Jeff Forshaw

Professor of Theoretical Particle Physics at the University of Manchester

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Co-author of best seller popular science books with Professor Brian Cox
Recipient of the Kelvin Medal and James Clerk Maxwell Medal
Regular speaker at science festivals
Science consultant for many BBC Television series

Jeff Forshaw is professor of theoretical particle physics at the University of Manchester. He is a research scientist and teacher – Professor Brian Cox is his most well-known student. Together with Brian, he has written four popular science books (Why does E=mc^2?, The Quantum Universe, Universal and, most recently, Black Holes). He received the Kelvin Prize ‘For his wide-reaching work aimed at helping the general public to understand complex ideas in physics’, and the James Clerk Maxwell Medal for ‘outstanding contributions to theoretical physics.’

Jeff hails from the north west of England and is known for his simple language and plain-speaking approach. He is inspired by the deep mystery at the heart of the universe and humanity’s noble quest to understand it. He’s also well aware that we most likely know very little – that we are scratching at the surface of something far bigger. His talks are in part a celebration of the joy of not knowing – of glimpsing something more.

Suggested Talks: 

Black Holes: It’s beginning to look like space is built from something more elemental – something quantum. The very idea that the space you move around in is made from something else, something outside of space,  is outlandish but there is more. It seems that the way space is constructed resembles the way present-day computer scientists are trying to build quantum computers – space appears to be built from an entangled network of quantum bits with the implication that the three-dimensional space we are so familiar with may be little more than a hologram. In this inspiring talk Jeff Forshaw will take us on a journey, starting with the pioneering work of Stephen Hawking and ending with the link between quantum computing, emergent spacetime and the world as a hologram.

The Universe in a Pin Head: The big bang has it that everything in the observable universe sprung forth from a region of space far smaller than the size of an atom. How is that possible? How can we be so sure? Jeff will take us back to a time before the hot big bang and explain the subsequent unfolding history of the cosmos. He’ll show us how irrepressible, random ripples in space and time before the big bang have left their imprint on the way that the stars are scattered across the night sky – one of the most audacious and inspiring predictions in all of modern physics.

Our Quantum Universe: The rules describing how the basic constituent of matter move around are astonishing and bizarre – they would even have us imagine that one particle can be in two places at the same time. In his talk, Jeff will try to make sense of all this and provide an introduction to what quantum physics is all about. He’ll also discuss the latest developments at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, and the quest for a unified theory of everything.

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