Dec. 2, 2021

#53 Brian Keating -Into the Impossible


Brian Keating is an American physicist who is a distinguished professor of physics at the Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences in the Department of Physics at University of California, San Diego. He has written two bestselling books entitled “Losing the Nobel Prize” and “Into the Impossible: Think Like a Nobel Prize Winner”. This episode, we go scientific but not without a little bit of madness and magic as we talk about scientists, the field of science, religion, and whether aliens even exist.

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Transcript

0 (0s): I feel like, you know, there's this obsession and, and most, you know, cultures nowadays to achieve, which is great. Look, you know, if we didn't have this notion of wanting to make the future better than the past, we wouldn't have Western medicine. We wouldn't have, you know, the, the technology that allows you and I to communicate at the speed of light, you know, and B a and be sharing this with literally thousands of people could watch us have this conversation benefit from it scale and this power of, of kind of networks, which is another form of, of entropy, which is good. It has good things and bad things, but I think you're absolutely right. I think when you look for external validation, external satisfaction, you're not choosing yourself. 1 (44s): Hello everybody. You're listening to Chatting with Candice, I'm your host, Candice hor back before we jump into this week's episode, I want to do a couple of shout outs really quick. So I wanted to say thank you to Paul and thank you to Darren. Thank you so much for those cups of coffee. I really appreciate it. I want to thank all my Patrion members and my supporters on locals. I couldn't do this podcast without you guys. So I really appreciate all that you're doing to keep it growing and going. So this week we have Brian Keating joining the podcast. Brian is an American physicist who is a distinguished professor of physics at the Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences in the Department of Physics at University of California, San Diego. 1 (1m 29s): He has written two bestselling books Losing the Nobel Prize and his more recent book Into the Impossible, which I highly recommend. It's a very easy, quick read. We call it a self-help book, but it's just a lot of practical day-to-day advice through the lessons of nine Nobel prize winners. So it's pretty cool. Please help me welcome Brian Keating. Well, awesome. I'm so glad we made this happen. Thank you for joining me, Brian. I'm glad to have you here. 0 (1m 58s): That's great to the air canvas. I've followed you for a while and we have a lot of mutual friends in common, and it's great that we can make it happen. 1 (2m 5s): Yeah, I was. I always get a little bit trepidatious when I have someone like yourself on, but I've found that the more of your content that I was consuming, and as I was reading your book, it really put me at ease because you have this really great way, as you say, making these geniuses normal people. And I really appreciate that. So a lot of your content is for the regular person to consume because the topics are obviously fascinating to almost everybody. But I think a lot of people get intimidated when we start talking about the universe and string theory and black holes. And it's like, well, what is all of that? You know what I mean? If you don't go to school for it, a lot of people use the jargon and then it's easily, it's easy to get lost. 1 (2m 47s): I'm about halfway through your most recent book, which I think is amazing, highly recommended to everyone and say Into the Impossible. I know we have limited time. So I mean, I want to get into like, God consciousness, freewill. Are there aliens, what's a black hole. And then here's, here's all of help folks over to see how much of these we can tackle in an hour. But yeah, I could talk to you for probably days with someone like your mind. So yeah, I'm, I'm, I'm really excited 0 (3m 18s): And that's great to talk to someone who's so enthusiastic and yeah, I mean, all the things that you just mentioned, the intimidation, they kind of trepidation. I mean, that can, it's not only felt by lay people, but it's also felt by scientists. You know, we always say, you know, Einstein is this paradigm. Literally the, they, he was, they, after he died, there was a cover and time magazine. It said, you know, picture of the earth. And it had a science that Einstein lived here and, you know, even scientists look up to him. I mean, most, most scientists have healthy egos, but, but even compared to Einstein, but I always point out, you know, Einstein, wasn't always Einstein and Einstein had those before whom he felt the imposter syndrome, which really plagues many of us. 0 (3m 58s): And sometimes you should have the imposter syndrome. Like sometimes you're just not that good and you bet, but it's knowing thyself as the Oracle of Delphi said, you know, that's the important thing. And, but, but also knowing that, you know, these are human beings and human beings have all too human, you know, flaws and peccadilloes. And we have to recognize that if you worship somebody, you know, for their intellectual achievements, you have to take them as a whole package. And not even Einstein was a flawless father, husband, et cetera, et cetera. So there are many ways you can meet or exceed what Einstein did, maybe not in theoretical, you know, Astro particle physics, but in other arenas, for sure. 1 (4m 35s): Yeah. And that's a great part. So in the chapters, the way that you break it down, you have all these interviews with these Nobel prize winners and you see the common thread throughout all of them in their achievements. And you, you hear someone say that they have imposter syndrome when they're, you know, accepting the award and they hope that they don't drop it and like that's, what's going on in their mind. And I was like, wow, it is, it's the most humanizing IX like experience, I guess, that you can relate to. Right. And you just would expect that someone of that level is just maybe more ego or confident or things like that just don't really affect them. And then you're like, oh, well we have this commonality. And if this person can do greatness, maybe there's potential for me to, to add greatness to my life in some other, some other words. 0 (5m 22s): Yeah, for sure. If you look at, you know, these nine Nobel prize winners in the recent book, two of them said they don't have the imposter syndrome, but what I found fascinating, even those that don't have it, you know, there's, there's few things in life where the opposite of an emotion or a sensation is the identifiable with the same, you know, phenomenon as, you know, something completely, as I say opposite. So for example, we all know people that are insecure and we all know people that are insecure and that leads to their arrogance. Cause they're trying to like defend off, you know, from attack for, from people. And so they put up this pit bull like exterior and you know, there's a lot of that. You wouldn't believe it, but in sciences is extremely prone to type a personalities, you know, toxic femininity, toxic masculinity, you know, we're very high achievers. 0 (6m 11s): Cause I point out, you know, there's, there's three people at most who can win the Nobel prize each year. And you know, how many fortune 500 companies are, there's 500 of them, you know, there's many, many more opportunities in the business world. And yet there's just, you know, there's just as much kind of tension to achieve this greatness in the academic realm. So we have a lot of people that, you know, they have issues with arrogance. Arrogance comes from insecurity. So too does the imposter syndrome, which is kind of like almost too much humility. And it's rare in my experience, you might may know differently, but, but to find that the root cause of these two diametrically disparate effects are actually the same root cause insecurity. So I found that fascinating, even the guys who said, you know, unfortunately it's I asked women to come on, there are women Nobel laureates. 0 (6m 59s): There's only two that are alive right now, both rejected me. And so I had a kind of flashback in high school when I would ask out the brightest girls in the client, they would say, no, no, they just have a policy of not going on, on a podcast because I guess their time is too short. So that's fine. But the nine men that I interviewed, they all had, you know, kind of a balance between humility, a little bit of, you know, of, of arrogance swagger, I call it. And I think to be great, you need to have both that and harmonious tension, so to speak. 1 (7m 30s): Yeah. I was listening to someone explain imposter syndrome in an, in an interesting way. And they were saying it, it shows up in a healthy amount when there's like a very introspective person. So someone that's constantly trying to grow or has that growth mindset and is just constantly competing with themselves. And I thought that that was really interesting because something for me, one of my Achilles heels is comparing, right. So I constantly tried to check that when I notice it and then just be like, try to be better than yourself, you know, yesterday and 10 minutes ago. And that's really all you should or can do. And I've definitely felt imposter syndrome many times throughout my life. And I was like, well, that's, that's really interesting. 1 (8m 10s): Cause I'm definitely someone that's constantly, you know, diving back in and saying like what's going on in there. So I do think it's healthy in small doses, right? Like you don't want to be self-deprecating, but 0 (8m 21s): To have a little bit of confidence. And as I say, you know, kind of like swagger, you know, when you go into a, to give a speech or give a lecture or whatever, you know, we have the saying like every talk is a job talk. You know, even when you're giving the Nobel, you know, probably like one of the winners of the Nobel prize who introduced me to the concept of the imposter syndrome within Nobel laureates, Barry Barish, she lives up in LA, not far from you probably, but he, he told me he never felt the imposter syndrome as strongly as when he won the Nobel prize. And, and he's just such a humble person. I said, what are you talking about? And he said, well, yeah, when you win it, you have to like, you know, prove, have to sign this log book that shows that you got it and you got your million dollar prize purse. If you went, you know, a share of it, some fraction of that. 0 (9m 4s): And, and he looked at it and he said, well, I wonder who won this before, man, he looked over and he saw, you know, his former friend, Richard Fineman, who was at Caltech. He saw Maria Curie, Marie Curie, whatever. And he saw Albert Einstein signature live, you know, right there. And he was just like, I'm not worthy. And I told him, I said, Barry, you know, I love you. He's kind of like the lovable uncle that we all wish that we could have that. And I said, you know, I have to tell you, Einstein felt incredible imposter syndrome. He said, really? I said, yeah. He said, he called Isaac Newton. The greatest contributor, not only to physics, Candice, but also to Western civilization, which has an incredible, you think like, ah, the laws of gravity F equals ma you know, body and motion then sustain what? 0 (9m 47s): No, to Western civilization, not just physics. And I said, it goes even further than that, because Newton, you know, the paradigm, this guy with this long, he felt tremendous imposter syndrome. And when asked who, before whom he felt imposter before he said, Jesus Christ. He said, Jesus Christ. You know, is it impossible to live up to? And I'm not worthy. In fact, he said, his greatest Isaac Newton's greatest accomplishment was not physics or the laws of optics or alchemy. He said that he died a Virgin because that was the only way he could emulate Christ. I just feel like it's. And guess what, you know, Isaac Newton, Jesus Christ probably had people that you love Moses. 0 (10m 28s): He, you know, so it never ends. We never get into this promised land, no matter what it is, but that should be good news because that means that there's always somewhere else to go. You know, I heard, I don't know if you've ever had Sam Harris on your show or you should, but you know, he said something once you know, that I resonated with to a certain extent, he said, you can never be happy. Like you can, you can only become happier. So to speak, you can only like proceed along a direction that makes you more and more content and, and have equanimity, but you can never like get there. And I translated that in my own nerdy way to this concept of entropy, which you're probably familiar with, but in case anybody's not, entropy is kind of a measure of the disorder or the chaos in a system, like how much things are in motion or non organized disorganization. 0 (11m 13s): So a pack of cards, stacked neatly in order and all the suits and all the order of the suits, that's highly organized. And then when you give it to your son or, you know, one of my kids throw it up in the air, it's totally disorganized. Right? So the ladder is more entropic. It has higher entropy, more, more randomness, more disorder. And I kind of like him what Sam said to kind of concept in physics of entropy in that when you're happy, let's say like right now, Candice, how many ways could I increase your happiness? 10, 10 X. Like, if I want to just like make you so I could make you a Bitcoin billionaire. I mean, more than they 1 (11m 46s): Are infinite amount of ways to, to level it 0 (11m 49s): Up. Well, there's an infinite number of ways, but, but like how many yachts can you water ski behind? Like, you know, like even the richest Kings and Queens of yesteryear, I mean, we live better than them could only, 1 (12m 1s): There's a cap on happiness. 0 (12m 2s): I would say that there's not a cap. You can always go up more. You bring more love into the world, more life into the world, but, but it's hard to like double it, triple it. Like, because again, if you have a billion dollars, another dollar more, doesn't add in a billion dollars, even doesn't add any more happiness to you. However, if I said to, you know, I've had four billionaires on my show, including one who's lost two children and any of us who are parents, or just have loved ones that we treasure. We know there's infinite, number of ways to make your life a hundred thousand billion times worse. And so that's a statement of entropy. There's more, once you're as organized as possible in like, your life is pretty good, you know, you can only go down so to speak. I mean, you can go up, but it's easier to go down. And that's a concept of entropy. 0 (12m 43s): And I think that, that, you know, some of the concepts in the, in the book relate to, you know, like when you win this prize, you might not, you know, it might've been the thing as it was for me early on in life. I haven't won it, but I desperately wanted to win it as a, as a 20 something, 30 something, and I didn't win it. And that was kind of crushing. But even those that win it, like I just said, it's not, it's not like what you think. It's not the promised land. It's not what you expect it to be never. 1 (13m 10s): Yeah. I think there's a difference between, and you describe this in your book. There's a difference between the people that just try to achieve greatness, because they're curious, and they're following something that, that they're curious about or passionate about, or they're trying to like solve this, you know, crazy rental. And then there are people that are trying to check off all of these boxes in order to get the prize. The prize is the goal with the one example and the other one is just curiosity and seeing where that takes them. And I think when you're the person that's just trying to, to get this, I don't know, like aggregation or the recognition or this, you know, esteem, whatever it is like, you're, you're leaving your happiness external, right? 1 (13m 57s): Like you're, it's all dependent on this external factor and that's not sustainable. And that's super fragile too, because then if you don't get that, then the one, what happens to your self worth or your confidence, what happens to your research if you're not actually into that. And there's just so many ways that you kind of set yourself up for failure that way. And I think we all do it and it's obviously not a Nobel prize for most people, but it is something it's that bonus. It's a different award. It's getting that girl, it's getting that house. And it's just realizing like none of that is going to change your inner state. It might for a moment. And then all of a sudden you're still left with who you are and who you surround yourself with. So it's like checking those things. 1 (14m 37s): You know what I mean? 0 (14m 38s): Yeah. Yeah. I feel like, you know, there's this obsession and, and most, you know, cultures nowadays to achieve, which is great. Look, you know, if we didn't have this notion of wanting to make the future better than the past, we wouldn't have Western medicine. We wouldn't have, you know, the, the technology that allows you and I to communicate at the speed of light, you know, and be, and be sharing this with literally thousands of people could watch us have this conversation benefit from its scale and this power of, of kind of networks, which is another form of, of entropy, which is good. It has good things and bad things, but I think you're absolutely right. I think when you look for external validation, external satisfaction, you're not choosing yourself as my friend and co-author of the foreword to the book, James Altucher says, you know, you're leaving it to these gatekeepers. 0 (15m 27s): And you know, I don't know much about your academic history, but I'm sure you remember in high school, like people want to get into the best college. You got to get good grades. You used to have to take the SATs. You don't have to anymore. But then in high school for someone like me, so I'm a, I'm a professor at a top research university in the world. I have an endowed position. I'm very blessed to be here. I love what I do every day. I do it for free. Don't tell Gavin Newsome, if you see, because, you know, he might, he might take me up on that, but the, to get here, it's, it's like, it's worse than almost anything besides professional sports, because I had to beat out the most brilliant people to get into a good college. I went to case Western and Ohio. I had to go to, I went to an Ivy league, graduate school at brown university. 0 (16m 7s): I went to Stanford and Caltech, and then I got an assistant professorship. Then I got tenure. Then I got a full professor then, you know, and it just never ends. And all those routes, you're not in control of your destiny. In fact, you're competing against those that might be superior to you. And we kind of lure people in, you know, because we make it a little bit easier, you know, at all these steps until the last one, like the last one to become a professor and then certainly become a Nobel prize winner. I mean, I chose the winners are, I was invited to choose the winners in 2015 of the 2016 Nobel prize. And the only rule they had was that you can't choose yourself. You're not allowed to select your own name as the Nobel prize, winning deserve a Nobel prize winner. 0 (16m 49s): So I felt this is, this is, you know, kind of crazy, but you really can't. And, and then, so you ask, well, how do I become kind of satisfied with what I have, you know, for me, it's, it's a lot of, you know, my religion is Judaism and, and we're very much focused on this very powerful lesson, as I keep saying, the promised land that relates to Moses, you know, the, the, the founder, you know, the founding prophet and priest of Judaism. And he literally, you know, was the last person, according to our tradition to ever see God and talk to God face to face and, and so forth. And yet for all he did, he never got to get into the land of Israel, which is the dream of, you know, Jews for thousands of years. 0 (17m 30s): And so I think that's a powerful metaphor, like how many, you know, and also the rest of the Bible, you know, which Jews read every year, you know, one 52nd of it every day, every week, you know, none of the patriarchs, the matriarchs from Abraham, you know, Sarah, Rachel, Leah, Jacob, I, they, none of them had an easy time conceiving. Like I find it very interesting because many of my friends, you know, they just can't have kids or maybe they don't want to have kids. And, and I find it very interesting because on the same time, you know, you talked about aliens at, at the opening and I want to get into that cause that's really fun. But, but another thing that physicists are really kind of concerned with is like, can we teleport? 0 (18m 10s): You know, can we time-travel, can we go through a wormhole or a black hall or some color kind of hole, I dunno, and, and get to another region of space time. And if so, like what would you do? And blah, blah, blah. And I'm like, guys, we already have a method to teleport and time travel. And they're like, what do you mean? What are you talking about? I'm like, they're called kids. And they were like, what do you mean? I'm like, you can't tell a port, your physical corporeal body, Candice, you can't move that and do that macro. We can, I teleport photons and electrons and properties of those things, but not the physical things that nothing faster than the speed of light can travel. However, you can transport your values to your children and it doesn't even have to be your children. 0 (18m 52s): You know, I read today, like, you know, oh, Thanksgiving is going to be great. You know, really hard, especially with kids. And like, so you shouldn't have kids. And I had another physicist, I won't give his name, but he's a famous guy on Twitter. And he was like, one of the best ways to reduce climate change. Global warming is not have kids. 1 (19m 8s): I think that is the most arrogant and titled opinion to give to people. I get, I get incensed when I see that. And it's like, how dare you exactly. How do I you'll probably know this? I can't think of the name of the study, but there's this theory when it comes to like, what do you call it? Exponential technology and climate change. And it's kind of like, it's this very steep peak. And then it drops. So when you listen to some people and they talk about climate change and existential threat, blah, blah, blah. And they kind of say that theoretically, what you want to do is actually rev up to get past that peak. 1 (19m 52s): And then once you get down, you actually, the technology that you have to counter climate change is so it makes such a dent that what you did before won't matter, right? So it's like, just keep on going. You don't want to go backwards and just shut everything down. That doesn't make sense. 0 (20m 8s): Right? It's very arrogant to presume that there'll be no improvement. In fact, it's, anti-scientific, I find it incredibly depressing. And, but it doesn't surprise me. I mean, look what we're telling our kids nowadays, we're telling them it doesn't matter. You know what you are, who you are, you have certain unearned advantages, which of course is true. And yet you're wholly beholden to the boomer generation that caused the ending of life. As we know it, which is just preposterous, life's going to go on earth is going to go on just fine. As you're saying, there is a peak because there's not an infinite amount of carbon. I mean, think about it. There's nothing infinite in the universe as Albert Einstein said, except the amount of human stupidity. But, but the thing, you know, there's not, there's just physically not an infinite amount of carbon. 0 (20m 51s): You can make an infinite amount of carbon dioxide, et cetera, et cetera. But even leaving that aside, if I told my kid and I said, there's no hope, like, imagine, you know what? The was the greatest, most pernicious problem afflicting the climate, the environment on wall street in the early, in the late 1890s and, and London as well, all these big cities, their number one problem was the amount of, of horse poop. Keep it clean. So horse poop was just like manure was just, and people are getting sick and diseases and dysentery and this thing and that, and plus it was just like disgusting. So the stock markets would routinely shut down for weeks at a time. It was just like the economy's going to crash. And of course what got good? 0 (21m 32s): What solved that problem? Like do we just like have horses wearing diapers? Do we just like extrapolate the current? And no, we had a radically new type of technology and to not tell a child, you know, to tell my daughter, no, don't think about it. It's not worth it. You're doomed. It's anti-scientific cause the ma the, the notion of science, by the way, the word science in Latin means knowledge. It doesn't mean wisdom. So if you take away one thing from this conversation is never looked to a scientist for wisdom. Some have wisdom, just like some, you know, people that are, you know, that aren't very wise will know certain things, but, but there's no, absolutely no correlation. In fact, one of the, you know, Nobel prize winners, it's like, if you think that Nobel prize winners are smarter than the average person, you should really see them the day that they meet to have breakfast. 0 (22m 19s): And they don't know where to find the eggs and the, and the silver, you know, it's just like that stereotype is, is unfortunately holds true. So, no, I think it's, I think it's absolutely deplorable to say that there is no solution and don't even bother trying that's fatalism at its worst. And it's anti-scientific sciences is the belief in the, in the ignorance of prior generations. As I said, you know, Einstein knew more physics than Isaac Newton. There's just no way around it. I know more physics than Einstein theoretically, just because I came in much longer ago later than him. And because of that, the inexorable progress of society. But without that, without me saying, well, maybe he's wrong. And without him saying, maybe I was like, Newton is wrong. 0 (23m 0s): The world would not make any progress. So I think that's very important philosophical point to the lay person to understand. 1 (23m 8s): Yeah. I think that's a really cool way to look at transportation is by having children. And then it makes me think of, and I don't know which camp you're in with those, because I know it's still one of those more nuanced things though, is, is epigenetics, right? And the thought that we are passing down our ancestral life experience, you know, through the lineage of having children and them having children. And, and to me, it makes, it makes a lot of sense, especially when you talk about the women, because I think with women, what some people suggest is that it goes back like three different generations because of like by week 20 in utero, the female will already have all of the eggs that she has when she's a full grown adult. 1 (23m 51s): So the idea that your state, just like your, whether you're filled with anxiety or whether you're filled with love and whatever traumas you do or do not go through, are going to obviously be passed on into, into the wound. Right? Yeah. 0 (24m 6s): I don't know if you've ever noticed this, that bodes better for you than for me, but I've noticed that most kids are closer to their maternal grandmother than their paternal grandmother. And I think that's partially related to what you just said, because at one point the ag that became you was inside your grandmother on your maternal side, because it was in your mother when you were born. Right. So, and when she was born, she had the ag that would become you. So I think, yeah, this is pretty far off topic. Although I do study, you know, the birth of the universe. So, you know, we could pivot and not, not seem too forced and doing so. 1 (24m 39s): No. Yeah. That's actually on my list too is because I, well, I love that. I'm like, you're a man of faith. Like I'm a pretty spiritual person. And I find that a lot of times when you get these very heady, people are these very like science forward people that they tend to write off anything esoteric or mystical or spiritual. And I was listening to this guy. It was kind of like a debate between a physicist and like a preacher. And he was saying that basically the reason that he can't wrap his head around his God was because he was assuming that has hit, that God had to exist within time, space and matter. And that the God that he was talking about exists beyond that. 1 (25m 22s): And then they were like, well, you know, 10 years ago, you could never suggest that there was a pre-buying universe, but now it's something that cosmologists are constantly talking about. So do you believe in a beginning, or do you believe in, I guess, what would your take on a pre bang universe be if there was one? 0 (25m 40s): Well, I actually think that's the most interesting question in all of science, because it's the one that intersects with all other sciences. You can't have human life without, you know, prebiotic, you know, chemicals. You can't have those chemicals without a planetary system. You can't have the planetary system without a, a stellar lifecycle and you can't have the star lifecycle without the origin of the elements themselves. Now, the question of the origin, the elements is that's usually construed to be the, what we call the big bang. And in reality, the big bang is not necessarily time equals zero. So short answer to your question is we don't know, but I do think it's the most interesting question in all of science, because from any system that you ever look at, you can normally kind of feel like there's some direction that time is proceeding. 0 (26m 26s): In other words, if you look at, if you look at, you know, you're driving down the road, your car, you know, is speeding up, it gets a little warmer inside the brakes, start to hit it. You know, there's physical changes associated with your physical direction through space. And yet the laws of physics have no direction of time built into them. In other words, if I take you out far into the universe and I just show you this pendulum clock, grandfather clock swinging back and forth, you can tell where did the pendulum start going? You can't tell the absolute time. You can only tell relative time. And, and so it's very interesting to think philosophically, if time did begin, how does time proceed when there is no time? In other words, when there's no way to move in a direction that direction does not exist, how do you start going off in that direction? 0 (27m 12s): So that's very mysterious. And that has led people along with this concomitant realization that the universe seems to embody a directionality and an asymmetry in the forward versus the reverse direction of time. And certain processes is led people to think, well, maybe the universe had a preexisting state and those models are actually much older than the big bang. For example, Einstein didn't believe in the big bang, even though it was a direct consequence of his laws of relativity. He called that atrocious for many years until Edwin Hubble of the Hubble space. Telescope fame showed him up there in Pasadena, on Mount Wilson. He showed him the expanding universe was an inescapable conclusion of the observation of galaxies and distant quadrants of the universe. 0 (27m 58s): So Einstein over through his preconceived notion, which was held by everybody for 2000 years, 3000 years, even going back to the ancient Egyptians and just after the ancient Egyptians, rather, the Greeks felt this, but it turns out even older than that are sort of like these cyclical models where the universe kind of goes through oscillations for all eternity. Now, what does that mean? And so where we see these things in our equations, which lead to what are called infinities, or singularities the proper way to think about those is like that marks a enormous question, mark of facet and a feature of our ignorance of this particular physical law. 0 (28m 40s): And what's great about human beings is we're never satisfied. We want to keep learning about these and understand from where did the university merge. Cause it's not exactly that much more satisfying. If I tell you I put out videos once a week or so, just like solo videos, explainer on my YouTube channel interrelate person, but cutting edge scientific things. Today's video is that we're talking on the Friday in our mid November. And it was about like, how do we know about this process that is purported to let the universe arise from nothing. In fact, there's a book on that very subject by Lawrence Krauss called a universe from nothing in which Candice, he presupposes the existence of the laws of physics and the existence of what are called quantum fields. 0 (29m 23s): And so is that nothing, is that something is everything. So these are the most fascinating questions. So it's, it's actually a very hotly debated field and happens to do with the type of cosmology that I do, which is studying the heat left over from the formation of the elements. It's the oldest light in the universe and it's called the cosmic microwave background radiation. And there's a beach ball behind me. That kinda has like a planetarium for that shows like all these little freckles and spots on it. And that is the oldest fossil Relic that humans or any other species could ever detect in the form of light, but not in other forms. So we're always continuously looking to improve our vision back to the earliest moments that we could possibly peer into. 1 (30m 9s): Yeah, I was it's I don't know how, cause it's all, again, all above my head is a regular person, but I know one of the examples that you were talking about, it was one of the Nobel prize winners and they had one because they were measuring ripples that were like two point something billion years ago that are just now being measured. And I'm like, how is that possible? Like how does something travel that like, that number doesn't even compute to me. And it just so fascinating. We were like, how do you even begin to say, is something coming from nothing is nothing. Is something coming from something? And then what is that something? 1 (30m 51s): So yeah, 0 (30m 52s): No, these are bulemia Einstein and other, you know, to make this more of an Einstein love Fest. Oh, it would be impossible. But you know, Einstein said, don't tell me about your problems with physics. Like I am my own, you know, and they were grappling with the same kinds of concepts and just different garbs. So that's one funny thing is just to watch as mark Twain said, you know, history doesn't repeat, but it rhymes. And we're having the same kinds of debates that Hubble and Einstein and others had literally a hundred years ago. And that Newton and Galileo had hundreds of years before that. So to answer your question specifically, we observe things in the universe that are delayed. They're not happening instantaneously. In fact, even if I was like looking at you through a high power telescope and you had the pleasure of looking at me, and that would be so much fun for you looking at me through a high power telescope, right? 0 (31m 40s): You wouldn't see me instantaneously cause you're up in LA, right? 1 (31m 44s): North Carolina 0 (31m 45s): Or North Carolina. I thought you were in LA. Oh, sorry. So, so even better. So North Carolina is about 3000 miles away. And so light travels the fastest speed of any known phenomenon, except it's not infinite. So it doesn't occur to us instantaneously. When you look up at the moon tonight, you'll be able to see the moon it's about half eliminated. And that will be about 1.5 seconds for that light to have travel to your eyes on earth. If you look at the sun, by the way, I'm an astronomer. I'm not telling people to look at the sun through a telescope, but if you see the sun could disappear right now, we wouldn't know about it for eight minutes. Wow. Universe is even bigger. Our solar system is a couple of light hours across. 0 (32m 27s): In other words, traveling at the speed of light to get beyond the orbit of Pluto, to get past where the farthest known object is, is over an hour, traveling at the speed of light. But that's just not even the surface, you know, to call that the tip of the iceberg is an insult to icebergs because the nearest star system is four light years away. And our galaxy is a hundred thousand light years away. The farthest reaches of our galaxy, the next nearest big galaxy is about 2 million light years away. So the light that I see and I actually looked at it through a telescope last night, I was looking at light Candace that emerged from that galaxy when there were like hominids walking around in Northern Africa. 0 (33m 7s): So, so that galaxy might not even exist. And we won't know about it for two and a half million years. And you keep going out in the universe and where these black holes were that result in, in the 2017 Nobel prize to my friend, Barry Barish, who wrote the forward to this book and Ray Weiss and Kip Thorne was to observe the inspiring of two other incredibly abstruse phenomenon called black holes. And they collided together. And anything that has matter in mass traveling at high speeds in this case, traveling near the speed of light and each one of these two black holes weighs as much as 30 of our sons colliding together in a massive explosion that took the physical proportions of every location in space and move them a little bit closer and a little bit farther apart. 0 (33m 56s): So in other words, you could measure that by how much you would change your weight. So when this black hall, this was located at 1.2 billion, light years away from the earth in some galaxy, we don't know exactly which galaxy. We just know that it happened in a given direction on the sky. Those waves of gravity came through the earth and cause this detector system in S and S in Washington state and Louisiana, it caused them to resonate and vibrate. And the distortions that they measured were equivalent to changing their weight by like a factor of a billionth of a billionth of a gram, something like that incredibly minute amounts. And yet they could detect it because they have ultra ultra-sensitive technology. But so these phenomenon that we see, we never see these things directly as they are, right. 0 (34m 39s): I mean, even like, even if we were in person, you, you don't see me, three-dimensionally you just see your eyes are two dimensional objects. The retinas in your eyes are just like the screen of your TV, right? Your monitor, they're two dimensional. They have lengthened with only, they don't have depth. And so looking at something, our eyes are just coupled to this magnificent computer called our brain and that synthesizes a stereo kind of image. We can do the same thing with technology and the whole point of science. And what I do is to augment the senses that we have light detection, basically sound detection since vibration detection. We don't do as much with taste and in my field, but, but you know, colors in the spectrum, et cetera, et cetera. 0 (35m 23s): And those are all enhancements of physical senses to measure what we can't measure using the physical body that we have. So we use indirect tools to measure them and we've gotten exquisitely good. But the fun thing about is that usually when you unlock one mystery, two more kind of open up. And in this case, we don't know much about the properties, the physical composition on these black holes of what their properties will be like, what, where they were exactly. And even fundamental properties of how gravity relates to the other forces of nature called quantum mechanics and, and electricity and magnetism. So these are really important things. And it's just such a fun thing to be able to contemplate, imagine getting paid. 0 (36m 5s): You know, I mean, I don't get paid. I have a couple of advertise, but I don't get paid to like chat on my podcast early. Right. But imagine you got paid to like, think about all these questions. That's why I say I would do it for free, but don't tell him Gavin. 1 (36m 19s): No, I think it's all fascinating when you hear all of these theories and it's, I find it so perplexing that you could talk about a black hole with some people theorizing that within each one is another galaxy with another black hole, and then there's just goes on and on and on like a fractal. And then we can measure, you know, waves of gravity from billions of years ago. But we write off God is an impossibility, or we write off aliens as an impossibility. I'm like, well, if you look at stuff that is pretty much concrete, like we know black holes exist. We know that, you know, there's this giant fiery ball that keeps us warm, like there's room for possibility for all of these things. 1 (37m 3s): So I feel like, yeah, you should have some skepticism, but like leave some room for some magic and some belief because there's a lot of crazy stuff that we've discovered and are discovering. 0 (37m 13s): Yeah. I think that scientists look at, you know, religion, God, when have you with skepticism, you know, it may be maybe it's not altogether unearned or what have you, but, but at the same token, you know, I feel like it's, it's kind of a life lesson and maybe devoid of a meaning. If you just think about the material, if you just think about the physical and my part of my mission as a believing, practicing Jew and as a cosmologist is to not prove God's existence. You didn't ask me that. And I'm glad that you didn't because it's much more scientific to say like, well, what can you do? What is your kind of role? 0 (37m 53s): And in my role, I feel is to, is to give people permission, to consider the possibility that God might exist, might exist. So you can't prove that he doesn't exist. Even the most vehement of out atheist Richard Dawkins. I've had Michael Shermer on my show. You know, these are the foremost skeptics and, and, you know, opponents of even things like intelligent design and then I'll have on people that are proponents of intelligent design Christians. I'm not a Christian. And so we can debate these things. And I think as long as the debate is done with love, like if I'm trying to change your mind, oh, Candace, you're, you're so stupid. You believe in God, you need this ferry and the godmother, you know, fair. I think it's, I don't talk to people like that. 0 (38m 33s): Even people like Lawrence Krauss, who I'm hat on, you know, he, a lot of it is superficial. And, and this is a surprising thing in Judaism. You're familiar with the bar mitzvah or the bat mitzvah. These happen age 12 for girls and 13 for boys because girls are more mature than boys. So they get to their maturity a year before boys do, which, you know, having boys and girls, I can agree that that is correct. But when you look at when most Jewish men and a lot of these scientists that are atheist, Stephen, Jay Gould, Carl Sagan, Lawrence Krauss, they're Jewish men, boys, you know, at once were boys. And what happened? Well, they learned about Judaism in this case. And, and it goes for like Dawkins probably as a Christian or whatever. 0 (39m 15s): And they stopped learning when they got there, you know, bar mitzvah and they completed it. And then it's like done with this. Like now I've graduated. I don't need to go to temple anymore. And I find it fascinating because none of them to a man, whatever, say, oh yeah, if a 13 year old told me that my theory that a universe came from nothing is totally bogus. I'd say, oh, sure. You know? And so I'm like, well, why do you listen to the two, a 13 year old IEU? And that was the last time you knew anything about Judaism. If that's your religion at birth, and now you just wrote it off, you know, Steven Pinker is. And so they tend to have very juvenile conceptions of God. And I say to them, I don't believe in that version of the God, you don't believe in either. Cause you know, like when the Soviet sent this first astronaut Yuri Gagarin to space in 1961, he, the first thing he said, when he landed back on earth, like a good Soviet, you know, comrade Cosmin and he said, oh, I went up there. 0 (40m 8s): I didn't see a UN a man in a, in a white beard, meaning like he didn't see God. And like that's the most idiotic anti-scientific propaganda's thing to say. Like, I don't believe that there's a guy in heaven on the space, you know, pony or space chair, you know, floating around. They're either. So good. We agree on that. It's much better as a scientist. The most important thing scientists should say is with humility. I don't know. And that's a very good, a good thing to encourage your kids. And by the way, I'd be remiss. If I don't say like, you should get your kid a telescope, like you can get telescopes. Everybody, everyone tells me I should start like my own telescope company, but no matter where you are, so I'm in Southern California, you could be anywhere. You can see the exact same craters on the moon. 0 (40m 50s): You can see the exact same moons of Jupiter. So Candice, you can see all their moons of other planets. You can see the rings of Sammy could see that galaxy. I talked about 2 million, 500,000 light years away from us. And I'll just be like, again, it's like time, time teleportation. And it may do for a, you know, a young person in your life. And maybe this comes out before the holidays. It's like the best gift you can possibly. And I can send you some links if you want to put it in the show notes. 1 (41m 17s): Yeah. I was actually looking, looking at one for my husband too. Yeah, that'd be great. Listen to this. 0 (41m 24s): Yeah. I need to get the, you know, I need to start, you know, some, some totally corrupt telescope manufacturing company so I can get, but I, I build other types of telescopes. So, but, but really that can spark a type of wander and it doesn't have to, like, it doesn't mean your son has to become an astronomer, but it's, it's, it's, it's unbelievably powerful. And the analogy I give is like, you might've heard of like the Higgs bows on or some huge particle accelerator, smashing atoms together, nuclear reactor. Like I hope you don't have one of those. Like if you do, the FBI will probably come visiting soon, but you can have the exact same experience physically, emotionally, spiritually, you can have that same feeling that Isaac Newton had that Galileo had that Einstein had looking at the same objects through a tiny telescope, cost $50. 0 (42m 12s): And I think that's just amazing because you can't do it in any other, like you can't like look at an x-ray crystallography picture of a DNA molecule. Oh, there's a double heat. Like I hope you don't have that in your basement. You know, your kids will be in great danger, so, but you can do it with a telescope. So that's my pitch for, for big astronomy. Go out and get a telescope for Christmas. Yeah. 1 (42m 32s): Telescope. Yeah. I think that's so interesting that that Russian astronaut was just like, yeah, there's I don't see God up here because when you hear some of the us astronauts, they kind of have a different experience. Right? Like they have a very spiritual 0 (42m 48s): Yeah. Did a holy communion on the surface of the month. Yeah. 1 (42m 52s): So I find that interesting. The cultural difference there. 0 (42m 56s): Yeah, that's right. And you know, I mean, there was kind of mandated. Mark said, you know, religion is the opiate of the people and the Marxists country for a long time. But, but I think if you deny that there's a grander, meaning behind what we do as scientists, you're just not doing it. Right. You know, like, you know, find another job, bro. Like if you think of it, just like, I feel the reason I started my YouTube channel is to give, you know, free content to the taxpaying public that pays my salary, you know? And he's, every scientist is, has benefited from, from a taxpayer, you know, the generosity. And so for me to take that say, oh, I'm sorry. I'm, I'm very specialized Candace. I'm telling you, you can't understand. It's one thing, if you say it and I know what you mean, but I feel like I should have to, as a moral imperative, I should have to translate what I do to you. 0 (43m 43s): I mean, you paid, maybe you paid a dollar. I don't care. I have a moral responsibility to give you some return on that investment. So that's what my YouTube channel is all about. And I wish that other scientists would do it, but Candice, they don't. And part of the reason as I think like part of the reason they don't even think about spirituality, why? Because it's hard. And I'm like, oh yeah, yeah. I forgot. You knew quantum electrodynamics, you know, at age three, you know, when you were born. No, no, no. I had to work. Oh, you had to work at that. Oh, that's interesting. So you work on things that you find valuable and worthy of your, of your attention, don't you and to a person it's very hard to find some, some do it and some, you know, most do not. And, and that goes for, you know, contemplating the big picture. 0 (44m 23s): I don't care. I mean, my religion forbids me from proselytizing. I am not allowed to say, you know, we'd really, really like you to be on our team. You know, canvas, you know, you know, it's not so bad for women, you know, you don't have to get any minor surgeries and any part of your body. It's, it's pretty easy. No, I'm not allowed to do that because, because we believe that, you know, it's, it's important for you to believe in God and, and be a wholesome person, a good person. And, and to, you know, in your religion now the same thing, I don't force myself to, you know, every scientist should do this or they're frauds, but, but I feel like too many of us shirk that responsibility. And now I'd like to do my part to, to pay it back and forward, by the way, in Russian speaking of Russian. 0 (45m 5s): So we've talked a lot about Einstein. Now, we're going to, we're not going to leave any room for aliens. We've got to leave some room for alums, but in Russian, In Russian language, the word scientist translates to someone who has taught, which is very powerful. Like it's not, that's not the word for like educated. So it means someone who is taught and, and I feel like that's very powerful because it implies an obligation. Not only for me to be a student and I believe actively, you have to work to be a student. Like it's, you're, nobody's a natural student. You have to work at it. And it's a fallacy to think that you can naturally absorb these material without some programmatic way of doing it. I talk about some tools to do that in the book. But beyond that, you have to be a teacher because you have to pay it forward. 0 (45m 49s): And I liked that aspect of that, a little brief vignette from the Russian language, but let's talk about aliens cause that's, 1 (45m 56s): Let's get into it. So are they real, all those videos that snuck out last year was that strategically placed to get our mind off of all of the wildness that was happening. I need to know 0 (46m 10s): Exactly. I need to know. Well, I'm going to tell you what's going on with there. It does now, but NASA has been fully investigating this conversation that never happened. So again, the best answer for a scientist, not a cop-out to say, we don't know, we can't rule out. We can't prove it is. We can't rule out that it's not. On the other hand, you can speculate using methods of logical, rational inference. What are the probabilities that these spacecraft are here? And it's so fascinating to me because you can get people that are, you know, equally bright on both sides of the argument, which tells me a couple of things. 0 (46m 50s): One is that it's something legitimate to investigate it doesn't, you know, it's like the study, like if you're addicted to comic books like mass that great. But if you study the history of comic books in the paper and their social media, like that scholarship, right? Like, like a comic books, like whatever, it's kind of cool, but, but studying the, so scholarship of science as a sociological experiment, I find that fascinating. So you have people like my friend, Eric Weinstein, and he will, you know, rhapsodize about how important this is the biggest thing. Even if it's not true, it shows like governmental coverups and Pentagon secrets. And if it is true, you know, so much the better because now they have to have mastered technology and engineering and science beyond the 25th century, you know, kind of, so the stakes are very high and then I'll talk to people in the government that are funded by the government that, you know, whose job is to research threats, to potentially United States interest in the scientific and technical realm. 0 (47m 46s): We're not studying it. And I don't think they're lying that there's no benefit. And in fact, some of it's public, so they can't be expected to lie and get away with it. So I do feel like there are, you know, competing visions for what this is what bothers me is the intensity is the passion about it. And in that, in other words, like it's, it's like scientists are covering up. No, there's no, there's no one, you know, Candace who would be happier than, you know, my young colleague, who's a star she's starting off as a professor here, you know, for her to discover aliens, you know, and unequivocal proof of like, she'd get tenure, she'd probably win the Nobel prize. She'd be no scientists have a huge vested interest in it. 0 (48m 27s): Not just for like, oh, we're going to make movies and write a book as my friend and God, you know, Avi Loeb has, has done very successfully and he's at Harvard and he started a proper investigatory, you know, group called project Galileo and telling you a fringe involvement with that, not fringe in the bad sense, but just tangentially involved with it and external oversight. And this is using optical, like where else does, would you look for, you know, things flying around in space, then a telescope and who knows how to use a telescope better than an astronomers. Like we've heard a lot from fighter pilots and things disappointed me. You know, when they showed on 60 minutes, they just had like the fighter pilots and didn't have any skeptics and emanate, astronomers, any, any physicists talk about it. 0 (49m 9s): And it's not like I need more exposure or whatever. No, they should show both sides. Cause I don't think I could convince someone who really believes in it and I've had on, you know, Tom DeLonge who is, you know, blink 180 2, but he also brought a lot of this to, to, you know, the forefront and New York times in 2017 and subsequently he was on my show. And you know, I, I can't say that it's, it's, it's a slam dunk, you know, kind of the cases that he's making. But on the other hand, I don't know if I could convince him and in science, if I can't convince you that you could be wrong, if there's nothing I can say that would falsify your preconceived notions, whether it's about me, about some scientific theory, then it's just, it's literally not worth my time. 0 (49m 52s): So part of the, the, the, the conversations that I have in Think Like a Nobel Prize Winner is about the importance of listening to your critics, but not too much. So there are all these paradoxes, you have to be confident and have swagger, but have humility and maybe a touch of the imposter syndrome. You have to listen to your critics and love the fact that they criticize you because in, so doing, they make your theory, your results stronger because the more it survives a tax, like, you know, if you look at, you know, people complaining about Bitcoin or whatever, oh, it crashes, it goes up or down, you know, I've had Michael Saylor on my show. He's like, it's good. When to crash it I'm like, what do you mean? Like, oh, I guess he got a cheek. No, he's like, it shows that it's resilient. 0 (50m 32s): That it's, what's called anti-fragile the same thing happens in ideas, in the space of logic and rational thinking and science. It's good when you criticize not personally ad hominem, but if you criticize my ideas with a form, I call it argue with love. Like if you just do it to like, shoot me down, build up your ego and believe me, there's plenty of men and women like that in science. But if you do it and have genuine concern and that can go towards spiritual things or whatever, if you do it. And I think that's the highest form of intellectual rational discourse. 1 (51m 4s): Yeah. I agree. You can tell too, when you're watching a debate and it's between two people that are friends with maybe on different Isles of whatever the topic is, and it's something that you can watch and you can learn your you're learning from both people. Right? And then you watch other ones where maybe it's like one of those political shows where there's like five people and they're all yelling at each other like, well, this isn't going anywhere and I'm now stressed and I didn't learn anything. 0 (51m 27s): Right. Have you ever like watched the presidential debate charisms? Oh yeah. I changed my mind. Now I'm going to vote for who else? Those are pointless. I feel like most debates are pointless except for the ones whose stakes could not be higher. The key is to know which is which 1 (51m 42s): Yeah, exactly. We'll 0 (51m 43s): Learn a lot more about extra terrestrials just to summarize and I'd love to do a part two someday, but when we do discover aliens or not, but you know, hard thing is to not fall in love with your own theories, with your own agenda in science, it's very tempting to go out and seek that witch and find that which you sought after. It's just a natural human tendency called confirmation bias. And the book was written as a kind of guy, not for scientists. I mean, hopefully a lot of scientists and they are responding very favorably to it because, you know, there's an old joke. How do you know a scientist is outgoing because he stares at your feet when he talks to you instead of your own. And that, and that's really true. 0 (52m 24s): And I have a lot, you know, I'm always telling people, look, look here. Not, not, yeah, but, but in the same token, if you think about what is useful to a person, you know, my avatar was some salesman car salesman in, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, or whatever, and, and saying like, what can that person use to level up their career? So we all have things with collaboration. We all have competition. We all have metrics. We have rubrics. We have so translating those from the highest intellectual, you know, performers in history as judged by most people, Nobel prize winners, distilling that to language that ordinary people can use. I think that was, you know, the, the main, main goal in this book. 0 (53m 4s): And I'm already working on volume two with new Nobel prize winners to come in the near future. But, but it was really, you know, surprising to me after writing a science book, the first book, Losing the Nobel Prize to write a self-help book. What briefly you'll be interested to know outranked Bernay Brown's book and self-help. So I was pretty proud of that for a nerd to beat up Renee brown. 1 (53m 27s): No. Yeah, I think it's great. And I, I bought the audible version, which is awesome because you can kind of like multitask and still listen, but yeah, it's a very easily easy to digest cool tools that you can apply right away and take little notes for yourself as to like important, I guess, mindset. Right. It's a lot of it's mindset is what I'm finding. So it's cool. But I definitely see, I can see that the audience is like probably a little bit nerdy, but I think that's cool, 0 (53m 60s): Right? Yeah. You want to unlock the inner nerd, but not too much. Not too much. 1 (54m 4s): Exactly. So I don't want to take up too much of your time. I do want to say thank you so much. I would definitely love to have you back on and dive deeper into some of these topics. Do you want to tell the listeners where they can follow you, how they can support you and where they can get your books? 0 (54m 21s): Yeah. The books are, you know, anywhere you get books. And then, you know, I'm trying to, you know, maybe grow the YouTube audience on Dr. Brian Keating on YouTube. And then I have an audio podcast, you know, and you can find, just search my name. I actually have two. One is basically the entire set of interviews with the Nobel prize winners. That's called Think Like a Nobel Prize Winner. And the other part, my main podcast called Into the Impossible where I interview brainiacs, billionaires, Bitcoin nerds, and everyone in between. And I always have like signature questions at the end. Cause I love to get into the existential. What is your legacy as a, as a scientist, as a billionaire, as a brainiac, what do you want to leave as your legacy for the immediate future for the billionaire future of, of all of humanity, maybe all of space and time. 0 (55m 8s): And then what advice would you give to your former self? And it's really reflecting on, you know, what means the most out of life is not what you do in the laboratory. I tell my students, I say, it's, you know, it's the life that you earn outside of it. And that's what I'm trying to do. I'm trying to bring it to the people, as I say, thank you for paying your taxes. If you do continue to do so, the sun's going to last for another 4 billion years, go out there and get a telescope this holiday season, and then maybe Candice and I can partner on a, on a, on a brand deal. And we can, we can co package. I don't know. There you 1 (55m 38s): Go. 0 (55m 40s): Thank you so much. It's been a pleasure. 1 (55m 42s): Thank you so much. Have a great day. Well, that's it for this week's episode of Chatting with Candice. If you enjoyed the podcast, please leave a five star review and share it with a couple of buddies. Those are the two quickest ways to help the podcast grow and get on the charts. So I would really appreciate that. And then if you want to continue your support, you can go to buy me a coffee.com/ Candice, or you can go to Chatting with Candice dot com. And from there you can sign up for my Patrion. And the last way you can support me is you can go to locals.com/ Candice. So all of those options are great ways to support this, anybody podcasts that could, I really appreciate all of you and I'll talk to you soon.