String Theory and the Pleasure Principle

Wednesday, March 30, 2011
When: 5:00pm - 6:30pm
Location: 
Friends Hall,
DML 2nd floor, room 240

Physics professor Clifford Johnson discusses how and why polymathic playfulness is crucial to theoretical physics.

Clifford Johnson

Clifford Johnson

Clifford Johnson always wanted to be a physicist and astronomer.  His research focuses on the development of theoretical tools for the description of the basic fabric of Nature.  Johnson believes the tools and ideas often have applications in other areas of physics (and mathematics) too - unexpected connections are part of the fun of research and very polymathic!  Ultimately, Professor Johnson is trying to understand and describe the origin, past, present, and future of the Universe.  This involves trying to describe its fundamental constituents (and their interactions), as well as the Universe as a dynamical object in its own right. He mainly works on (super) string theory, gravity, gauge theory, and M-theory, which leads him to think about things like space-time, quantum mechanics, black holes, the big bang, extra dimensions, quarks, gluons, and so forth.  As a true polymathic practitioner, he is also an accomplished musician.