Many different planets are many different distances from their host star; we find ourselves at this distance because if we were closer or farther away, the temperature would be hotter or colder, eliminating liquid water, an essential ingredient for our survival.
String theory has the potential to show that all of the wondrous happenings in the universe - from the frantic dance of subatomic quarks to the stately waltz of orbiting binary stars; from the primordial fireball of the big bang to the majestic swirl of heavenly galaxies - are reflections of one, grand physical principle, one master equation.
The funny thing is, I sometimes get the impression that some people outside of the field think that there's some element of security that we have in working on a theory that hasn't made any predictions that can be proven false. In a sense, we're working on something unfalsifiable.
I think the relationship between memory and time is a very deep and tricky one, to tell you the truth. I don't consider memory another sense. I do consider memory that which allows us to think that time flows.
Black holes, we all know, are these regions where if an object falls in, it can't get out, but the puzzle that many struggled with over the decades is, what happens to the information that an object contains when it falls into a black hole. Is it simply lost?
Supersymmetry is a theory which stipulates that for every known particle there should be a partner particle. For instance, the electron should be paired with a supersymmetric 'selectron,' quarks ought to have 'squark' partners, and so on.
The tantalizing discomfort of perplexity is what inspires otherwise ordinary men and women to extraordinary feats of ingenuity and creativity; nothing quite focuses the mind like dissonant details awaiting harmonious resolution.
The melded nature of space and time is intimately woven with properties of light speed. The inviolable nature of the speed of light is actually, in Einstein's hands, talking about the inviolable nature of cause and effect.
The universe is incredibly wondrous, incredibly beautiful, and it fills me with a sense that there is some underlying explanation that we have yet to fully understand. If someone wants to place the word 'God' on those collections of words, it's OK with me.
Oftentimes, if you're talking to a seasoned interviewer who asks you a question, they may do a follow-up if they didn't quite get it. It's rare that they'll do a third or fourth or fifth or sixth follow-up, because there's an implicit, agreed-upon decorum that they move on. Kids don't necessarily move on if they don't get it.
I think math is a hugely creative field, because there are some very well-defined operations that you have to work within. You are, in a sense, straightjacketed by the rules of the mathematics. But within that constrained environment, it's up to you what you do with the symbols.
Science is a way of life. Science is a perspective. Science is the process that takes us from confusion to understanding in a manner that's precise, predictive and reliable - a transformation, for those lucky enough to experience it, that is empowering and emotional.
The main challenge that television presents is that I have a tendency to say things with a great deal of precision and accuracy. Often a description of that sort, which will work in a book because people can read it slowly - they can turn the pages back and so on - doesn't really work on TV because it interrupts the flow of the moving image.
As every parent knows, children begin life as uninhibited, unabashed explorers of the unknown. From the time we can walk and talk, we want to know what things are and how they work - we begin life as little scientists.
There may be many Big Bangs that happened at various and far-flung locations, each creating its own swelling, spatial expanse, each creating a universe - our universe being the result of only one of those Big Bangs.
By dimension, we simply mean an independent direction in which, in principle, you can move; in which motion can take place. In an everyday world, we have left-right as one dimension; we have back-forth as a second one; and we have up-down as a third.
When you drive your car, E = mc2 is at work. As the engine burns gasoline to produce energy in the form of motion, it does so by converting some of the gasoline's mass into energy, in accord with Einstein's formula.
Before the discovery of quantum mechanics, the framework of physics was this: If you tell me how things are now, I can then use the laws of physics to calculate, and hence predict, how things will be later.