There is a clash between two of the greatest achievements of 20th century physics: Einstein's General relativity on one side and Quantum Mechanics on the other side. String Theory provides the conceptual framework to resolve this clash; while at the same time it may well explain many of the remaining mysteries in High Energy Physics and in the Standard Model of Elementary Particles.
In 1999 Caltech and USC formed a joint collaboration "to establish Southern California as the center for new frontiers in theoretical physics", and String Theory was identified as the top development priority. A basic reason for selecting String Theory was the exceptional level of excitement and interest in this frontier research, as well as the strength of the Caltech and USC faculty in this area.
Since its inception the Center has been attracting a large number of leading theoretical physicists and mathematicians from all over the world to participate in its seminar series, workshops, conferences and visiting programs. Individual research, combined with the simple provision of space and time for unstructured discussions among scientists, is what drives the main creative activity that goes on at the Center.
Among the objectives of the CIT-USC Center is the desire to communicate some of the excitement in fundamental physics by organizing public lectures by eminent scientists: The lecture by Stephen Hawking on 3/20/01 is the first of these activities.
For more information about the Center's scientific activities please consult: http://citusc.usc.edu
For more information about High Energy Physics, Elementary Particles, Cosmology, etc., please consult an excellent web site for non-experts: http://ParticleAdventure.org/
For more information about Superstring Theory for non experts, please