To answer life’s biggest questions, says the German theoretical physicist and YouTuber, we need to abandon unscientific ideas such as the multiverse

Sabine Hossenfelder is a German theoretical physicist who writes books and runs a YouTube channel (with 618,000 subscribers at time of writing) called Science Without the Gobbledygook. Born in Frankfurt, she studied mathematics at the Goethe Universität and went on to focus on particle physics – her PhD explored the possibility that the Large Hadron Collider would produce microscopic black holes. She is now a research fellow at the Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies, where she leads a group studying quantum gravity. Her second book, Existential Physics: A Scientist’s Guide to Life’s Biggest Questions, came out in August.

The first question you ask the physicists you interview in the book is: “Are you religious?” How about you?
I tried to be religious when I was a teenager. I was not Christianised because my parents were both atheists, but all of my friends were Christian, so I went to church with them. And I kind of liked it – the singing, the social events. I considered joining, but I just couldn’t get myself to believe that God exists.

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