Lisa Randall

Lisa Randall

Lisa Randall at TED
Born (1962-06-18) June 18, 1962
Queens, New York City, United States
Residence Massachusetts, United States
Nationality American
Fields Physics
Institutions Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory
University of California, Berkeley
Princeton University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Harvard University
Alma mater Stuyvesant High School
Harvard University
Doctoral advisor Howard Georgi
Doctoral students Csaba Csáki, Eric Sather, Witold Skiba, Shu-fang Su, Emanuel Katz, Matthew Schwartz, Shiyamala Thambyahpillai, Liam Fitzpatrick, David Simmons-Duffin, Brian Shuve
Known for Randall–Sundrum model
Warped Passages
Notable awards Klopsteg Memorial Award (2006)
Lilienfeld Prize (2007)
Andrew Gemant Award (2012)

Lisa Randall (born June 18, 1962) is an American theoretical physicist and an expert on particle physics and cosmology. She is the Frank B. Baird, Jr. Professor of Science on the physics faculty of Harvard University.[1] Her research includes elementary particles and fundamental forces and she has developed and studied a wide variety of models, the most recent involving extra dimensions of space. She has advanced the understanding and testing of the Standard Model, supersymmetry, possible solutions to the hierarchy problem concerning the relative weakness of gravity, cosmology of extra dimensions, baryogenesis, cosmological inflation, and dark matter.[2] Her best-known contribution is the Randall–Sundrum model, first published in 1999 with Raman Sundrum.[3]

Early life and education

Randall was born in Queens in New York City. She is an alumna of Hampshire College Summer Studies in Mathematics and graduated from Stuyvesant High School in 1980,[4] where she was a classmate of fellow physicist and science popularizer Brian Greene.[4][5] She won first place in the 1980 Westinghouse Science Talent Search at the age of 18. At Harvard University, Randall earned both an B.A. in physics (1983) and a Ph.D. in theoretical particle physics (1987) under Howard Georgi.[1]


Randall researches particle physics and cosmology at Harvard, where she is a professor of theoretical physics. Her research concerns elementary particles and fundamental forces, and has involved the study of a wide variety of models, the most recent involving extra dimensions of space. She has also worked on supersymmetry, Standard Model observables, cosmological inflation, baryogenesis, grand unified theories, and general relativity.

Randall's books Warped Passages: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Universe's Hidden Dimensions and Knocking on Heaven’s Door: How Physics and Scientific Thinking Illuminate the Universe and the Modern World have both been on New York Times 100 notable books lists.[1] She also wrote the libretto of the opera Hypermusic Prologue: A Projective Opera in Seven Planes on the invitation of the composer, Hèctor Parra, who was inspired by her book Warped Passages.[6]

After her graduate work at Harvard, Randall held professorships at MIT and Princeton University before returning to Harvard in 2001.[7] Professor Randall was the first tenured woman in the Princeton physics department and the first tenured female theoretical physicist at Harvard. (However, this should not be misconstrued as her becoming the first tenured woman in the Harvard physics department. Melissa Franklin was the first to earn that distinction.)[8][9]

Randall is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2004) and the National Academy of Sciences (2008),[2] and a fellow of the American Physical Society. In autumn 2004, she was the most cited theoretical physicist of the previous five years. Professor Randall was featured in Seed magazine's "2005 Year in Science Icons " and in Newsweek's "Who's Next in 2006" as "one of the most promising theoretical physicists of her generation." In 2007, Randall was named one of Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People (Time 100) under the section for "Scientists & Thinkers". Randall was given this honor for her work regarding the evidence of a higher dimension.[10]

Randall has helped organize numerous conferences and has been on the editorial board of several major theoretical physics journals.[1][7]

Awards and honors

Personal life

In an interview she was asked if she believes in god.

...I probably don't believe in God. I think it's a problem that people are considered immoral if they're not religious. That's just not true. This might earn me some enemies, but in some ways they may be even more moral. If you do something for a religious reason, you do it because you'll be rewarded in an afterlife or in this world. That's not quite as good as something you do for purely generous reasons.
Corey S. Powell (Saturday, July 29, 2006). "The Discover Interview: Lisa Randall". Discover Magazine. Retrieved 17 April 2013

Randall's sister, Dana Randall, is a professor of computer science at Georgia Tech.[11]




    1. 1 2 3 4 "Faculty: Lisa Randall". Harvard University Department of Physics. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
    2. 1 2 "Lisa Randall". NAS. Retrieved 22 December 2013.
    3. Randall, Lisa; Sundrum, Raman (1999). "Large Mass Hierarchy from a Small Extra Dimension". Physical Review Letters. 83 (17): 33703373. arXiv:hep-ph/9905221Freely accessible. Bibcode:1999PhRvL..83.3370R. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.83.3370.
    4. 1 2 "Lisa Randall". Edge Foundation. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
    5. "The String is The Thing Brian Greene Unravels the Fabric of the Universe". Columbia University. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
    6. "Opera in the Fifth Dimension". Seed Magazine. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
    7. 1 2 "Curriculum Vitae of Lisa Randall". Harvard University — Department of Physics. Retrieved 22 December 2013.
    8. "Professor Franklin". Harvard University.
    9. "Notable Female Physicists". Retrieved 22 December 2013.
    10. Rawe, Julie. "Time 100." Time Magazine May 14, 2007: 108.
    11. "Class of 1984: Lisa Randall Randall's Theory Increases Number of Dimensions in Physical Universe". Harvard Crimson. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
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