“Is Our Universe a Simulation?” with Brian Greene

Neil deGrasse Tyson channels Morpheus on StarTalk TV on the National Geographic Channel. Image Credit: NG Studios.

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About This Episode

Is our universe just an incredibly complex computer simulation? Or is it just one of many universes, each brought into existence by the choices we make? In this episode of StarTalk Radio, Neil deGrasse Tyson investigates the nature of reality, from quantum physics and string theory, to the multiverse and The Matrix. To grapple with these questions, both very big and very, very small, Neil interviews his friend, theoretical physicist Brian Greene, while in studio, he gets help from co-host Maeve Higgins and David Chalmers, who is a Professor of Philosophy and co-director of the Center for Mind, Brain, and Consciousness at NYU. Discover why the multiverse concept makes mathematical sense, at least through the lens of quantum physics. You’ll hear how Schrödinger’s Cat can be simultaneously both dead and alive and why Planck’s Constant has changed our understanding of how reality plays out on a quantum level. You’ll learn about the “simulation hypothesis”: that we are all living in a computer simulation, and why any evidence to the contrary (or glitches in the matrix) could be part of the simulation, too. Find out what Gödel’s incompleteness theorem says about the complexity of that simulated universe, and why the idea that we are all characters in a game designed by a pimple-faced 15-year-old from the future may be more in line with the laws of physics than the idea of a creative god. Finally, explore the relationship between physics, string theory and music with Stephon Alexander, who is both a theoretical physicist and a musician. Plus, Chuck Nice heads to the streets to find out what the people know about theoretical physics, and Bill Nye ponders what life as a sim would be like.

NOTE: All-Access subscribers can listen to this entire episode commercial-free here: “Is Our Universe a Simulation?” with Brian Greene.

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