2009 Laureate Prize Winner

Lisa Randall

2009 Benjamin Franklin Creativity Laureate in the Sciences

Physicist Lisa Randall is best known for her work involving extra dimensions of space, or "warped" geometries, and her suggestion that might explain the weakness of gravity or allow us to live in a world with an infinite extra dimension -- possibly even in a three-dimensional sinkhole in a higher-dimensional universe.  Time Magazine included her in its 2007 list as "one of the most promising theoretical physicists of her generation."  Author of the widely read book Warped Passages (in addition to numerous papers) she has been a physics professor at Princeton, MIT, and now at Harvard. At the annual Creativity Celebration at the Smithsonian Institution, Randall received her award and then spoke about the role of the creative process in her life and work, including the sources of her creativity and inspiration.

About Lisa Randall

Professor Lisa Randall is professor of theoretical physics at Harvard University where she studies particle physics, which explores the fundamental nature of matter and forces, and cosmology, which explores the evolution of the Universe. Randall is one of the most well known and well cited researchers in her field. Her research connects abstract theoretical ideas such as string theory, which postulates fundamental strings underlying known matter, to puzzles in our current understanding of the properties and interactions of matter. Randall has developed and studied a wide variety of ideas that could take us beyond our current understanding of particle physics and cosmology, the most prominent involving extra dimensions of space. Her research on how extra dimensions can influence observable properties of our universe revolutionized the field and made her the most cited theoretical physicist for the five year period ending in 2004. Randall’s research also explores ways to experimentally test and verify even the most abstract of these ideas.

Lisa Randall with the Legacy Winners from 2008 and 2009, as well as several Junto members

In addition to her research, Professor Randall has had a significant public presence through her writing, lectures, and radio and TV appearances. Her book Warped Passages...Unraveling the Mysteries of the Universe's Hidden Dimensions was included in the New York Times' 100 notable books of 2005. In 2008, Prof. Randall was among Esquire Magazine's “75 Most Influential People of the 21st Century”. She was included in the list of Time Magazine's “100 Most Influential People” of 2007 and was one of 40 people featured in “The Rolling Stone 40th Anniversary issue that year. Prof. Randall was featured in Newsweek's "Who's Next in 2006" as "one of the most promising theoretical physicists of her generation" and in Seed Magazine's "2005 Year in Science Icons." In 2006, she received the Klopsteg Award from the American Society of Physics Teachers (AAPT) for her lectures and in 2007 she received the Julius Lilienfeld Prize from the American Physical Society for her work on elementary particle physics and cosmology and for communicating this work to the public.

Professor Randall earned her PhD from Harvard University and held professorships at MIT and Princeton University before returning to Harvard in 2001. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, is a fellow of the American Physical Society, and is a past winner of an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Research Fellowship, a National Science Foundation Young Investigator Award, a DOE Outstanding Junior Investigator Award, and the Westinghouse Science Talent Search. In 2003, she received the Premio Caterina Tomassoni e Felice Pietro Chisesi Award from the University of Rome, La Sapienza.