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Brian Greene
| Bio | Books | Interviews | More on the Universe |

Physicist Brian Greene is the author of The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory (1999). The surprise bestseller attempts to reconcile two widely accepted but mutually exclusive theories regarding the physical universe: quantum mechanics and general relativity. Greene champions a hot but controversial idea, "superstring theory," which asserts that the universe is made up of tiny vibrating strings. The author uses metaphors and analogies from everyday life to make even the most obstruse ideas accessible to the lay reader.

Critics praise Greene for his ability to make extraordinarily arcane matter accessible to all readers. George Johnson, writing in The New York Times Book Review, said that Greene explores "ideas and recent developments with a depth and clarity that I wouldn't have thought possible. Like Simon Singh in Fermat's Enigma, he has a rare ability to explain even the most evanescent ideas in a way that gives at least the illusion of understanding, enough of a mental toehold to get on with the climb."

Brian Greene has expanded the popularity of his quest for the "theory of everything" with his television appearances, ranging from Late Night with Conan O'Brien to The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer and he was featured on ABC-TV's Nightline in Primetime, Brave New World Series on September 16, 1999. He's appeared with the Emerson String Quartet to combine string physics with string music. He even "punches up" scientifically accurate dialogue for NBC's 3rd Rock from the Sun.

Brian Greene is Professor of both Physics and Mathematics at Columbia University. He has lectured on physics in more than twenty countries, and has shared the podium with Stephen Hawking and Edward Witten. He served as director of the Theoretical Advanced Study Institute in 1996 and is on the editorial boards of major publications in theoretical physics. The son of a voice coach and vaudeville performer, the 37 year-old physicist is receiving wide attention for his talents as a lecturer and public performer, in addition to his talents as a writer.

My area of research is superstring theory, a theory that purports to give us our first sensible theory of quantum gravity as well as a unified theory of all forces and all matter. As such, superstring theory has the potential of realizing Einstein's long sought for dream of a single, all encompassing, theory of the universe.

One of the strangest features of superstring theory is that the theory requires the universe to have more than three spatial dimensions. Much of my research has focused on the physical implications and mathematical properties of these extra dimensions --- studies that collectively go under the heading "quantum geometry".

Quantum geometry differs in substantial ways from the classical geoemtry underlying general relativity. For instance, topology change (the ``tearing" of space) is a commonplace feature of quantum geometry even though it involves operations that are classically discontinuous. As another example, two distinct classical spacetime geometries can give rise to identical physical implications, again at odds with conclusions based on classical general relativity. Currently, I am working on non-perturbative insights into quantum geometry using the new tools of D-branes emerging from the Second Superstring Revolution.
 







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