The 2006 Templeton Prize of $1.4 million was awarded yesterday to cosmologist John Barrow. Barrow is the author of about 400 scientific articles and nearly 20 popular books. In recent years, one of his interests has been the possibility of time-variation of fundamental constants. At a press conference in New York yesterday, he said that new data on quasars expected within two months may provide evidence of such variation.
Science and Spirit has an article by Barrow written for the occasion and called The Unexpected Universe. It also has a report on the press conference that goes on at length about the string theory anthropic landscape and credits Barrow (and Tipler) with writing a “highly influential book for the interface between science and religion” back in 1986 entitled The Anthropic Cosmological Principle. The report includes the following gibberish:
String theorists also assume that other universes, which collectively compose a “multiverse,” exist in other dimensions outside of our observational parameters. Our own very limited experience suggests that finely tuned universes might be more likely to exist than more randomly constructed universes, at least over the long term. If this is true, then fine-tuning may be a guide that cosmologists can use to one day locate and observe an alternate universe.
Barrow himself however doesn’t seem to have much to say about the string theory landscape.
Maybe if Leonard Susskind hadn’t said unfriendly things about having no use for religion in his recent book, he could have been $1.4 million richer instead of Barrow. The New York Times headlines its story about this Math Professor Wins a Coveted Religion Award. A mathematician friend of mine is kind of outraged at this and wants to write to the Times to complain about the description of Barrow as a “math professor”.