Large Grants
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Previous Programs

2018 Agency in the Physical World
Awardees; RFP download

2016 Physics of the Observer
Awardees; RFP download

2015 The Physics of What Happens
Awardees; RFP download

2013 Physics of Information
Awardees; RFP download

2010 The Nature of Time
Awardees; RFP download

2008 Foundational Questions in Physics and Cosmology
Awardees; RFP download

2006 Foundational Questions in Physics and Cosmology
Awardees; RFP download

photo by Max Alexander

John Barrow
University of Cambridge


Marianne Freiberger, University of Cambridge Rachel Thomas, University of Cambridge

Project Title

Stuff Happens: the Physics of Events

Project Summary

Physics focuses on the study of events. But what is an event? How does the definition differ between different areas of science? Is there a hierarchy of events, with a collection of separate events from one vantage point appearing as a single event when viewed from another perspective? And how do different events relate to each other? These kinds of questions are fundamental to our understanding of physics – but paradoxically, so fundamental that they might appear trivial to non-experts, unaware of their potential as rich starting points for research. Our proposal bridges this significant gap between fundamental questions and the understanding of the interested but non-specialist public. The physics of events encompasses a wide range of areas – from relativity to statistical mechanics, for instance – and offers a huge variety of entry points for a general audience, including young people and educators. Through articles, podcasts and videos, we will map out key topic areas in the physics of events, allowing readers to make their own exploration of this territory. The material will be produced in collaboration with leading researchers and be published on Plus, the award-winning free online maths magazine, where it will form a rich and lasting resource.

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