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Carlo Rovelli on his search for the theory of everything

Can quantum physics reveal the secrets of the universe—as well as humanity’s entangled nature?

By Marcus Chown   May 2021

My interactions with my surroundings define me. I do not exist in any meaningful sense independently of those interactions. Air molecules are bouncing off the atoms of my skin, photons of light are being absorbed by atoms in my eye, compressions and rarefactions of the air are jostling my eardrum. I also live in a complex web of social interactions. And, at this moment, via a transatlantic telephone line, I am interacting with Carlo Rovelli. 

Rovelli has just come indoors from shovelling snow outside his house in Canada. The Italian theoretical physicist has been in London, Ontario, working at the University of Western Ontario, hunkered down through the Covid crisis. “It has been sad to see what the rest of the world has been going through,” he says. “I have been very privileged to be here.” Not only does Rovelli have a forest nearby but he has had…

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