse, which are discussed in more detail in our book. You can listen to the episode here.


We’ve got more events coming up, so stay tuned!


Having spent many hours perusing that marvellous shop, this photo is pretty darn great.