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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

‘Father of String Theory’ to present URI lecture on ‘Black Hole War’, Oct. 10

Media Contact: Todd McLeish, 401-874-7892

KINGSTON, R.I. – September 24, 2012 – Leonard Susskind, the internationally known physicist often called the Father of String Theory, will present the annual Cruickshank Lecture at the University of Rhode Island on Oct. 10 at 8 p.m. in the Center for Biotechnology and Life Sciences on the Kingston Campus.

The event is free and open to the public.

Susskind’s presentation, entitled “The Black Hole War and the Holographic Principle,” will describe how the evolution of our understanding of black holes has altered our view of the structure of the universe.

“The 20 year controversy between Stephen Hawking and myself over the fate of information that falls into a black hole, eventually led to a revolution in physics that by now has affected every major branch of theoretical physics, from quantum gravity and cosmology to condensed matter physics and nuclear physics,” said Susskind.

“It’s a fascinating story told by one of physics’ most innovative researchers,” added Leonard Kahn, URI professor of physics and organizer of the lecture.

Director of the Institute for Theoretical Physics at Stanford University, Susskind is widely regarded as one of the first to introduce the idea that particles could be states of excitation of a relativistic string. It is a concept that attempts to reconcile quantum mechanics and general relativity, and it may ultimately provide a unified and consistent description of the fundamental structure of the universe.

As was written in Scientific American in July, “physicists seeking to understand the deepest levels of reality now work within a framework largely of Susskind’s making.”

Susskind’s achievements have earned him numerous prestigious awards, including the Pregel Award from the New York Academy of Science and the J. J. Sakurai Prize of the American Physical Society "for his pioneering contributions to hadronic string models, lattice gauge theories, quantum chromodynamics, and dynamical symmetry breaking." He is a recipient of the Los Angeles Times Book Award in Science and Technology for The Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics.

Copies the book may be reserved for purchase before the event by calling the URI Office of Public Programming and Special Events at 401-874-9455. Susskind will be available to sign books during a reception that starts at 7:15 p.m.

The Alexander M. Cruickshank Endowed Lectureship was established in 1999. The subject of the lecture rotates among the fields of chemistry, physics, and biology. This year’s lecture is sponsored by the URI Department of Physics, the URI College of Arts and Sciences, and the Gordon Research Conferences.