Laws of Nature: Laws of Man discussion series
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Laws of Nature: Laws of Man discussion series


The Rainier Valley Cultural Center is piloting a science and law discussion series in May and June. Featuring Morton and Phillip Tavel, scientist father and lawyer son, the series will explore the phenomena of the natural universe and the principles of society and how they affect us on Tuesdays, May 22 through June 12 at 7pm.

These discussions will be presented in lively, 50-minute talks, followed by a brief question and answer period. The discussions are independent of each other and audiences don't need to attend one to understand another. Tickets are $10 at the door.

The Rainier Valley Cultural Center is located at 3515 S Alaska St.

The first lecture, Law & Order: Television Can't Teach You Everything will be given by Phillip Tavel on May 22 at 7pm. The lecture will be an overview of the criminal justice system in Seattle — what happens from arrest to arraignment; the whole criminal process, through trial and jail. It's an introduction to real world criminal law, covering all the things that take one hour on Law and Order, but months in real life. Tavel has been a public defender in Seattle since 2005, graduated from Vassar College in 1993 and attended the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.

On May 29 at 7pm, Morton Tavel will discuss Quantum Mechanics & the Absurdity of Nature. In this lecture, Dr. Tavel will attempt to introduce audiences to the strange world within an atom, which we can try to understand intellectually, but can never experience physically. “Because of a genetic disability, our brains and senses are functionally incapable of comprehending that which we have never experienced”, explains Dr. Tavel “and that is why we understand it only as a series of paradoxes”. Nevertheless, he is committed to unraveling the mystery in his straight-forward, yet interesting format accessible to non-scientists and scientists alike.

On June 5, the Series will continue with Understanding Einstein: It’s All Relative. Morton Tavel will discuss symmetry (the feature of our world that makes it - or should make it - impossible to distinguish one thing from another) and special relativity (the inability to tell if we are moving or not). According to Dr. Tavel, these concepts form the basis of virtually all of science and establish the rather fantastic result that space and time are mere figments of our imagination. All will be made clear during this unique 50-minute discussion.

The final lecture of the Series is scheduled for June 12 and is called, Chaos & Entropy: Predicting the Unknown & Knowing the Unpredictable. Time, according to Einstein, is a mere fiction. Our sense of “becoming,” of moving from a “past” to a “future” is the result of the increase in “entropy.” Entropy is connected with the amount of randomness that exists around us. Growing older is connected with the increase of entropy in the world, which seems to be connected with the expansion of the universe. The universe expands, we age…the universe contracts, we get younger. Ask yourself, “Why can’t I remember the future?” and attend this lecture to find out.

Morton Tavel received a BS from City College of NY in 1960, an MS in Plasma Physics from Stevens Institute of Technology in 1962 and a PhD in Quantum Field Theory from Yeshiva University in 1964, where he was a National Science Foundation Fellow. He is particularly interested in ethical and philosophical issues in science and the interface between science and art.

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