All posts by nickhggtt


And another video – a talk by Josh Norton and Nick Huggett, aimed at a popular audience, discussing the relation between physics and philosophy, using examples from early modern science and from quantum gravity.


Smolin and Wüthrich video posted

A couple of nice new videos just posted:

First Lee Smolin’s amazing lecture from the Midwest Summer School, reflecting on the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches to QG, and his reflections on where to go from here:

Second Chris’ lecture from the Split summer school on black hole entropy and holography:


Thanks to the John Templeton Foundation

Greetings from Beyond Spacetime at the start of the new academic year!

A big thank you the John Templeton Foundation, for their generous support over the past three years; this website documents much of what we achieved. While the grant has now expired, Beyond Spacetime activities will continue, including speakers to be announced here soon – watch this space!

New Video

We have just posted some new videos to our YouTube channel: a 100-level lecture on spacetime from Tushar Menon and James Read, and a pair of 200-level lectures on dualities by Keizo Matsubara. There is also a stack of new talks, including Erik Curiel’s Two Paths to the Einstein Field Equation from Horizon Thermodynamics. Find the link above, or from the speaker page above. Enjoy!


We note the passing of Stephen Hawking, whose contributions to our field cannot be calculated (not even using zeta function regularization). To mention one item beautiful work, that influenced me, and which not everyone seems to know, there is the series of contrasting lectures and dialogues with Roger Penrose (and others): The Nature of Space and Time. So full of insights, and revealing of their different personal axioms, but so understanding and respectful of each other, I thoroughly recommend it in many ways.

A different kind of work, Hawking is the titular star of the most recent installment (the hexagonal phase) of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Also recommended in many ways.

Curiel speaks this week!

Wednesday 7 March 2018 at UIC – Erik Curiel (LMU/Harvard):  Two Paths to the Einstein Field Equation from Horizon Thermodynamics

Abstract: “There are today two major research programs that attempt to derive
general relativity—the Einstein field equation—from the thermodynamical properties of causal horizons, that based on the work of Jacobson and that on the work of Padmanabhan, both inspired by and relying on the framework of black-hole thermodynamics.  Each has had tantalizing, and similar, successes.  It does not seem to be widely recognized in the literature, however, that there are deep differences between the two, both in mathematical form and in conceptual foundation.  In this talk, I compare the two with the particular aim of teasing out what exactly each takes to be the thermodynamical properties of horizons.  The hope is that the differences between the two, and how they arrive at their common goal, may shed light on different ways one may conceive of “purely gravitational” phenomena as being thermodynamical in character, and what it may even mean in the first place to impute thermodynamical characteristics to purely gravitational systems.  I also discuss technical and conceptual problems with the approaches, whose resolutions—or even just their sustained attempt—would provide great insight on all these issues as well.” In terms of technical difficulty, this talk rates 4/5 (in parts).

More info in Speakers tab above.