An adaptation of Virginia Woolf's novel as a play for voices, adapted and directed by David Peat
His Master's Voice
A one hour radio play by David Peat. An author lies on his bed thinking about the radio play he is going to write and the various characters that will appear. He also ponders on the nature of sound and reality.
Epiphany for Order
A one hour exploration of the nature of order in physics with David Peat
"Daddy what is an instinct?"
A metalogue with Gregory Bateson and Nancy Norris (written by Gregory Bateson)
A metalogue, according to Bateson, is a dialogue in which form and content complement each other. This metalogue runs for 46 minutes and the file size is 21,000KB. Click Here
Historic interviews with some of the key figures in the development of modern physics.
Welcome to a series of historic interviews with some of the world’s leading scientists including Werner Heisenberg, P.A.M Dirac, Ilya Prigogine, John Wheeler, David Bohm and the neuroscientist Sir John Eccles. These interviews were carried out during the late 1970s by David Peat and Paul Buckley. In some cases the material has degenerated somewhat so the sound reproduction is poor in some places. Each of these sections runs between 30 and 40 mins.
We would like to thank Isobel Santanach for all her hard work in digitizing and editing these interviews.
This is a general introduction to the overall series of interviews. In it you can hear Werner Heisenberg, Paul Dirac, Roger Penrose and Ilya Prigogine, the theoretical biologists Robert Rosen and Howard Pattee and the neuroscientist Sir John Eccles. Click here
The early days of quantum theory
Before Heisenberg’s discovery of quantum mechanics in 1925 there existed an earlier version of quantum theory as formulated by Neils Bohr. George Uhlenbeck was an undergraduate in Leiden, his supervisor Ehrenfest suggested he work with a fellow student Samuel Goudsmit and together they proposed the notion of electron spin. Here Uhlenbeck recollects those early days.
The second speaker is Werner Heisenberg who also recalls the development of quantum theory and the way in which our everyday language contains hidden assumptions about space, time and causality which make it difficult to discuss the deeper meaning of the new quantum theory in a clear and unambiguous way.
The Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Theory
In this series of interviews we continue with the discovery of quantum theory. Uhlenbeck gives his reactions to Heisenberg’s new theory, Heisenberg himself comments on the Uncertainty Principle, Leon Rosenfeld recalls the many discussions between Bohr and Heisenberg at Copenhagen and John Wheeler speaks about Wolfgang Pauli’s contributions to these debates.
Here John Wheeler speaks about what he terms “Einstein’s vision” of the theory of relativity and Roger Penrose reflects on attempts to reconcile relativity and quantum theory
The Nature of Physical Theories
In this series we shall look at the nature of physical theories. It begins with Werner Heisenberg, and then David Bohm asks if the future of physics lies in extending the current quantum theory or if a new direction is required.
Paul Buckley talks to the spectroscopist Gerhard Herzberg, winner of the Nobel Prize in physics.
The Quantum Theory and its logical foundations
Paul Buckley and David Peat discuss the quantum theory and are then joined by Clifford Hooker on the logical foundations of the standard interpretation of quantum theory.
Numbers and Aesthetics .
The fundamental constants of nature include such things as the ratio of the electromagnetic force to the force of gravity and so on. Mainstream physics believes that these numbers are forever fixed however P.A.M. Dirac advances the hypothesis that maybe these constants vary with the age of the universe.
It was Galelio who wrote that “God’s book is written in mathematics. For his part Eugene Wigner pointed out that mathematics is “unreasonably effective”. By this he meant that a branch of mathematics developed purely for aesthetic reasons and with no practical application may later turn our to be essential to the expression of a physical theory. David Hilbert’s abstract vector spaces, for example, turned out to be exactly the mathematics needed for the new quantum theory and Riemann’s use of non-Euclidian geometry proved to be the mathematics required by Einstein for his General Relativity. So mathematics can be both totally abstract and at the same time highly practical. Roger Penrose reflects upon aesthetics in mathematics.
Relativity and Quantum Theory
In this section we hear from John Wheeler and Abdus Salam.
The Role of Logic
A discussion of the role of logic, one the development of non-Euclidian geometry for aesthetic reasons, which was later used by Einstein as the mathematical basis of general relativity. Participants include John Wheeler, Roger Penrose on twisters and Gerhard Herzberg on fundamental symmetries.
Up to now we have heard from theoretical physicists about developments in quantum theory and relativity. Now the conversation changes to that of theoretical biology, and the application of physical theories to living systems. Firstly we hear a discussion between Robert Rosen and Sorin Comorosan about some experiments that at the time were highly controversial. We then hear from Eduardo Caianiello of the cybernetics laboratory in Naples.
Theoretical Biology: A round table. A
A discussion on theoretical biology with Robert Rosen, Howard Pattee, Raymond Samorjai, David Peat and Paul Buckley.
Theoretical Biology: A round table. B
A continuation of the discussion on theoretical biology with Robert Rosen, Howard Pattee, Raymond Samorjai, David Peat and Paul Buckley.
In this series we hear from Richard Feynmann.
The Liason Brain
In this final item in the series of interviews we hear from the neuroscientist, Sir John Eccles. Since the time of Descartes there has been the famous split between matter and mind. During the twentieth century many neuroscientists and philosophers attempted to heal that split. Some argued that mind emerged out of matter, others, such as the physicists Bohm and Pauli, argued that in some sense mind was present from the origin of the cosmos and is unified with matter. Yet others have proposed that mind is no more than an epiphenomenon of matter, something secreted by the brain just as bile is secreted by the liver. According to that picture while the brain produces mind, mind cannot act back on the brain to cause us to take actions.
For his part Eccles accepts the Cartesian split and argues that their are indeed two different realms – that of matter and that of mind – but that they come together in an area of the brain which he terms “the liason brain”.
Below are a series of shorter excerpts from these interviews