Physicist Brian Greene describes how an awareness of our small place in the universe can inspire personal strength, in "Science Nourishes the Mind and the Soul," his contribution to NPR's This I Believe series.
This I Believe is a National Public Radio program that features Americans, from the famous to the unknown, completing the thought that begins with the series title. The pieces that make up the program compel listeners to re-think not only what and how they have arrived at their own personal beliefs, but also the extent to which they share them with others.
Featuring a star-studded list of contributors that includes John McCain, Isabel Allende, and Colin Powell, as well as pieces from the original 1950's series including Helen Keller and Jackie Robinson, the This I Believe collection also contains essays by a Brooklyn lawyer, a woman who sells yellow pages advertising in Fort Worth, and a man who serves on the state of Rhode Island's parole board. The result is a stirring, funny and always provocative trip inside the minds and hearts of a diverse group of Americans whose beliefs, and the incredibly varied ways in which they choose to express them, reveal the American spirit at its best.
This short audio essay is an excerpt from the audiobook edition of the This I Believe anthology.
Not many author bios begin with the author also being an American theoretical physicist, mathematician, and string theorist, but such is the bio for Brian Randolph Greene. He is a full professor in Physics at Columbia University where he has worked on "mirror symmetry" and described the "flop transition, a mild form of topology change, showing that topology theory can change at the conifold point".
Greene was born in New York City in 1963 to a Jewish family. His father was a high school drop-out, performed in vaudeville, then became a voice
coach and composer. Greene earned his doctorate at Magdalen College, Oxford University in 1987. He also studied piano while there.
The public knows him through his books: The Elegant Universe, Icarus at the Edge of Time, The Fabric of the Cosmos and The Hidden Reality. For fun, he has appeared on The Big Bang Theory, and has been in the films Frequency and The Last Mimzy. He was also the voice reader of the U.S. version of the preschool television series, Maisy.
Currently, Greene is co-director of Columbia's Institute for Strings, Cosmology, and Astroparticle Physics. He joins fellow investigators on a project entitled "Arrow of Time in the Quantum Universe", through a FQXi large grant award.
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