Laws of Nature

Duration: 45 minutes
First broadcast: Thursday 19 October 2000

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Laws of Nature. Since ancient times philosophers and physicists have tried to discover simple underlying principles that control the Universe: In the 6th Century BC Thales declared “Everything is water”, centuries later Aristotle claimed that all of creation was forged from four elements, Newton more successfully laid down the Law of Universal Gravitation and as we speak, contemporary scientists are struggling to complete the task of ‘String Theory’ – the quest to find a single over-arching equation that unites all of physics, and can perhaps explain the organisation of everything in existence.

But are the Laws of Physics really ‘facts of life’? Is what is true in physics, true in all areas of existence? Is it even true in other areas of physics?

With Mark Buchanan, physicist and author of Ubiquity; Professor Frank Close, theoretical physicist and author of Lucifer’s Legacy: The Meaning of Asymmetry; Nancy Cartwright, Professor of Philosophy, LSE.