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Mystery in the Making

Sat 25 May
12:00pm - 1:00pm BST
Venue: International
Event [58]

Debates

Mystery in the Making

Harry Cliff, Claudia de Rham, Bjørn Ekeberg.

We have the impression that science unravels the mysteries of the universe. But with every mystery solved, a new mystery emerges. The Big Bang gave us an explanation for the expanding universe but left the mystery of how it came about. Quantum mechanics accounted for the strange behaviour of subatomic particles, but led to the puzzle of its conflict with relativity. Dark energy made sense of an accelerating universe but led to the mystery of why we have no evidence for it. Is there a danger that we are making a fundamental mistake in imagining science can eradicate mystery, and do we need to think of science differently as a consequence?

Do we need to abandon the idea that science has the potential to provide a complete explanation? Should we not expect science to eradicate mystery and instead simply require that its theories work well enough for our current aims and purposes? Or is the ability to overcome mystery essential to the effective operation of science and a core idea responsible for its success?

Philosopher of science and writer Bjørn Ekeberg, theoretical physicist Claudia de Rham, and CERN physicist Harry Cliff, debate the mysteries of the universe.

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