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Did Planck Pop Inflation’s Big Bubble?

October 11, 2013

Did Planck Pop Inflation’s Big Bubble?

Cosmology Group post-doc Anna Ijjas is mentioned in this month’s New Scientist for her work with Paul Steinhardt on the Planck data. Unfortunately the full text of the article is behind a paywall, but if you’re looking for an interesting discussion of the controversy over inflation and Planck, you can pick it up on your local newsstand (or, of course, you can pick up a digital copy!)

Workshop Wrap-up at Engaging Science

September 25, 2013

Workshop Wrap-up at Engaging Science

Yann Benétreau-Dupin and Chris Smeenk, both participants in (and one a speaker at) our summer institute, have written up an interesting summary of the outstanding issues in philosophy of cosmology, with great links to the talks at the institute which touch on them.  Check it out!

Cosmology Summer School

June 25, 2013

The Cosmology Group’s summer school at the University of California, Santa Cruz opened yesterday with two talks by David Albert on the foundations of thermodynamics and statistical mechanics.  The talks are available on youtube under the cosmology group’s channel, Phil Cosmogroup.  You can also find them on the summer school’s webpage, We’ll keep posting regularly as the school progresses, so keep an eye on our page–and if you have any questions about the talks, post them in the comments here!

Dr. Albert’s discussion focusses on the temporal asymmetries of thermodynamics; his first lecture lays the groundwork for understanding the second law of thermodynamics, outlining three formulations of it and arguing that they are deeply connected to apparently unrelated arrows of time.  His second lecture runs over Boltzmann’s  arguments motivating the second law from statistical mechanics, and introduces the reversibility objections to these arguments.

For a complete schedule of the talks at the UCSC summer institute, look here.  We’ll be posting links to the talks there as we post the talks on youtube.

Structure in Physics

April 17, 2013

Structure in Physics, a two-day conference examining the metaphysical implications of physics, will be held at Rutgers University from Friday, April 26-Saturday, April 27.  The conference will bring together leading researchers to discuss the relationship between physics and metaphysics and the metaphysical implications quantum mechanics, statistical mechanics, and cosmology.

For more information, see the conference webpage.

Jeremy Butterfield Talk Tomorrow!

March 27, 2013

Tomorrow, March 28, Jeremy Butterfield will speak at 5 Washington Place from 4:00-6:00 PM.  The title of his talk is “Distinguishing Varieties of Relativistic Causality.”  For more information, check out the NY/NJ Philosophy of Science Group’s Webpage here.

Paul Steinhardt Lecture April 19

March 22, 2013

Paul Steinhardt, the Albert Einstein Professor of Science at Princeton, will be visiting the Rutgers Philosophy of Physics class on Friday, April 19, from 1-4PM.  His talk will begin by discussing the various reasons why most cosmologists today consider the big bang inflationary cosmology to be the leading, if not proven, theory of the universe.  Then the discussion will turn to explaining why each of these reasons is flawed.  This naturally leads to the question: “what is the alternative?”  Understanding the flaws suggests possible directions to turn.  This lecture will take place at  the Rutgers Philosophy Seminar Room, at 3 Seminary Place, New Brunswick, New Jersey.

Call for Applications!

January 16, 2013

Summer Institute/School in Philosophy of Cosmology UC Santa Cruz (UCSC) June 23-July 14, 2013

Directors: David Albert (Columbia), Barry Loewer (Rutgers), Joel Primack (UCSC)

Accepting applications until March 15.

The Multi-university Templeton Project on Philosophy of Cosmology will conduct a three week summer institute in philosophy of cosmology at the University of California Santa Cruz. The purpose of the institute is to promote understanding of and research in issues in the philosophy of cosmology. Among the topics to be discussed are philosophical foundations of statistical mechanics, quantum mechanics, and relativity theory, the direction of time, questions of whether space and time are fundamental or emergent, reasons for believing in a multi-verse, anthropic arguments, the metaphysics of laws and chance, why anything at all exists. There will also be lectures on recent developments in cosmology intended for participants who are not cosmologists. Read more…

Tim Maudlin on Two Answers to the Big Question

November 6, 2012

Tim Maudlin has recently weighed in on two books which explore the question of why there is something rather than nothing.  The first, ‘A Universe From Nothing’ by physicist Laurence Krauss, has been controversially panned by our group’s researcher David Albert; the second, ‘Why Does the World Exist’ by Jim Holt, has been controversially panned by physicist  Freeman Dyson.

Read more…

Does the Universe Need a God?

September 10, 2012

Sean Carroll has an excellent essay “Does the Universe Need God?” which appears in the collection The Blackwell Companion to Science and Christianity.

The essay argues that cosmology doesn’t require or support theological hypotheses. Sean has given permission for us to post it here to be subjected to comments. Maybe he will reply to some. As usual comments will be moderated.

Philosophy of Cosmology Project discussed in the CHE

September 3, 2012

There’s an interesting article in the most reacent Chronicle of Higher Education discussing recent Templeton grants to philosophers and scientists, with special emphasis on this one.  If you’d like to know more about the history of the Templeton foundation, or about the process by which our group became affiliated with the foundation, it’s definitely worth a read.  You can find it here.