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The Talks at Google podcast - where great minds meet.

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Jun 11, 2024

World-renowned physicist Claudia de Rham visits Google to discuss her book “The Beauty of Falling: A Life in Pursuit of Gravity.”

Claudia de Rham has been playing with gravity her entire life. As a diver, she experimented with her body’s buoyancy in the Indian Ocean. As a pilot, she soared over Canadian waterfalls before beginning her daily scientific research. As an astronaut candidate, she dreamt of the experience of flying free from the Earth’s pull. And as a physicist, she discovered new sides to gravity’s irresistible personality by exploring the limits of Einstein’s general theory of relativity. In The Beauty of Falling, she shares captivating stories about her quest to gain intimacy with gravity, to understand both its feeling and fundamental nature. Her life’s pursuit led her away from her dream of becoming an astronaut to an exhilarating breakthrough at the very frontiers of gravitational physics.

While many of us presume to know gravity quite well, the brightest scientists in history have yet to fully answer the simple question: what exactly is gravity? De Rham reveals how great minds—from Newton and Einstein to Stephen Hawking - led her to the edge of knowledge about this fundamental force. She found hints of a hidden side to gravity at the particle level where Einstein’s theory breaks down, leading her to develop a new theory of “massive gravity.” De Rham shares how her life’s path turned from a precipitous fall to an exquisite flight toward the discovery of something entirely new about our surprising, gravity-driven universe.

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