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  • Keynote: The Uncertainty of Disbelief

Keynote: The Uncertainty of Disbelief

  • 26 Sep 2014
  • 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
  • Science Museum of Virginia
  • 0


Registration is closed

UPDATE: We have reached our registration capacity. Please email us if you'd like to be added to the waiting list.

There is another opportunity to hear Dr. Gates on Saturday morning. Register for our breakfast with him here

Keynote Address with Dr. Jim Gates, Theoretical Physicist

“The power of science is an acceptance and openness to the notion that we are fallible and must therefore be corrected by nature herself. Many other human belief systems start off with the assumption that the answer is already known. In science, it's precisely the opposite; we start out admitting to not knowing the answer...”  – Dr. Jim Gates

Internationally renowned theoretical physicist Dr. Jim Gates will present a riveting talk on Superstring/M-Theory, the "irrational process" of creating scientific theories, the parallel quests of science and religion for certainty in the face of mystery, and his faithful pursuit of a "less false" understanding of our universe. Superstring theory is still purely at a theoretical stage, but scientists like Gates hope, ultimately, it will unify our understanding of all matter and energy.

The fall Chrysalis program theme, Science and Spirituality: Living with Uncertainty, has developed largely out of the work of Dr. Gates, who notes that humans are uncomfortable with uncertainty and long to answer questions about the nature of reality. It's important to realize that while science provides some answers, it is always a "tentative process." Its information is "the best we know at a given time." Gates quips, "Scientists will change their belief at the drop of a fact." Science seeks to build "an accurate picture of nature within a range of uncertainty." 

Gates describes theoretical physicists as storytellers who use mathematical equations to tell stories like a novelist uses words. It is a creative process for which uncertainty is the starting point. 

Presented in conjunction with the Science Museum of Virginia and with media sponsorship by Community Idea Stations.



Dr. S. James Gates Jr. is a physicist, teacher, and student of the world’s great faith traditions. He earned his PhD at MIT and is internationally recognized for his work in string and particle theory. Named to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology in 2009, he subsequently received the National Medal of Science from President Obama in 2013. Often featured on NOVA as a “faith/science navigator of heaven and earth,” he is also a Mendel Medal recipient, which honors contemporary scientists who "have demonstrated that between true science and true religion there is no intrinsic conflict." He is currently the John S. Toll Professor of Physics at the University of Maryland.

Location: The Dome Theater,  Science Museum of Virginia
2500 West Broad Street

Free. Registration required.
For More Information: 
Contact Mariah Gruner.

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