Brian Greene, one of todays leading theoretical physicists and a brilliant communicator of cutting-edge scientific concepts, will discuss the theory of everything at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 6, in the Mountainlair ballrooms as WVU s Festival of Ideas continues.
Greene has been working on the unified theory of superstrings for more than a decade, and is widely recognized for a number of groundbreaking discoveries in the field. Popular accounts of his work has been reported in Science , the Los Angeles Times and elsewhere.
His recent bestseller, The Elegant Universe , has received critical acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic, most recently winning the Aventis Prize for Science Books 2000. Critics praise Greene for his ability to make extraordinarily arcane matters accessible to all readers. George Johnson, writing in The New York Times Book Review , said Greene explores”ideas and recent developments with a depth and clarity that I wouldnt have thought possible.”
Greene received his undergraduate training at HarvardUniversity, where he graduated summa cum laude in 1984. He earned his doctorate as a Rhodes Scholar at OxfordUniversity. From 1987 to 1990, Greene was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard, and in 1990, he joined the faculty of Cornell as an assistant professor. By 1995, he had been promoted to tenured associate and then to full professor. He currently is a full professor in both the physics and mathematics departments at ColumbiaUniversity.
Greenes research focuses on the quantum mechanical properties of space and time. In 1990, he and a Harvard colleague discovered mirror symmetry �€a remarkable property of string theory that has launched a vibrant field of research in both mathematics and physics. In 1993 and subsequently in 1995, Greene and his colleagues discovered topology change. Whereas Einsteins general relativity shows that the fabric of space can stretch in time (resulting in our expanding universe), it does not allow the fabric to rip. To the contrary, Greene and his colleagues showed that in string theory �€ by including the quantum mechanics �€the fabric of space can tear, establishing that the universe can evolve in far more dramatic ways that Einstein had envisioned.
As a speaker, Greene succeeds in making the most sophisticated concepts in theoretical physics accessible and entertaining, both to scholars and to audiences with no scientific background. He has lectured at both a technical and popular level in more than 20 countries. In 1997, he lectured at the Symposium on Strings and Black Holes, along with Stephen Hawking and Edward Witten. He uses artful metaphors and often humorous analogies to take his audiences on a journey through hidden dimensions, superstrings and black holes.
Greens book and his study of string theory have been profiled by numerous media ranging from Late Night with Conan OBrien to The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer . He also was featured on Nightline in Primetimes Brave New World series.
Detailed information on Dr. Greene and other Festival of Ideas speakers participating in this years series is available at the Arts&Entertainment online site athttp://www.events.wvu.edu.
The next Festival speaker is poet Maya Angelou on Tuesday, March 13.
All events are free, produced by WVU students and open to the public. Seating is limited. For more information, call 304-293-SHOW (7469).