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Watchback Discourse Series | The Geometry of Chaos: From Climate Change to Foundations of Quantum Physics

Watch the recording of the Discourse given by Tim Palmer, Hon. MRIA, with Luke Drury MRIA as respondent that took originally place on 7 February 2024.


In this Discourse, Professor Palmer argued that the three great theories of 20th Century physics are relativity theory, quantum theory and chaos theory. He focused on the fractal geometry of chaos and argues that its properties provide a geometric realisation of the great incompleteness/undecidability theorems of Kurt Gödel and Alan Turing.

Our speakers:

Tim Palmer, Hon. MRIA is a Royal Society Research Professor at the University of Oxford. His PhD was in general relativity theory, but he has spend much of his career researching the nonlinear dynamics of our climate system. Amongst other things he discovered the world’s largest breaking waves (in the stratosphere) and pioneered the development of probabilistic ensemble prediction techniques for weather and climate forecasting. In the last few years he has become active in the field of quantum foundations.

As well as a fellow of the Royal Society and Honorary Member of the Royal Irish Academy, Tim is an International Member of the US National Academy of Sciences. Amongst other awards he has won the Dirac Gold Medal of the Institute of Physics, and a Gold Medal from the Royal Astronomical Society. As Lead Author, he was officially recognised as having contributed to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s award of Nobel Peace Prize.

Luke Drury MRIA is the Chair of the ALLEA Open Science Taskforce. The ALLEA Open Science Task Force draws on the expertise of ALLEA’s academy members in promoting science across all disciplines as a global public good that is as open as possible and as closed as necessary. He was President of the RIA from 2011 to 2014.


Discourse Series