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Beyond Beauty: The Predictive Power of Symmetry

From a bee’s hexagonal honeycomb to the elliptical paths of planets, symmetry has long been recognized as a vital quality of nature. Einstein saw symmetry hidden in the fabric of space and time. The brilliant Emmy Noether proved that symmetry is the mathematical flower of deeply rooted physical law. And today’s theorists are pursuing an even more exotic symmetry that, mathematically speaking, could be nature’s final fundamental symmetry: supersymmetry. Join some of the world’s preeminent scientists to explore the core role symmetry plays in our unraveling of nature’s deepest secrets—and catch a glimpse of profoundly important symmetries that may be awaiting us just over the horizon.

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Moderator

John HockenberryJournalist

Three-time Peabody Award winner, four-time Emmy Award winner, and Dateline NBC correspondent John Hockenberry has broad experience as a journalist and commentator for more than two decades. Hockenberry is the anchor of the public radio show The Takeaway on WNYC and PRI.

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Participants

Spiropulu
Maria SpiropuluPhysicist

Maria Spiropulu is a Physics Professor at Caltech. She received her Ph.D. from Harvard and was a Fermi Fellow at the Enrico Fermi Institute; she worked at CERN as a Physics Researcher. She’s been researching elementary particles and their interactions at Fermilab’s Tevatron and CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC).

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Alan LightmanPhysicist, Writer

Alan Lightman is a writer, astrophysicist, and educator. He is professor of the practice of the humanities at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). As a theoretical physicist, he has contributed to the understanding of the unusual radiation processes, black holes, and stellar dynamics.

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David GrossPhysicist, Nobel Laureate in Physics

David Gross is the Chancellor’s Chair professor of Theoretical Physics and former director of the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at UCSB. Gross was previously Thomas Jones professor of mathematical physics at Princeton University.

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Robbert DijkgraafMathematical Physicist

Robbert Dijkgraaf is director and Leon Levy Professor of the Institute for Advanced Study, one of the world’s leading centers for curiosity-driven research in the sciences and humanities.

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