Lisa Randall

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Lisa Randall

Born (1962-06-18) June 18, 1962 (age 61)
Alma materHarvard University (BA, PhD)
Known forRandall–Sundrum model
Warped Passages (2005)
AwardsKlopsteg Memorial Award (2006)
Lilienfeld Prize (2007)
Andrew Gemant Award (2012)
Sakurai Prize (2019)
Oskar Klein Medal (2019)
Scientific career
InstitutionsLawrence Berkeley Laboratory
University of California, Berkeley
Princeton University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Harvard University
Doctoral advisorHoward Georgi
Doctoral studentsCsaba Csáki

Lisa Randall HonFInstP (born June 18, 1962) is an American theoretical physicist and Frank B. Baird, Jr. Professor of Science at Harvard University.[1] Her research includes the fundamental forces of nature and dimensions of space. She studies the Standard Model, supersymmetry, possible solutions to the hierarchy problem concerning the relative weakness of gravity, cosmology of dimensions, baryogenesis, cosmological inflation, and dark matter.[2] She contributed to the Randall–Sundrum model, first published in 1999 with Raman Sundrum.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Randall was born in Queens, New York City, New York.[4] She graduated from Stuyvesant High School in 1980,[5] where she was a classmate of fellow physicist and science popularizer Brian Greene.[6] She won first place in the 1980 Westinghouse Science Talent Search at the age of 18 and was also named a National Merit Scholar. She attended Harvard University, where she took Math 55,[7] earned a BA in physics in 1983 and a PhD in theoretical particle physics in 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 dimensions. She has also worked on supersymmetry, Standard Model observables, cosmological inflation, baryogenesis, grand unified theories, and general relativity.

After her graduate work at Harvard, Randall held professorships at MIT and Princeton University before returning to Harvard in 2001.[8] Professor Randall was the first tenured woman in the Princeton physics department and the first tenured female theoretical physicist at Harvard. (Melissa Franklin was the first tenured woman in the Harvard physics department.)[9][10]


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]

Between the hardback and paperback release of Knocking on Heaven's Door, the quest for the discovery of the Higgs boson was actually completed, a subject discussed in the book. Scientists at the Large Hadron Collider found a particle identified as the Higgs boson.[11][12] She said about the discovery, that even if people don't understand everything about it, "what an exciting thing it is that people are excited that there is something fundamentally new that has been discovered."[13] Randall has an e-book entitled Higgs Discovery: The Power of Empty Space. Before the Large Hadron Collider was operating, she wrote an article explaining the discoveries that were expected from using it.[14] She was commonly asked about the misconception that the LHC could make black holes that could destroy the planet.[15] She answered that it was "not even conceivable unless space and gravity are very different from what we thought."[14]

Randall 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.[16]

Professional organizations[edit]

Randall is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2004) and the National Academy of Sciences (2008),[2] the American Philosophical Society,[17] and a fellow of the American Physical Society.

Randall has helped organize numerous conferences and has been on the editorial board of several major theoretical physics journals.[1][8]

Awards and honors[edit]

In autumn 2004, she was the most cited theoretical physicist of the previous five years. 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.[18]

Other honors:

Personal life[edit]

In an interview she was asked whether she believes in God, she said:

"... 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."[29]

Randall's sister, Dana Randall, is a professor of computer science at Georgia Tech.[30]



  1. ^ a b c d "Faculty: Lisa Randall". Harvard University Department of Physics. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
  2. ^ a b "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): 3370–3373. arXiv:hep-ph/9905221. Bibcode:1999PhRvL..83.3370R. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.83.3370.
  4. ^ Crace, John (June 21, 2005). "Lisa Randall: Warped view of the universe". The Guardian. Retrieved January 12, 2023.
  5. ^ "Lisa Randall". Edge Foundation. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
  6. ^ "The String is The Thing Brian Greene Unravels the Fabric of the Universe". Columbia Magazine. Columbia University. Archived from the original on September 24, 2006. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
  7. ^ Robinson, Evan T.R. (June 2, 2009). "Class of 1984: Lisa Randall". The Harvard Crimson. Retrieved December 9, 2018. As a college freshman, Lisa J. Randall '84 stood out for many reasons. In her first semester, she enrolled in Math 55 and Physics 55, the most difficult freshman math and physics classes offered.
  8. ^ a b "Curriculum Vitae of Lisa Randall". Harvard University — Department of Physics. Archived from the original on 17 November 2015. Retrieved 22 December 2013.
  9. ^ "Professor Franklin". Harvard University.
  10. ^ "Notable Female Physicists". Retrieved 22 December 2013.
  11. ^ CERN. "The Higgs Boson". Retrieved 1 July 2017.
  12. ^ Greene, Brian. "How the Higgs Boson was Found". Smthsonian Magazine. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
  13. ^ "Point of Inquiry podcast". Point of Inquiry 8 Oct 2012. Center for Inquiry. 2012-10-08. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
  14. ^ a b Randall, Lisa. "A Tumultuous Year at the LHC". Discover magazine, 12 Nov 2009. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
  15. ^ Pappas, Stephanie (2012-10-21). "Large Hadron Collider Won't Destroy Earth With Planet-Eating Black Hole, Court Says". Huffington Post, 19 Oct 2012. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
  16. ^ "Opera in the Fifth Dimension". Seed Magazine. Archived from the original on 27 June 2016. Retrieved 8 December 2013.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  17. ^ "APS Member History". Retrieved 2021-04-21.
  18. ^ Rawe, Julie. "Time 100". Time magazine May 14, 2007: 108.
  19. ^ "2018 Stanley Corrsin Award Recipient".
  20. ^ "Theoretical Physicist Lisa Randall Wins 2012 Gemant Award". 2013-11-22. Retrieved 2019-04-04.
  21. ^ "Golden Plate Awardees of the American Academy of Achievement". American Academy of Achievement.
  22. ^ "2018 Stanley Corrsin Award Recipient". Retrieved 2019-04-04.
  23. ^ "Part 1: Not Just Marie Curie - Westcoast Women in Engineering, Science and Technology - Simon Fraser University". Retrieved 2019-04-04.
  24. ^ "AAPT Announces 2011 Klopsteg Memorial Award Winner is Dr. James E. Hansen". Physics Today. 2011-06-15. doi:10.1063/PT.4.0365.
  25. ^ "Klopsteg Memorial Lecture". Retrieved 2019-04-04.
  26. ^ "Lisa Randall |". Retrieved 2019-04-04.
  27. ^ "Recipient". Retrieved 2019-04-04.
  28. ^ "NSF Award Search: Award#9257439 - NSF Young Investigator". Retrieved 2019-04-04.
  29. ^ Powell, Corey S. "The Discovery Interview: Lisa Randall". Discover Magazine, 29 July 2006. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
  30. ^ "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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