Time's Arrow

Hosted by the Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science

In-person and online public event (Auditorium, Centre Building)


Dr Anne Giersch

Dr Anne Giersch

Claire North

Claire North

Dr Bryan W Roberts

Dr Bryan W Roberts

Dr Karim PY Thébault

Dr Karim PY Thébault


Dr Jonathan Birch

Dr Jonathan Birch

The asymmetry between the past and the future is called the Arrow of Time. For example, the events of the past year have shaped all of us, but the future years are ours to shape. We all perceive the Arrow: we remember the start of the pandemic, but we don't "remember" or even know when it will end in the future. We have hopes about the future, but must simply accept and learn from what has happened in the past. Where do these differences come from? How do they arise in human psychology? Do they have an origin in the physical nature of space and time? What can reflecting on the difference between the past and the future tell us about our place in the post-pandemic world?

To discuss these questions, we are bringing together a diverse collection of thinkers for a panel-style event, with discussion questions posed by the chair, and regular questions from the audience.

Meet our speakers and chair

Anne Giersch is a psychiatrist, researcher at the French National Institute for Science and Medical Research, head of the Cognitive Neuropsychology and Pathophysiology of Schizophrenia research laboratory, and author of 105 papers. She is an expert on cognitive disorders in schizophrenia, coordinating projects that study how patients perceive their environment and how this affects their sense of self, and especially our subjective perception of time's continuity.

Claire North is a pseudonym for Catherine Webb, whose first novel was published when she was 14 years old. Her first novel as Claire was The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, which became a word-of-mouth bestseller and was shortlisted for the Arthur C. Clarke award, while her subsequent novel The Sudden Appearance of Hope won the World Fantasy Award. Her latest book is Notes from the Burning Age. She lives in London and is also a live music lighting designer and teaches women’s self-defence.

Bryan W Roberts is a philosopher of physics, Associate Professor, Director of the LSE Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Sciences (CPNSS), and YouTuber (@soulphysics). His new book, Reversing the Arrow of Time, is freely available Open Access through Cambridge University Press. He won the 2017 Leverhulme Prize, and was a visiting Fellow at Trinity College, Cambridge, a guest lecturer in the Cambridge Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, and (since 2013) a Londoner.

Karim PY Thébault is Associate Professor of Philosophy at University of Bristol and member of the Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy. His philosophy of physics research focuses on the problem of time in classical and quantum theories of gravity, analogue gravity, black hole physics, quantum cosmology, symmetry, and the arrow of time. His book with Sean Gryb, Time Regained Symmetry and Evolution in Quantum Gravity, is forthcoming with Oxford University Press.

Jonathan Birch (@birchlse) is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at LSE. He is Principal Investigator on the Foundations of Animal Sentience project and teaches a course called The Big Questions: An Introduction to Philosophy.

More about this event

This event is part of the Philosophy Live series.

The Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science (@LSEPhilosophy) promotes research into philosophical, methodological and foundational questions arising in the natural and the social sciences.

Twitter Hashtag for this event: #LSEPhilosophy

Featured image (used in source code with watermark added): Photo by Sonja Langford on Unsplash 

Podcast & Video

A podcast of this event is available to download from Time's Arrow.

A video of this event is available to watch at Time's Arrow.

Podcasts and videos of many LSE events can be found at the LSE Public Lectures and Events: podcasts and videos channel.

LSE Blogs

Many speakers at LSE events also write for LSE Blogs, which present research and critical commentary accessibly for a public audience. Follow British Politics and Policy, the Business Review, the Impact BlogEuropean Politics and Policy and the LSE Review of Books to learn more about the debates our events series present.

Live captions

Automated live captions will be available at this webinar. Please note that this feature uses Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) technology, or machine generated transcription, and is not 100% accurate.


Photographs taken on behalf of LSE are often used on our social media accounts, website and publications. At events, photographs could include broad shots of the audience and lecture theatre, of speakers during the talk, and of audience members as they participate in the Q&A.

If you are photographed participating in an event Q&A but would not like your photograph to be stored for future use, please contact


We aim to make all LSE events available as a podcast subject to receiving permission from the speaker/s to do this, and subject to no technical problems with the recording of the event. Podcasts are normally available 1-2 working days after the event. Podcasts and videos of past events can be found online.

Social Media

Follow LSE public events on Twitter for notification on the availability of an event podcast, the posting of transcripts and videos, the announcement of new events and other important event updates. Event updates and other information about what’s happening at LSE can be found on the LSE's Facebook page and for live photos from events and around campus, follow us on Instagram. For live webcasts and archive video of lectures, follow us on YouTube

LSE in Pictures is a selection of images taken by the school photographer.


If you are planning to attend this event and would like details on how to get here and what time to arrive, as well as on accessibility and special requirements, please refer to LSE Events FAQ.  LSE aims to ensure that people have equal access to these public events, but please contact the events organiser as far as possible in advance if you have any access requirements so that arrangements, where possible, can be made. If the event is ticketed, please ensure you get in touch in advance of the ticket release date. Access Guides to all our venues can be viewed online.

WIFI Access

LSE has now introduced wireless for guests and visitors in association with 'The Cloud', also in use at many other locations across the UK. If you are on campus visiting for the day or attending a conference or event, you can connect your device to wireless. See more information and create an account at Join the Cloud.
Visitors from other participating institutions are encouraged to use eduroam. If you are having trouble connecting to eduroam, please contact your home institution for assistance.
The Cloud is only intended for guest and visitor access to wifi. Existing LSE staff and students are encouraged to use eduroam instead.
From time to time there are changes to event details so we strongly recommend that if you plan to attend this event you check back on this listing on the day of the event.

This event will be streamed live on YouTube.


LSE Events LSEpublicevents

RT @LSEpoliticsblog: Ahead of next week's @LSEpublicevents discussion, @couldrynick and @jemgilbert ask: Can we imagine a model where digit…

2 days ago

Reply Retweet Favorite

LSE Events LSEpublicevents

Tonight we have @RichardvReeves discussing his new book "Of Boys and Men" and what a a positive vision of masculini……

3 days ago

Reply Retweet Favorite

  Sign up for news about events