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Lisa Randall - Knocking on heaven's door

 Lisa Randall

Talk details

  • Date: 3 April 2022

Talk abstract

People face challenges in imagining scales very different from their own experiences. Scientists have systematically tackled some of those challenges through measurements and theoretical frameworks in which to interpret them. Professor Randall will discuss how the theme of organizing according to the size of the system plays a critical role in scientific research. This is very useful for nuclear science at FRIB, where the interactions of protons and neutrons are determined by fundamental physics at much smaller length scales, and yet they also interact with light at wavelengths much longer than the size of atomic nuclei. The talk includes examples from her own research on particle physics, extra dimensions of space, and cosmology. She will also explore advances in human thought more generally, and the utility of parceling concepts according to this organizing principle.


Lisa Randall

Professor Lisa Randall studies theoretical particle physics and cosmology at Harvard University. Her research connects theoretical insights to puzzles in our current understanding of the properties and interactions of matter. She has developed and studied a wide variety of models to address these questions, the most prominent involving extra dimensions of space.  

Randall has also had a public presence through her writing, lectures, and radio and TV appearances. Randall’s books, Warped Passages: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Universe’s Hidden Dimensions and Knocking on Heaven’s Door: How Physics and Scientific Thinking Illuminate the Universe and the Modern World were both on the New York Times’ list of 100 Notable Books of the Year.  

Randall is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a fellow of the American Physical Society. She is the recipient of the Klopsteg Award from the American Association of Physics Teachers, the Gemant Award from the American Institute of Physics, and the Lilienfeld and Sakurai Prizes from the American Physical Society.

Professor Randall was on the list of Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People” of 2007 and was one of 40 people featured in The Rolling Stone 40th Anniversary issue that year. Professor Randall was featured in Newsweek’s “Who’s Next in 2006” as “one of the most promising theoretical physicists of her generation” and in Seed magazine’s “2005 Year in Science Icons.” In 2008, Professor Randall was among Esquire magazine’s “75 Most Influential People.”

Professor Randall earned her PhD from Harvard University and held professorships at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Princeton University before returning to Harvard in 2001. She is also the recipient of honorary degrees from Brown University, Duke University, Bard College, and the University of Antwerp.


This event is co-sponsored by the MSU Office of Research and Innovation, the MSU College of Natural Science, and the MSU Department of Physics and Astronomy through the Milton Muelder Distinguished Lectureship.