Voices of Culture: Lee Smolin
A World in Time
Lee Smolin is a theoretical physicist who has done most of his work on quantum gravity. He has co-founded a number of approaches including loop quantum gravity and relative locality. He has broad interests and has contributed new ideas to cosmology and the foundations of quantum mechanics. Dr. Smolin is a founding member of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, an independent, resident-based research institute devoted to foundational issues in theoretical physics at the highest levels of international excellence. He was formerly a professor at Yale, Syracuse, and Penn State Universities, and held postdoctoral positions at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, the Institute for Theoretical Physics, Santa Barbara and the Enrico Fermi Institute, the University of Chicago. He has been a visiting professor at Imperial College London and has held various visiting positions at Oxford and Cambridge Universities and the Universities of Rome and Trento, and SISSA, in Italy. He is the recipient of the 2016 PROSE award in the Cosmology and Astronomy Category, given by the Association of American Publishers, the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, awarded in 2013, and the Majorana Prize awarded in 2007. Dr. Smolin was named one of "100 world thinkers" by Prospect Magazine in 2015. He is the author of 5 semi-popular books that explore the philosophical ramifications of the big open questions in physics, plus co-authoring a book with Roberto Mangabeira Unger. These include Einstein's Unfinished Revolution: The Search for What Lies Beyond the Quantum (2019) and Time Reborn: From the Crisis in Physics to the Future of the Universe (2013). Born in New York City, Dr. Smolin is a high school drop out, a graduate of Hampshire College, earned his Ph.D. at Harvard University, and enjoys messing around in boats.