Café Scientifique takes a look at the future on April 9

by Linda Hubbard Gulker on April 6, 2013

It’s all about “prediction” at the next Café Scientifique In Menlo Park.

Greg Laughlin, Ph.D., and a collaborator captured the world’s attention in 1999 when they announced they had identified the five ages of the universe. Is it possible to know the universe’s life story from beginning to end? More generally, which kinds of events can be predicted with confidence, and which types cannot?

In this talk – “Predicting The Future on Timescales from Milliseconds to Billions of Years” -, Laughlin will delve into four systems that display varying degrees of predictability:

(1) The so-called “Pythagorean Three-Body Problem”
(2) The stock market
(3) The weather
(4) The ultimate orbital stability of the solar system

These examples span wildly disparate phenomenon, but are united by a handful of very interesting and fundamental physical principles.

Laughlin, who Professor ofAstronomy & Astrophysics at 
UC Santa Cruz, will speak on Tuesday, April 9 from 6:00 to 7:30 pm at SRI International, Menlo Park — International Building (Middlefield Road at Ringwood Ave.). 
Doors open at 5:15. Please do not park at SRI’s main entrance (333 Ravenswood Ave.). Follow the signs to event or Conference Center parking around the corner.

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