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Brian Greene
Physicist & String Theorist 
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Brian Greene
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String theorist and author of The Elegant Universe, Brian Greene is one of the world’s leading theoretical physicists and a brilliant, entertaining communicator of cutting-edge scientific concepts. The Washington Post described him as “the single best explainer of abstruse concepts in the world today.”

Greene’s national bestseller, The Elegant Universe, which recounts the theories of general relativity and quantum mechanics, transformed our understanding of the universe and introduced string theory, a concept that might be the key to a unified theory of the universe. The book sold over a million copies and became an Emmy and Peabody Award-winning NOVA special that Greene hosted.

His second book, The Fabric of the Cosmos, spent six months on The New York Times Best Sellers list and was adapted into a NOVA miniseries on PBS. Greene's latest bestseller, The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos, was published in January 2011.

His illustrated novella, Icarus at the Edge of Time, retells the Greek myth in a futuristic light. Greene and David Henry Hwang adapted the story to be a film and symphonic performance in collaboration with composer Philip Glass; the world debut was in the spring of 2010.

Brian Greene co-founded The World Science Festival in 2008. As the WSF Chairman, Green made it the Festival’s mission to take science out of the laboratory, making the esoteric understandable and the familiar fascinating to the general public. In 2014 Greene and the World Science Festival launched World Science U, a series of free online courses led by Greene.

Called "a charismatic speaker" by Publishers Weekly, he considers lecturing "a form of performance,” and according to Newsweek, "Greene's theatrical lectures — which include lots of metaphors, cool 3-D visuals and dry humor — routinely draw hundreds." Greene has a knack for explaining complex theories in plain language and brings narrative tension and passion to his storytelling.

A Harvard graduate and a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, Greene is a professor in Physics and Mathematics at Columbia University. His work has been published in Wired Magazine and The New York Times. Greene appeared as himself in a 2011 episode of CBS’ The Big Bang Theory. He has been a guest on Charlie RoseNightline, The Late Show with David Letterman, and The Colbert Report.

Full Bio >
  • Brian Greene Discusses the Higgs Discovery at Aspen Ideas Festival (2012)
  • What's the Big Idea? (2008)
  • Greene Explains That Whole Special Relativity Thing on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
  • Greene on the Importance of Science Education (2010)
  • Dr. Greene explains the discovery of Gravitational Waves (2016)
  • Brian Greene on Colbert Report (2011)
  • Brian Greene at TED Talks (2008)
  • Icarus at the Edge of Time (2008)
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Speaking Topics
Science Matters: Inspiring The Next Generation Of Maverick Thinkers

For many, science brings to mind memories of a difficult or boring or irrelevant or intimidating subject once studied in school but long since left behind. To be sure, the general public values the fruits of science and technology, but science itself is, for many, best left to the scientists. Which is tragic. Science is our species’ most dramatic story of discovery. Instilling this perspective calls for a radical shift, in which science moves from the outskirts to the center of culture. In this talk, audiences explore key breakthroughs in science and grasp how abstract discovery can impact the all-too-human quest to understand how we fit into the cosmos. 

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Dreams of a Unified Theory: Einstein And Beyond

Building upon his own revolutionary breakthroughs, as well as those of an earlier age, Albert Einstein dreamed of a single theory — perhaps encapsulated by a single mathematical equation — that would be able to explain all of nature’s forces. Einstein spent 30 years in valiant pursuit of the unified theory but came up empty handed. In the decades since, physicists have picked up where Einstein left off, and have made great strides, with some of their most well-developed approaches involving microscopic strings, extra dimensions of space, and possibly even other universes. In this dispatch from the frontier of physics, audiences go on a whirlwind journey across 300 years of thinking, to learn the state-of-the art in searching for the deepest laws of the universe.

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Breakthrough Thinking: Challenging What We Know

During the past hundred years, our understanding of the universe has been subject to three revolutionary upheavals that have swept away thousands of years of conventional thought. These discoveries serve as case studies into the kind of creative reasoning that shatters conventional wisdom and synthesizes new approaches and new answers to the most perplexing of puzzles. By showing the impact of questioning hidden assumptions, the power of asking the seeming simple-minded questions to which everyone already “knows” the answer, and the value of melding diverse viewpoints to produce what no single perspective could yield on its own, this talk illustrates the key elements of breakthrough thinking within the fascinating narrative of modern physics.

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The Drive to Innovate: Stories from the Frontiers of Discovery

Innovation, exploration, and discovery are deeply ingrained in human nature, and the keys to their success transcend disciplines. Professor Greene uses three stories from the frontiers of science to examine how essential features — staying the course while shedding expectations, maintaining individuality while working collaboratively, accepting failure while pushing for success — can coalesce into breathtaking results. Sparking new insights, this presentation explores how we can unleash our innate drive to innovate. 

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Icarus: At the Edge of Time

In an evening of art and science, world-renowned physicist Dr. Brian Greene adapts and transforms the mythical flight of Icarus into a theory-driven adventure, Icarus: At the Edge of Time. Melding state-of-the-art visual effects, an original orchestral score by Philip Glass, and Greene’s own passion for helping audiences of all ages discover the secrets of the universe, Icarus is a performance that has the same edge of your seat quality of a sci-fi quest, yet one that is grounded by real world science.
About the Program…
Icarus: At the Edge of Time takes audiences on a journey through scientific wonder and high-speed adventure. Dr. Brian Greene opens the show by introducing the science of relativity and black holes and the possibility of time travel that they offer. With that as a launching pad, Greene brings the science to vivid life, narrating his own futuristic version of the flight of Icarus, in which a young astronaut challenges the awesome might of a black hole. Featuring a live orchestral accompaniment and a visually arresting video feature, the evening is an experience of film, music, and science that is not to be missed.
Click here for a full video trailer of this event. 
Click here for a full color description of the program. 

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Invisible Reality: The (Almost) Unbearable Weirdness of the Quantum World

The single greatest upheaval in our understanding of the universe comes from Quantum Mechanics. Developed nearly a century ago to understand the universe’s finest ingredients, quantum mechanics has resulted in the most accurate theory ever developed but also the strangest. Particles and waves, probabilities, quantum entanglement, and possibly other worlds are all features that may very well have a home in this most powerful description of nature. Learn how a single generation of thinkers used theory and experiment to rewrite the rules of reality and, in the process, revolutionized modern life.

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The Cosmos: From The Big Bang To The End Of Time

Across centuries and cultures, we have told stories of our cosmic origins. Now, through a remarkable series of theoretical and observational breakthroughs, science has added its voice to this quest, giving us sharp insight into the universe’s earliest moments and making predictions, tentative though some may be, for what things will be like in the far future. In this visual tour of the cosmos, audiences hitch a ride on the continuing journey to understand the beginning and the end of time.

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Books & Other Works
  • The Hidden Reality
  • The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory
  • Icarus at the Edge of Time
  • The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2006
  • The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality
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“We had an absolutely fabulously time with Brian. His main presentation at our high school assembly was enthusiastically received by all. In fact, teachers across the disciplines were so impressed they brought their classes to the small group sessions beyond the usual science classes. As a result, we had great participation in every aspect of his visit.”
The Kinkaid School
“Dr. Greene was extremely well received among the OSU community. Many audience members had questions, and Dr. Greene was captivating in explaining the information. Overall, I would give the event an A+ and would recommend Dr. Greene to any other University.”
Ohio State University
“Brian Greene was a delightful, inspiring, and very well received guest. He has a remarkable talent to make complex ideas very accessible. Students quickly gained confidence to ask questions as they saw that he would take them seriously. At the same time, he was engaging and challenging with faculty, advanced students, and community in thoughtful – and often humorous – ways. Excellent selection for our campus and community.”
Nova Southeastern University
“Brian Greene was fantastic last night. Both in his interactions with Lecture Board members and in his amazing speech, he was personable and entertaining. Brown Lecture Board (and the sold-out crowd) really enjoyed having him here.”
Brown University
“We had a fantastic, double-hitter with Brian Greene. He was entertaining, charming, mind-expanding and thrilling. Our audience was buzzing.”
The Library Foundation of Hennepin County
“Brian Greene knocked the socks off the group.”
National Business Aviation Association
“Dr. Greene's speech was absolutely fabulous! It made both fellow professionals as well as the general public feel involved, educated and entertained altogether.”
VokrugSveta Ideas Festival @ Moscow
“Everyone is still raving about how superb your talk was...."beyond perfect" was how one person put it while others have commented that it was the finest presentation they had ever seen! My son even admitted getting "goose bumps" listening to the talk. Fantastic!”
Florida State University
“The event this evening was phenomenal! We had record attendance on-campus-roughly a thousand people. Dr Greene's visit represented a truly wonderful launch to our annual Nelson Series!”
Harvey Mudd College
“A number of people have mentioned to me that he was the best speaker of the season. He was my first choice as well as by far the most informative and entertaining.”
“We thoroughly enjoyed Dr. Greene. He really had the audience's attention for the entire hour, and they sat spellbound in their seats for a few questions and answers. He was all that you said he would be. The luncheon Q & A was equally fun and educational. Fantastic!”
Town Hall South - Pittsburgh
“...everyone thought that Brian Greene was amazing. Most of our crowd did not have any physics knowledge and yet felt that his highly entertaining presentation really opened up a new and facinating world to them.”
Institute for Jewish Thought & Culture
“It was a wonderful session with Brian Greene. I think he did the best job that anybody we've ever had to be quite honest with you, and I think that's shared by everyone here. We've had rave notices from everybody, including our board of trustees.”
International Conference of College Teaching and Learning
“Prof. Greene was a tremendous hit among all our guests. His speech was very dynamic and engaging.”
University of California, Riverside
“He was a fine speaker. It is frankly incredible to me that someone can give a coherent talk explaining certain crucial features of special relativity, general relativity and quantum mechanics, the source of the conflict between relativity and quantum mechanics, and the way that string theory resolves the conflict " all in one hour. He also did a terrific job in a Q&A.”
Butler University
“One of the top (really close to the top) speakers the forum has had in 10 years! Major success " students, faculty and town people. They even had students and faculty from other colleges in the surrounding community. Could not have been better.”
College of Wooster
“Everything was fabulous with Dr. Greene. The students were very engaged in his classroom visit and his lecture was amazing! He was energetic, funny, and very easy to understand. The campus is still buzzing about how great it was.”
Lakeside School
“Brian Greene was very well-received. He spoke to a full house with the overflow room full to capacity.”
California State University, Monterey Bay
“The event was wonderful! Brian delivered a great talk. He had the audience in his hands.... Brian was nice to work with, amenable to signing books, talking with people, etc... The audience was packed to capacity and more.”
Linda Hall Library of Science, Engineering & Technology
“We had over 500 in attendance. Brian Greene was delightful as a person and insightful as a scientist and lecturer.”
Montclair State University
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