The most groundbreaking ideas in modern physics—the Earth is round, special relativity, the uncertainty principle—were once seen as shocking, impossible, even deviant (recall Galileo’s trial). Even today, wild ideas can be laughed out of a conference, especially if they come from someone perceived as an outsider. Brown University physics professor Stephon Alexander, one such self-identified outsider, joins the podcast to talk about his new book, Fear of a Black Universe, and his own experiences as a Black man in science who has made major contributions, “not in spite of [his] outsider’s perspective, but because of it.”
Go beyond the episode:
- Stephon Alexander’s Fear of a Black Universe: An Outsider’s Guide to the Future of Physics
- Read an excerpt from his first book, The Jazz of Physics
- Science writer Priscilla Long explains what’s so great about the Higgs boson
- Medical doctor Robert Lanza steps out of his lane to propose “A New Theory of the Universe”
- Jethro K. Lieberman bemoans the state of physics education in “The Gravity of the Situation”
- Math and philosophy team up in Cristopher Moore and John Kaag’s exploration of “The Uncertainty Principle”
Listen to the whole of Here Comes Now, Stephon Alexander’s album with Rioux:
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Download the audio here (right click to “save link as …”)
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