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Cambridge string theorist to succeed Stephen Hawking

And Issac Newton. And Charles Babbage

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A Cambridge physicist who revolutionized the concept of string theory has been tapped to succeed Steven Hawking in one of the world's most prestigious academic posts.

String theorist Michael Green will become Cambridge University's 18th Lucasian Professor of Mathematics. The chair has been held in its 340-some year history by past luminaries such as Isaac Newton, James Lighthill, and Charles Babbage.

Hawking stepped down from the professorship on September 30 in accordance with Cambridge custom that dictates the post be vacated when the incumbent reaches the age of 67. Hawking will continue to work as director of research at the university's department of applied mathematics and theoretical physics.

Green revived string theory in 1984 along with John Schwarz of the California Institute of Technology, by showing how it could describe how disparate models for general relativity, electromagnetism, and quantum mechanics fit into a single, all-encompassing framework.

"Michael Green has played a leading role in theoretical physics in the Department since 1993. He is internationally known as a pioneer in string theory which over the last 20 years has become one of the most important and active areas of the field," said Peter Haynes, head of the department of applied mathematics and theoretical physics in a statement.

"In the Department he continues to make important advances in this topic and at the same time to support and inspire young researchers," he continued. "His appointment as Lucasian Professor continues the very distinguished tradition of that post."

Green will take up the Lucasian Professorship at the beginning of November. ®

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