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Virginia Tech News / Articles / 2007 / 05 

Lecture to explore the space-time continuum

May 16, 2007

The Department of Physics in the College of Science is sponsoring a free public lecture called “The End of Space and Time,” that will describe how Einstein combined space and time into a dynamic entity.

The presentation will be held Wednesday, May 16, at 7:30 p.m. in room 130 of the university’s Chemistry/Physics building.

We are all used to visualizing space as a "stage" on which things move and time as a "marker" for the passage of events. This presentation, by Vijay Balasubramanian, associate professor of physics at the University of Pennsylvania, will describe how Einstein combined space and time into a dynamic entity called "space-time" that can warp and bend in response to matter, giving rise to the force of gravity. He will discuss the emerging understanding of space and time as simply approximate descriptions of a much more complex underlying reality, and will further explore this picture where space and time can appear out of, or disappear into, timeless and spaceless voids.

Balasubramanian received bachelor degrees in physics and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a master’s degree in computer science from MIT, and a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from Princeton University. He has been a Junior Fellow of the Harvard Society of Fellows and received the Ira H. Abrams Memorial Award for distinguished teaching at the University of Pennsylvania.

Balasubramanian's lecture is part of the Sowers Theoretical Physics Workshop taking place at Virginia Tech May 14-18.