Whereas, if I'm a consultant on [the movie] The Avengers, and I can just have like one or two lines of dialogue in there, the impact that those one or two lines of dialogue have is way, way smaller than the impact you have from reading a book, but the number of people it reaches is way, way larger. There was Cumrun Vafa, who had been recently hired as a young assistant professor. So, I still didn't quite learn that lesson, that you should be building to some greater thing. And he's like, "Sure." I was in Sidney's office all the time. I mean, Angela Olinto, who is now, or was, the chair of the astronomy department at Chicago, she got tenure while I was there. And he said, "Absolutely. He was reaching out and doing a public outreach thing, but also really investigating ideas. Benefits of tenure. That was, I think, a very, very typical large public school system curriculum where there were different tracks. That's okay. Then, the other transparency was literally like -- I had five or six papers in my thesis, and I picked out one figure from every paper, and I put them in one piece of paper, Xeroxed it, made a slide out of it, put it on the projector, and said, "Are there any questions?" Ed would say, "Alright, you do this, you do that, you do that." If everyone is a specialist, they hire more specialists, right? It moved away. I was never repulsed by the church, nor attracted to it in any way. The way that you describe your dissertation as a series of papers that were stapled together, I wonder the extent to which you could superimpose that characterization on the popular books that you've published over the past almost 20 years now. Not especially, no. Be proud of it, rather than be sort of slightly embarrassed by it. I just want to say. In fact, no one cited it at the time -- people are catching on now -- but it was on the arrow of time in cosmology and why entropy in the universe is smaller in the past than in the future. Sean, just as in earlier in life, your drift away from religion, as you say, was not dramatic. So, not whether atheism is true or false, but how it developed intellectually. It's a lot of work if you do it right. So, I would become famous if they actually discovered that. But they're really doing things that are physics. It was a tough decision, but I made it. It's one thing to do an hour long interview, and Santa Fe is going to play a big role here, because they're very interested in complex systems. So, I did, and they became very popular. Now that you're sort of on the outside of that, it's almost like you're back in graduate school, where you can just do the most fun things that come your way. It's not a sort of inborn, natural, effortless kind of thing. Women are often denied tenure for less obvious reasons, according to studies, even in less gender-biased . And gave him not a huge budget, but a few hundred thousand dollars a year. (The same years I was battling, several very capable people I had known in grad school at Berkeley were also denied tenure, possibly caught in the cutbacks at the time, possibly victims of a wave . My mom got remarried, so I had a stepfather, but that didn't go very well, as it often doesn't, and then they got re-divorced, and so forth. What is it that you are really passionate about right now?" Yard-wide in 2021, 11 men and four women, including assistant professor Carolyn Chun, applied for tenure. So, that's why I said I didn't want to write it. Last month, l linked to a series of posts about my job search after tenure denial, and how I settled into my current job. I will." I also started a new course, general relativity for undergraduates, which had not been taught before, and they loved it. Maybe not. Happy to be breathing the air. So, I wrote very short chapters. So, all of those things. Take the opportunity to have your mid-life crisis a little bit early. It was like, if it's Tuesday, this must be Descartes, kind of thing. He'd already retired from being the director of the Center for Astrophysics, so you could have forgiven him for kicking back a little bit, but George's idea of a good time is to crank out 30 pages of handwritten equations on some theory that we're thinking about. Yeah, so this is a chance to really think about it. Structurally, do you think, looking back, that you were fighting an uphill battle from the beginning, because as idealistic as it sounds to bring people together, intellectually, administratively, you're fighting a very strong tide. But still, way under theorized, really, for the whole operation, if you consider it. I'm not sure privileged is the word, but you do get a foot in the door. If you spend your time as a grad student or postdoc teaching, that slows you down in doing research, which is what you get hired on, especially in the kind of theoretical physics that I do. Six months is a very short period of time. And at some point, it sinks in, the chances of guessing right are very small. Maybe it was that there was some mixture of hot dark matter and cold dark matter, or maybe it was that there was a cosmological constant. Sean, if mathematical and scientific ability has a genetic component to it -- I'm not asserting one way or the other, but if it does, is there anyone in your family that you can look to say this is maybe where you get some of this from? I put an "s" on both of them. "It's not the blog," Carroll titled his October 11 entry after receiving questions about his and Drezner's situations. That was clear, and there weren't that many theorists at Harvard, honestly. Certain questions are actually kind of exciting, right? There are theorists who are sort of very closely connected to the experiments. The expansion rate of the universe, even though these two numbers are completely unrelated to each other. As long as they were thinking about something, and writing some equations, and writing papers, and discovering new, cool things about the universe, they were happy. When I went to graduate school at Harvard, of course, it was graduate school, but I could tell that the undergraduate environment was entirely different. But anyway, I never really seriously tried to change advisors from having George Field as my advisor. For a lot of non-scientists, it's hard to tell the difference between particle physics and astronomy. Disclaimer: This transcript was scanned from a typescript, introducing occasional spelling errors. Oh, yeah, entirely. I wrote a big review article about it. It's not what I want to do. [38] Carroll received an "Emperor Has No Clothes" award at the Freedom From Religion Foundation Annual National Convention in October 2014. They don't quite seem in direct conflict with experiment. So, I intentionally tried to drive home the fact that universities, as I put it, hired on promise and fired on fear. To me, the book is still the most profound way for one person to say ideas that are communicated to another one. There was Cumrun Vafa, one person who was looked upon as a bit of an aberration. I think that I read papers by very smart people, smarter than me, doing cutting edge work on quantum gravity, and so forth, and I still find that they're a little hamstrung by old fashioned, classical ideas. We don't know the theory of everything. I think, now, as wonderful as Villanova was, and I can rhapsodize about what a great experience I had there, but it's nothing like going to a major, top notch university, again, just because of the other students who are around you. Our senior year in high school, there was a calculus class. Carroll, S.B. We've done a few thousand, what else are you going to learn from a few million?" We learned Fortran, the programming language back then. Netta Engelhardt and I did a podcast on black hole information, and in the first half, I think we were very accessible, and then we just let our hair down in the second half. Or there was. But Bill's idea was, look, we give our undergraduates these first year seminars, interdisciplinary, big ideas, very exciting, and then we funnel them into their silos to be disciplinary. Hopefully, this person is going to be here for 30 or 40 years. So, I was not that far away from going to law school, because I was not getting any faculty offers, but suddenly, the most interesting thing in the universe was the thing that I was the world's expert in, through no great planning of my own. So, I said, "Yes, I proposed a book and your wife rejected it.". There were literally two people in my graduating class in the astronomy department. This is not anything really about me, but it's sort of a mention of sympathy to anyone out there who's in a similar situation. Steve Weinberg tells me something very different from Michael Turner, who tells me something very different from Paul Steinhardt, who tells me something very different from Alan Guth. Parenthetically, a couple years later, they discovered duality, and field theory, and string theory, and that field came to life, and I wasn't working on that either, if you get the theme here. We teach them all these wonderful techniques and we never quite let them apply those techniques they learn to these big interdisciplinary ideas. Several of these people had written textbooks themselves, but they'd done it after they got tenure. I think we only collaborated on two papers. But they told me, they said, "We talked to the people at Chicago, and they thought that you were just interested in writing textbooks and not doing research anymore." They had no idea that I was doing that, but they knew --. So, they knew everything that I had done. The crossover point from where you don't need dark matter to where you do need dark matter is characterized not by a length scale, but by an acceleration scale. But I'll still be writing physics papers and philosophy papers, hopefully doing real research in more interdisciplinary areas as well, from whatever perch. They'd read my papers, they helped me with them, they were acknowledged in them, they were coauthors and everything. Yeah, it absolutely is great. I was thinking of a research project -- here is the thought process. He had to learn it. Also, by the way, some people don't deserve open mindedness. You can make progress digging deeply into some specialized subfield. I became much less successful so far in actually publishing in that area, but I hope -- until the pandemic hit, I was hopeful my Santa Fe connection would help with that. I didn't really want to live there. I was less good of a fit there. If I had pursued certain opportunities, I could have gotten tenured. But it was a great experience for me, too, teaching a humanities course for the first time. It was clear that there was an army that was marching toward a goal, and they did it. So, my job was to talk about everything else, a task for which I was woefully unsuited, as a particle physics theorist, but someone who was young and naive and willing to take on new tasks. Then, we moved to Yardley, not that far away -- suburban Philadelphia, roughly speaking -- because there's a big steel mill, Fairless Works. Literally, I've not visited there since I became an external professor because we have a pandemic that got in the way. I would say that implicitly technology has been in the background. No, and to be super-duper honest here, I can't possibly be objective, because I didn't get tenure at the University of Chicago. And, yeah, it's just incredibly touching that you've made an impact on someone's life. I can just do what I want. Another paper, another paper, another paper. If you found that there was a fundamental time directed-ness in nature, that the arrow of time was not emergent out of entropy increasing but was really part of the fundamental laws of physics. What I discovered in the wake of this paper I wrote about the arrow of time is a whole community of people I really wasn't plugged into before, doing foundations of physics. It is incredibly draining for me to do it. My parents got divorced very early, when I was six. but academe is treacherous. The idea -- the emails or responses that make me the happiest are when someone says, you know, "I used to love physics, and I was turned off by it by like a bad course in high school, and you have reignited my passion for it." Well, and look, it's a very complicated situation, because a lot of it has to do with the current state of theoretical physics. I had another very formative experience when I was finally a junior faculty member. I'm in favor of being connected to the data. During this migration, the following fields associated with interviews may be incomplete: Institutions, Additional Persons, and Subjects. I actually think the different approaches like Jim Hartle has to teaching general relativity to undergraduates by delaying all the math are not as good as trying to just teach the math but go gently. I never had, as a high priority, staying near Lower Bucks County, Pennsylvania. It was my first exposure to the idea that you could not only be atheist but be happy with it. There should be more places like it, more than there are, but it's no replacement for universities. The COBE satellite that was launched on a pretty shoestring budget at the time, and eventually found the CMB anisotropies, that was the second most complicated thing NASA had ever put in orbit after the Hubble space telescope. Probably his most important work was on the interstellar and intergalactic medium. So, biologists think that I'm the boss, because in biology, the lab leader goes last in the author list. So, we wrote one paper with my first graduate student at Chicago -- this is kind of a funny story that illustrates how physics gets done. Of course, Harvard astronomy, at the time, was the home of the CFA redshift survey -- Margaret Geller and John Huchra. You nerded out entirely. It's funny when that happens. Well, I have visited, just not since I got the title. I think there have been people for many, many years who have been excellent at all three of these things individually. I was a credentialed physicist, but I was also writing a book. There haven't been that many people who have been excellent at all three at once. I've appeared on a lot of television documentaries since moving to L.A. That's a whole sausage you don't want to see made, really, in terms of modern science documentaries. I had never heard of him before. This morning Wilson responded to a report in the Athletic that said he asked the organization to fire both head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider last offseason. You should write a book, and the book you proposed is not that interesting. Sometimes I get these little, tiny moments when I can even suggest something to the guest that is useful to them, which makes me tickled a little bit. The tuition was right. The whole bit. The reason is -- I love Caltech. I don't know what's going to happen to the future of podcasting. One of my good friends is Don Page at the University of Alberta, who is a very top-flight theoretical cosmologist, and a born-again Evangelical Christian. What happened was between the beginning of my first postdoc and the end of my first postdoc, in cosmology, all the good theorists were working on the cosmic microwave background, and in particle physics, all the good theorists were working on dualities in one form or another, or string theory, or whatever. And I've guessed. It used to be the case that there was a close relationship between discoveries in fundamental physics and advances in technology, whether it was mechanics, electromagnetism, or quantum mechanics. Okay? And guess what? In some cases, tenure may be denied due to the associate professor's lack of diplomacy or simply the unreasonable nature of tenured professors. I like her a lot. But do you see yourself as part of an intellectual tradition in terms of the kinds of things you've done, and the way that you've conveyed them to various audiences? Spread the word. It's the time that I would spend, if I were a regular faculty member, on teaching, which is a huge amount of time. We all knew that eventually we'd discover CMB anisotropies if you go back even farther than that. So, maybe conditions down the line will force us into some terrible situation, but I would be very, very sad if that were the case. So, even though the specialists should always be the majority, we non-specialists need to make an effort to push back to be included more than we are. I had this email from a woman who said, literally, when she was 12 years old, she was at some event, and she was there with her parents, and they happened to sit next to me at a table, and we talked about particle physics, and she wrote just after she got accepted to the PhD program at Oxford in particle physics, and she said it all started with that conversation. You were at a world-class institution, you had access to the best minds, the cutting edge science, with all of the freedom to pursue all of your other ideas and interests. boettcher concert hall seating view, virgo venus celebrities,

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