Quotes by: Edward Witten

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Edward Witten
Witten giving a speech at Chalmers tekniska högskola, Göteborg, Sweden, April 29, 2008
Born (1951-08-26) August 26, 1951 (age 65)
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
Residence Princeton, New Jersey, U.S.
Nationality American
Fields Theoretical physics
Superstring theory
Institutions Institute for Advanced Study
Harvard University
Oxford University
California Institute of Technology
Princeton University
Alma mater
Brandeis University (B.A., 1971) University of Wisconsin, Madison (no degree) Princeton University (M.A., 1974; Ph.D., 1976)
Doctoral advisor David Gross[1]
Other academic advisors Sidney Coleman[2]
Michael Atiyah[2]
Doctoral students Cumrun Vafa
Xiao-Gang Wen
Eva Silverstein
Shamit Kachru
Tamar Friedmann
Sergei Gukov
Dror Bar-Natan
Known for M-theory
Seiberg–Witten theory
Seiberg–Witten invariants
Wess–Zumino–Witten model
Weinberg–Witten theorem
Gromov–Witten invariant
Hořava–Witten domain wall
Vafa–Witten theorem
Witten index
Notable awards MacArthur Fellowship (1982)
Dirac Medal (1985)
Albert Einstein Medal (1985)
Fields Medal (1990)
Alan T. Waterman Award (1995)
Dannie Heineman Prize (1998)
Nemmers Prize (2000)
National Medal of Science (2002)
Harvey Prize (2005)
Henri Poincaré Prize (2006)
Crafoord Prize (2008)
Lorentz Medal (2010)
Isaac Newton Medal (2010)
Fundamental Physics Prize (2012)
Kyoto Prize (2014)
Albert Einstein Award (2016)[3]
Spouse Chiara Nappi
Children Daniela Witten, Ilana Witten, Rafael Witten
Website
www.sns.ias.edu/witten

String theory is an attempt at a deeper description of nature by thinking of an elementary particle not as a little point but as a little loop of vibrating string.
Edward Witten
I wouldn't have thought that a wrong theory should lead us to understand better the ordinary quantum field theories or to have new insights about the quantum states of black holes.
Edward Witten
There was a long history of speculation that in quantum gravity, unlike Einstein's classical theory, it might be possible for the topology of spacetime to change.
Edward Witten
Regardless of any deviations, it was clear I was supposed to end up in math and physics.
Edward Witten
I have a tendency, more than most other physicists, to try to figure out everything all at once, before I publish. And even to try to figure out everything in my head, without pencil and paper.
Edward Witten
On the other hand, we don't understand the theory too completely, and because of this fuzziness of spacetime, the very concept of spacetime and spacetime dimensions isn't precisely defined.
Edward Witten
So when you ask me how string theory might be tested, I can tell you what's likely to happen at accelerators or some parts of the theory that are likely to be tested.
Edward Witten
If I take the theory as we have it now, literally, I would conclude that extra dimensions really exist. They're part of nature. We don't really know how big they are yet, but we hope to explore that in various ways.
Edward Witten
Quantum mechanics brought an unexpected fuzziness into physics because of quantum uncertainty, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. String theory does so again because a point particle is replaced by a string, which is more spread out.
Edward Witten
You have that one basic string, but it can vibrate in many ways. But we're trying to get a lot of particles because experimental physicists have discovered a lot of particles.
Edward Witten
But the beauty of Einstein's equations, for example, is just as real to anyone who's experienced it as the beauty of music. We've learned in the 20th century that the equations that work have inner harmony.
Edward Witten
As far as extra dimensions are concerned, very tiny extra dimensions wouldn't be perceived in everyday life, just as atoms aren't: we see many atoms together but we don't see atoms individually.
Edward Witten
Spreading out the particle into a string is a step in the direction of making everything we're familiar with fuzzy. You enter a completely new world where things aren't at all what you're used to.
Edward Witten
I just think too many nice things have happened in string theory for it to be all wrong. Humans do not understand it very well, but I just don't believe there is a big cosmic conspiracy that created this incredible thing that has nothing to do with the real world.
Edward Witten
As of now, string theorists have no explanation of why there are three large dimensions as well as time, and the other dimensions are microscopic. Proposals about that have been all over the map.
Edward Witten
Even before string theory, especially as physics developed in the 20th century, it turned out that the equations that really work in describing nature with the most generality and the greatest simplicity are very elegant and subtle.
Edward Witten
Quantum mechanics brought an unexpected fuzziness into physics because of quantum uncertainty, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle.
Edward Witten
One of the basic things about a string is that it can vibrate in many different shapes or forms, which gives music its beauty.
Edward Witten
In Einstein's general relativity the structure of space can change but not its topology. Topology is the property of something that doesn't change when you bend it or stretch it as long as you don't break anything.
Edward Witten
If you are a researcher, you are trying to figure out what the question is as well as what the answer is.
Edward Witten
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