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Physicist Sean Carroll on Understanding Quantum Worlds

Evening Program

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Tuesday, December 15, 2020 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET
Code: 1L0368
This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.
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Sean Carroll


  • This program is part of our Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.
  • Platform: Zoom
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Celebrated 20th-century physicist Richard Feynman famously said, "I think I can safely say that nobody really understands quantum mechanics." Sean Carroll, an acclaimed theoretical physicist, is determined to reintroduce this vital science to a new generation.

Carroll believes that many of his fellow physicists need to acknowledge gaps in the understanding of quantum mechanics—which seems to have ossified somewhere in the 1930s. Drawing on his book Something Deeply Hidden, Carroll attempts to demystify quantum mechanics. He argues that the best way we currently have to understand quantum phenomena is the Many Worlds Theory, first articulated by Hugh Everett in the 1950s: Every time there is a quantum event, a world splits off with everything in it the same, except in that other world that quantum event didn't happen.

He tackles the major objections to this theory and discusses its far-reaching implications for how we think about ourselves, our place in reality, and how we should examine long-standing issues such as reconciling quantum mechanics with general relativity, Einstein's theory of spacetime and gravity.

In the final video of his Biggest Ideas series, Carroll focused on a very big idea—science, which he declared is “awesome.” Travel with him through that realm now, and you will have to agree.

Something Deeply Hidden (Dutton Books) is available for purchase.

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