Photo by Siegfried Layda/Getty
Photo by Siegfried Layda/Getty

The open Universe

Rethinking quantum cosmology, the nature of time and the origins of reality

Is this all there is? Humans have been asking ourselves that question since we first gazed up at the stars. Thousands of years later, some of the most baffling mysteries in cosmology point to a surprisingly complex answer: from dark energy to the nature of time, our Universe seems to be offering hints that alternate layers of reality might exist beyond the reach of our current physics, and perhaps even outside the Universe itself. At this event, philosopher of physics Karim Thébault will discuss radical, playful yet plausible alternatives to consensus views about the nature of the cosmos, and how quantum mechanics might play out on scales of trillions of light years of distance and billions of years of human time. Join us for an evening that traverses time and space, from interrogating Einstein to addressing the troubled entanglement of physics and philosophy throughout history.

Reading resources

Karim Thébault


Karim Thébault headshot

Karim Thébault is an associate professor in philosophy of science at the University of Bristol. A founding trustee and current president of the international Philosophy of Physics Society, Karim’s research focuses on the problem of time, quantum cosmology, analogue experiments and the foundations of general relativity. Karim is the UK principal investigator on The Universe as an Open System project and a co-investigator on The Quantum Arrow of Time project. He co-authored the books Time Regained (2023) and Analogue Quantum Simulation (2022).

Lucy Railton


Lucy Railton plays the cello

Photo by Camille Blake

Lucy Railton is a British cellist based in Berlin. She is an improviser, an interpreter of contemporary music, a composer and a collaborator working in sound, dance, film and installation. She has released albums of her own music on Modern Love, Editions Mego/GRM Portraits, PAN (with Peter Zinovieff), Shelter Press, Takuroku and SN Variations (with Kit Downes) and is currently involved in projects with Rebecca Salvadori, Soundwalk Collective and Patti Smith, Kali Malone, Stephen O’Malley, Khyam Allami and in performing with Ensemble Contrechamps (GLIA by Maryanne Amacher) and the Harmonic Space Orchestra (Ellen Arkbro, Catherine Lamb, Tashi Wada, James Tenney). She is co-founder of the London Contemporary Music Festival and the Kammer Klang new music series at Cafe OTO.

Lucy can be found on Instagram at @lucyrailton and Twitter at @railtonlucy

Sally Davies


Sally is a writer and executive editor of Aeon+Psyche, with eclectic interests that span philosophy, science, feminism and culture. Prior to joining Aeon she helped to launch Nautilus magazine, worked as a correspondent and editor at The Financial Times, and started the Libreria bookshop in East London. She is also the co-founder of the interactive storytelling startup Beyond these activities, she is an ardent believer in the power of performance to connect the felt and thought dimensions of human experience.

Event and ticketing details

Date and time

Sunday, 3 December, 2023

7:00pm ‘til 9:00pm


Full price – £15

Concession – £5


The Crypt, St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 4JH

  • Doors open: 6:30pm
  • Performance starts: 7:00pm sharp
  • The show will run for approximately 110 minutes, including a brief interval
  • Food and beverages will be available for purchase throughout the evening from the bar. Please note: food service will halt during the performance, so we recommend arriving early and settling in with something delicious from the Crypt’s pizza menu, before the show starts
  • Please note that seating is unallocated and we warmly encourage attendees to share their tables with fellow audience members
  • Access your ticket for the event by clicking View order or Download PDF at the bottom of your ticket email
  • St Martin-in-the-Fields is wheelchair accessible. For more information on accessibility at this venue, click here
This is a past event
Sunday, December 3, 2023
The Crypt, St Martin-in-the-Fields,
Trafalgar Square London WC2N 4JH

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Aeon is based in Melbourne, Australia and we respectfully acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which our Melbourne events take place, the Wurundjeri people of the Woiworung language group of the Kulin Nation.
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