51: Stephon Alexander: The Jazz of Physics!


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Physicist, jazz musician, & President of the National Society of Black Physicists, Stephon Alexander is this week’s guest on the INTO THE IMPOSSIBLE podcast. He discussed the foundations of the cosmos, his advice for balancing academic and creative pursuits, and his book “The Jazz of Physics.”

Support the National Society of Black Physicists: https://nsbp.org/support-nsbp/support-us

Show notes and resources for this episode are available: simply join my mailing list: http://briankeating.com/mailing_list.php and you'll also get information to enter giveaways to win my guest's books! Our next giveaway will be Stephon's phenomenal THE JAZZ OF PHYSICS!

  • 00:14:20 Balancing the creative pursuits of research, jazz, and writing.
  • 00:28:46 Which came first - theoretical or experimental physics?
  • 00:40:30 Creativity and intuition have a role in science.
  • 00:46:48 How legacy and John Coltrane inspired Alexander to write his book.
  • 00:57:18 The power (and limits) of analogies to explain science.
  • 01:07:34 Journal articles and musical films - what’s next from Stephon Alexander.
  • 01:17:08 Questions INTO THE IMPOSSIBLE asks all authors.

Stephon Alexander is a physics professor at Brown University, which is where he earned his Ph.D. He is President of the National Society of Black Physicists and a National Geographic Explorer. He served as a scientific consultant on the 2018 movie A Wrinkle in Time.

Buy Stephon Alexander’s book “The Jazz of Physics” here: https://amzn.to/3cZekmU

Watch Alexander’s Tedx Talk here: https://youtu.be/v9_ZzY99-6U

Watch Alexander on NOVA’s documentary series The Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/article/stephon-alexander/ Find Stephon Alexander on Twitter: https://twitter.com/stephstem

Please subscribe, rate, and review the INTO THE IMPOSSIBLE Podcast on iTunes for a chance to win a copy of Alexander’s book: 

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Recorded May 20, 2020 A production of http://imagination.ucsd.edu/