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Time Travel and Real Physics – A Presentation by Professor Ian Stewart

September 17th, 2015 · No Comments

Ian Stewart Wizard

This year at BristolCon we are delighted to be hosting a presentation by Professor Ian Stewart entitled “Time Travel and Real Physics” in which, I am reliably assured, he is going to tell our membership exactly how to build a time machine. Not out of a Delorean, apparently, but he does say that this will be “A quick, accessible trip through those parts of modern physics that bear upon the issue of time travel, such as closed timeline curves in general relativity, cosmic strings, wormholes, and parallel quantum universes. Can we build a time machine? No. Could we do so in the future? Perhaps.”

I assume he might also address the moral and ethical implications of dating your own mother….

Ian Stewart was born in 1945 and educated at Cambridge (MA) and Warwick (PhD). He is an Emeritus Professor in the Mathematics Department at Warwick University, where he divides his time equally between research into nonlinear dynamics and furthering public awareness of mathematics. He is also an Emeritus Professor of Gresham College, London. He has held visiting positions in Germany, New Zealand, and the USA. He has five honorary doctorates (Open University, Westminster, Louvain, Kingston, and Brighton) and is an honorary wizard of Unseen University on Discworld.

He is best known for his popular science writing—mainly on mathematical themes. His awards include the Royal Society’s Faraday Medal (1995), the IMA Gold Medal (2000), the AAAS Public Understanding of Science and Technology Award (2001), the LMS/IMA Zeeman Medal (2008), and the Lewis Thomas Prize (2015, joint with Steven Strogatz). Jointly with Martin Golubitsky he won the 2001 Balaguer Prize. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2001. His book Nature’s Numbers was shortlisted for the 1996 Rhone-Poulenc Prize for Science Books, and Why Beauty is Truth was shortlisted for the 2008 Royal Society Prize for Science Books. His iPad app Incredible Numbers, a collaboration with TouchPress and Profile Books , won the DigitalBookWorld Award for adult nonfiction in 2015 and was selected as one of the 24 ‘Best Apps of 2014’ in the US and Canadian App Stores.

He delivered the 1997 Royal Institution Christmas Lectures on BBC television and repeated them in Japan in 1998. The final lecture began by bringing a live tiger into the lecture room. He has made nearly 450 radio broadcasts and 80 television appearances.

He has published more than 80 books including Nature’s Numbers; The Collapse of Chaos (with Jack Cohen); Fearful Symmetry (with Martin Golubitsky); Does God Play Dice?; Why Beauty is Truth, Letters to a Young Mathematician, Life’s Other Secret, the US bestseller Flatterland, and the bestselling Professor Stewart’s Cabinet of Mathematical Curiosities and Professor Stewart’s Hoard of Mathematical Treasures. Recent books are Mathematics of Life, the number one popular science bestseller 17 Equations That Changed the World, The Great Mathematical Problems, and Symmetry: a Very Short Introduction. He has also collaborated with Terry Pratchett and Jack Cohen on the series The Science of Discworld I, II, III, and IV, all of which reached number 1 or 2 in the Sunday Times bestseller list. The first book in the series was nominated for a Hugo award at the World Science Fiction Convention in 2000. The Italian translation of Letters to a Young Mathematician won the Peano Prize.

He is also a critically acclaimed science-fiction author. He has published a number of SF short stories (several in Nature) as well as the novels Wheelers and Heaven (with Jack Cohen) and the eBook Jack of All Trades.

He is an active research mathematician with over 180 published papers, and currently works on pattern formation, chaos, network dynamics, and biomathematics. He lives in Coventry, UK, and is married (44 years and counting) with two sons and three grandchildren.

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