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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 Einsteinwas 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 ofThe 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 ofSuperspace, 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.

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