The 2013 NAWCC Ward Francillon Time Symposium and Special Exhibition of Spectacular Clocks, Watches, and Sundials
by The Pre-Eminent Master
Thomas Tompion (1639–1713)

California Institute of Technology Pasadena, California

7-9 November 2013

Sean Carroll (Chair)

Senior Research Associate in Physics, Division of Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy, California Institute of Technology (U.S.A.)

The Origin of the Universe and the Arrow of Time

  • Biography
  • Presentation
  • Further Information
  • Sean Carroll is a theoretical physicist at the California Institute of Technology. He received his Ph.D. in 1993 from Harvard University. His research focuses on theoretical physics and cosmology, especially the origin and constituents of the universe. He has made major contributions to the theory of interactions between dark matter, dark energy, and ordinary matter; alternative theories of gravity; and violations of fundamental symmetries. Carroll is the author of From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time (2010) and Spacetime and Geometry: An Introduction to General Relativity (2003). He has been awarded fellowships by the Sloan Foundation, the Packard Foundation, and the American Physical Society.
    One of the most obvious facts about the universe is that the past is different from the future. We can remember yesterday, but not tomorrow; we can turn an egg into an omelet, but can't turn an omelet into an egg. That’s the arrow of time, which is consistent throughout the observable universe. The arrow can be explained by assuming that the very early universe was extremely orderly, and disorder has been increasing ever since. But why did the universe start out so orderly? Sean Carroll will talk about the nature of time, the origin of entropy, and how what happened before the Big Bang may be responsible for the arrow of time we observe today.