Published: 24 October 2022

Surrey Speaks season 2 episode 3 - Can quantum mechanics explain some of nature’s biggest unanswered questions?

Surrey’s Professor Jim Al-Khalili and Dr Sapphire Lally are the guests in Episode 3 of the Surrey Speaks Podcast. 

Prof Al-Khalili is a successful broadcaster in his own right as host of the BBC Radio 4 programme, The Life Scientific, but on this occasion, he is the one answering the questions as he joins host Dr Caroline Shenton-Taylor to discuss, Can quantum mechanics explain some of nature’s biggest unanswered questions? 

“It turns out that at a fundamental level the laws of physics are completely reversible in time,” says Prof Al-Khalili. “That you can record a process – a swinging pendulum, for example, or atoms bouncing around in a box, then run the film backwards – you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. 

“So, it has become a really famous paradox in physics: How come, if our fundamental laws of physics are completely time symmetric, we experience time moving in one direction, where does that direction come from?”. 

Dr Sapphire Lally is a theoretical physicist in the Leverhulme Quantum Biology Doctoral College Training Centre who completed her PhD under the supervision of Prof Al-Khalili and Dr Andrea Rocco. 

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