Stephon Alexander

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Stephon Alexander
OccupationTheoretical Physicist, Cosmologist, Musician, Author
Notable work
The Jazz of Physics
AwardsNSF Career Award, APS E. BOUCHET AWARD, AAAS John Wesley Powell Memorial Award.

Stephon Alexander is a theoretical physicist, cosmologist, musician and author known for blending the worlds of theoretical physics and jazz music.[1][2][3][4][5]

Personal life and education[edit]

Alexander was born in Trinidad, before moving to the United States when he was eight. He grew up in the Bronx, New York City and attended De Witt Clinton high school.[6]

Alexander completed his Bachelors of Science from Haverford College in 1993, Sc. M Physics in 1995, Sc. M Electrical Engineering in 1996 and a Doctorate in 2000 from Brown University.[7] He was also a research physicist at Imperial College, London as well as the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, Stanford University.[8]


After receiving his doctoral education, Alexander held faculty positions at both Penn State and Haverford College. Alexander co-authored a paper in 2012, which reinterpreted the Horava-Lifshitz theory. The paper, Horava-Lifshitz theory as a fermionic aether in Ashtekar gravity, studied that the HL theory could be naturally occurring. It also theorized that HL gravity could be interpreted as a time-like current, which fills space-time.[9]

Academic life[edit]

Alexander started his academic career as a postdoctoral researcher at Imperial College, London (2000-2002) and later on went to be a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford University's SLAC and Institute for Theoretical Physics (2002-2005). In 2005, he became an Assistant Professor of Physics at Penn State University. In 2008, he served at Haverford College as an associate professor of physics leading to his present positions of Ernest Everett 1907 Associate Professor of Natural Sciences and associate professor of physics and astronomy at Dartmouth College.[7]

Alexander also works as a professor at Brown University and has spent much of his career as a first generation advocate. He also advocates historically underrepresented groups in the sciences.[8] He is a member of the editorial board of Universe.[10]


In December 2012, Alexander was the co-author of the paper, Gravitational origin of the weak interaction’s chirality. Focusing on the Lorentz group, the research studied the unification of the electroweak and gravitational interactions and the space-time connection. The paper theorized in similar ways to Plebanski and Ashtekar, those weak interactions on the right-handed chiral half in space-time connection could explain the weak interaction.

The theory devised by Alexander and his co-authors was broken down into two phases. The first is a parity symmetric phase, similar to the studies and workings of Speziale. The next phase is then dependent on whether the parity is broken or not. under the breaking, it shows a Dirac fermion expresses itself as a chiral neutrino.[11]

Around the same time, Alexander co-authored another paper, which focused on the study of electric Time in Quantum Cosmology. The paper formulated and studied the new possibilities of quantum behavior of space-time.[12]

Alexander has mainly worked in continuation to Einstein’s theory of curved space-time to take it to extremes in regards with the connection between the smallest and largest entities in the universe. Being a string cosmology expert, he co-invented the model of inflation called D-Branes. This was based on higher dimensional hypersurfaces in string theory. Alexander has worked as the Director of Dartmouth College’s EE Just STEM Scholars Program, volunteered for public speaking in inner city schools, taught mathematics in prisons and monitors activities relevant to his scholarship.[8][13]


In February 2013, Alexander wrote in the NY Times, speaking about the need for black academics to set a positive trend for the next generation. In the article, he called upon a number of personal experiences from his own education and life.[14]

Alexander has been interviewed in and quoted in multiple national and international media sources like the Tavis Smiley Show,[15] Forbes Magazine,[16] NPR,[17] Brian Lehrer Show,[18] Science Salon/Skeptic Society,[19][20] Downbeat Magazine,[21] and Mercury news.[22]


As a jazz saxophonist, he has been trained by Ornette Coleman and Will Calhoun. His album with RIOUX,[23][24] Here Comes Now,[25] was critically acclaimed. Alexander is also the author of The Jazz of Physics, a book that discusses the link between music and the structure of the universe.[1][8][26][27][28][29]

On a Nova documentary, Alexander was featured discussing his life as a jazz saxophonist, while also working as a physicist during the day.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Alexander is a scientist and a jazz saxophonist who has research interests and deeply ponders on the link between small and big things in the universe which is beyond Einstein’s curved space-time and big bang theory.[30][31]

Einstein’s field equation being his favorite equation, his latest publication: “The Jazz of Physics” is a reflection of his research and theories. Indulged with cosmology, he is a hobbyist musician and blows horns while occupying the profession of a physicist. At DeWitt Clinton High School in 10th grade, Alexander’s real-life hero was his physics teacher Mr. Daniel Kaplan who was the reason behind diverting Alexander’s mind towards physics when discussing velocity and friction. In 2006, Dr. Alexander was entitled as one of the eight National Geographic inquisitive experimenter and explorers.[30][31][32][33]



  • NSF Career Award.[36][37]
  • AAAS John Wesley Powell Memorial Award.[39]


  1. ^ a b "Meet the physicist who brings scientist's touch to jazz - Home | q | CBC Radio". 2016-04-26. Retrieved 2016-08-12.
  2. ^ Pesic, Peter (2016-05-06). "Blue Notes and Blackboards". WSJ. Retrieved 2016-08-12.
  3. ^ "A Design Bible Focuses in on Physics, Fast Food and Meryl Streep". 25 June 2015. Retrieved 12 August 2016.
  4. ^ "cosmic_jazz_stephon_alexander" (PDF).
  5. ^ Todd Poynor (2016-05-27), "Solar" by Miles Davis, with Stephon Alexander at Google, retrieved 2016-09-02
  6. ^ a b Marykwas, Donna (November 19, 2010). "PBS NOVA’s secret life of scientist Stephon Alexander: sax-playing physicist".
  7. ^ a b "Academic life" (PDF).
  8. ^ a b c d "Review: As Goes Music, So Goes the Universe". The New York Times. 4 May 2016. Retrieved 12 August 2016.
  9. ^ Stephon Alexander; Joao Magueijo; Antonino Marciano (June 2012). "Horava-Lifshitz theory as a Fermionic Aether in Ashtekar gravity". INSPIRE-HEP
  10. ^ "Editorial Board of Universe" (Online access). MDPI Publishing. 2016. Retrieved 2016-10-22.
  11. ^ Stephon Alexander; Antonino Marciano; Lee Smolin (December 2012). "Gravitational origin of the weak interaction’s chirality". INSPIRE-HEP.
  12. ^ Stephon Alexander; Martin Bojowald; Antonino Marciano; David Simpson (December 2012). "Electric Time in Quantum Cosmology". INSPIRE-HEP.
  13. ^ Science (2016-05-26). "How Chilling With Brian Eno Changed the Way I Study Physics". WIRED. Retrieved 2016-08-12.
  14. ^ "Black Academics Have a Responsibility to the Next Generation". NY Times. February 4, 2013.
  15. ^ "Physicist Stephon Alexander | Interviews | Tavis Smiley | PBS". Retrieved 2016-08-31.
  16. ^ Insights, Forbes. "Open Your Eyes And Learn From Others". Retrieved 2016-08-31.
  17. ^ "Scientist Stephon Alexander: 'Infinite Possibilities' Unite Jazz And Physics". Retrieved 2016-08-31.
  18. ^ Using Jazz to Explain the Multiverse, retrieved 2016-08-31
  19. ^ Skeptic Magazine (2016-06-20), Dr. Stephon Alexander — The Jazz of Physics (Science Salon #6), retrieved 2016-08-31
  20. ^ "Dr. Stephon Alexander — The Jazz of Physics: The Secret Link Between Music and the Structure of the Universe (Science Salon # 6)". 2016-05-22. Retrieved 2016-08-31.
  21. ^ "DownBeat Magazine". Retrieved 2016-08-31.
  22. ^ "Author bridges the worlds of music and physics". Retrieved 2016-08-31.
  23. ^ "Premiere: Stephon Alexander and Rioux recruit No Wave icon Arto Lindsay for ecstatic ‘I Guess We’re Floating’ – FACT Magazine: Music News, New Music". Retrieved 2014-09-13.
  24. ^ "Rioux & Stephon Alexander – ‘Dance of the Illusion’ | DJ Mag Canada". Archived from the original on 2014-07-01. Retrieved 2014-09-13.
  25. ^ SPIN (2014-05-29). "Hear Stephon Alexander & Rioux's Interstellar Jazz Excursion 'A Brief History Of Time'". SPIN. Retrieved 2016-08-12.
  26. ^ "Open Your Eyes And Learn From Others". Retrieved 2016-08-12.
  27. ^ Brooks, Michael (2016-03-16). "Bananas and jazz help us penetrate physics – but only so far". New Scientist. Retrieved 2016-08-12.
  28. ^ "TCCHS receives engineering certification". Retrieved 12 August 2016.
  29. ^ "Activity-packed week planned at Harker Heights Public Library". Retrieved 12 August 2016.
  30. ^ a b "Stephon Alexander, Physicist Information, Facts, News, Photos". National Geographic. Retrieved 2016-09-14.
  31. ^ a b "Meet Stephon Alexander '93, Our Newest Faculty Member | Haverford College". Retrieved 2016-09-14.
  32. ^ Alexander, Stephon. "NOVA | Einstein's Big Idea | The Equation Today: Quantum Contemplations". PBS. Retrieved 2016-09-14.
  33. ^ "Stephon Alexander Honored by National Geographic : SLAC Today Feature". Retrieved 2016-09-14.
  34. ^ Blanchard, Keith (2016-03-15). "3 Must-Read Books for Geeks". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2016-08-31.
  35. ^ "One of the Must-Read Books for Geeks | The Daily Pretzel". Retrieved 2016-08-31.
  36. ^ "Prize Recipient". Retrieved 2016-08-31.
  37. ^ "Alexander, Stephon". Retrieved 2016-08-31.
  38. ^ "Dartmouth's Stephon Alexander Honored by the American Physical Society". 2012-11-23. Retrieved 2016-08-31.

External links[edit]