FRIB hosts Professor Lisa Randall for ‘Knocking on Heaven’s Door’ talk

FRIB is hosting Lisa Randall, the Frank B. Baird Jr. Professor of Science at Harvard University, for a special talk titled “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” as part of its Advanced Studies Gateway initiative. The free public event will take place at 1 p.m. on Sunday, 3 April, via Zoom. Those interested in attending can register for the event online.

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’s “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” presentation will discuss how organizing according to system size 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.

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. She was one of Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People” of 2007 and was featured in The Rolling Stone 40th Anniversary issue that year. 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, she was among Esquire magazine’s “75 Most Influential People.”

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 in Belgium. She 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.

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.

The Advanced Studies Gateway is an initiative at FRIB that brings together researchers, innovators, creative thinkers, artists, and performers from all fields and strengthens ties between Michigan State University and the community. Activities include research workshops as well as public talks, concerts, and special events that are free and open to the public. For information about accessible accommodations and the Advanced Studies Gateway at FRIB and, visit

Michigan State University (MSU) operates the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB) as a user facility for the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science (DOE-SC), supporting the mission of the DOE-SC Office of Nuclear Physics. Hosting the most powerful heavy-ion accelerator, FRIB will enable scientists to make discoveries about the properties of rare isotopes in order to better understand the physics of nuclei, nuclear astrophysics, fundamental interactions, and applications for society, including in medicine, homeland security, and industry.

The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of today’s most pressing challenges. For more information, visit