Transcending Matter: Physics and Ultimate Meaning

Panel Discussion February 4, 2015

From the discovery of new galaxies and nearly undetectable dark energy to the quantum entanglement of particles across the universe, new findings in physics naturally elicit a sense of awe and wonder. For the founders of modern physics — from Einstein and Bohr to Heisenberg, Pauli, and Bohm — a fascination with deeper questions of meaning and ultimate reality led some of them to explore esoteric traditions and metaphysics. More recently, however, physicists have largely shunned such philosophical and spiritual associations. What can contemporary physics offer us in the quest to understand our place in the universe? Has physics in some ways become a religion unto itself that rejects the search for existential meaning?


  • Steve Paulson Journalist and Executive Producer, TTBOOK
  • Adam Frank Professor of Astrophysics, University of Rochester
  • David Kaiser Professor of the History of Science, MIT
  • Tim Maudlin Professor of Philosophy, New York University
  • Priyamvada Natarajan Professor of Astronomy and Physics, Yale University


  • Wednesday, February 4, 2015
  • 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
  • The New York Academy of Sciences
    7 World Trade Center, 250 Greenwich Street, 40th Floor


This volume brings together leading physicists, philosophers and writers to explore the relevance of modern-day physics to our understanding of perennial questions confronting human existence.

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About This Series

This event is part of the Beyond the Big Bang: Searching for Meaning in Contemporary Physics series, which brings together leading physicists, philosophers, historians, and writers to explore the multiple scientific and philosophical dimensions suggested by modern physics, including how recent discoveries are impacting our enduring search for meaning in the universe.



  • Is There an Ultimate Reality? Feb 04, 2015 09:03 6037
  • Does the Universe Have Meaning? Feb 04, 2015 05:59 2779
  • Physics and the Meaning of Our Existence Feb 04, 2015 08:50 3256
  • Quantum Physics and New Age Ideas Feb 04, 2015 05:58 4206
  • Philosophers and Physicists on Free Will Feb 04, 2015 02:54 3543
  • How Has the Higgs Boson Changed Physics? Feb 04, 2015 02:14 1976
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