Paul Halpern PhD

Paul Halpern PhD

Professor of Physics

Fellow in Humanities


BA (Temple University)

MA (State University of New York at Stonybrook)

PhD (State University of New York at Stonybrook)

Research Interests

Complex and higher-dimensional solutions in general relativity, the history of modern physics, and the relationship between science and culture.


Dr. Halpern's areas of expertise include the history of physics, cultural aspects of physics and theoretical astrophysics & cosmology.  He is the author of numerous books and was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2002.

He was among 184 artists, scholars and scientists nationally selected to receive a fellowship from more than 2,800 applicants for awards totaling $6,750,000. Guggenheim Fellows are appointed on the basis of distinguished achievement in the past and exceptional promise for future accomplishment. He used the fellowship award to examine the history of the notion of higher dimensions in science, as well as the impact of this idea upon popular culture. His research, "The Concept of Dimensionality in Science," covered the period from the mid-19th century, when the idea of the fourth dimension was first introduced, until the late 20th century, when scientists developed 10 and 11 dimensional models of the universe.

A recipient of the Athenaeum Society Literary Award, he has published numerous research articles in the fields of general relativity, cosmology, chaos theory and complexity. In 1996, he was a Fulbright Scholar to Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany, where he studied evolutionary algorithms.


Selected Scholarly Activity

Recent Articles

“The Elusive Quest to Fulfill Mach’s Principle,” P. Halpern, Il Nuovo Saggiatore, nos. 5-6, 37, 2021.

“Albert Einstein at the Speed of Travel,” P. Halpern, Prima Pagina, no. 88, 1289, 29 April 2021.

“Coincidence, quantum physics, and statistics,” Kim Sawyer and P. Halpern, Significance, Vol. 17, No. 6, pp. 38-40 (2020).

“How It All Ends (Book Review of ‘The End of Everything’),” P. Halpern, Science, 14 August 2020: Vol. 369, Issue 6505, p. 778.

“Feynman: making the extraordinary look easy,” P. Halpern, The Times Literary Supplement,” April 23, 2020.

“A Bridge between Worlds: Parallel Universes and the Observer in ‘The Celestial Plot,’” V. Carpenter and P. Halpern, Kronoscope 19.2, 2019.

“Albert Einstein: Celebrity Physicist,” P. Halpern, Physics Today, Vol. 72, No. 4, 38 (2019)

“Celebrity Physicist: How the Press Sensationalized Einstein’s Search for a Unified Field Theory,” P. Halpern, Physics in Perspective, Vol. 20, No. 2, June 2018.

“Feynman at 100,” P. Halpern, Nature, 10 May 2018: Vol. 557, pp. 164-165.


Flashes of Creation: George Gamow, Fred Hoyle, and the Great Big Bang Debate. New York: Basic, 2021.

Synchronicity: The Epic Quest to Understand the Quantum Nature of Cause and Effect. New York: Basic, 2020.

The Quantum Labyrinth: How Richard Feynman and John Wheeler Revolutionized Time and Reality. New York: Basic, 2017.

Einstein’s Dice and Schrödinger’s Cat: How Two Great Minds Battled Quantum Randomness to Create a Unified Theory of Physics. New York: Basic, 2015.

Edge of the Universe: A Voyage to the Cosmic Horizon and Beyond. New York: Wiley, 2012.

Collider: The Search for the World’s Smallest Particles. New York: Wiley, 2009.

What’s Science Ever Done for Us? What the Simpsons Can Teach Us About Physics, Robots, Life, and the Universe. New York: Wiley, 2007.

Brave New Universe: Illuminating the Darkest Secrets of the Cosmos (with Paul Wesson). Washington, D.C: Joseph Henry Press, 2006.

The Great Beyond: Higher Dimensions, Parallel Universes and the Extraordinary Search for a Theory of Everything. New York: Wiley, 2004.

Professional Information

Dr. Halpern is the author of eighteen books on subjects ranging from the history of particle physics to the nature of time. His widely acclaimed popular science books include Flashes of Creation, The Quantum Labyrinth, Einstein’s Dice and Schrödinger’s Cat, Countdown to Apocalypse, The Quest for Alien Planets, The Cyclical Serpent, Cosmic Wormholes and Time Journeys. He has received accolades and praise from numerous publications, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Publishers Weekly, the San Francisco Chronicle, Nature, Scientific American, Sky & Telescope and New Scientist. The Cyclical Serpent was chosen as one of the best Sci-Tech books of 1995 by Library Journal, and Cosmic Wormholes was chosen as a main selection of the Astronomy and Natural Science Book Club. He has appeared on many television and radio shows, including the PBS series "Future Quest" and the National Public Radio show "Science Friday."

Contact Information

Office location: McNeil Science and Technology Center Room 210
Mailing address: Box 30
University of Sciences
600 South 43rd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-4495
Office Phone: 215-596-8913

p [dot] halper [at] usciences [dot] edu