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String Theory and the Universe’s Hidden Dimensions

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Date and time
Friday, September 17, 2010

Shing-Tung Yau, chair of Harvard's Mathematics department, and science journalist Steve Nadis discuss their new explication of string theory, *The Shape of Inner Space: String Theory and the Geometry of the Universes Hidden Dimensions*. String theory says we live in a 10-dimensional universe, but that only four are accessible to our everyday senses. According to theorists, the missing six are curled up in bizarre structures known as Calabi-Yau manifolds. In *The Shape of Inner Space*, Shing-Tung Yau, the man who mathematically proved that these manifolds exist, argues that not only is geometry fundamental to string theory, it is also fundamental to the very nature of our universe. Time and again, where Yau has gone, physics has followed. Now for the first time, readers will follow Yau's thinking on where we've been, and where mathematics will take us next.

Shing-Tung Yau is a mathematician in the field of differential geometry. He has won many awards and fellowships, including the Fields Medal (the highest award given to mathematicians). His work has also had a major impact on physics, in particular in bolstering the legitimacy of string theory. He is the chair of the mathematics department at Harvard University, and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Steve Nadis is a contributing editor to *Astronomy Magazine* and a freelance writer. In addition to *Astronomy*, he has published articles in *Nature*, *Science*, *Scientific American*, *New Scientist*, *Technology Review*, *The Atlantic Monthly*, and other magazines. He has written or contributed to about two dozen books, including *Energy Strategies*, *Beyond the Freeze*, and *Car Trouble*. A former staff researcher for the Union of Concerned Scientists, Nadis has also been a research fellow at MIT and a consultant to the World Resources Institute, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and WGBH/NOVA.