DATE: Friday, May 30, 2008
TIME: 8:00 PM-9:30 PM
VENUE: NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts
PARTICIPANTS: David Z. Albert, Brian Greene, Max Tegmark, William Phillips

Proposed a century ago to better explain the mind-bending behavior of the smallest constituents of the universe, quantum theory has implications far beyond the atom. This rich set of laws has applications both practical and extraordinary — from the technology that has revolutionized modern life to the possibility of parallel worlds.

Our audience joined Alan Alda as he accompanied Brian Greene, Nobel Laureate William Phillips and other leading thinkers at the vanguard of quantum research on an accessible multimedia exploration of the astounding weirdness of the quantum world.

This program is part of The Big Idea Series, made possible with support from the John Templeton Foundation.

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Alan Alda
Actor, Author, Director

Alan Alda, a seven-time Emmy® Award winner, played Hawkeye Pierce and wrote many of the episodes on the classic TV series M*A*S*H, and appeared in continuing roles on ER, The West Wing, 30 Rock, and The Blacklist. He has starred in, written, and directed many films, and was nominated for an Academy Award for his role in The Aviator. His interest in science led to his hosting the award-winning PBS series Scientific American Frontiers for 11 years, on which he interviewed hundreds of scientists. Also on PBS, he hosted The Human Spark, winning the 2010 Kavli Science Journalism Award, and Brains on Trial in 2013. On Broadway, he appeared as the physicist Richard Feynman in the play QED. He is the author of the play Radiance: The Passion of Marie Curie. He has won the National Science Board’s™ Public Service Award, the Scientific American Lifetime Achievement Award, and the American Chemical Society Award for Public Service, among others. He is a Visiting Professor at Stony Brook University’s Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science.


Physicist, Philosopher

David Albert is the Frederick E. Woodbridge Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University and a physicist who explores quantum mechanics. He is world-renowned for his insights into philosophical questions about the nature of time, space, and other problems of modern physics. He is the author of Quantum Mechanics and Experience, Time and Chance, and After Physics. Albert holds a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from Rockefeller University and has held professorships at Columbia University, Tel Aviv University, and the University of South Carolina. He’s also worked as a visiting professor at Harvard University and Princeton University.

Brian Greene
Brian Greene is a professor of physics and mathematics at Columbia University, and is recognized for a number of groundbreaking discoveries in his field of superstring theory. His books, The Elegant UniverseThe Fabric of the Cosmos, and The Hidden Reality, have collectively spent 65 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list, and were the basis of two award-winning NOVA mini-series, which he hosted. Professor Greene co-founded the World Science Festival in 2008 and serves as Chairman of the Board.
Max Tegmark
Physicist, Author

Known as “Mad Max” for his unorthodox ideas and passion for adventure, Max Tegmark’s scientific interests range from precision cosmology to the ultimate nature of reality. He is author or coauthor of more than two hundred technical papers, twelve of which have been cited more than five hundred times. He has been featured in dozens of science documentaries, and his work with the SDSS collaboration on galaxy clustering shared the first prize in Science magazine’s “Breakthrough of the Year: 2003.” He holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, and is a physics professor at MIT.

Physicist and Nobel Laureate in Physics

Nobel Prize-winning physicist William Phillips is a professor at the University of Maryland and leads the Laser Cooling and Trapping Group at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. His research on manipulating atoms with laser light has led to more accurate atomic clocks and a more fundamental understanding of light-matter interactions.

Photo ©Robert Rathe