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1rst Panel Discussion:
The Theory of Everything?

The two great revolutionary discoveries of the 20th century, quantum mechanics and general relativity, have been very hard to reconcile--to do so has been a dream of many physicists, searching for the 'Theory of Everything'. Present efforts centre on string theory, and attempts to derive a theory of 'quantum gravity', although other approaches exist as well. The only laboratory which can test these ideas appears to be astrophysical, probing almost back to the Big Bang. This panel looked critically at where we are now in these efforts, and asked whether the current approach really is the right one, and there really is a 'Theory of Everything', or whether Nature is instead just 'wheels within wheels...' ad infinitum. VIDEO

INTERLOCUTOR: Prof Steve Shenker (Stanford)
PANEL MEMBERS: Prof Paul Davies (Sydney)
Prof Gerard 't Hooft (Royal Dutch Academy)
Prof Lisa Randall (Harvard)
Prof Bill Unruh (UBC)
Prof Robert Wald (Chicago)

2nd Panel Discussion:
Quantum Mechanics: Dreams and Reality

The most powerful scientific theory in history, quantum mechanics, has done more to change our world than any other human discovery--and yet it is fundamentally mysterious to us. Apart from its connection to the deepest issues on cosmology, quantum mechanics will play a pivotal role in the 21st century, in the development of exotic new technologies, and in the coming nanoscience revolution. The panel looked at how quantum mechanics will affect our lives in the coming decades. VIDEO

INTERLOCUTOR: Prof George Sawatzky (UBC and AMPEL)
PANEL MEMBERS: Prof Gabe Aeppli (London Centre for Nanotechnology)
Prof Bob Clark (Sydney)
Prof Gerard Milburn (Queensland)
Prof Hari Manoharan (Stanford)
Prof Hirosi Ooguri (Caltech)

3rd Panel Discussion:
What are the Fundamental Questions of Physics?

There are passionate discussions amongst scientists about what the really big questions are and how to answer them. A great deal turns on the answers--not just the evolution of physics (and much of the rest of science) but also human future technologies, and the world we live in. In fact deep philosophical issues separate physicists here--'reductionists' feel that the fundamental problems are in the realm of microscopic physics (strings, etc.) and quantum gravity, whereas as 'emergers' argue that questions about complex systems (including living ones) are just as fundamental, and unanswerable in principle using microscopic physics. VIDEO

PANEL MEMBERS: Prof Phil Anderson (Princeton)
Prof Kathryn Moler (Stanford)
Prof Mannque Rho (Saclay)
Prof John Schwarz (Caltech)
Prof Lenny Susskind (Stanford)

Pacific Institute for Theoretical Physics
University of British Columbia
Hennings Building, 6224 Agricultural Road
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1, Canada