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Sean Carroll Ph.D.

Sean Carroll Ph.D. >

Why Time Is a Mystery
Episode 1 of Mysteries of Modern Physics: Time Series
Begin your study of the physics of time with these questions: What is a clock? What does it mean to say that "time passes"? What is the "arrow of time"? Then look at the concept of entropy and how it…
The Importance of the Higgs Boson
Episode 1 of The Higgs Boson and Beyond Course
Why was the discovery of the Higgs boson such a big deal? That's the key question that Professor Carroll tackles in his illuminating introduction. Take a fascinating dive into the world of modern particle physics and see how the Higgs…
What Is Time?
Episode 2 of Mysteries of Modern Physics: Time Series
Approach time from a philosophical perspective. "Presentism" holds that the past and future are not real; only the present moment is real. However, the laws of physics appear to support "eternalism"--the view that all of the moments in the history…
Quantum Field Theory
Episode 2 of The Higgs Boson and Beyond Course
Toss out the textbook image of electrons circling an atom's nucleus. This lecture explores the big twist of quantum field theory: The world isn't really made of particles. They're fascinating and necessary figments of quantum mechanics created by observing the…
Keeping Time
Episode 3 of Mysteries of Modern Physics: Time Series
How do we measure the passage of time? Discover that practical concerns have driven the search for more and more accurate clocks. In the 18th century, the problem of determining longitude was solved with a timepiece of unprecedented accuracy. Today's…
Time’s Arrow
Episode 4 of Mysteries of Modern Physics: Time Series
Embark on the quest that will occupy the rest of the course: Why is there an arrow of time? Explore how memory and aging orient us in time. Then look at irreversible processes, such as an egg breaking or ice…
Time Travel
Episode 19 of Mysteries of Modern Physics: Time Series
Use a simple analogy to understand how a time machine might work. Unlike movie scenarios featuring dematerializing and rematerializing, a real time machine would be a spaceship that moves through all the intervening points between two locations in spacetime. Also…
Time in Quantum Mechanics
Episode 8 of Mysteries of Modern Physics: Time Series
Quantum mechanics is the most precise theory ever invented, yet it leads to startling interpretations of the nature of reality. Probe a quantum state called the collapse of the wave function that may underlie the arrow of time. Are the…
The Second Law of Thermodynamics
Episode 5 of Mysteries of Modern Physics: Time Series
Trace the history of the second law of thermodynamics, considered by many physicists to be the one law of physics most likely to survive unaltered for the next thousand years. The second law says that entropy--the degree of disorder in…
Curved Spacetime and Black Holes
Episode 18 of Mysteries of Modern Physics: Time Series
By developing a general theory of relativity incorporating gravity, Einstein launched a revolution in our understanding of the universe. Trace how his idea that gravity results from the warping of spacetime led to the discovery of black holes and the…
Time Reversal in Particle Physics
Episode 7 of Mysteries of Modern Physics: Time Series
Explore advances in physics since Newton's time that reveal exceptions to the rule that interactions between moving particles are fully reversible. Could irreversible reactions between elementary particles explain the arrow of time? Weigh the evidence for and against this view.
Reversibility and the Laws of Physics
Episode 6 of Mysteries of Modern Physics: Time Series
Isaac Newton's laws of physics are fully reversible; particles can move forward or backward in time without any inconsistency. But this is not our experience in the world, where the arrow of time is fundamentally connected to irreversible processes and…
Playing with Entropy
Episode 10 of Mysteries of Modern Physics: Time Series
Sharpen your understanding of entropy by examining different macroscopic systems and asking, which has higher entropy and which has lower entropy? Also evaluate James Clerk Maxwell's famous thought experiment about a demon who seemingly defies the principle that entropy always…
The Power of Symmetry
Episode 4 of The Higgs Boson and Beyond Course
Symmetries don't only apply to geometrical objects. They apply to the laws of physics themselves. In this lecture, you may feel your mind twist in asymmetrical ways as you explore how symmetry governs the known forces of nature and how…
Atoms to Particles
Episode 3 of The Higgs Boson and Beyond Course
Now that you know what particles really are, it's time to walk through the "particle zoo" and explore the roles of photons, gluons, and quarks. Along the way, Professor Carroll looks back on the development of the Standard Model and…
Memory and Consciousness
Episode 16 of Mysteries of Modern Physics: Time Series
Remembering the past and projecting into the future are crucial for human consciousness, as shown by cases where these faculties are impaired. Investigate what happens in the brain when we remember, exploring different kinds of memory and the phenomena of…
Mass and Energy
Episode 6 of The Higgs Boson and Beyond Course
In this lecture, "classical" physics, as explained by Newtonian and Einsteinian mechanics, provides insight into what makes the Higgs so special. Uncover the key to the Higgs's uniqueness in the particle zoo--that even at its minimum energy state (its "resting"…
Entropy and Counting
Episode 9 of Mysteries of Modern Physics: Time Series
After establishing in previous episodes that the arrow of time must be due to entropy, begin a deep exploration of this phenomenon. In the 1870s, physicist Ludwig Boltzmann proposed a definition of entropy that explains why it increases toward the…
Time and Relativity
Episode 17 of Mysteries of Modern Physics: Time Series
According to Einstein's special theory of relativity, there is no such thing as a moment in time spread throughout the universe. Instead, time is one of four dimensions in spacetime. Learn how this "relative" view of time is usefully diagramed…
The Higgs Field
Episode 5 of The Higgs Boson and Beyond Course
With the basics of particle physics covered, Professor Carroll walks us through the decades-long hunt for the Higgs. You'll meet the many brilliant minds--Anderson, Englert, and Higgs among them--who determinedly set out to solve the mystery of the weak nuclear…