A Scientist’s Opera

Why the Harvard physicist recently tried her hand at writing a libretto.
  • Transcript


Question: What excites you most about your current research?

Lisa Randall: Right now I’m enjoying thinking about what we’ll see at the Large Hadron Collider.  What is it that they could find that they’re not looking for yet?  Making sure that it’s what we have and making sure it does as much as we can.  Also thinking about what we can see in dark matter experiments.  Making sure, again, that we’ve considered all of the possibilities and we’ve looked for how to search and what could be out there and to make sure that we can look for other candidates for dark matter, you know, what can it be?  So, right now I’m thinking really because we are in this era where these experiments are turning on, so it’s important to really make sure that we use them for all they’re worth.

Question: Apart from science, what’s an area of intellectual inquiry that fascinates you?

Lisa Randall:  Well, right now, I’m interested in art and music.  I wrote a libretto for a small, what we call a projective opera, which was kind of a different kind of way to communicate ideas to the public.  It’s not a linear story where we’re explaining things, but just to communicate why we care about exploration discovery.  For me it was just an interesting experience to see what it’s like to do something that is connected with performance.  It was performed at the Pompidou Center; it was performed at the Opera House in Barcelona, and that was a very exciting and interesting thing for me. 

I think right now it’s also a little bit interesting to follow what’s going on with the economy, what’s going on with various political things and by fun -- kind of disturbing sometimes, but I think there are a lot of interesting questions that are lurking there that are fun to think about.

Recorded on February 17, 2010
Interviewed by Austin Allen