Jim Al-Khalili - Paradox: The Nine Greatest Enigmas In Science

27 January 2014

400 school students converged on the Royal College of Surgeons for a talk by well-known physicist and science broadcaster, Prof. Jim Al-Khalili.

Organised by the Institute of Physics in Ireland, as part of its 50th anniversary celebrations, the event was a lively exploration of paradoxes and how they should have no place within science.

Prof Al-Khalili noted that throughout history, science has progressed by setting out to find answers to the most  puzzling of questions: Is the  Universe infinite? Do we have free will? Is it possible to travel back in time? In considering these puzzles the scientist is frequently confronted by a paradox - a statement that describes a logically impossible situation, so exploring and resolving perceived paradoxes is a way of deepening our scientific understanding. In the lecture he selected some of his favourite scientific paradoxes from Schrödinger's famous cat in the box that is dead and alive at the same  time to Olbers' paradox about why the sky gets dark at  night.

Jim Al-Khalili OBE is a professor of physics, author and broadcaster based at the University of Surrey where he also holds a chair in the Public Engagement in Science. He is active as a science communicator and has written a number of popular science books, between them translated into over twenty languages.  He is a regular presenter of TV science documentaries, including the Bafta nominated Chemistry: A Volatile History, and presents the weekly Radio 4 programme, The Life Scientific. He is a recipient of the Royal Society Michael Faraday medal and the Institute of Physics Kelvin Medal and is current president of the British Humanist Association.

A highly engaging speaker, he kept the audience on their toes, posing paradoxes to them and eliciting solutions throughout the event.

Liz Conlon (IOPI), Jim Al-Khalili, Sheila Gilheany (IOPI), Kevin McGuigan (Co-chair, IOPI)
Liz Conlon (IOPI), Jim Al-Khalili, Sheila Gilheany (IOPI), Kevin McGuigan (Co-chair, IOPI)

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