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Podcast Profile: The Cartesian Cafe

podcast imageTwitter: @IAmTimNguyen
17 episodes
2022 to present
Average episode: 134 minutes
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Categories: Interview-Style

Podcaster's summary: The Cartesian Cafe is the podcast where an expert guest and Timothy Nguyen map out scientific and mathematical subjects in detail. On the podcast, we embark on a collaborative journey with other experts to discuss mathematical and scientific topics in faithful detail, which means writing down formulas, drawing pictures, and reasoning about them together on a whiteboard. If you’ve been longing for a deeper dive into the intricacies of scientific subjects, then this is the podcast for you. | | Timothy Nguyen is a mathematician and AI researcher working in industry. Homepage:

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List Updated: 2024-Apr-20 06:27 UTC. Episodes: 17. Feedback: @TrueSciPhi.

2024-Feb-02 • 125 minutes
Richard Borcherds | Monstrous Moonshine: From Group Theory to String Theory | The Cartesian Cafe
| Richard Borcherds is a mathematician and professor at University of California Berkeley known for his work on lattices, group theory, and infinite-dimensional algebras. His numerous accolades include being awarded the Fields Medal in 1998 and being elected a fellow of the American Mathematical Society and the National Academy of Sciences. | Patreon (bonus materials + video chat): | In this episode, Richard and I give an overview of Richard's most famous result: his p...
2023-Dec-01 • 162 minutes
Tim Maudlin | Bell's Theorem and Beyond: Nobody Understands Quantum Mechanics
Tim Maudlin is a philosopher of science specializing in the foundations of physics, metaphysics, and logic. He is a professor at New York University, a member of the Foundational Questions Institute, and the founder and director of the John Bell Institute for the Foundations of Physics. | Patreon (bonus materials + video chat): | In this very in-depth discussion, Tim and I probe the foundations of science through the avenues of locality and determinism as arising from th...
2023-Sep-27 • 154 minutes
Antonio Padilla | Fantastic Numbers, Naturalness, and Anthropics in Physics
Antonio (Tony) Padilla is a theoretical physicist and cosmologist at the University of Nottingham. He serves as the Associate Director of the Nottingham Centre of Gravity, and in 2016, Tony shared the Buchalter Cosmology Prize for his work on the cosmological constant. Tony is also a star of the Numberphile YouTube channel, where his videos have received millions of views and he is also the author of the book Fantastic Numbers and Where to Find Them: A Cosmic Quest from Zero to Infinity. | Patreon: https://...
2023-Aug-02 • 153 minutes
Boaz Barak | Cryptography: The Art of Mathematical Secrecy
Boaz Barak is a professor of computer science at Harvard University, having previously been a principal researcher at Microsoft Research and a professor at Princeton University. His research interests span many areas of theoretical computer science including cryptography, computational complexity, and the foundations of machine learning. Boaz serves on the scientific advisory boards for Quanta Magazine and the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing and he was selected for Foreign Policy magazine’s lis...
2023-Jun-14 • 133 minutes
Sean Carroll | The Many Worlds Interpretation & Emergent Spacetime
Sean Carroll is a theoretical physicist and philosopher who specializes in quantum mechanics, cosmology, and the philosophy of science. He is the Homewood Professor of Natural Philosophy at Johns Hopkins University and an external professor at the Sante Fe Institute. Sean has contributed prolifically to the public understanding of science through a variety of mediums: as an author of several physics books including Something Deeply Hidden and The Biggest Ideas in the Universe, as a public speaker and debate...
2023-May-02 • 93 minutes
Daniel Schroeder | Introduction to Thermal Physics
Daniel Schroeder is a particle and accelerator physicist and an editor for The American Journal of Physics. Dan received his PhD from Stanford University, where he spent most of his time at the Stanford Linear Accelerator, and he is currently a professor in the department of physics and astronomy at Weber State University. Dan is also the author of two revered physics textbooks, the first with Michael Peskin called An Introduction to Quantum Field Theory (or simply Peskin & Schroeder within the physics ...
2023-Mar-21 • 109 minutes
Ethan Siegel | Demystifying Dark Matter
| Ethan Siegel is a theoretical astrophysicist and science communicator. He received his PhD from the University of Florida and held academic positions at the University of Arizona, University of Oregon, and Lewis & Clark College before moving on to become a full-time science writer. Ethan is the author of the book Beyond The Galaxy, which is the story of “How Humanity Looked Beyond Our Milky Way And Discovered The Entire Universe” and he has contributed numerous articles to ScienceBlogs, Forbes, and B...
2023-Feb-15 • 140 minutes
Alex Kontorovich | Circle Packings and Their Hidden Treasures
Alex Kontorovich is a Professor of Mathematics at Rutgers University and served as the Distinguished Professor for the Public Dissemination of Mathematics at the National Museum of Mathematics in 2020–2021. Alex has received numerous awards for his illustrious mathematical career, including the Levi L. Conant Prize in 2013 for mathematical exposition, a Simons Foundation Fellowship, an NSF career award, and being elected Fellow of the American Mathematical Society in 2017. He currently serves on the Scienti...
2023-Jan-04 • 181 minutes
Greg Yang | Large N Limits: Random Matrices & Neural Networks
Greg Yang is a mathematician and AI researcher at Microsoft Research who for the past several years has done incredibly original theoretical work in the understanding of large artificial neural networks. Greg received his bachelors in mathematics from Harvard University in 2018 and while there won the Hoopes prize for best undergraduate thesis. He also received an Honorable Mention for the Morgan Prize for Outstanding Research in Mathematics by an Undergraduate Student in 2018 and was an invited speaker at ...
2022-Nov-22 • 185 minutes
Scott Aaronson | Quantum Computing: Dismantling the Hype
Scott Aaronson is a professor of computer science at University of Texas at Austin and director of its Quantum Information Center. Previously he received his PhD at UC Berkeley and was a faculty member at MIT in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from 2007-2016. Scott has won numerous prizes for his research on quantum computing and complexity theory, including the Alan T Waterman award in 2012 and the ACM Prize in Computing in 2020. In addition to being a world class scientist, Scott is famous for...
2022-Oct-13 • 140 minutes
Grant Sanderson (3Blue1Brown) | Unsolvability of the Quintic
Grant Sanderson is a mathematician who is the author of the YouTube channel “3Blue1Brown”, viewed by millions for its beautiful blend of visual animation and mathematical pedagogy. His channel covers a wide range of mathematical topics, which to name a few include calculus, quaternions, epidemic modeling, and artificial neural networks. Grant received his bachelor's degree in mathematics from Stanford University and has worked with a variety of mathematics educators and outlets, including Khan Academy, The ...
2022-Sep-07 • 180 minutes
John Baez | The Algebra of Grand Unified Theories
John Baez is a mathematical physicist, professor of mathematics at UC Riverside, a researcher at the Centre for Quantum Technologies in Singapore, and a researcher at the Topos Institute in Berkeley, CA. John has worked on an impressively wide range of topics, pure and applied, ranging from loop quantum gravity, applications of higher categories to physics, applied category theory, environmental issues and math related to engineering and biology, and most recently on applying network theory to scientific so...
2022-Aug-22 • 145 minutes
Tai-Danae Bradley | Category Theory and Language Models
Tai-Danae Bradley is a mathematician who received her Ph.D. in mathematics from the CUNY Graduate Center. She was formerly at Alphabet and is now at Sandbox AQ, a startup focused on combining machine learning and quantum physics. Tai-Danae is a visiting research professor of mathematics at The Master’s University and the executive director of the Math3ma Institute, where she hosts her popular blog on category theory. She is also a co-author of the textbook Topology: A Categorical Approach that presents basi...
2022-Aug-22 • 133 minutes
John Urschel | Tackling Graph Theory
John Urschel received his bachelors and masters in mathematics from Penn State and then went on to become a professional football player for the Baltimore Ravens in 2014. During his second season, Urschel began his graduate studies in mathematics at MIT alongside his professional football career. Urschel eventually decided to retire from pro football to pursue his real passion, the study of mathematics, and he completed his doctorate in 2021. Urschel is currently a scholar at the Institute for Advanced Stud...
2022-Aug-20 • 152 minutes
Richard Easther | The Big Bang, Inflation, and Gravitational Waves
Richard Easther is a scientist, teacher, and communicator. He has been a Professor of Physics at the University of Auckland for over the last 10 years and was previously a professor of physics at Yale University. As a scientist, Richard covers ground that crosses particle physics, cosmology, astrophysics and astronomy, and in particular, focuses on the physics of the very early universe and the ways in which the universe changes between the Big Bang and the present day Originally published on May 3, 2022 on...
2022-Aug-19 • 90 minutes
Po-Shen Loh | The Mathematics of COVID-19 Contact Tracing
Po-Shen Loh is a professor at Carnegie Mellon University and a coach for the US Math Olympiad. He is also a social entrepreneur where he has his used his passion and expertise in mathematics in the service of education ( and epidemiology ( In this podcast, we discuss the mathematics behind Loh’s novel approach to contact tracing in the fight against COVID. Originally published on March 3, 2022 on Youtube: | Patreon: | Ti...
2022-Aug-17 • 1 minutes
Hello everyone, this is Tim Nguyen and welcome to The Cartesian Cafe. On this podcast we embark on a collaborative journey with other experts, to discuss mathematical and scientific topics in faithful detail, which means writing down formulas, drawing pictures, and reasoning about them together on a whiteboard. If you’ve been longing for a deeper dive into the intricacies of scientific subjects, then this is the podcast for you. Welcome to The Cartesian Cafe. | | Patreon: