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Computer Engineering and Computer Science


Sounds of Science is the first movement of a symphony for many (scientific) instruments and voices, united in celebration of the frontiers of science and intended for a general audience. John Goodenough, the maestro who transformed energy usage and technology through the invention of the lithium-ion battery, opens the programme, reflecting on the ultimate limits of battery technology. This applied theme continues through the subsequent pieces on energy-related topics - the sodium-ion battery and artificial fuels, by Martin Månsson - and the ultimate challenge for 3D printing, the eventual production of life, by Anthony Atala. A passage by Gerianne Alexander follows, contemplating a related issue: How might an artificially produced human being behave? Next comes a consideration of consciousness and free will by Roland Allen and Suzy Lidström. Further voices and new instruments enter as Warwick Bowen, Nicolas Mauranyapin and Lars Madsen discuss whether dynamical processes of single molecules might be observed in their native state. The exploitation of chaos in science and technology, applications of Bose-Einstein condensates and the significance of entropy follow in pieces by Linda Reichl, Ernst Rasel and Roland Allen, respectively. Mikhail Katsnelson and Eugene Koonin then discuss the potential generalisation of thermodynamic concepts in the context of biological evolution. Entering with the music of the cosmos, Philip Yasskin discusses whether we might be able to observe torsion in the geometry of the Universe. The crescendo comes with the crisis of singularities, their nature and whether they can be resolved through quantum effects, in the composition of Alan Coley. The climax is Mario Krenn, Art Melvin and Anton Zeilinger's consideration of how computer code can be autonomously surprising and creative. In a harmonious counterpoint, his 'Guidelines for considering AIs as coauthors', Roman Yampolskiy concludes that code is not yet able to take responsibility for coauthoring a paper. An interlude summarises a speech by Zdeněk Papoušek. In a subsequent movement, new themes emerge as we seek to comprehend how far we have travelled along the path to understanding, and speculate on where new physics might arise. Who would have imagined, 100 years ago, a global society permeated by smartphones and scientific instruments so sophisticated that genes can be modified and gravitational waves detected?


© 2020 The Author(s). Published by IOP Publishing Ltd.

Original Publication Information

Gerianne Alexander et al 2020 Phys. Scr. 95 062501