Brian Greene's book talk

Oliver Knill, Harvard University, February 20, 2020
The last time, I have seen Brian Greene give a talk at Harvard, it was in Lowell lecture Hall about 10 years ago and it had been so packed that students were sitting even around his feet. This time, the talk took place in Science Center B, was ticketed (the ticket was to purchase the book). Hall B was still packed. Brian Greene is an excellent story teller. The subject was not string theory; thank God, as that topic had been over popularized already, especially by Greene himself. One can also thank the gods for not hearing again about quantum stuff. There were three big themes: Entropy, Evolution and Eternity. The part about entropy was well presented, no original ideas however appeared. (I still need to read the book which has three themes "Entropy, Evolution and Eternity". I like the first sentence "I do mathematics, because once you prove a theorem, it stands. Forever".) The part about evolution came out well (even so it borrowed animations of others like the inner life of cell movie). The most interesting thing was the part about eternity, especially when exploring very large time scales. The visualization of time with a sky-scraper was good. Of course, any such talk can not go without the story of Einstein, There were the usual animations about space time, or black holes including Hawking radiation. The most entertaining part was for me the visualization of Bolzman brain idea. It is a similar argument than the Monkey typing Shakespeare, Poincare recurrence paradoxa, just using the fact that when looking at such long time scales, statistical phenomena are possible which are non-sensical. I personally do not see much scientific value in it even so it entertaining and theoretically already explored by Bolzman himself. Maybe Wittgenstein helps here: Worueber man nicht sprechen kann, darueber soll man schweigen. Overall, one really gets the impression that original stories are currently sparse in physics. While no new idea appeared in the presentation, the story was very well told and it had been great to see the lecture and a manifestation of so much interest in science.
Please click on a picture to see a larger panorama (13 MBytes each):
Oliver Knill, Posted February 20, 2020