Cosmological Conundrums: A Conversation with Justin Khoury

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Open Agenda Publishing, Oct 1, 2020 - Science - 50 pages

This book is based on an in-depth filmed conversation between Howard Burton and Justin Khoury, Professor of Physics at the University of Pennsylvania. This thoughtful, extensive conversation gives a window into the world of what a practicing, theoretical physicist cosmologist is doing all day long and examines a wide range of fascinating topics that his research covers such as the early universe, the Big Bang, dark matter, dark energy, Cosmic Microwave Background, the MOND (Modified Newtonian Dynamics) theory, and more.

This carefully-edited book includes an introduction, Into The Light, and questions for discussion at the end of each chapter:

I. Becoming A Physicist - The power of passion

II. The Victim of Its Success? - Swinging scientific pendulums

III. Periodically Fiery - Calculating colliding branes

IV. The CMB - Almost completely homogeneous

V. The Process of Discovery - Typically messier than you think

VI. Learning from History - Missing mass or missing theory?

VII. MOND vs. Dark Matter, Part I - Looking at galaxies

VIII. MOND vs. Dark Matter, Part II - Dark matter roars back

IX. Why Not Both? - The liquid helium analogy

X. Dark Energy - Vacuum energy and the cosmological constant problem

XI. Personal vs. Professional - The scientist as childlike iconoclast

XII. Revolutionary Rumblings - Cosmology’s Golden Age

About Ideas Roadshow Conversations Series: 

This book is part of an expanding series of 100+ Ideas Roadshow conversations, each one presenting a wealth of candid insights from a leading expert in a relaxed and informal setting to give non-specialists a uniquely accessible window into frontline research and scholarship that wouldn't otherwise be encountered through standard lectures and textbooks. For other books in this series visit our website (


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The Conversation
Becoming a Physicist
The Victim of Its Success?
Periodically Fiery
The Process of Discovery
Learning from History
MOND vs Dark Matter Part I
Why Not Both?
Dark Energy
Personal vs Professional
Revolutionary Rumblings

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About the author (2020)

Howard Burton, the founder and creator of Ideas Roadshow and Ideas on Film, holds a PhD in theoretical physics and an MA in philosophy. He was the Founding Executive Director of Canada’s Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics (PI) from 1999-2007. During his time at PI, he also developed an extensive outreach programme for teachers, students and the general public. His experiences at developing the research and outreach mandates of the institute were described in the book, First Principles: Building Perimeter Institute, featuring a foreword by Nobel Laureate Roger Penrose.

Ideas Roadshow is an award-winning initiative, recipient of the London Book Fair International Excellence Award in 2018. Howard has hosted and filmed in-depth conversations with more than 100 of the world’s brightest thinkers, including 3 Nobel Laureates, across the arts, sciences, sports and games. 

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