Conversations with History: Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley

 See the
Conversations with History Blog

See a webcast of this interview:
 Peebles

A Cosmologistís Intellectual Journey: Conversations with James E. Peebles, Professor Emeritus of Cosmology, Princeton University; October 12, 2006 by Harry Kreisler

This interview is part of the Institute's "Conversations with History" series, and uses Internet technology to share with the public Berkeley's distinction as a global forum for ideas.

Welcome to a Conversation with History. I'm Harry Kreisler of the Institute of International Studies. Our distinguished guest today is Jim Peebles, who is one of the world's foremost cosmologists and an emeritus professor at Princeton University, where since 1984 he was the Albert Einstein Professor of Science. Professor Peebles is the Hitchcock Professor on the Berkeley campus for the Fall 2006 semester.

  1. Background ... Canadian childhood ... a father who liked to build ... University of Manitoba ... discovering physics at Princeton ... dissertation on the variability of "constants"
  2. Being a Scientist ... building on previous work ... evolution of "optimum skills" ... intellectual honesty and introspection ... different kinds of science ... curiosity ... collaboration and competition
  3. Theory and Observation ... synergy ... absolute truth ... basic vs. applied science ... intellectual excitement ... public fascination with astronomy ... the phenomenon of awe
  4. The Future of Science ... elementary school education ... support for new research
  5. Cosmology ... matter as a hierarchy of structures ... inflation ... elegant but wrong models ... dark matter and dark energy ... the cosmic constant: lambda ... the mystery of dark energy's value
  6. Research Leading to Current Knowledge ... investigating cosmic background radiation ... wide-open field ... learning to analyze large-scale structure ... uncertainty ... out on a limb ... brave research
  7. Looking to the Future ... big questions remain ... fads in astronomy ... nearby galaxies and planetary systems ... hunches, fears, and longing ... teaching students to address the unknown
Peebles PeeblesPeebles

© Copyright 2006, Regents of the University of California

Site questions: Email iis_webmgr at berkeley.edu.