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.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Space toilets: How astronauts boldly go where few have gone before

A NASA astronomer explains how astronauts dispose of their, uh, dark matter.

Videos
  • When nature calls in micro-gravity, astronauts must answer. Space agencies have developed suction-based toilets – with a camera built in to ensure all the waste is contained before "flushing".
  • Yes, there have been floaters in space. The early days of space exploration were a learning curve!
  • Amazingly, you don't need gravity to digest food. Peristalsis, the process by which your throat and intestines squeeze themselves, actually moves food and water through your digestive system without gravity at all.
Keep reading Show less

Steven Pinker's 13 rules for writing better

The Harvard psychologist loves reading authors' rules for writing. Here are his own.

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 21: Steven Pinker speaks onstage during OZY Fest 2018 at Rumsey Playfield, Central Park on July 21, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for Ozy Media)
Personal Growth
  • Steven Pinker is many things: linguist, psychologist, optimist, Harvard professor, and author.
  • When it comes to writing, he's a student and a teacher.
  • Here's are his 13 rules for writing better, more simply, and more clearly.
Keep reading Show less

Can the keto diet help treat depression? Here’s what the science says so far

A growing body of research shows promising signs that the keto diet might be able to improve mental health.

Public Domain
Mind & Brain
  • The keto diet is known to be an effective tool for weight loss, however its effects on mental health remain largely unclear.
  • Recent studies suggests that the keto diet might be an effective tool for treating depression, and clearing up so-called "brain fog," though scientists caution more research is necessary before it can be recommended as a treatment.
  • Any experiments with the keto diet are best done in conjunction with a doctor, considering some people face problems when transitioning to the low-carb diet.
Keep reading Show less