A Scientist’s Opera

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 \r\nAllen

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

Live on Monday: Does the US need one billion people?

What would happen if you tripled the US population? Join Matthew Yglesias and Charles Duhigg at 1pm ET on Monday, September 28.

Universe works like a cosmological neural network, argues new paper

Controversial physics theory says reality around us behaves like a computer neural network.

Credit: sakkmesterke
Surprising Science
  • Physicist proposes that the universe behaves like an artificial neural network.
  • The scientist's new paper seeks to reconcile classical physics and quantum mechanics.
  • The theory claims that natural selection produces both atoms and "observers".
Keep reading Show less

Learn innovation with 3-star Michelin chef Dominique Crenn

Dominique Crenn, the only female chef in America with three Michelin stars, joins Big Think Live.

Big Think LIVE

Having been exposed to mavericks in the French culinary world at a young age, three-star Michelin chef Dominique Crenn made it her mission to cook in a way that is not only delicious and elegant, but also expressive, memorable, and true to her experience.

Keep reading Show less

We studied what happens when guys add their cats to their dating app profiles

43% of people think they can get a sense of someone's personality by their picture.

Photo by Luigi Pozzoli on Unsplash
Sex & Relationships

If you've used a dating app, you'll know the importance of choosing good profile pics.

Keep reading Show less

Should you grow a beard? Here's how women perceive bearded men

Whether or not women think beards are sexy has to do with "moral disgust"

Photo Credit: Frank Marino / Unsplash
Sex & Relationships
  • A new study found that women perceive men with facial hair to be more attractive as well as physically and socially dominant.
  • Women tend to associate more masculine faces with physical strength, social assertiveness, and formidability.
  • Women who display higher levels of "moral disgust," or feelings of repugnance toward taboo behaviors, are more likely to prefer hairy faces.
Keep reading Show less

Quarantine rule breakers in 17th-century Italy partied all night – and some clergy condemned the feasting

17th-century outbreaks of plague in Italy reveal both tensions between religious and public health authorities.

Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Coronavirus

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, conflicts between religious freedom and public health regulations have been playing out in courts around the world.

Keep reading Show less
Quantcast