A string is a one dimensional object with multi-dimensional uses. Stretch one between tin cans, and use it to send secrets.  Tie up a package, or mark off territory. Attach some to a sounding board and create music. Not all strings are tangible, of course. We string along people, wonder about weird strings of events. Zing go the strings of my heart. All strings connect one thing to another, delineate paths in space and time.

For our Febuary 20th Categorically Not!, USC physicist Clifford Johnson will talk about a radical new theory which suggests that our universe and everything in it, from gravity to elementary particles, is a symphony created by “strings” vibrating in 10-dimensional spacetime: a unified theory dreamed about by Einstein. Composer Jean-Philippe Rameau also dreamed up a unified theory ordering the cosmos according to the overtone series generated by a vibrating string (or any sounding body).  But it doesn't work; and harpsichordist Edward Murray - playing from Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier - will demonstrate why. For a more visual take, artist James Richards will discuss how his interest in restructuring modernist concepts of surface and support lead him to develop paintings which use string as an essential element, creating alluring objects that exist somewhere between painting, sculpture and drawing.

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