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

Science certainly is not the static statement of universal laws we all hear about in elementary school. Nor is it a set of arbitrary rules. Science is an evolving body of knowledge. Many of the ideas we are currently investigating will prove to be wrong or incomplete. Scientific descriptions certainly change as we cross the boundaries that circumscribe what we know and venture into more remote territory where we can glimpse hints of the deeper truths beyond.

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

Creativity is essential to particle physics, cosmology, and to mathematics, and to other fields of science, just as it is to its more widely acknowledged beneficiaries - the arts and humanities.

I do try to do high-impact work, and I try to think of ideas people haven't thought about that have broad implications, but I don't restrict myself to that. I try to work on things that I find interesting.

If you are a responsible scientist, you are going to present your new results in a paper, and maybe if, over time, things are established, and it's prime time for the public to hear about it, then you include it in a book.

Nonetheless, in all cases matter tells spacetime how to curve, and spacetime tells matter how to move.

Science is a combination of theory and experiment and the two together are how you make progress.

The key distinction between science and religion might well be the character of the questions they choose to ask. Religion includes questions that fall outside the domain of science. Religion asks ?why,? in the sense of the presumption of an underlying purpose, whereas science asks ?how.? Science doesn?t rely on any sense of an underlying goal for nature. That is a line of inquiry we leave to religion or philosophy, or abandon altogether? But an unconcerned universe is not a bad thing ? or a good one for that matter. Scientists don?t look for underlying intention in the way that religion often does. Objective science simply requires that we treat the universe as indifferent.

Despite humanity?s shared desire for wisdom, people using different methods to ask questions and find answers or people with different goals haven?t always gotten along and the pursuit of truth hasn?t always neatly separated along lines that would avoid controversy. When people apply religious beliefs to the natural world, observations of nature can push back, and religion has to accommodate these findings.

I don't necessarily make much art myself, but after I wrote 'Warped Passages,' I was fortunate to get involved a little in the art world. I got invited to write a libretto for what we called a projective opera, and I also got invited to curate an art exhibit.

If you keep telling girls they're less good at science, that will probably be self-fulfilling. But there are quite a lot of women who are good at it.

Nonetheless, science has told us much about what the universe is made of and how it works. When you put together all of what we know, the picture scientists have deduced over time fits together miraculously well. Scientific ideas lead to correct predictions. So some of us trust in its authority, and many recognize the remarkable lessons of science through the ages.

Science is not religion. We're not going to be able to answer the "why" questions. But when you put together all of what we know about the universe, it fits together amazingly well.

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

A brane is a distinct region of spacetime that extends through only a (possibly multidimensional) slice of space. The word membrane motivated the choice of the word brane because membranes, like branes, are layers that either surround or run through a substance.

Despite my resistance to hyperbole, the LHC belongs to a world that can only be described with superlatives. It is not merely large: the LHC is the biggest machine ever built. It is not merely cold: the 1.9 kelvin (1.9 degrees Celsius above absolute zero) temperature necessary for the LHC?s supercomputing magnets to operate is the coldest extended region that we know of in the universe?even colder than outer space. The magnetic field is not merely big: the superconducting dipole magnets generating a magnetic field more than 100,000 times stronger than the Earth?s are the strongest magnets in industrial production ever made. And the extremes don?t end there. The vacuum inside the proton-containing tubes, a 10 trillionth of an atmosphere, is the most complete vacuum over the largest region ever produced. The energy of the collisions are the highest ever generated on Earth, allowing us to study the interactions that occurred in the early universe the furthest back in time.

I don't think about a theory of everything when I do my research. And even if we knew the ultimate underlying theory, how are you going to explain the fact that we're sitting here? Solving string theory won't tell us how humanity was born.

If you look through the shelves of science books, you'll find row after row of books written by men. This can be terribly off-putting for women.

One of the nice things about math and science is it's obvious, you get the answer or you don't get the answer.

Scientific experiments are expensive, and people are entitled to know about them if they want to. I think it is very difficult to convey ideas.

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.

A musical, like most religions, provides the audience or followers with a sense of belonging. Religious services, on the other hand, with their staged performances, invigorating songs, popular wisdom and shared experience, are almost a form of community theater.

Even if we know the basic ingredients, in a multiverse populated by more than one brane, exotic new scenarios for the geometry of space are conceivable as well as myriad possibilities for how the particles we know and don?t know are distributed among them.

I don't think we have reached a point where art really translates into science. Perhaps for some people, having good visuals can help translate into science.

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.

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