2/26/19 Show feat. Dr. Chris Smiet on Science Poetry

Featured image: Les Horribles Cernettes, a group of CERN scientists and engineers, films a music video for their song “Collider” amid Cray supercomputers at the Large Hadron Collider. (courtesy Les Horribles Cernettes)

chris20smiet20color1Welcome back to PPPL plasma physicist and topologist Dr. Chris Smiet, who told us about food before and returns with another niche favorite: poetry about science! Lyricism forces writers to be clear and exact with their words, all while incorporating rhythm, humor, and emotion. Writing this way, scientists condense their ideas and pick out the most important themes, entertaining readers while leaving them with the essence of the work. Chris leads us through his own forays into scientific poetry, summarizing each of his academic publications with a poem and sharing the results on air. We also explore the dynamic community of science lyricists out there, many of whom publish online, including:

  • Tim Blais (show @ 1:30): A capella covers of pop songs with lyrics about string theory, organic chemistry, and nanobots
  • Alpinekat (show @ 0:09): Writer of several particle physics raps and former researcher at CERN
  • Les Horribles Cernettes (show @ 1:08): A band of CERN scientists and, incidentally, the subjects of the first image on the internet!

In other news, listen towards the end of the show for a reading from Mark Miodownik’s Stuff Matters, a fantastic book about materials (the precursor to a book we recently gave away, Liquid Rules).

In recognition of Black History Month, we featured the biographies of several African American physicists, including Robert Ellis, Shirley Jackson and Sylvester Gates.

As usual, the playlist can be found on WPRB.com or below.

Screenshot from 2019-03-20 12-57-36.png

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