Sun, 13 December 2020

6:30 pm - 7:30 pm GMT

The Janus Point – a New Story of the Destiny of Our Universe

Julian Barbour in conversation with David Malone

What is time? Julian Barbour presents a major new solution to one of the most profound questions in physics, with seismic implications for the origin and destiny of our universe.

Time is perhaps the greatest mystery in physics. One question dominates: if the fundamental laws of physics do not distinguish between past and future, why does it only seem to travel forward? Physicist Julian Barbour joins us to present a radical new answer.

In conversation with David Malone, Barbour will walk us through some of the greatest scientific theories history and the most cutting-edge physics today, unveiling a new argument that looks set to have a seismic impact in the scientific community.

At its heart is a new vision of the Big Bang that Barbour calls the Janus Point, from which time flows in two directions, its currents driven by the expansion of the universe and the growth of order in the galaxies, planets, and life itself.

Monumental in vision and scope, the Janus Point theory is not just a new understanding of time: it’s a hopeful argument about the destiny of our universe. While most physicists predict that the universe will become mired in disorder, Barbour sees the possibility that order – the stuff of life – can grow without bound.

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Praise for Julian Barbour:

‘Julian Barbour is a profound and original thinker with the boldness to tackle some of nature’s deepest problems. He is also a fine writer, and this renders his book – despite its conceptual depth – accessible to anyone who has pondered the mysteries of space and time’ Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal and former President of the Royal Society

‘With a rare humanity and a perspective based on a lifetime of study, Barbour writes a book that is both a work of literature and a masterpiece of scientific thought’ Lee Smolin, author of The Trouble with Physics

‘The origin of the arrow of time is arguably the most important conceptual problem in cosmology, and the prospect that it can be solved in a universe where time flows “backward” in the far past is as exciting as it is provocative. In this engaging book, Julian Barbour conveys this excitement admirably’ Sean Carroll, author of From Eternity to Here

‘The Janus Point shows history-in-the-making: a project to recast the foundations of all of cosmology, gravity, thermodynamics and the arrow of time. The book has given me a lot to ponder. As Gauss said of Riemann’s habilitation lecture, ‘[it] exceeded my expectations’’ Bill Unruh, Professor of Physics at University of British Columbia

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Julian Barbour

Theoretical Physicist and Author

Julian Barbour is a former Visiting Professor in Physics at the University of Oxford and author of the highly regarded The Discovery of Dynamics and the bestseller The End of Time. His papers have been published in the world’s most prestigious scientific journals, including Nature, Proceedings of the Royal Society and Physical Review Letters. His new book, The Janus Point, is his first book in twenty years and the culmination of five decades’ work.

David Malone

Award-winning Science Filmmaker

David Malone is a filmmaker and TV presenter whose documentaries include Testing God, Soul Searching (both Channel 4), Dangerous Knowledge and The Secret Life of Waves (both BBC). He is the author of The Debt Generation.