Symmetry is all around us. Of great importance for our interpretation of the world, this unique phenomenon indicates a dynamic relationship between objects. In chemistry and physics, the concept of symmetry explains the structures of crystals and the theory of fundamental particles; in evolutionary biology, the natural world uses symmetry in the struggle for survival; symmetry (and the rupture of it) is central in art, architecture and music. This talk offers a very special view of the concept, seen from the point of view of a mathematician. Marcus du Sautoy is Professor of Mathematics at Oxford University and author of The Music of the Primes, The Number Mysteries, and What We Cannot Know.
Christophe Galfard, the Cambridge physicist who trained with Stephen Hawking takes us on a wonder-filled journey to the surface of our dying sun, shrinks us to the size of an atom and puts us in the deathly grip of distant black holes. Along the way you might come to understand – really understand – the mind-bending science that underpins modern life, from quantum mechanics to Einstein's theory of general relativity.
Through brilliant storytelling and humour rather than graphs and equations, the internationally renowned astrophysicist has written an instant classic that brings the astonishing beauty of the universe to life – and takes us deep into questions about the beginning of time and the future of humanity.
Chaired by Marcus du Sautoy.
The Palestinian Canadian doctor’s three daughters were killed by Israeli shells on 16 January 2009, during the Israeli Defence Forces' incursion into the Gaza Strip. His response to this tragedy made news and won him humanitarian awards around the world. Instead of seeking revenge or sinking into hatred, Izzeldin Abuelaish called for the people in the region to start talking to each other.
Tom Fletcher is Professor of International Relations at New York University and author of The Naked Diplomat. He is Principal-elect of Hertford College, Oxford.
The mathematician examines the nature of creativity and provides an essential guide to how algorithms work, and the mathematical rules underpinning them. He asks how much of our emotional response to art is a product of our brains reacting to pattern and structure, and exactly what it is to be creative in mathematics, art, language and music. He finds out how long it might be before machines come up with something creative, and whether they might jolt us into being more imaginative in turn. The result is a fascinating and very different exploration into both AI and the essence of what it means to be human. He discusses the issues with quantum physicist José Ignacio Latorre.