Professor at Villanova University

Professor at Villanova University >

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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…
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…
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…
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…
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…
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…
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…
The Perception of Time
Episode 15 of Mysteries of Modern Physics: Time Series
Turn to the way humans perceive time, which can vary greatly from clock time. In particular, focus on experiments that shed light on our time sense. For example, tests show that even though we think we perceive the present moment,…
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…
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…
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…
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…
Beyond the Standard Model of Particle Physics
Episode 11 of The Higgs Boson and Beyond Course
Now that the Higgs boson has been found, everything is answered, right? Not quite. Professor Carroll says the properties of the Higgs suggest that something else is at work out there. Moreover, the Higgs boson can be a stepping-stone to…
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…
The Big Bang
Episode 22 of Mysteries of Modern Physics: Time Series
Explore three different ways of thinking about the big bang--as the actual beginning of the universe; as a "bounce" from a symmetric version of the universe on the other side of the big bang; and as a region that underwent…
Black Hole Entropy
Episode 20 of Mysteries of Modern Physics: Time Series
Stephen Hawking showed that black holes emit radiation and therefore have entropy. Since the entropy in the universe today is overwhelmingly in the form of black holes and there were no black holes in the early universe, entropy must have…
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…
Boltzmann Brains
Episode 13 of Mysteries of Modern Physics: Time Series
One possible explanation for order in the universe is that it is a random fluctuation from a disordered state. Could the entire universe be one such fluctuation, now in the process of returning to disorder? Investigate a scenario called "Boltzmann…