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SMU News & Media Relations
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September 8, 2004

Physics Guru Brian Greene to Discuss How Universe Works

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DALLAS (SMU) -- Physicist Brian Greene, author of the best-seller The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory, will kick off this year's Collegium da Vinci lecture series at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 26.

Greene believes there is an explanation of how the universe works. Up to now, there has been a problem with physicists' two great theories of the universe - general relativity and quantum mechanics.

General relativity explains the behavior of the universe at large scales, while quantum mechanics describes the behavior of subatomic particles. Under certain conditions, however, these theories are in conflict.

Greene, a professor at Columbia University, believes the conflict between quantum mechanics and general relativity can be reconciled in superstring theory, which seeks to explain the workings of all forces and all matter from the universe's earliest moments. At the Sept. 26 lecture, he will describe developments in the theory and the mysteries yet to be uncovered that will revolutionize our understanding of space, time and matter.

One of the strangest features of superstring theory is that the theory requires the universe to have more than three spatial dimensions. Much of my research has focused on the physical implications and mathematical properties of these extra dimensions ...
                         -Brian Greene

Greene will present The Annual Allman Family Public Lecture which is part of Southern Methodist University's Collegium da Vinci. The lecture is free and open to the public and will be held in Caruth Auditorium of the Owen Arts Center, 6101 Bishop Blvd.

Publisher's Weekly said Greene "possesses a remarkable gift for using the everyday to illustrate what may be going on in dimensions beyond our feeble human perception. Just when we might be tempted to dismiss strings as grist for the publish-or-perish mill, Greene explains how they have demonstrated connections between mathematics and physics that have helped solve age-old conundrums in each field."

Collegium da Vinci is SMU's society for scientific discussion and is part of Dedman College.