Neil Barnaby (Canadian Inst. Theor. Astrophys.)
In 1814 Laplace boldly declared that, given the position and velocity of every
particle in the universe at some instant, it would merely be a computational
problem to predict their subsequent motions arbitrarily far into the future.
Notwithstanding the ignorance of quantum mechanics and chaos theory, this
statement reflects a theoretical prejudice which underlies nearly all fields of
physics. That is, Laplace was assuming that the laws of physics are local in
time, even at very short distance scales. In this talk I will discuss the
possibility that this assumption can be relaxed, as many theories of high
energy particle physics (including string theory) suggest it must. I will show
that microscopic nonlocality has interesting implications for early universe
cosmology, and also discuss a rather surprising analogy between D-brane
decay and theoretical biology.
Arnold Sommerfeld Center