The Straight Skinny on String (Theory)

Courtesy WGBH

Physicists' quest for the "theory of everything," now focused on string theory, poses unusual problems of imagination and visualization, even for specialists. Brian Greene '84 made a marked contribution toward public understanding in his book The Elegant Universe (which reviewer Alan Lightman called the "clearest and most comprehensive" popularization; see July-August 1999, page 25). Among the challenges: coming to terms with the six extra dimensions in Calabi-Yau spaces required by string theory, depicted above.

The image is from a Nova series based on Greene's book, airing on public television in late October and early November, and featuring Greene and Harvard physics professors Nima Arkani-Hamed, Peter Galison (a scientific historian, as well), and Cumrun Vafa, among others.

   

You might also like

Steven Pinker on Apple’s Vision Pro

Professor of psychology on the science and history behind the Vision Pro.

The State of Black America

Harvard African American scholars take stock of a difficult moment. 

Threats Foreign and Domestic

Joseph Nye discusses geopolitics and Harvard’s challenges.

Most popular

An Authentic Act

Basketball coach Kathy Delaney-Smith navigates players’ gender and sexual identity, mental health, and other challenging social issues.

Mass Audubon Ushers in the Spring

Exploring nature through Mass Audubon

Blindspot: A Novel

History professor Jill Lepore is the coauthor, with Jane Kamensky, of the historical novel Blindspot, set in colonial Boston.

More to explore

Photograph of Winthrop Bell 1910

Winthrop Bell

Brief life of a philosopher and spy: 1884-1965

Illustration of people talking to each other with colorful thought bubbles above their heads

Talking about Talking

Fostering healthy disagreement

Vacationing with a Purpose

New England “summer camps” for adults