Brian Randolph Greene (born February 9, 1963) is an American theoretical physicist and string theorist. He has been a professor at Columbia University since 1996 and chairman of the World Science Festival since co-founding it in 2008. Greene has worked on mirror symmetry, relating two different Calabi–Yau manifolds (concretely, relating the conifold to one of its orbifolds). He also described the flop transition, a mild form of topology change, showing that topology in string theory can change at the conifold point.
Greene has become known to a wider audience through his books for the general public, The Elegant Universe, Icarus at the Edge of Time, The Fabric of the Cosmos, The Hidden ...view middle of the document...
His co-investigators are David Albert and Maulik Parikh.
Greene's area of research is string theory, a candidate for a theory of quantum gravity. String theory attempts to explain the different particle species of the standard model of particle physics as different aspects of a single type of one-dimensional, vibrating string. One peculiarity of string theory is that it postulates the existence of extra dimensions of space: instead of the usual four dimensions, there must be ten spatial dimensions and one dimension of time to allow for a consistently defined string theory. The theory has several explanations to offer for why we do not perceive these extra dimensions, one being that they are "curled up" (compactified, to use the technical term) and are hence too small to be readily noticeable.
In the field, Greene is best known for his contribution to the understanding of the different shapes the curled-up dimensions of string theory can take. The most important of these shapes are so-called Calabi–Yau manifolds; when the extra dimensions take on those particular forms, physics in three dimensions exhibits an abstract symmetry known as supersymmetry.
Greene has worked on a particular class of symmetry relating two different Calabi–Yau manifolds, known as mirror symmetry (concretely, relating the conifold to one of its orbifolds). He is also known for his research on the flop transition, a mild form of topology change, showing that topology in string theory can change at the conifold point.
Currently, Greene studies string cosmology, especially the imprints of trans Planckian physics on the cosmic microwave background, and brane-gas cosmologies that could explain why the space around us has three large dimensions, expanding on the suggestion of a black hole electron, namely that the electron may be a black hole.
World Science Festival
In 2008, together with Tracy Day (former ABC News producer), Greene co-founded the World Science Festival, whose mission is to cultivate a general public informed by science, inspired by its wonder, convinced of its value, and prepared to engage with its implications for the future. He is currently the Chairman of the Board.
The World Science Festival’s signature event is a five-day festival in New York City, typically falling at the May. Hailed a “new cultural institution”, by The New York Times, the Festival has featured such luminaries as: Stephen Hawking, Edward O. Wilson, Sir Paul Nurse, James Watson, Anna Deavere Smith, Francis Collins, Philip Glass, Yo-Yo Ma, Oliver Sacks, Mary-Claire King, William Phillips, Paul Davies, Elizabeth Vargas, Sir Roger Penrose, Charlie Rose, Lisa P. Jackson, John Lithgow, Vinton Cerf, Glenn Close, Jeffrey Eugenides, Bill T. Jones, Joyce Carol Oates, Elaine Fuchs. The first six Festivals have drawn close to a million visitors, and millions more have explored the year round content available online.
Greene is well known to a wider...