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Janna Levin

Janna Levin is a Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Barnard College of Columbia University. Her scientific research concerns the Early Universe, Chaos, and Black Holes. Her second book—a novel, A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines (Knopf, 2006)—won the PEN/Bingham Fellowship for Writers that “honors an exceptionally talented fiction writer whose debut work…represents distinguished literary achievement…” It was also a runner-up for the PEN/Hemingway award for “a distinguished book of first fiction.” She is also the author of the popular science book, How the Universe Got Its Spots: diary of a finite time in a finite space.

She holds a BA in Physics and Astronomy from Barnard College with a concentration in Philosophy, and a PhD from MIT in Physics. She has worked at the Center for Particle Astrophysics (CfPA) at the University of California, Berkeley before moving to the UK where she worked at Cambridge University in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics (DAMTP). Just before returning to New York, she was the first scientist-in-residence at the Ruskin School of Fine Art and Drawing at Oxford with an award from the National Endowment for Science, Technology, and Arts (NESTA). She has written for many artists and appeared on several radio and television programs.

Online Resources

Janna Levin’s website
Levin in conversation with James Gleick @ KWLS 2008 (audio)
Levin’s TED lecture: “The Sound the Universe Makes”
Levin’s Facebook page