Creative flash mob promotes Greene lecture

By Carleen Boyer

Contributing Writer

On Feb. 8, physicist Brian Greene will visit the University as part of the “Creativity: Beyond the Box” speaker series.

Brian Greene, a professor of mathematics at Columbia University, has done research on string theory. His work may help explain many of the mysteries of our universe.

To publicize this event, the Bucknell Forum Task Force has organized a human visualization to explain the formation of the sun and the Earth.  Students can gain a perspective as to how our universe and solar system began through this demonstration, known as a flash mob.

“It helps people who are unfamiliar with the subject by having a visual to understand it,” Kim Davis ’14 said.

“We had a nice visual because in the star formation stars don’t start out by glowing. That comes out of the high temperatures and high pressures,” said Margot Vigeant, associate professor of chemical engineering, who is on the team for the “Creativity: Beyond the Box” forum series.

Greene, the bestselling writer of “The Elegant Universe,” has worked to explain string theory and the principles behind it in a way that the general population can understand.

“He’s a popular science writer, and he is explaining some of the crazy, creative stuff that people have had to come up with to explain the universe,” said Jeffery Bowen, associate professor of physics.

Greene has been able to use his own creativity to explore things that are unseen. Unlike many other research areas, string theory is not visible in our everyday life. “Imagine thinking that the universe is nine spacial dimensions,” Bowen said. “That’s pretty out of the box.”

“Since physics isn’t exactly widely discussed outside of a particular technical circle, that takes a lot of creativity and enthusiasm to reach out in the way he’s made his work have a meaningful impact,” Julie Uptegraff ’14 said.

Vigeant discusses the importance of applying creativity to all fields of study.

“In last week’s State of the Union address, the President cited innovation as one of the ways to ‘win the future,’ and innovation relies heavily upon creativity,” Vigeant said. “Now creativity is becoming part of the discussion campus wide. This forum gives us a chance to focus on how creativity is valuable and worth cultivating for everyone on campus as a part of becoming educated people.”

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