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University of Southern California

USC Sidney Harman Academy for Polymathic Study

“It is a place to test run your ideas and make you a better thinker. ”—Shao-Ling Ma, doctoral candidate, department of English

Spring 2012 / Polymathic Pizza - Weird Science
Strings: How is the Cosmos Held Together?

When

Wednesday, January 25 2012
5:00pm-6:30pm

Where

PLEASE NOTE ROOM CHANGE:  Herklotz Room, Doheny Memorial Library, G24

Who

Open to undergraduates

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How does the cosmos—whether one or multiple—hold itself together?  Here’s one theory, strings, the unifying of the universe via a sub-atomic grid that some scientists see as the binding force of the cosmos.   A USC physicist will suggest how this might be happening and the multiple disciplines involved in establishing the process.

Clifford Johnson

Clifford Johnson

Clifford Johnson always wanted to be a physicist and astronomer.  His research focuses on the development of theoretical tools for the description of the basic fabric of Nature.  Johnson believes the tools and ideas often have applications in other areas of physics (and mathematics) too - unexpected connections are part of the fun of research and very polymathic!  Ultimately, Professor Johnson is trying to understand and describe the origin, past, present, and future of the Universe.  This involves trying to describe its fundamental constituents (and their interactions), as well as the Universe as a dynamical object in its own right. He mainly works on (super) string theory, gravity, gauge theory, and M-theory, which leads him to think about things like space-time, quantum mechanics, black holes, the big bang, extra dimensions, quarks, gluons, and so forth.  As a true polymathic practitioner, he is also an accomplished musician.   

 

Fall 2014 Series

Quadrant Series with Edwin McCann

The Academy for Polymathic Study guides its enquiries through four flexible pathways or Quadrants:  (1) critical and integrative thinking; (2) study of the polymaths; (3) the tapestry of knowledge; and (4) communication.

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Undergraduate Series:

Polymathic Pizza, Part I: On Being Human

What does being “human” really mean and can we ever plumb the depths of the complexity of our humanity? Is being “human” a social, spiritual, or biological reality –or perhaps some combination of all three? Throughout Fall 2014, we will consider what it means to be human, beginning with the personal and expanding outwards to the global implications of our “humanness.”

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Polymathic Workshops, Panels, and Special Events

In Fall 2014, the USC Sidney Harman Academy for Polymathic Study is partnering with leading global and academic institutions and scholars, holding workshops and symposia to explore topics and issues from a polymathic perspctive.   

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Graduate Series:

Objects of Knowledge IV

Conversations regarding objects of knowledge, visual and material worlds from a polymathic perspective.

Learn more