Closer to Truth 2017

Details of the 2017 Closer to Truth Series

 

Is There Life After Death?
The idea of surviving our own physical demise has long obsessed us. But is there any way that our personal awareness could actually transcend physical decay? In part one we ask: Is There Life After Death? Given that there are so many theories on how the afterlife might be possible, can we know if it is real? In part two we ask: What Would Eternal Life Be Like?

Contributors:
Steven Braude, Professor of Philosophy, University of Maryland
J.P. Moreland, Professor of Philosophy, Biola University
Nancey Murphy, Philosopher of Religion, Fuller Theological Seminary
Seyyed Hussein Nasr, Professor of Islamic Studies, George Washington University
V.V. Raman, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Rochester Institute of Technology
David Shatz, Professor of Philosophy, Yeshiva University
Huston Smith, Legendary Scholar of World Religions
Richard Swinburne, Emeritus Professor of Christian Philosophy, Oxford University
Michael Tooley, Professor of Philosophy, University of Colorado
Master Hsing Yun, Renowned Chinese Buddhist Monk

Will the Universe Ever End?
It’s hard to imagine that everything we see and know – the entire, vast, incomprehensibly large universe – might one day cease to exist. In part one, we ask: Will the Universe Ever End? A new theory claims to prove our universe will end, in its own special way. In part two we ask: What is The Doomsday Argument?

Contributors:
Nick Bostrom, Philosopher, University of Oxford
J. Richard Gott, Professor of Astrophysical Sciences, Princeton University
Alan Guth, Professor of Physics, MIT
Michio Kaku, Physicist, City College of New York
John Leslie, Professor Emeritus, University of Guelph
Ken Olum, Associate Professor, Institute of Cosmology, Tufts University
Saul Perlmutter, Nobel Laureate in Physics
Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal, Cosmologist, Cambridge University
Max Tegmark, Physicist and Cosmologist, MIT

How Many Universes Exist?
Could it be that our Universe is not the only one? In fact, many scientists believe it is not. In part one, we ask: How Many Universes Exist? If we assume that there are multiple universes that really exist, it could change how we see science, humanity, even God. In part two, we ask: What Would Multiple Universes Mean?

Contributors:
Anthony Aguirre, Associate Professor of Physics, UC-Santa Cruz
Paul Davies, Physicist, Arizona State University
Alan Guth, Professor of Physics, MIT
Andre Linde, Professor of Physics, Stanford Univ.
Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal, Cosmologist, Cambridge University
Leonard Susskind, Professor of Theoretical Physics, Stanford Univ.
Max Tegmark, Physicist and Cosmologist, MIT
Steven Weinberg, Nobel Laureate in Physics

What Would an Infinite Cosmos Mean?
We know that our Universe is unfathomably large, but could it be literally infinite in size? In part one, we ask: What Would an Infinite Cosmos Mean? It seems more and more likely that our Universe is not the only one – and that perhaps there are an unlimited number of other Universes. In part two, we ask: Must Mulitple Universes Exist?

Contributors:
Anthony Aguirre, Associate Professor of Physics, UC-Santa Cruz
Raphael Bousso, Professor of Physics, UC-Berkeley
Sean Carroll, Research Professor in Physics, California Institute of Technology
Paul Davies, Physicist, Arizona State University
Alan Guth, Professor of Physics, MIT
Joshua Knobe, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Yale Univ.
Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal, Cosmologist, Cambridge Univ.
Max Tegmark, Physicist and Cosmologist, MIT
Alexander Vilenkin, Director of the Institute of Cosmology, Tufts University

Is Free Will an Illusion?
We all feel like free agents on the inside: in control of our behavior, our decisions, our lives. But does that feeling reflect reality? In part one, we ask: Is Free Will an Illusion? Whether humans have free will is a question that has perplexed scientists and philosophers for ages. Why? In part two of today’s program, we ask: Why Obsess about Free Will?

Contributors:
Daniel Dennett, Co-director, Center for Cognitive Studies, Tufts University
Alison Gopnik, Professor of Psychology, UC-Berkeley
Patrick Haggard, Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College, London
Al Mele, Professor of Philosophy, Florida State University
Timothy O’Connor, Chair, Department of Philosophy, Indiana University
Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Professor of Philosophy, Duke University
Peter Tse, Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Dartmouth College
Peter van Inwagen, Professor of Philosophy, University of Notre Dame.
Thalia Wheatley, Associate Professor of Brain Sciences, Dartmouth College

How are Brains Structured?
The Brain is an unfathomably complex organ, and science continually reveals more fascinating information about it. In part one, we ask: How Are Brains Structured? Then we want to know how does the brain function? In part two, we ask: How Do Human Brains Think and Feel?

Contributors:
Carmine Clemente, former Director of the Brain Research Institute, UCLA
Christof Koch, President and Chief Scientific Officer, Allen Institute of Brain Science
Joseph LeDoux, Professor of Neuroscience, NYU
Rodolfo Llinas, Chair, Department of Physiology & Neuroscience, NYU
John Mazziota, Chair, Department of Neurology, UCLA
Mike Merzenich, Professor of Neuroscience, UC-San Francisco
Arnold Scheibel, Professor of Neurobiology and Psychiatry, UCLA
John Schlag, Professor of Neurobiology, Brain Research Institute, UCLA
Eran Zaidel, Professor Emeritus of Behavioral Neuroscience, UCLA

Can Mind Heal the Body?
It’s common to think of Brain and Mind as two separate things that can influence each other. But is that right? And how far can such influence go? In part one, we ask: Can Mind Heal the Body? One way to learn about the relationship between Brain and Mind is to examine cases of injury, trauma, and addiction. In part two, we ask: What Happens When Brains Go Bad?

Contributors:
Deepak Chopra, Doctor, Author, Holistic Health Expert
Murali Doraiswamy, Professor of Psychiatry and Medicine, Duke University
Elissa Epel, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, UC-San Francisco
Christopher Evans, Director, Brain Research Institute, UCLA
Susan Greenfield, British Neuroscientist and Writer
Donald Hoffman, Professor of Cognitive Science, University of California-Irvine
Barry Smith, Director, Institute of Philosophy, University of London
Rudy Tanzi, Professor of Neurology, Harvard University
Gino Yu, Head of Multimedia Innovation Center, Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Can ESP Reveal a New Reality?
Extra-sensory perception seems like the stuff of fantasy, but should the possibility be taken seriously? In part one we ask, Can ESP Reveal a New Reality? To claim that ESP exists, one must explain at least possible mechanisms behind it. In part two, we ask: How Could ESP Work?

Contributors:
Brian Josephson, Nobel Laureate in Physics
Lawrence Krauss, Professor of Physics, Arizona State Univ.
Alan Leshner, CEO, American Association for the Advancement of Science
Dean Radin, Former President, Parapsychological Association
Marilyn Schlitz, President, Institute of Noetic Sciences
Michael Shermer, Founder and Publisher, Skeptic Magazine
Charles Tart, Professor, Institute of Transpersonal Psychology
Michael Tooley, Professor of Philosophy, University of Colorado
Fred Wolf, Theoretical Physicist, former Physics Professor, San Diego State University

How Did the Universe Begin?
How did the Universe start? And where is it going? The answers may help us assess whether the Cosmos has meaning and purpose. In part one, we ask: How Did the Universe Begin? As science continues to progress, how far will it go in answering foundational questions? And where will it take us? In part two, we explore Science and the Future of Humanity.

Contributors:
Anthony Aguirre, Associate Professor of Physics, UC-Santa Cruz
Andreas Albrecht, Physicist, UC-Davis
Paul Davies, Physicist, Arizona State University
Alan Guth, Professor of Physics, MIT
James Hartle, Professor of Physics, UC-Santa Barbara
Seth Lloyd, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, MIT
Laura Mersini-Houghton, Associate Professor of Physics, Univ. of N. Carolina
Don Page, Theoretical Physicist, Univ. of Alberta, Canada
Max Tegmark, Physicist and Cosmologist, MIT

What Exists?
Quantum Mechanics seems to be at the bedrock of reality, but it’s tricky to study – because observing things in the quantum world affects them. In part one, we ask: Why is Observation in Quantum Mechanics Such a Mystery? But there are even deeper questions about the nature of reality, what our world really is. In part two , we ask: What Exists?

Contributors:
Anthony Aguirre, Associate Professor of Physics, UC-Santa Cruz
Bernard Carr, Professor of Mathematics and Astronomy, University of London
Sean Carroll, Research Professor in Physics, California Institute of Technology
David Chalmers, Professor of Philosophy, NYU
Paul Davies, Physicist, Arizona State University
Alan Guth, Professor of Physics, MIT
Seth Lloyd, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, MIT
Don Page, Theoretical Physicist, University of Alberta, Canada
Max Tegmark, Physicist and Cosmologist, MIT
David Wallace, Philosopher of Physics, USC