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Brian Greene
November 30, 1999
(Tuesday)

at 8:00 p.m.


Recital Hall, PAC
UAlbany, Uptown Campus

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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.

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"The Elegant Universe presents the ideas and aspirations--and some of the characters--of string theory with clarity and charm. It is both a personal story and the tale of a great intellectual movement." - Chris Quigg, Scientific American

"Greene does an admirable job of translating a wholly mathematical endeavor into visual terms. Throughout his work, he writes with poetic eloquence and style." - Marcia Bartusiak, Washington Post Book World

"[Greene] develops one fresh new insight after another. . .In the great tradition of physicists writing for the masses, The Elegant Universe sets a standard that will be hard to beat." - New York Times

"Physicist Brian Green's lectures on string theory are the hottest ticket on the Columbia campus, and his book, The Elegant Universe, is compulsively readable. Explaining the seductively named, "Theory of Everything" in comprehensible terms, Greene threatens to do for string theory what Stephen Hawking did for black holes. Did we say the professor's also very cute?" - New York Magazine


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