posted on Oct. 17: Physicist and author is 2000 Redman Lecturer


For hundreds of years, physicists have been searching for a unified theory or “master equation” that would provide a framework for describing nature's forces and all matter.

In his talk, “The Quest for the Unified Theory,” Brian Greene, professor of physics and mathematics at Columbia University, will follow the history of that search since the time of Isaac Newton to the present.

Greene, this year's Redman lecturer, will be speaking on campus in the evenings of Oct. 18 and 19. His second talk, “Space and Time Since Einstein,” will provide insights into the nature of both, from the development of the theory of relativity to the present-day string theory. Both lectures are at 8 p.m. in HSC-1A1.

Lecture organizers emphasize that no background in physics is required to attend these lectures. “Green is noted for his ability to explain complex physics concepts in simple terms in his illustrated public lectures,” says Richard Epand, professor of biochemistry and Redman Lecture committee chair.

String theory is a concept that would enable physicists to unite quantum mechanics (the physics of small objects) with general relativity (the physics of massive and fast-moving objects), and explain the fundamental laws of the universe.

A graduate of Harvard University, Greene explored ways to test the predictions of string theory while a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University in the 1980s. Recognized as one of the world's leading experts in the theory, he established a string theory program in 1996 at Columbia. He is the author of The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory (1999).