What is Space?

10 September 2018

This is a talk I delivered at the Science Gallery, Dublin, on 6 September 2018. It covers some elements of my book Origins: The Scientific Story of Creation, and my forthcoming book Quantum Space: Loop Quantum Gravity and the Search for the Structure of Space, Time, and the Universe.


Just how special is human existence?

16 June 2018

In a recent science blog post at Prospect magazine, science writer Philip Ball reviews a recent paper on the nature of the relationship between the size of the cosmological constant and the possibility of star and galaxy formation. As always, Ball’s reporting is entirely accurate, but this paper isn’t about the multiverse, in the sense of promoting or testing ‘multiverse theory’. By taking the catchy word ‘multiverse’ out of context and putting it in the title of the post, the absurd notion of the multiverse as a valid scientific theory, with the capacity to perform calculations (and, by assumption, make predictions), becomes normalised. Multiverse theory can do neither of these things: it simply does not have the same status as quantum theory or big bang cosmology.

It’s hard enough to resist the tide of metaphysical nonsense advertised as science when this is coming from the scientists themselves. Is it too much to ask that science writers and publishers resist the temptation to leap on this bandwagon at every opportunity?

Read my alternative view here

Physics Controversies Past and Present

10 May 2018

I was asked to summarise the talks presented at a one-day conference on Physics Controversies Past and Present, organised by the Centre for the History and Philosophy of Physics and held at the Department of Physics, University of Oxford on 24 February 2018. This is what happened.

View on the HAPP Centre website

A Game of Theories

15 March 2018

I’m about to make a start on a new book with the working title: A Game of Theories: The Quest for the Essential Meaning of Quantum Mechanics (I’m pretty confident that this title won’t survive to publication). I’ve spent the last couple of days bedding down the structure and approach, and have tried to sharpen my thinking by working on the opening Preamble. I’ve decided to post the Preamble here, and invite readers to let me know what they think. You can get some idea of what the book will be all about from its list of contents, which I’ve appended at the end.

Read the article here

Mass at the Royal Institution

28 September 2017

Everything around us is made of ‘stuff’. But what is it, exactly?

Jim Baggott explores our changing understanding of the nature of matter, from the ancient Greeks to the development of quantum field theory and the discovery of the Higgs boson.

Jim is an award-winning science writer. He trained as a scientist, completing a doctorate in chemical physics at the University of Oxford in the early 80s, before embarking on post-doctoral research studies at Oxford and at Stanford University in California. He was a lecturer in chemistry at the University of Reading for 5 years before leaving academia to join the business world.

View on the RI YouTube Channel

Do We Know What the Universe is Made Of?

26 September 2017

What does material substance consist of? Jim Baggott, author of Mass: The Quest to Understand Matter from Greek Atoms to Quantum Fields, argues that whilst modern physics has given us ways of dealing with the question, it has not actually provided the answer.

View on YouTube

Where Physics Meets Philosopy

27 June 2017

Communicating physics is difficult, partly because the underlying ideas can be hard to grasp, even for experts. Popular science writer, Jim Baggott, talks us through some of his favourite physics books.


Jim Baggott on Mass

19 October 2016

In this short Hay Levels video, Jim Baggott talks about the relationship between matter and mass, the subject of his next book Mass: The Quest to Understand Matter from Greek Atoms to Quantum Fields, to be published by Oxford University Press in June 2017.

View on YouTube