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It’s About Time

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April 24 @ 6:00 pm 8:00 pm CEST

Watch the recording


It’s About Time: A Conversation on the Subject of Time

Wednesday April 24, 2024
9:00am PDT  | 12:00pm EDT  | 5:00pm BST  |  6:00pm CEST 

with Bernard Carr and Jonathan Allday

A free, online, live event at the Pari Center.

Time is one of the central mysteries of existence. It is also a profound puzzle in physics.

We understand how the passage of time ‘expands’ or ‘contracts’ depending on how fast you are travelling compared to an observer. There is also conclusive evidence that time distorts in the presence of mass, leading to the effects we used to ascribe to a force of gravity. Some even believe that they understand how time morphs into existence, along with the universe, out of some quantum pre-stuff. This, however, is all ‘physical time’; the relationship between the physics and the experience of ‘psychological time’ is far from clear.

Is there a “block universe”, where all of time is laid out to God’s eye-view, with humans only perceiving a small slice as they advance along their world-lines? Or is the future not yet written, but exists in some quantum level of possibility and probability? 

In this conversation we will touch upon the physical aspects of time, attempting to make the physics clear to non-scientists. Undoubtedly, this will lead us to psychological, and perhaps spiritual time. Who knows where the thoughts will take us, but it seems very likely that the specious present and the multiverse will also come up…

Bernard Carr is Emeritus Professor of Mathematics and Astronomy at Queen Mary University of London. His professional area of research is cosmology and astrophysics and includes such topics as the early universe, dark matter, black holes and the anthropic principle. For his PhD he studied the first second of the Universe, working under the supervision of Stephen Hawking at the Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge and the California Institute of Technology. He was elected to a Fellowship at Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1975 and moved to Queen Mary College in 1985. He has also held Visiting Professorships at Kyoto University, Tokyo University, the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics. He is the author of nearly three hundred scientific papers and the books Universe or Multiverse?and Quantum Black Holes. Beyond his professional field, he is interested in the role of consciousness in physics and in an expanded paradigm which accommodates mind. He also has a long-standing interest in the relationship between science and religion. He was President of the Society for Psychical Research in 2000-2004 and is currently President of the Scientific and Medical Network.

Jonathan Allday was born in Liverpool in 1960. He did his first degree in Natural Sciences at Cambridge in 1982 and then returned to Liverpool to complete a PhD in elementary particle physics. As part of this, he was fortunate to spend some time working at the European particle physics centre, CERN, in Geneva.

Also, during that time he was co-opted onto a working party looking at the teaching of particle physics in schools and universities. The upshot was a new syllabus in particle physics and cosmology to be added to UK A-level (16-18) physics qualifications. The first questions were set in 1992.

On the back of the work on this syllabus, Jonathan wrote his first book Quarks, Leptons and the Big Bang, which was published in 1998 and is about to enter its fourth edition. Jonathan has also collaborated on a couple of textbooks and written his own books on Quantum Theory, General Relativity and the Apollo moon missions.

Professionally, Jonathan worked as a physics teacher for 30 years in a variety of independent day and boarding schools in the UK. He was a head of physics, a head of science and latterly an academic deputy head. He retired in 2020 and now runs a consulting company providing training and educational advice for schools.

Jonathan is married to Carolyn, and they have three sons all of whom are far better at sport than he was. Carolyn was a GB swimmer, which explains how come the boys can do sport. Jonathan and Carolyn live in a hamlet not far from Worcester in the UK. When not writing or consulting, Jonathan enjoys watching cricket, James Bond movies and Formula 1 races.


April 24
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm CEST