This is the story of a very unusual project: a 250-page comic showing people talking about science. Not your cup of tea? Actually, the seeming lack of overlap between “comics people” and “science people” is part of this story. It was one reason this book took nearly two decades from inception to publication.
In this episode, Ryan Haupt joins Tim to review this book, called The Dialogues; then, the book’s author, USC physics professor Clifford V. Johnson, explains the arduous journey of this book, which explains a topic that’s poorly understood by the public via a medium that’s also poorly understood by the public.
Also including some actual science talk, including Ryan’s recommendations for other non-fiction comics about science!
On this interview episode Derek has as his guest Clifford V. Johnson. He is a professor of physics at the University of Southern California, and his new book The Dialogues: Conversations about the Nature of the Universe was released last fall by the MIT Press. Clifford talks with Derek about the genesis of this project, his choice of the dialogue form in structuring his text, and the challenges — as well as the appropriateness — of representing complex scientific concepts through comics. The Dialogues is a fascinating work of ideas, one that could even be categorized as a graphic cycle, and a book that can be appreciated by scientists and laypeople alike. Science!
Be sure to check out Prof. Johnson’s blog, Asymptotia, for his ongoing thoughts on science in our contemporary culture.