Preposterous Universe

Wednesday, August 18, 2004
Fearless punditry

If there's one thing that you learn by being in academia, or by being a blogger for that matter, it's to speak with authority on things you know little about. On Sept. 1st I get to put my skills to some use, participating in a roundtable discussion hosted by the Remy Bumppo Theatre Company. Their upcoming season, entitled "Chaos Theory and Other Family Gatherings," features three plays with some connection to science: Delicate Balance by Edward Albee, Arcadia by Tom Stoppard, and Humble Boy by Charlotte Jones. Each play will be commented on by an expert of some sort or another, and then we will all join in with artistic director James Bohnen to discuss connections and so forth. I'm responsible for Humble Boy, and will also give some sort of lecture when the play opens in the spring (not that you can glean any info about it from the RBTC website).

I haven't actually read the play yet -- that's a project for the plane ride home -- but I've learned some of the basics about it. It's loosely inspired by Hamlet, and features as its central character an indecisive theoretical physicist who is struggling in his personal life when he's not busy trying to unify gravity and quantum mechanics. (Well, who isn't?) I'm crossing my fingers here -- the track record of authors using science as a source of metaphor and imagery is a mixed one, at best. I'll let you know how it goes.

And now I need to hop in a train and cross the Alps. You're in Lindsay's capable hands for the duration.

Ideas on culture, science, politics.
Sean Carroll

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