Sean M. Carroll


Sean M. Carroll

Sean M. Carroll (born 1966) is a senior research associate in the Department of Physics at the California Institute of Technology. He is a theoretical cosmologist specializing in dark energy and general relativity. He is also a contributor to the physics blog Cosmic Variance, and has written for science magazines such as "Nature", "Seed", "Sky & Telescope", and "New Scientist". He is the author of "Spacetime And Geometry", a graduate-level textbook in general relativity, and has also recorded a set of lectures for the Teaching Company entitled "Dark Matter, Dark Energy: The Dark Side of the Universe".

He is an outspoken atheist, who argues that scientific thinking leads one to a materialist worldview. [ [http://preposterousuniverse.com/writings/nd-paper/ Why Almost All Cosmologists Are Atheists] ] [ [http://cosmicvariance.com/2006/10/29/the-god-conundrum/ The God Conundrum - Cosmic Variance blog] ] He turned down an invitation to speak at a conference sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation, on the grounds that he did not want to appear to be supporting a reconciliation between science and religion. [ [http://preposterousuniverse.blogspot.com/2005/04/purity-of-essence.html Purity of Essence -Preposterous Universe blog] ] In 2004 he and Shadi Bartsch taught an undergraduate course at the University of Chicago on the history of atheism. [ [http://preposterousuniverse.com/teaching/moments04/ Moments in Atheism course web page] ]

Carroll received his Ph.D. in Astronomy and Astrophysics in 1993 from Harvard University, where his advisor was George B. Field. He worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and as an assistant professor at the University of Chicago until 2006.

Research

*Models of, and experimental constraints on, violations of Lorentz invariance.
*The appearance of closed timelike curves in general relativity.
*Varieties of topological defects in field theory.
*Cosmological dynamics of extra spacetime dimensions.
*Models of dark energy and its interactions with ordinary matter and dark matter.
*Modifications of general relativity in cosmology.
*Spontaneous inflation as a solution to the arrow of time problem. Carroll and Jennifer Chen posit that the Big Bang is not a unique occurrence as a result of all of the matter and energy in the universe originating in a singularity at the beginning of time, but rather one of many cosmic inflation events resulting from quantum fluctuations of vacuum energy in a cold De Sitter space. Carroll and Chen claim that the universe is infinitely old, but never reaches thermodynamic equilibrium as entropy increases continuously without limit due to the decreasing matter and energy density attributable to recurrent cosmic inflation. They assert that the universe is "statistically time-symmetric" insofar as it contains equal progressions of time "both forward and backward". [Sean M. Carroll, Jennifer Chen, [http://arxiv.org/abs/hep-th/0410270 "Spontaneous Inflation and the Origin of the Arrow of Time"] ] [Adam Frank, [http://discovermagazine.com/2008/apr/25-3-theories-that-might-blow-up-the-big-bang/article_view?b_start:int=1&-C= "3 Theories That Might Blow Up the Big Bang"] , Discover, April 2008, pages 57-58] [Harold Henderson, [http://www.chicagoreader.com/pdf/050812/050812_scientists.pdf "The Cosmic Jiggle"] , Chicago Reader, August 12, 2005, page 14]

Publications

*Carroll, Sean, "Spacetime and Geometry: An Introduction to General Relativity". 2003. ISBN 0-8053-8732-3
* [http://www.slac.stanford.edu/spires/find/hep/www?rawcmd=find+a+s.m.carroll&FORMAT=WWW&SEQUENCE= List of Publications]

External links

* [http://preposterousuniverse.com/ Carroll's web site, "Preposterous Universe"]
* [http://preposterousuniverse.com/cv.html Curriculum Vitae]
* [http://cosmicvariance.com/sean Carroll's page at Cosmic Variance]
* [http://www.teach12.com/ttcx/coursedesclong2.aspx?cid=1272&id=1272&pc=Science%20and%20Mathematics Dark Matter, Dark Energy: The Dark Side of the Universe] , lectures at The Teaching Company.
* [http://bloggingheads.tv/search/?participant1=Carroll,%20Sean Video interviews and discussions] with other scientists and science writers on Bloggingheads.tv

References


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