New Paltz’s Distinguished Speaker Series presents eminent physicist and award-winning author

NEW PALTZ – The State University of New York at New Paltz’s Distinguished Speaker Series proudly announces that world-renowned conceptual physicist, Janna Levin, assistant professor of physics and astronomy at Barnard College, Columbia University will speak on "The Third Culture," Thursday, Nov. 10 at 7:30 p.m., Lecture Center 100 on the New Paltz campus.

Janna Levin

For over half a century, there has been a chasm between the arts and the sciences– creating a gulf that has hindered the growth of both sides. Janna Levin’s work as an award-winning author of literary fiction, a Fellow at the Ruskin School of Fine Art and Drawing in Oxford University and as an assistant professor at Barnard College exemplifies a growing movement deemed "The Third Culture."

In this talk, Professor Levin will discuss the crossover between the arts and the sciences and the increasing importance of the scientific imagination in achieving the intellectual goals of a liberal arts education.

"Janna Levin has made significant contributions as a theoretical physicist in the fields of cosmology and black holes," said Amy Forestell, assistant professor in New Paltz’s Department of Physics. "She has done much to involve the general public in the world of science. Dr. Levin has spoken at many world-class venues and we are very fortunate to have her as the fall 2011 Distinguished Speaker. As a woman with combined work in both astrophysics and the arts she is helping to break stereotypes about scientists and will inspire more young girls to enter the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields."

Levin’s research focuses on theories of the early universe, chaos, and black holes. Recently, her group has sonified predictions for the gravitational waves from black hole pairs, rendering the songs of colliding black holes. Her research topics include the shape of space, science’s longstanding question of whether the universe is finite or infinite, the cosmology of multiple dimensions and string cosmology.

She is the author of the popular science book, "How the Universe Got Its Spots: Diary of a Finite Time in a Finite space." Her second book is a novel titled "A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines" published by Alfred A. Knopf (2006), which won the PEN/Bingham Fellowship for Writers and was runner-up for the PEN/Hemingway award for "a distinguished book of first fiction." In 2003 she received the Kilby Young Innovator Award. In addition, Levin appeared on the Colbert Report.

Founded in 2008, the Distinguished Speaker Series aims to connect community members, alumni, friends, faculty, staff, students and their families with accomplished authors, policy makers and leaders, scientists, media experts, business people and other luminaries. The Series hosts speakers twice every academic year.

New Paltz’s Distinguished Speaker Series is supported by the generosity of the following sponsors: Peter and Helena Bienstock/Shawangunk Valley Conservancy; Campus Auxiliary Services; Chronogram; Key Bank; M&T Bank; and WAMC.

For further information and to purchase tickets please visit or call 845-257-3880 or 845-257-3972. Tickets may also be purchased at the Parker Theatre Box Office, Monday – Friday 11:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Will Call and Box Office open at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 10 in the Lecture Center Lobby. New Paltz faculty/staff/alumni and students without New Paltz ID: $13.00; General Public: $18.00. SUNY New Paltz students are free with ID (limited tickets available).