Lisa Randall


American Theoretical Physicist, Expert on Particle Physics and Cosmology,Frank B. Baird, Jr. Professor of Science on the Physics Faculty of Harvard University

Author Quotes

After all, the speed of light is finite, and our universe has existed for only a finite amount of time. That means that we can only possibly know about the surrounding region of space within the distance that light could have traveled since the universe?s inception. That is not infinitely far away. It defines a region known as the horizon, the dividing line between information that is and is not accessible to us.

Faith just doesn't have anything to do with what I'm doing as a scientist. It's nice if you can believe in God, because then you see more of a purpose in things. Even if you don't, though, it doesn't mean that there's no purpose. It doesn't mean that there's no goodness. I think that there's a virtue in being good in and of itself. I think that one can work with the world we have.

I had this illusion that if I kind of dressed badly that I wouldn't stand out. So I actually went out of my way to not look different to the extent I could.

In a supersymmetric universe, the partners of quarks and leptons would be new bosons. Physicists, who enjoy whimsical (but systematic) nomenclature, call them squarks and sleptons.

Organized religion and musicals present tenets to live by that don't entirely make sense but, on the whole, make people who believe them secure, thus giving an appearance of inclusiveness.

Scientific research involves going beyond the well-trodden and well-tested ideas and theories that form the core of scientific knowledge. During the time scientists are working things out, some results will be right, and others will be wrong. Over time, the right results will emerge.

The goal of particle physics is to discover matter?s most basic constituents and the most fundamental physical laws obeyed by those constituents.

There can sometimes be this fear among laypeople: 'I don't understand everything in science perfectly, so I just can't say anything about it.' I think it's good to know that we scientists are also confused some of the time.

When it comes to the world around us, is there any choice but to explore?

All of the lightest stable quarks and leptons have heavier replicas. No one knows why they are there, or what they are good for. When physicists first realized that the muon, a particle first seen in cosmic rays, was nothing other than a heavier version of the electron (200 times heavier), the physicist I.I. Rabi asked, ?Who ordered that??

For me, the most absorbing films are those that address big questions and real ideas but embody them in small examples that we can appreciate and comprehend.

I really do think that science has an internal structure, and it makes sense, and we can test it.

In fact, essentially most of the great movie disaster scenarios (with the exception of a zombie apocalypse) follow in the wake of a sufficiently big impact.

Other branes might be parallel to ours and might house parallel worlds. But many other types of braneworld might exist too. Branes could intersect and particles could be trapped at the intersections. Branes could have different dimensionality. They could curve. They could move. They could wrap around unseen invisible dimensions. Let your imagination run wild and draw any picture you like. It is not impossible that such a geometry exists in the cosmos.

Scientists actively approach the door to knowledge--the boundary of the domain of what we know. We question and explore and we change our views when facts and logic force us to do so. We are confident only in what we can verify through experiments or in what we can deduce from experimentally confirmed hypotheses.

The particle?s discovery is tremendously exciting. It?s also inspirational. Let?s just enjoy that for now.

There is real confusion about what it means to be right and wrong - the difference between what spiritual beliefs are and what science is.

When people try to use religion to address the natural world, science pushes back on it, and religion has to accommodate the results. Beliefs can be permanent, but beliefs can also be flexible. Personally, if I find out my belief is wrong, I change my mind. I think that's a good way to live.

All the normal matter in the Milky Way disc is denser than the dark matter that surrounds it.

For two events separated in time, a geodesic is the natural path things would take in spacetime to connect one event to the other.

I really like that my work is getting more people interested in science.

In the history of physics, every time we've looked beyond the scales and energies we were familiar with, we've found things that we wouldn't have thought were there. You look inside the atom, and eventually you discover quarks. Who would have thought that?

Our hypotheses are initially rooted in theoretical consistency and elegance, but... ultimately it is experiment not rigid belief that determines what is correct.

Secrets of the cosmos will begin to unravel. I, for one, can't wait.

The photon is the first example we will encounter of a gauge boson, a fundamental, elementary particle that is responsible for communicating a particular force.

Author Picture
First Name
Last Name
Birth Date

American Theoretical Physicist, Expert on Particle Physics and Cosmology,Frank B. Baird, Jr. Professor of Science on the Physics Faculty of Harvard University