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Cosmology & the Big Questions

Date Monday - May 16, 2016
Host George Noory
Guests Sean CarrollLeeza Gibbons

Theoretical physicist Sean Carroll has recently worked on the foundations of quantum mechanics, the arrow of time, and the emergence of complexity. He shared the latest on physics research, and also probed some of our deepest personal questions: Does God exist? Who are we? Is there an afterlife? Does human purpose and meaning fit into a scientific worldview? Carroll suggested that our lives are a process that lasts on the average of "3 billion heartbeats," but after that, that's it. "If you think that that's the entirety of you life, everyone of those heartbeats becomes quite precious, and you should do your best to make the life you're actually living right now something special," he mused.

He argues that there is no God, no spiritual or supernatural realm, and no ghosts or an afterlife, and what gives our lives meaning is the tangible impact we have on our world and those around us. A number of callers to the show challenged him on those assertions. Carroll has been studying the intersection of quantum mechanics and gravity, and "what we're beginning to catch on to is that space and time themselves are not going to turn out to be fundamental." They're going to be approximations that are made of something else, in the way that material objects are composed of atoms, he explained.

He hinted at the possible discovery of a new particle at the Large Hadron Collider. It would be 800 times the mass of a proton (the Higgs boson is 150 times the mass of a proton) and decay away very quickly, he reported. Carroll also touched on his work as an advisor for some of the recent Marvel films such as Thor: The Dark World. While such superhero stories routinely break the laws of physics, he suggests ways in which their fantastical worlds cohere to the laws they do set up.

Optimism & 'Celebrity Apprentice'

First hour guest, Emmy winning television personality and host Leeza Gibbons discussed her experiences winning NBC's Celebrity Apprentice, her thoughts on working with Donald Trump, and her new book about optimism. She found Trump to be a paternal figure, and during the show she discovered traits she had in common with him-- loyalty and placing a high value on one's family. She views optimism as a kind of emotional competence-- a mental style that allows a person to be more resilient and focused on problem solving. "It's not about the glass being half full or not...you have to say, I own that glass...it's up to me to keep it filled up," she remarked.

News segment guests: Howard Bloom, Christian Wilde

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