Get to Know NOVA's Brian Greene, String Theorist
Brian Greene (born February 9, 1963) is an American theoretical physicist and string theorist. He has been a professor at Columbia University since 1996. 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. He 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 Reality, and a related PBS television special. Greene also appeared on The Big Bang Theory episode "The Herb Garden Germination."
Greene was born in New York City. His father, Alan Greene, was a one-time vaudeville performer and high school dropout who later worked as a voice coach and composer. After attending Stuyvesant High School, Greene entered Harvard in 1980 to major in physics. After completing his bachelor's degree, Greene earned his doctorate from Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, graduating in 1987. While at Oxford, Greene also studied piano with the concert pianist Jack Gibbons.
Greene joined the physics faculty of Cornell University in 1990, and was appointed to a full professorship in 1995. The following year, he joined the staff of Columbia University as a full professor. At Columbia, Greene is co-director of the university's Institute for Strings, Cosmology, and Astroparticle Physics (ISCAP), and is leading a research program applying superstring theory to cosmological questions. He is also one of the FQXi large grant awardees, his project title being "Arrow of Time in the Quantum Universe". His co-investigators are David Albert and Maulik Parikh.
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.
About NOVA's The Fabric of the Cosmos
Greene is going to let you in on a secret: We've all been deceived. Our perceptions of time and space have led us astray. Much of what we thought we knew about our universe—that the past has already happened and the future is yet to be, that space is just an empty void, that our universe is the only universe that exists—just might be wrong.
Interweaving provocative theories, experiments, and stories with crystal-clear explanations and imaginative metaphors like those that defined the groundbreaking and highly acclaimed series The Elegant Universe, The Fabric of the Cosmos promises to be the most compelling, visual, fun, and comprehensive picture of modern physics ever seen on television.
Click here to find out more about Brian Greene and NOVA's The Fabric of the Cosmos.
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