"Einstein’s Legacy: String Theory" is topic of April 10 lecture

March 23, 2012
Contact: Office of Communications
865.981.8207; communications@maryvillecollege.edu

Dr. George Siopsis, professor of physics at the University of Tennessee, will give a presentation entitled “Einstein’s Legacy” at 6 p.m., Tues., April 10, in the Lawson Auditorium of Maryville College’s Fayerweather Hall.

This event, part of the College’s Science Literacy Seminar Series, is free and open to the public. Siopsis’ presentation has been developed for the interested lay person.

“It has been more than 100 years since Einstein’s ‘annus mariabilis,’ or miracle year, which started a string of discoveries that changed our way of thinking about fundamental concepts such as space and time, mass, energy and gravity, and helped establish the quantum nature of our universe,” Siopsis explained. “Einstein’s work left important questions unanswered, such as how to reconcile gravity and quantum mechanics and unify all forces of nature. Today, we have a theory that provides answers to these questions: String Theory.”

This talk will review the success of String Theory – how it complements and modifies Einstein’s ideas – and give a flavor of today’s ongoing research. Over a century after Einstein’s first publications, “cutting edge” is still defined by the problems he could not solve.

“Einstein remains perhaps the most famous scientist to have walked this Earth. His ideas and theories on how the universe operates captured the imagination of the world in his day and continue to do so today,” said Dr. Roger Miller, the College’s associate professor of physics. “This presentation is an incredible opportunity to hear about a possible theory that would accomplish the goal that Einstein worked on until his dying days, namely a Theory of Everything (TOE) or the Grand Unified Theory (GUT), if you choose.”

Siopsis earned his doctorate in physics at the California Institute of Technology. A member of the University of Tennessee faculty since 1991, he is very active in the research area of theoretical high energy physics, specifically strings and quantum gravity. He and his graduate students investigate, among other complexities, the perturbations of black holes near equilibrium.

Largely student-initiated and driven, the MC Science Literacy Seminar Series arose from in-class discussions and out-of-class faculty-student dialogue on culturally relevant science topics, including global warming and cancer biology. The Series is designed to convey such topics to the general public in order to provide a brief overview of the subject matter and quell the illusion that science is inaccessible to all.

For more information concerning the MC Science Literacy Seminar Series, please contact Jeffrey Hoover at jeffrey.hoover@my.maryvillecollege.edu.