Chiara Marletto

The majority of physical laws explain what must take place. If you toss a ball into the air, it will eventually land back on the ground. However, according to Chiara Marletto, a Research Fellow at the University of Oxford physicist, laws such as these only tell us a portion of the tale.

In her book The Science of Can and Can’t, Chiara Marletto claims that the rest are “counterfactuals,” or things that are merely possibilities. A notebook has space for writing in it. No physical law can tell us for certain whether or not it will be, but we can’t explain what it’s used for without also discussing the chance that it will be.

Marletto thinks that counterfactual qualities such as this could answer some of the most perplexing issues in the scientific community, including the biology of life, artificial intelligence, and climate change.