Charles Seife

  • Following the Thread

    A decade ago, Columbia University professor Brian Greene joined the ranks of an unlikely set of literary figures—physicists working in arcane and hyperspecialized fields who managed to transmute the base metal of mathematical theorems and conjectures into best-seller gold. Stephen Hawking, once known primarily for showing that black holes emit radiation, had lit the path with his 1988 book A Brief History of Time. The next year, eminent mathematician Roger Penrose mused on quantum theory, computation, and consciousness in The Emperor’s New Mind. The success of these books was something of a