Tuesday August 30, 2016

Similes and Science, Part 2

Spiral galaxy NGC 6782

Spiral galaxy NGC 6782 (Nasa/Getty Images)

Listen to Full Episode 53:58

The Big Bang, string theory, black holes. Theoretical physics may conjure up complicated equations filling up several blackboards.  But central to the quest of understanding the universe is the role that the imagination plays. And that means the creation of images through simile and metaphor -- usually the purview of novelists and poets. Four prominent physicists join host Paul Kennedy in conversation about the vitality and centrality of the scientific imagination. ** This episode originally aired September 17, 2015.


  • Dr. S. James Gates is the John S. Toll Professor and Director of the Center for String and Particle Theory at the University of Maryland. He also serves on US President Barack Obama's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. He is a world authority on supersymmetry, supergravity, and superstring theory.
  • Sonali Mohapatra did her Masters in Theoretical Physics at Perimeter Institute as one of Perimeter Scholars International, and is now doing her doctorate in India.