String Theory

Physicist Michio Kaku has been one of the most vocal supporters of string theory. He worked on the theory early in the 1970s, actually co-founding “string field theory” by writing string theory in a field form. By his own account, he then abandoned work on string theory because he didn’t believe in the additional dimensions […]

Brian Greene (String Theory)

Last but certainly not least is probably one of the best-known string theorists, especially among nonphysicists. Brian Greene’s popularity as a writer and spokesman for the field dates back to his 1999 topic The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory, which was used in 2003 as the basis for […]

Lisa Randall (String Theory)

Theoretical physics is a realm stereotypically dominated by men and, even among the rare women who choose it, Lisa Randall doesn’t fit the mold. She spends her free time on intense rock climbing expeditions but spends her professional days exploring the implications of multidimensional brane worlds as a phenomenologist. Dr. Randall was the first tenured […]

David Gross (String Theory)

David Gross was one of the physicists who developed the heterotic string theory, one of the major findings of the first superstring revolution. In 2004, Gross earned (along with colleagues Frank Wilczek and David Politzer) the Nobel Prize in Physics for their 1973 discovery of asymptotic freedom in the strong nuclear interaction of quarks. (This […]

Joe Polchinski (String Theory)

Joe Polchinski proved that string theory required objects of more than one dimension, called branes. Although the concept of branes had previously been introduced, Polchinski explored the nature of D-branes. This work was crucial to the second superstring revolution of 1995. Polchinski’s work is seen as fundamental to the development of M-theory, brane world scenarios, […]

Juan Maldacena (String Theory)

Juan Maldacena is an Argentine physicist who developed the idea that a duality exists between string theory and a quantum field theory — called the Malcadena duality (or the AdS/CFT correspondence; see topic 11). The Maldacena duality, proposed in 1997, has been applied only in certain cases, but if it can be extended to all […]

John Henry Schwarz (String Theory)

If string theory were a religion, then John Henry Schwarz would be the equivalent of St. Paul. At a time when virtually every other physicist abandoned string theory, Schwarz persevered for almost a decade as one of the few who tried to work out the theory’s mathematical details, even though it hurt his career. Eventually, […]

Yoichiro Nambu (String Theory)

Yoichiro Nambu is one of the founders of string theory who independently discovered the physical description of the Veneziano model as vibrating strings. Nambu was already a respected particle physicist for his earlier work in describing the mechanism of spontaneous symmetry breaking in particle physics. Dr. Nambu received the 2008 Nobel Prize in Physics for […]

Leonard Susskind (String Theory)

Leonard Susskind is another founder of string theory. As he recounts in his topic The Cosmic Landscape: String Theory and the Illusion of Intelligent Design, he saw the original dual resonance model equations and thought they looked similar to equations for oscillators, which led him to create the string description — concurrently with Yoichiro Nambu […]

The End of the Universe: What Comes Next? (String Theory)

And, of course, the eternal question of the fate of the universe is another question that a theory of everything would need to answer. (Cue up the song “It’s the End of the World as We Know It” by R.E.M.) Will our universe (and all the others) end in ice, expanding until heat dissipates out […]