Janna Levin is a theoretical physicist studying the shape of the universe, and whether it is finite or infinite. And she's written a novel that poetically evokes the boundaries where mathematics presses on grand questions of meaning and purpose in human life. Such questions, she says, helped create the technologies that are now changing our sense of what it means to be human: How do we know what is true? And how free are we, really?
Janna Levin is a Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Columbia University's Barnard College. Her scientific research concerns the Early Universe, Chaos, and Black Holes. She's the author of the novel A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines, which won the PEN/Bingham Fellowship for Writers, as well as the popular science book How the Universe Got Its Spots: Diary of a Finite Time in a Finite Space. Janna was named a Guggenheim Fellow in 2012.