This program was recorded at the 12th Annual Wonderfest, the San Francisco Bay Area Festival of Science.
Wonderfest's broad goals are best described by its mission statement: Through public discourse about provocative scientific questions, Wonderfest aspires to stimulate curiosity, promote careful reasoning, challenge unexamined beliefs, and encourage life-long learning.
Wonderfest achieves these ends by presenting series of scientific events to the general public. At most of these events, pairs of articulate and accomplished researchers discuss and debate compelling questions at the edge of scientific understanding.
Ransom Stephens is a speaker, writer, and physicist. He is the author of The God Patent.
Ransom Stephens, author of The God Patent, discusses the challenges famed mathematician Emmy Noether faced when attempting to enter the world of academia. He explains that despite vigorous support from fellow mathematicians, other professors were less accepting of having a female colleague.
In physics, the principle that certain quantities within an isolated system do not change over time. When a substance in an isolated system changes phase, the total amount of mass does not change. When energy is changed from one form to another in an isolated system, there is no change in the total amount of energy. When a transfer of momentum occurs in an isolated system, the total amount of momentum is conserved. The same is true for electric charge in a system: charge lost by one particle is gained by another. Conservation laws make it possible to predict the macroscopic behaviour of a system without having to consider the microscopic details of a physical process or chemical reaction.