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Marcelo Gleiser (born March 19 1959) is a Brazilian physicist and astronomer. He is currently Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Dartmouth College.

Marcelo Gleiser
Born (1959-03-19) 19 March 1959 (age 60)
ResidenceHanover, New Hampshire, U.S.
Alma materCatholic University of Rio de Janeiro
Federal University of Rio de Janeiro
King's College London
Scientific career
InstitutionsDartmouth College
Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics



Gleiser is a theoretical physicist and author, and a leading science popularizer. He received his bachelor's degree in 1981 from the Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro, his M.Sc. degree in 1982 from the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, and his Ph.D. in 1986 from King's College London. After this he worked as a postdoc at Fermilab until 1988 and from then until 1991 at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics. Since 1991, he has taught at Dartmouth College, where he was awarded the Appleton Professorship of Natural Philosophy in 1999, and is currently a professor of physics and astronomy.

Gleiser's current research interests include the physics of the early Universe, the nature of physical complexity, and questions related to the origin of life on Earth and elsewhere in the Universe. He has contributed seminal ideas in the interface between particle physics and cosmology, in particular on the dynamics of phase transitions and spontaneous symmetry breaking. He is the co-discoverer of "oscillons," time-dependent long-lived field configurations which are present in many physical systems from cosmology to vibrating grains.[1] Recently, he has pioneered the use of concepts from information theory as a measure of complexity in Nature.[2] The author of over one hundred papers in peer-reviewed journals, Gleiser has also published five popular science books in the US: "The Simple Beauty of the Unexpected" (2016), "The Island of Knowledge" (2014), A Tear at the Edge of Creation (2010), The Prophet and the Astronomer (2002), and The Dancing Universe (1997/2005). Translated in over 15 languages, Gleiser's books offer a uniquely broad cultural view of science and its relation with religion and philosophy. "The Simple Beauty of the Unexpected", "The Prophet and the Astronomer" and "The Dancing Universe" won the Jabuti Award for best nonfiction in Brazil.

Apart from many contributions to magazines and newspapers in the US and abroad, Gleiser writes a weekly science column for the Brazilian Folha de S.Paulo newspaper. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, and currently serves as General Councilor. He has been awarded the Presidential Faculty Fellows Award from the White House and the National Science Foundation. He is also a member of the Brazilian Academy of Philosophy. In Brazil, he received the José Reis Award for the Public Understanding of Science from the Brazilian National Research Council and the Brazilian Diaspora Prize . He has been featured in several TV documentaries, including "Stephen Hawking's Universe," the History Channel's "Beyond the Big Bang" (2007) and "How Life Began" (2008), "Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman" (2014), Oprah Winfrey's "Belief", as well as many radio programs, including Fresh Air, Radiolab, On Being, and many others. In Brazil, his two science series for TV Globo's "Fantastico" were watched by over 30 million viewers. He is the co-founder of the science and culture blog 13.7 hosted by National Public Radio, a leading science blog now hosted by ORBITER magazine under the new name 13.8: Science, Culture, and Meaning[3]. He recently founded and directs the Institute for Cross-Disciplinary Engagement at Dartmouth, dedicated to foster a constructive dialogue between the sciences and the humanities. On 19 March 2019 he received the Templeton Prize for his works exploring the complex relationship between science, philosophy, and religion as complementary pathways for humankind's search for meaning.[4]


  • The Prophet and the Astronomer: Apocalyptic Science and the End of the World, W. W. Norton & Company (July 21, 2003), ISBN 978-0-393-32431-0
  • The Dancing Universe: From Creation Myths to the Big Bang, Plume (November 1, 1998), ISBN 978-0-452-27606-2
  • A Harmonia Do Mundo, Companhia das Letras (2006), ISBN 978-85-359-0889-3
  • A Tear at the Edge of Creation: A Radical New Vision for Life in an Imperfect Universe, Free Press (April 6, 2010), ISBN 978-1-4391-0832-1
  • The Island of Knowledge: The Limits of Science and the Search for Meaning, Basic Books (June 3, 2014), ISBN 978-0-4650-3171-9
  • The Simple Beauty of the Unexpected: A Natural Philosopher's Quest for Trout and the Meaning of Everything, ForeEdge (June 7, 2016), ISBN 978-1-61168-441-4


  1. ^ Gleiser, Marcelo (15 March 1994). "Pseudostable bubbles". Physical Review D. 49: 2978. arXiv:hep-ph/9308279. Bibcode:1994PhRvD..49.2978G. doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.49.2978.
  2. ^ Gleiser, Marcelo; Stamatopoulos, Nikitas (2012-08-01). "Information Content of Spontaneous Symmetry Breaking". Physical Review D. 86 (4). arXiv:1205.3061. Bibcode:2012PhRvD..86d5004G. doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.86.045004. ISSN 1550-7998.
  3. ^ "A New Home for 13.7 . . . Make That 13.8 | ORBITER". ORBITER. 2018-06-05. Retrieved 2018-06-28.
  4. ^ "Brazilian physicist wins $1.4 million Templeton Prize". Reuters. 19 March 2019. Retrieved 19 March 2019.


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