Lee Smolin was born in New York City in 1955. Smolin is best known for his foundational contributions to both loop quantum gravity and deformed special relativity. He has contributed to cosmology through the proposal of cosmological natural selection, and has authored four books exploring some of his philosophical concerns in physics. After dropping out of high school, Smolin attended Hampshire College and then Harvard University, where he earned a PhD in theoretical physics in 1979. Smolin is currently faculty at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, and an adjunct professor of physics at the University of Waterloo. In addition, he is a Philosophy professor at the University of Toronto.
Smolin is known for his criticism of string theory as a viable theory of fundamental physics, in particular with the publication of his 2006 book The Trouble with Physics. Smolin is a bit of a polymath, too, as his research interests vary from particle physics to cosmology, quantum mechanics, and theoretical biology. His theory of quantum gravity, known as loop quantum gravity, has gained adherents for its attempted fusion of quantum mechanics and general relativity, an approach in contradistinction to string theory.
As a philosopher of physics, Smolin has put forth a number of positions, notably that quantum mechanics is not a “complete” theory (because of quantum indeterminacy), and that there is one (and only one) universe, opposing popular accounts of many universes or “multiverses.” Smolin also has formulated fundamental notions of the nature of time and mathematics.
Lee Smolin, a prolific thinker and writer, has been recognized with numerous awards, including the Majorana Prize in 2007, and the Klopsteg Memorial Award in 2009. In 2013, Smolin received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. He has been dubbed the “new Einstein” by the media for his important and deep work in fundamental physics.
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