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MARK ALPERT has been an editor at Scientific American for the past ten years. His job is to simplify bewildering scientific ideas for the magazine's readers, explaining concepts such as string theory, extra dimensions and parallel universes. Final Theory is his debut novel, a thriller about Albert Einstein and a long-hidden set of equations that could destroy the world.
A lifelong science geek, he attended Stuyvesant High School in New York City and then majored in astrophysics at Princeton University. Working with his advisor, the Princeton theorist J. Richard Gott III, Mark wrote his undergraduate thesis on the application of the theory of relativity to Flatland, a model universe with only two spatial dimensions (length and width, but no depth). The resulting paper, 'General Relativity in a (2 + 1)-Dimensional Spacetime,' was published in the Journal of General Relativity and Gravitation in 1984 and has been cited in more than 100 physics papers since then. (Scientists who are searching for the Theory of Everything are particularly interested in Flatland because the mathematics gets simpler when one spatial dimension is removed from the equations.)
In 1998 Mark joined the board of editors at Scientific American. With his love for science reawakened, he soon came up with another idea for a novel. While working on a special issue about Albert Einstein, he was intrigued by the story of Einstein's long search for a unified field theory that would explain all the forces of Nature.
Mark lives in Manhattan with his wife and two children. He's a proud member of his magazine's softball team, the Scientific American Big Bangers.