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The Templeton Ideas Podcast is a show about the most awe-inspiring ideas in our world and the people who investigate them.

Transcripts of our episodes are made available as soon as possible. They are not fully edited for grammar or spelling.

Professor Al-Khalili is a theoretical physicist at the University of Surrey, as well as a prominent author and broadcaster. Jim has written 14 popular books about science translated into 26 different languages. His latest book, The Joy of Science, applies the principles of science to our daily lives. Jim is a regular presenter of science documentaries, and he hosts the long-running weekly BBC Radio 4 programme, The Life Scientific. On this episode of the Templeton Ideas podcast, Jim explores the intersection of quantum mechanics and biology, the enduring mystery of the origin of life, and reflects on his journey as a science communicator.

Tom: Jim, welcome to the show.

Jim: Pleasure to be here.

Tom: Jim, I wonder if I could start by asking you, where did you grow up? And what are some of your most memorable childhood moments?

Jim: Well, quite an exotic background. My, mother’s British. My fathers from Iraq and he was over in, in the UK, in England, studying engineering, where he met my mother, married, went back to Iraq. He was an engineer in the Iraqi Air Force in the fifties and sixties. And so, I was born in Baghdad. It does mean it’s slightly awkward sometimes when I’m travelling around the world. People see Born in Baghdad and give me a second look. But I grew up in Iraq. We’d come over to England for summer holidays visit my maternal grandparents every couple of summers. So that was always fun. And then by the age of 16, we’d move back permanently to the UK. And we’ve been here ever since.

Tom: So, you had just from the very beginning, a dual sort of multicultural identity and international identity

Jim: Yeah, pretty much. You know, English is my first language because my mother spoke, we spoke English at home, but we stepped out the front door and I spoke Arabic. You know, I did my schooling in, Arabic. And the foreign language that was taught at school in, junior and high school was English, which was no good to me. I’d be correcting the teacher’s, pronunciation. So, I never learned a foreign language at school.

Tom: Oh, gosh. As a child, what were some of your favorite activities that you were passionate on fire about?

Jim: as with it. Most kids in most countries in the world, football or soccer was what I spent a lot of my time doing. I have a brother two years younger than me and we had various hobbies, stamp collecting, coin collecting, dinosaurs. Living in Iraq, of course, we have the benefit of visiting some ancient archaeological sites. we’d have, Picnics and the sight of the hanging gardens of Babylon,

Tom: Wow.

Jim: it’s just mounds of earth and rock. There’s not much to see anymore, but, looking back now, that was a pretty privileged, unusual thing to do on a picnic afternoon.

Tom: Tell me about a little bit in terms of your early education, subject matters that you liked, are there certain things that your parents’ kind of encouraged you in certain directions, or was a lot of this mostly self-driven?

Jim: Well, my mother went to art school and so she was very interested in music and art. So, she taught me drawing and sketching and she had me practicing scales on the piano during summer holidays. My father was an engineer. so, he was interested in the technical side of things and encouraged me with my math’s and physics. I was pretty good all-rounder at school. I enjoyed most subjects. I could have gone onto the art side. I enjoyed playing music. I could play the piano by ear. I never really learned to read music, but I could, hammer out chords with my left hand and melodies with my right fingers.

Play Christmas carols, for example, but by my early teens, 12, 13, I think I started to get more interested in science. And I realized that that’s probably the direction I wanted to go. I remember I did very well on a physics test. And a lot of my friends, my contemporaries who were also quite bright kids didn’t do as well as I did. And I remember the teacher hauling me out to the front of the class as an example. See, Jim did well in, in this test. Why couldn’t the rest of you do? And I thought, you’d imagine the natural reaction would be, I wish a hole in the ground would open and swallow me up. Yeah, this is really embarrassing. I mean, I’m going to get ribbed for this. But no, I sort of felt, hey, I must be quite good at this physics. it’s fun. it’s like solving puzzles and its common sense. But also, I was with my brother interested in things like astronomy. We had a small telescope and I learned that physics was probably the subject I had to pursue if I wanted answers to some of these big questions. What’s a star made of? What does an atom look like? What’s a black hole? Does the universe go on forever? All those sorts of questions which we’ll grapple with. I realized I had to study physics if I wanted answers.

Tom: Yeah.

Jim: Based on that multicultural international, childhood and then that transition from one country to another, did you find that it shaped your perspective, the way that you approached questions, your studies, or even just the way they interacted with others in a different way?

I think so, and I look back on it and it’s shaped my life quite a bit. Being able have different perspectives, different cultural worldviews, means that I can probably more easily empathize with someone from a different background, different culture, different religion, different upbringing, not that I would necessarily agree with them, but simply that, there are different ways of seeing the world, for most people, if you grew up surrounded by, one culture.

Most people around you all think and see the world in a similar way. It’s quite alien to try and put yourself in the shoes of someone from a completely different background. I find that easier because I can draw on my own experience of having a foot in both, cultures.

Tom: I’m going to ask you about your physics studies. Now, physics is fascinating subject. I tried to study as an undergraduate. got derailed by some big existential questions. but what I love about it is that it, studies the very, very big and the very, very small, were there certain subsets of questions that you really gravitated to, as you got deeper into your studies as an undergrad?

Jim: quite early on, I fell in love with quantum mechanics. the theory of the very small, the physics that we tend to do at school. Can be seen as a bit mundane and, Samey and not, so exciting, not so exotic. I know you must teach kids, the nuts, and bolts, but you know, when you’re rolling balls down inclined planes and, springs and pendulums electric circuits, that’s not the fun stuff, right?

But I wasn’t so interested in, in the big, in the astronomy and the cosmology. I was very interested in, the quantum world, the world of atoms, simply because it was so counterintuitive and so strange. And the first courses I did in quantum mechanics, I didn’t know. What they were talking about. But I knew there was something there that needs to be grappled with. And I enjoyed reading the biographies of many of the pioneers of quantum physics from the early 20th century. Niels Bohr and Heisenberg and Schrodinger and Feynman. that just got me inspired. And so, by my final undergraduate year, I knew I wanted to do theoretical physics, and I knew I wanted it to be focused on the quantum world.

Tom: Was it a straightforward decision to go to graduate school? Or did you feel tugged maybe in, a few other paths that you wondered where they might lead you?

Jim: Well, funnily enough, just before graduating with my, bachelor’s, I had a job lined up as a scientist in part of the government, the civil service in the UK. It’s called the National Physical Laboratories. they’re big employers of, science graduates. Interestingly, my, then girlfriend, Julie, And I had been dating throughout my university time, and we planned to get married after I graduated that summer. So, whole worldview was getting married. got to get a job, got to earn a living, get a mortgage and so on, do all the grown-up stuff. although at the back of my mind, I had this ambition that somehow, I’m missing out on further study. luckily. One of the professors in our department, so in the final year of a physics degree, you do a research project. It’s called the final year project, and it counts for like a quarter of that final year’s mark. I chose to do a project in theoretical nuclear physics. So, studying the atomic nucleus and studying the structure of matter inside a nucleus. A lot of quantum mechanics, a lot of algebra, the sort of stuff, you know, fun stuff that I enjoyed. and I clearly did well, and he saw something in me because at the end of the year, he said, have you thought about doing a PhD as well? Not really. I hadn’t applied to any grad schools or anything. He said, well, I’ve got a studentship. I’ve got a project here. It’s fully funded. If you wanted to do it, you should apply. So, it sorts of fell in my lap. I remember going back to, Julie and saying, I’ve been offered this project, the studentship to do a PhD. She knew that’s what my passion was. And so, she said, right, I’ll, I’ll earn the money to pay the bills. But you owe me, right? I’m still paying her back now.

Tom: Uh huh.

Jim: So, it fell in my lap. Had I decided earlier to do a PhD? Who knows? I’d have may have gone on to a different subject as it happens. I did my PhD at the same university that I did my undergraduate degree in the University of Surrey, which is where I’m still working now. So, I haven’t strayed too far.

Tom: I’m going to transition a bit here. so, a lot of scientists really focus on their area expertise on publishing, on advancing their careers, on advancing the field, but you’ve taken a different path with your interest in public engagement. Can you tell me perhaps the first opportunity you had to speak to a general audience about your love of physics and science more generally?

Jim: Yeah, I, I’d always enjoyed explaining the physics that I do to someone who doesn’t have a background in science. A lot of my, close group of friends were not science trained. and so, I became well practiced in using the appropriate language to get across some of the ideas to them and I enjoyed it. I found I enjoyed. Seeing the light go on over someone’s head as you explain something. Oh, okay. I see now that gave me as much joy as learning something for myself. And I think that’s the same for a lot of science communicators. you don’t do altruistically because you want to, spread the word, and have a more scientifically literate society.

You do it because it gives you pleasure. And so, although I was following the traditional academic route of postdoc positions and then looking for a faculty position. working up the academic ladder. Gradually, I was doing more of these, you know, giving high school talk or writing a magazine article. the press office at the university would always send journalists to me if there was a science story. Talk to Jim. He doesn’t mind, talking to Jess. A lot of my colleagues, of course, would hide away, you know, so it became a gradual thing. The big break was probably, the Institute of Physics, which is the UK’s professional body physicists, has an outreach arm and every year they have, usually a senior professor giving what’s called the schools and colleges lectures. which is a talk. They travel around the country, give talks to 14- to 18-year-olds and I was invited to do this.

The person who was meant to give this lecture fell ill and they were looking for a replacement at short notice. on that really pushed me. So, I was giving this lecture to, hundreds of school kids, around the country at a time when I was very research active as well. And I remember senior colleagues warning me off saying, Jim, look, you’re, publishing your papers. You’re going to conferences. getting research grants. Why are you wasting your time going off talking to school kids? And I said, well, why can’t I do both? Oh, you’ll stretch yourself too thin. You won’t be able to progress, as far as you’d want to. Academically, if you. Waste time on communicating science, but I felt I wanted to juggle the two. and I’ve maintained that ever since, having one foot in serious academia with all the, teaching and the research and the work that any sort of academic process must do as well as this outward facing side of, my work. Hmm.

I think a lot of people know you through your appearances on BBC, television, radio. Tell me a little bit about how that relationship began.

I started off as what’s called a contributor on documentary. So rather than a presenter, the director will ask you questions. you don’t look down the barrel of the camera. they interview you.

Tom: Yeah, okay, yeah.

Jim: The very first. Documentary that I made I co presented it with a colleague was, called the riddle of Einstein’s brain in 2004. and if you know the story, when Einstein died, the pathologist who carried out the autopsy, Removed the brain and kept it in a jar. And every decade or so, since that, time, 1955, people think, was that apocryphal? is there some guy who really has Einstein’s brain pickled in a

jar? So, we had the commission. This is for one of the TV channels in the UK channel four to make this documentary. We turned it into a road trip looking for Einstein’s brain, and it was sort of a fear and loathing in Las Vegas type. Road trip, driving in open top, big nine-liter Chevy and, finding the brain in the end, you know, it’s pickled like slices of mushroom, in amber, in, in, in a jar and

The program was about, what made Einstein a genius. Was there something different about his brain that made him so clever? It was a fun thing to do, and it was a, a real experience, then after that, I guess the big. program for the BBC that I made was a three parter called Atom, made in 2006, and that then propelled me into maybe once a year, making a two- or three-part series. Those that are made for the BBC are sort of kept owned by the BBC, but roughly half of what I’ve made have been for independent production companies who are then able to sell them on to other platforms, which are probably the ones that get shown in the US. Yeah.

Tom: on two decades, you’re still, involved in these activities. And it sounds like it is very rewarding activity. Do you want to tell me,

As you embarked on writing books for general audiences, were there certain books or writers that you drew inspiration from or found that you could model yourself after?

Jim: There are some excellent popular science writers. who just writes so poetically that I think, wow, never be able to get across the ideas in such beautiful prose. My style tends to be right as I talk. And so, people often say they hear my voice as they’re reading the book. so, I haven’t really tried to change it or model it on anyone. However, I have written one novel, a science fiction novel, and that was, different. That was new. And I realized never having done a creative writing course in my life. writing fiction is so different from nonfiction. So, there my inspiration, would you believe, was Stephen King. But he wrote a wonderful book called On Writings, full of advice for, novice novelists. process of sitting down and writing a novel, which I found tremendously useful. I wrote the novel; I was convinced that Hollywood on my door wanting to turn into a screenplay. I’m still waiting.

Tom: I’m thinking about your research colleagues. Do they think you’ve really left the once you wrote a novel, not just talking about physics to non-physicists?

Jim: I think by that point, they’d already made up their minds whether I was serious or not. And I think I’ve come back more to academia in the last two or three years. I’m publishing more now. I’ve got a big research grant.

So, with, for example, with the John Templeton foundation, I’ve got five PhD students. so, I’m spending more time on the academic side. So, I’m any lost credibility or, respect that I’m, may have gone with all my public outreach activities. I’m trying to regain slowly now.

Tom: I want to ask you about a few of your books, I was reading your newest book, The Joy of Science. And for those who haven’t read it yet, it, talks about the benefits of applying the principles of science to our own, daily lives. So, I wonder, do you have any tips for helping us learn to recognize. our own biases. and trying to notice how it could hamper our research, our experiments, our conclusions that we draw. It’s a very important part of science. it needs to be able to transcend the individual practitioner.

But how about for our own lives? how do we Stand outside ourselves?

Jim: Yeah, I explain in the book that in science, you can’t afford to say, well, this is my view. This is my hypothesis, my experimental result, my theory, And I’m standing by it. In science, your work doesn’t survive if it’s wrong, if it can’t be reproduced, if other people can’t verify it.

And so, you better be damn sure that you’ve Got it right, which is why scientists repeat their experiments. They, check their mathematics. they debug their code. They try different scenarios. They try very hard to knock down their own science. to make sure that it’s bulletproof before they, present it to the world.

that’s a form of examining your biases, we think, but what if I’m wrong? Let’s assume I’m wrong. What would that mean? It would be good if we try to apply that in everyday life. we all know what it’s like in the polarization on social media, where it’s really turns into point scoring and winning arguments.

So, trying to say, wouldn’t it be refreshing if you’re having a debate, discussion argument with someone to examine whether you are sure that you are right. It would absolutely put your, opponent off their guard if you say something like you’ve got a good point there.

I’ve not considered that before.  I think being prepared to admit that you may be wrong, that somebody else may have a view to empathize, to put yourself in their shoes and see the world the way they see it.  can be infectious. it can help the other person think, Oh, okay, well, maybe it’s not so absolute.

It’s not just about winning the argument. science isn’t about winning arguments. We’d like to think. I mean, science is a people, right? So, we have our, faults, like, just like everybody else. But the scientific method itself is not about winning arguments, not about proving you’re right. It’s about finding the truth. we must admit, our truth, our view isn’t necessarily the right one, even though we might want to fight tooth and nail for it.

Tom: I want to turn to quantum biology probably a combination of words that most people haven’t heard of before. But before I do that, I, want to ask, where did your interest in biology, emerge and bring in your, physics acumen to that subject matter?

Jim: I didn’t do biology at a level. And so, my, schooling in biology ended at the age of 15 or so. I have a colleague at the university of Surrey. Who many years ago came as a molecular biologist and gave a seminar to my physics department talking about some feature in the mutations of E. coli bacteria that couldn’t be understood, and he was proposing some quantum origin to this process.

Most of my colleagues thought it was a load of nonsense. He was this biologist coming at teaching us about quantum physics. I decided to follow it up and talk to him and, they then follow this long, very slow burning collaboration where he and I, John Joe McFadden, we ended up writing a book on quantum biology called Life on the Edge.

Not taking it very seriously, but just talking over a beer or a coffee, what happens if, quantum mechanics is involved in DNA mutations? What happens if quantum mechanics is involved in some of the actions of enzymes? Not, I should stress. Does quantum mechanics explain consciousness, which is the usual thing where people say, ah, quantum biology, that must be consciousness is quantum.

Well, it may or may not be, we weren’t going to go that, far. and it just gradually grew slowly from there. Once we realized there were other academics, physics, chemistry, biology, coming together and talking about some of these things. possible mechanisms inside living cells that might require a quantum explanation. That’s when I got more serious about it, and I drifted away from my earlier specialism in nuclear physics towards applying quantum rules in biological systems.

Tom: really enjoyed reading your book, Life on the Edge, what I loved are some of your illustrations they gave of here’s where quantum processes may be involved in biological activities that we’ve all heard about and learned in school. So, I want to ask you a few questions, uh, some of these, processes. So,

Jim: Let’s talk next about photosynthesis. I feel like You I’ve looked at many textbooks where it’s very straightforward how photosynthesis works. You get some sunlight, it hits this plant with some green leaves, and then like voila! Sunlight, water, air. Boom, and then you’ve got an apple. but in your book, you, describe how hard it is for that sunlight to get from where it starts into the spot, inside the plant where photosynthesis is happening. Can you describe a little bit about the walk that this light photon is on and how it gets to where it needs to go for this, life giving process to take place?

Yeah, so this is the very first step in photosynthesis, the capturing of the light, the photon, the, lump of energy, particle of light by the leaf, by, chlorophyll in plants or bacteria. But it’s that efficiency of delivery of this photon to the reaction center in the plant where it can turn light energy to, into chemical energy to make biomass.

You would expect that that photon of light. It must travel through this complicated forest inside the cell, intuition would tell you that it’s a bit like a ball in a pinball machine. It’ll just bounce around randomly, and more than likely get lost, as waste heat within the cell.

And yet, almost with unerring curiosity, accuracy every time that photon makes its way to the reaction center. And this quantum hypothesis, which I should say is still debated and is still controversial to some extent. It states that that photon doesn’t follow a classical single path from A to B.

It follows multiple routes simultaneously. It’s the famous example in quantum mechanics of the particle, the atom or subatomic particle hitting a screen with two slits in it. And to see the interference pattern on the other side, you have to say that this single particle has somehow spread itself out and gone through both slits simultaneously.

Well, this is what’s happening, we think, may be happening inside the cells in photosynthesis. This photon is following multiple routes simultaneously, and then they recombine again, like waves constructively interfering. So, two crests building up rather than a crest and a trough canceling out, they conspire to interfere constructively at the right place.

And the single photon. Then, having multiple versions of itself in a sense now re constitutes itself as a single photon in, the right place. But say again, research is ongoing. there is other. Scientists who say no, it can be all explained through vibrations inside the cell. It doesn’t need any quantumness. I don’t see why not. Quantum mechanics isn’t magic. It’s just, not what we expect.

Tom: Yeah, Let’s talk about smel. Humans, from what I’ve heard, have a very poor sense of smell compared to many, many other creatures. And yet, we can still detect, I’ve read, I think in your book, that we can detect the difference between something like 10, 000 different odors. how is this possible that we have receptors that are that finely tuned, even for upright apes that don’t have to have perfect sense of smell, and yet, we have these, as a historical heritage., how is this even possible?

Jim: Yeah, smell is fascinating because, although there are theories as to how it works and, many would argue we understand it well. You’re right there, there are unusual features of, smell. The usual idea is that the scent molecule that enters the nose is captured by what’s called a receptor, and it’s called the lock and key mechanism.

The scent molecule finds the one receptor that it can fit into snugly, and that’s the one that would be able to identify it, send a signal to the brain. But there are, scent molecules, that have the same general structure, but completely different smells. And there are other molecules that smell the same but have very different structures.

And so, there’s another explanation which is to do with the vibrations of the atoms within the scent molecule and different vibrational frequencies. mean different smells, so it has been suggested, yet again, it’s, still not been established, but it may be that molecules with a particular frequency can change the energy inside , the receptor such that subatomic particles, electrons can jump across, can quantum tunnel across an energy barrier only when the right scent molecule arrives, a bit like a swipe card, passing through sort of magnetic detectors. so again, it suggests that some aspects of smell may only work thanks to the tricks of the quantum world.

Tom: So, we’ve made incredible advances in biology, chemistry, physics, the last 100, 200 years. I mean, just studying the history of physics in the last 400 years is, fascinating, but we’re still, utterly incapable of creating life from scratch. With all the scientific knowledge we have, we can’t even make something as simple as a bacterium. What’s wrong, Jim? why are we, falling short to do some of these, Unicellular creatures just do all the time out of course.

Jim: Origin of life is still one of the big mysteries in science. And people are still studying it and, there are different views. there are those that argue that it’s a gradual process that, we know all the steps that we need. But it’s many steps, and there are new theories being developed even now.

There’s a very important paper, last year on assembly theory, which suggests a way for chemistry to turn into biology. You know, how is it that complicated chemistry? Can somehow arrange itself and organize itself and build up complexity until you get this emergence of something that can make a copy of itself, the first sign of something that we say could be living.

But with the jury still out, the famous astrophysicist Fred Hoyle said, the chances of life just emerging by accident is like a hurricane blowing through a junkyard and reconstituting a jumbo jet just by accident. Of course, that’s pushing it because you don’t need to make a jumbo jet of that sort of complexity to say, this is life, it’s a gradual process.

It may be that quantum mechanics has a in how life has emerged, and selection of the right arrangement of molecules into something that can make copies of itself, it’s a fascinating area, but I think it’s still one of the big mysteries. It’s it seems a lot harder than simply putting lots of ingredients in a test tube and zapping it with a bolt of lightning and giving it a stir and suddenly, you create new life doesn’t seem to work.

Tom: I want to ask you about another mystery in terms of the physics of time, from the perspective of physics, like what is the difference between yesterday, today, and tomorrow?

Jim: Ah, that’s, that’s my favorite topic now. I’m currently writing a book called On the Nature of Time for Princeton Press and, that directionality to time, why does yesterday come before today? Today comes before tomorrow.

What, is it that gives time a direction is, for me, the other big mystery in science. Well, maybe there’s three. The other one is the nature of consciousness, but I won’t go there.

Because all our fundamental laws of physics and equations of dynamics, whether it’s Newton’s mechanics, whether it’s quantum mechanics, whether relativity theory, if you dig down, time is symmetric. You can run the clocks forward, backwards, and you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. And yet we see all around us time moving only in one direction. we grow older, things become more disordered, the universe expands, things die out. where does that directionality come from? That’s what we call the second law of thermodynamics, the increase in entropy.

It’s a mystery as to how that comes about from time symmetric equations. So, there are ideas about where, this comes from. a cosmologist will say, Yep, you have the second law of thermodynamics, entropy increasing. Why? Because it was smaller yesterday. Why? Because it was smaller the day before.

And you must go all the way back and say, well, the universe was very ordered, very low entropy at the Big Bang. We don’t know why, but it started off in that very special situation, like a pack of cards that, that hasn’t been shuffled yet. Everything is highly ordered, and then as time goes by, the universe expands and evolves.

It’s like shuffling the pack of cards. It’s like the ice cube melting in a glass of warm water. directionality comes about, but it’s still not really understood, that transition from the fundamental laws to what we see around us. Does time have a direction? Could it be reversed? Does it even flow? You know, it’s with this notion that time flows smoothly. is time like a river? Are we, on a boat moving along the river? Or are we on the riverbank watching the water go past us? Until recently, there’s probably been questions for philosophers to, tackle. But as with a lot of physics, physicists are encroaching on the domain of metaphysics and philosophy and asking serious questions about some of these fundamental issues.

Tom: Yeah, with the short time we have remaining, I want to kind of ask you some kind of bigger general questions and wrap up. So, two questions to wrap us up first, if you could meet any scientists in history, who might it be and what might you want to talk about with them?

Jim: Oh, I’ve thought about this before. I mean, there’ll be the entertainers, the Richard Feynman’s that I never met. would be great to talk to Niels Bohr, the founding father of quantum mechanics will be a fascinating person to try and discuss. And of course, Einstein.

But I think I, I probably most want to meet someone like Aristotle, regarded as one of the greatest minds Humanities ever produced and yet over 2, 000 years ago, what I mostly like to say is tell him look what we’ve discovered into two millennia What do you think of that? can you get your head around that? I suspect he could.

Tom: Yeah.

Jim: Might take a while getting used to but someone like that so far removed from our current worldview would be incredible.

Tom: Wow. and last question I got for you, Jim. What gives you hope for the future? Maybe both in science or more broadly for looking forward with humanity’s future.

Jim: I do tend to be a glass half full person., I do sometimes despair when I think humanities on the right tracks. You know, two steps forward, one step back. know we’re living in a world facing so many challenges. But I still have optimism that science is going to be a big part of our solution. Science isn’t going to solve all the world’s problems. But I think that rational worldview leads to technologies that can tackle some of our problems, whether it’s climate change, energy, or space exploration. I think there are enough Smart people, good people, who are thinking deeply about what’s best for humanity will muddle through somehow.

I mean, I don’t think we’re going to destroy the world. despite, the worries that concerns we may have, I think ultimately in the end we’ll, come to our senses. whether we’re scientists or politicians or whatever. I’ll remain optimistic as long as possible.

Tom: Well, Jim, I have, really enjoyed our conversation today. And I look forward to reading your next book about the era of time because time is such a great mystery and degree to which you can describe it in ways that I don’t have to do math, but still learn something new, it delights me.

Jim: Thanks very much. Been a pleasure.