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Issues & Experts >  Issues & Experts Archive > Issues and experts: understanding the universe and computers

Issues and experts: understanding the universe and computers

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Oct 15, 2003
A theory of few words…in this age of genomics, nanotechnology and nuclear physics, grasping scientific theory can seem as unattainable as touching the stars. Yet, many of us have a burning desire to know about science because, more than ever before, it is touching and changing our lives. Science journalist Dan Falk tackles the question: "Can the universe be understood in terms of a single theory—a theory so concise it could fit on a T-shirt? at a BC Skeptics lecture on Sunday, October 19, 2:30 p.m., Halpern Centre, SFU’s Burnaby campus. Falk’s free public illustrated talk is based on his award-winning book Universe on a T-Shirt: The Quest for the Theory of Everything (Viking Canada). He will have a limited number of copies of his book on hand for sale. The BC Skeptics Society is an educational organization dedicated to improving scientific literacy and providing critiques of occult and pseudoscientific claims.

More than just a pretty monitor…Data mining, dry lab experiments, virtual reality—they are among many terms defining an activity or environment spawned by computers, devices that are now much more than sophisticated calculators. One of the greatest ironies of the information technology revolution is that while the computer was conceived and born in the field of pure mathematics, until recently, this marvelous technology had only a minor impact within the field that gave it birth. SFU mathematician Jonathan Borwein will demonstrate how all that has begun to change in his upcoming lecture Mathematics by Experiment: Plausible Reasoning in the 21st Century. Borwein will present his free public lecture as part of SFU’s Royal Society of Canada series on Tuesday, October 21, 4:30 p.m. at Halpern Centre, Burnaby campus. Computers, once viewed as no more than advanced calculators, have gained enough power to instigate an entirely new way of making discoveries. The faculty of education is hosting this lecture series, which will feature professors Mary Lynn Stewart and Mark Winston at later dates.