2001 Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate: The Theory of Everything

Tuesday, February 13, 2001

Can the entire Universe be explained with a single, unifying theory? This is perhaps the most fundamental question in all of science, and it may also be the most controversial. Albert Einstein was one of the first people to envision a unified field theory that might describe the behavior of all matter and energy in the cosmos with a single stroke of the pen; however, a definitive solution has eluded physicists to this day. As we enter the twenty-first century, the leading candidate for a theory of everything appears to be string theory, which considers every particle in the Universe as a multi-dimensional entity—a string—that manifests itself in our Universe differently depending on how it twists and vibrates.


  • Brian Greene—Professor of physics and mathematics at Columbia University, string theorist, and author of The Elegant Universe.
  • Lisa Randall—Professor of physics at MIT, theoretical particle physicist, and expert on the fundamental theory of matter.
  • Sylvester James Gates—Professor of physics at the University of Maryland, string theorist, and author of Superspace, or 1001 Lessons In Supersymmetry.
  • Lawrence Krauss—Professor of physics at Case Western Reserve University, theoretical physicist and author of numerous books on fundamental physics including Quintessence: The Mystery of the Missing Mass in the Universe.
  • Sheldon Glashow—Professor emeritus of physics at Harvard University and professor of physics at Boston University, particle physicist, 1979 Nobel Laureate in Physics, and author of From Alchemy to Quarks: The Study of Science as a Liberal Art.

Host & Moderator

  • Neil deGrasse Tyson—Astrophysicist and The Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium.