05.16.2021 - By Desert Island Discs
Brian Greene is a theoretical physicist, mathematician and writer, whose area of research is string theory. His books and broadcasts distil the complexities of science for a general audience, leading one critic to say appreciatively “he speaks maths, physics and human.”
Born in New York City, his father taught him the basics of arithmetic when he was a toddler and by the time he was five Brian was multiplying 30-digit numbers by 30-digit numbers - just for the pure joy of working things out by himself. At 11 Brian had exhausted everything his maths teacher could teach him but, thanks to his teacher’s resourcefulness, he managed to get extra tuition from a graduate student at Columbia University.
After graduating from Harvard in 1984, Brian won a Rhodes scholarship to Oxford University to study gravity and quantum mechanics. At Oxford he became captivated by the idea of string theory which was causing much excitement among the physics community at the time. String theory was seen as having the potential to answer life’s big questions about space, time and the universe.
Over the years Brian has been at the forefront of scientific discoveries including mirror symmetry and later proving that tears could happen in the fabric of space.
Brian is currently professor of physics and mathematics at Columbia University.
DISC ONE: An extract from Icarus At the Edge of Time. Composed by Philip Glass, performed by the Orchestra of St Lukes, conducted by Brad Lubman, narrated by John Lithgow
DISC TWO: Rockin’ in the Rockies by The Cappy Barra Boys Harmonica Quartet
DISC THREE: Turn Around by Harry Belafonte
DISC FOUR: An extract from Light Falls, composed by Jeff Beal, performed by Hollywood Chamber Orchestra
DISC FIVE: Brahms Rhapsody in G minor, Op. 79 no 2, performed by Martha Argerich
DISC SIX: Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Judy Garland with the Victor Young Orchestra
DISC SEVEN: A Million Dreams by Ziv Zaifman, Hugh Jackman and Michelle Williams
DISC EIGHT: The Sound of Silence by Disturbed
BOOK CHOICE: Philosophical Explanations by Robert Nozick
LUXURY ITEM: A solar powered particle collider
CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Turn Around by Harry Belafonte
Presenter: Lauren Laverne
Producer: Paula McGinley