Brian Greene: A Time Traveller's Tale
International Convention Centre
March 30, 2017
Cosmologist, string theorist, professor of science and mathematics Brian Greene is an academic rock star whose mass appeal, which might be partly owed to his upbringing as the son of a vaudevillian showman, and ability to present complex theories from the realm of theoretical physics to a mainstream audience put him in league with leading science communicators like Neil deGrasse Tyson and prominent presenters like Bill Nye. A path that not unlike that of Dr Lisa Randall, whose Sydney appearance we covered last year, culminated in a guest appearance on the sitcom The Big Bang Theory and the science-fiction flic Frequency as well as his children book Icarus at the Edge of Time being adapted to film.
Attending Harvard University from 1980, and in 1987 receiving his PhD in Physics from Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, Dr Brian Greene has dedicated the majority of his career to the concept of string theory, which not only reimagines the very structure of our universe but extends its ambition by attempting to combine understanding the interaction of all four fundamental forces of the universe (gravitational, electromagnetic, strong nuclear and weak nuclear) into one simple equation: a unified ‘theory of everything’.
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For his current multi-media show "A Time Traveller’s Tale" he is flanked by scientifically-grounded Melbourne-based spoken word artist Hugo The Poet.
The subject matter of his show is based on the concept, definition and source of time – the fundamental question being if time is a humanly invented device to order our mundane existence of if it is something inherent to the uni- or rather multiverses, as it was discovered in 2016 that our universe has ten times more galaxies than previously thought.
Dr Greene’s show is an entertaining departure from Think Inc.’s usual Q&A format: A performance experience that marries art (multi-media performances as well as a hip hop inspired elaboration by Hugo the Poet) and science in a similar manner that Greene’s specialist field (the superstring theory) reconciles the differences between quantum theory and classical physics.
Greene manages to explain the near inexplicable by bridging the divide between academia and the horizons of mere mortals in an engaging manner and thereby proves that science is inherent in our day-to-day operations and not a mere theoretical construct. A plaidoyer that is based on his claim that science should not just be experienced cognitively but also emotionally.
Photos by KAVV