Perimeter Institute: A graphic talk about the universe

Theoretical physicist — and graphic novelist — Clifford V. Johnson explains how to turn black holes, particle physics, and string theory into topics that anyone can understand
By TVO News - Published on February 5, 2019

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Note: This lecture had been postponed until Thursday, Feb. 7. The event was originally scheduled on Wednesday. 

The Higgs boson. Dark matter. Multi-dimensional string theory. What physicists have discovered about how the universe works is so complex and counterintuitive that it can be difficult for anyone without years of scientific training to understand.

British theoretical physicist Clifford V. Johnson decided that he would try to demystify the world of physics by writing and drawing a graphic novel. That work — The Dialogues: Conversations About the Nature of the Universe, published in 2017 by MIT Press — teaches lay readers about physics in an accessible way.

At a public lecture hosted by the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics at 7 p.m. on Thursday, February 7 , Johnson discussed how to turn complicated scientific concepts into compelling visual narratives. If you missed the lecture, you can watch a replay of it here:

Johnson, whose teaching and research touches on black holes, particle physics, string theory, and cosmology, has been a science adviser for TV shows and movies such as Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Infinity War.

The Perimeter Institute’s public lectures are usually held once a month. TVO.org will stream the entire 2018-19 series.

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