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Does Chaos Have Meaning?

Shekhar Kapur + Piet Hut

Wednesday, March 31, 2010
8:00 PM–9:30 PM

Shekhar Kapur, the director of the Elizabeth films and Bandit Queen, debates the meaning of the universe with the interdisciplinary astrophysicist Piet Hut. Hut’s research at Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study seeks to reveal the structure of our physical world–at the largest scales in time and space–by studying the history of the universe.

Shekhar Kapur is one of the few film directors who successfully made the transition from Bollywood to Hollywood. His first Hindi film Masoom won five Filmfare awards, his highly successful science-fiction Mr. India is considered one of the iconic films of the 80s in Indian cinema, but it was Bandit Queen that brought him international attention. In 1998, Kapur he directed Cate Blanchett in her breakthrough film Elizabeth, which was nominated for seven Oscars and won the Oscar for best make-up. They teamed up for its sequel Elizabeth: The Golden Age which won the Oscar for best costume design. As an environmental activist he sits on the board of the Global Water Challenge, the world’s premier body for water related issues and is deeply engaged in a new project Paani about the impending water wars in the world.
Piet Hut has been a Professor of Astrophysics at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ, since 1985, where he currently is also the Head of the Program of Interdisciplinary Studies. His astrophysics research cover topics from studies of the very early phases of the Big Bang and the thermodynamic behavior of black holes to supercomputer simulations of collisions of galaxies and of the evolution of star clusters in the centers of galaxies. His interdisciplinary collaborations have spanned a range of different fields, including particle physics, computer science, cognitive science, geology, paleontology, psychology, and philosophy.
The New York Times Community Affairs Department is a media sponsor for this event.
BRAINWAVE is made possible, in part, by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency.