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MƒA Thursday Think: The Zoomable Universe

Putting Reality into Perspective with Caleb Scharf

Thursday ThinkScience is about building a rational and recognizable picture of the world, but it's challenging because humans only have direct experience of a very narrow range of cosmic phenomena. In this talk, Caleb Scharf, will discuss how physical scale lets us begin to relate our day-to-day senses to the deeper fundamentals of nature. Spanning some 63 orders of magnitude in size, reality as we know it extends from the cosmic horizon all the way to the Planck scale, and the breakdown of current physics. A journey through scale allows us to not just see what we know, but to stop along the way and ask questions about all that we still don't understand: From dark matter to exoplanets, and the origins of life to quantum mechanics, it's the puzzles that capture our imaginations.

Caleb Scharf is the award-winning author of The Copernicus Complex and Gravity’s Engines and the director of the Columbia Astrobiology Center. He has written for The New Yorker, The New York Times, Scientific American, Nautilus, and Nature, among other publications. He lives in New York City.