Why is the universe just right for life?


World's top physicists face off on the big question at Trottier Symposium

Anthropic principle: The principle that the observable universe has to be as it is, rather than any other way, otherwise we would not be able to observe it.

- A Dictionary of Physics, Ed. John Daintith,
Oxford University Press

Paul Davies, George Efstathiou, David Gross and Leonard Susskind, four of the world's most renowned physicists, will debate the fundamental questions of existence at A Cosmic Coincidence: Why is the Universe Just Right for Life? McGill University's second annual Lorne Trottier Public Science Symposium. The symposium will address the controversial anthropic principle: the notion that the universe is somehow specifically "tuned" to support life as we know it.

What: The 2007 Lorne Trottier Public Science Symposium:
A Cosmic Coincidence: Why is the Universe Just Right for Life?

When: 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm, January 25, 2007

Where: McGill University Main Campus, Leacock Building, Room 132

This symposium will be presented in English with simultaneous French translation.

Live Webcast (January 25)

The Lorne Trottier Public Science Symposium Series is supported by the Trottier Family Foundation. Lorne Trottier, who has generously donated $23 million to McGill in recent years for construction of the Lorne Trottier Building in Information Technology and two Lorne Trottier Chairs and endowed fellowships in Science and Engineering, funded the symposium as the realization of his vision of "a public forum to inform, inspire debate and raise public awareness on contemporary issues confronting society."

Panelist Bios:

Paul Davies, Director, Beyond: Institute for Fundamental Concepts in Physics, Arizona State University: An internationally renowned theoretical physicist, cosmologist, astrobiologist and acclaimed author and broadcaster, Professor Davies is the author of over 20 books, including How to Build a Time Machine and the recent Goldilocks Enigma: Why is the Universe Just Right for Life? His popular science television productions The Big Questions (ABC Australia) and The Cradle of Life (BBC) have won international acclaim.

George Efstathiou, F.R.S., Director, Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge University: Professor Efstathiou is one of the world's best known cosmologists. For over 25 years, he has combined deep theoretical insights with major observational campaigns to understand the large-scale cosmic web of galaxies. He is a principal architect of the current paradigm for understanding the formation of structure in our universe.

David Gross, Director, Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, and Frederick W. Gluck Chair in Theoretical Physics, University of California at Santa Barbara: Winner of the 2004 Nobel Prize in physics for his contribution to the Standard Model of quantum physics, Dr. Gross has also garnered several other prestigious awards, including the Oskar Klein Medal, the Dirac Medal and the Grande Medaille d'Or.

Leonard Susskind, Felix Bloch Professor in Theoretical Physics, Stanford University: Dr. Susskind is one of the leading figures in theoretical physics, and is widely regarded as the father of modern string theory. Author of The Cosmic Landscape: String Theory and the Illusion of Intelligent Design, Dr. Susskind is a winner of the American Institute of Physics writing prize and has been published in Scientific American, New Scientist, Physics World and a variety of anthologies.

Event Moderator:

Victoria Kaspi, Lorne Trottier Chair in Astrophysics and Cosmology, and Canada Research Chair in Observational Astrophysics, McGill University: Dr. Kaspi is an internationally respected expert on neutron stars whose team recently discovered the fastest-rotating pulsar known to science. A multi-award-winner in astrophysics, Dr. Kaspi recently received Canada's prestigious Steacie Prize for Natural Sciences.

On the Web
Live Webcast (January 25)

Contact Information

Mark Shainblum
McGill University
mark.shainblum [at] mcgill.ca
Office Phone: