Brian Greene • Thursday, April 8
Physicist, Author, Professor of Physics and Mathematics, Columbia University
"The single best explainer of abstruse concepts in the world today."
—The Washington Post
Brian Greene is one of the world’s leading theoretical physicists and a brilliant, entertaining communicator of cutting-edge scientific concepts.
In his 2000 book The Elegant Universe, Green recounted how the theories of general relativity and quantum mechanics transformed our understanding of the universe and introduced us to string theory, a concept that might be the key to a unified theory of the universe. The book has been translated into 35 languages and has sold more than a million copies worldwide. It became an Emmy and Peabody Award winning NOVA special that Greene hosted and was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize.
His second book, The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time and the Texture of Reality, published in 2005, spent six months on The New York Times bestseller list and is being adapted into a four-part NOVA miniseries slated for broadcast in 2010. Greene’s most recent book (2008) is Icarus at the Edge of Time, a futuristic retelling of the Icarus myth.
Greene received his undergraduate training at Harvard University, graduating in 1984. He went on to graduate school at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar and received his doctorate in 1986. From 1987-90, he was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard, and in 1990 he joined the faculty of Cornell University. He joined the Columbia University faculty in 1996.
Greene’s research focuses on the quantum mechanics 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 math and physics. In subsequent work, Greene and his colleagues have posited that in string theory the fabric of space can stretch in time and tear (resulting in our expanding universe) establishing that the universe can evolve iin far more dramatic ways than Einstein had envisioned.
Greene was co-founder of the World Science Festival, a week-long extravanganza in New York City aimed at educating the public about science and technology. The event, held in the spring of 2008, drew 120,000 visitors.
Learn more: see Brian Greene on string theory at TED.com