Video: Student Work: 'Science Plays'
Posted October 10, 2011; 07:08 p.m.
Jeffrey Kuperman '12 goes behind the scenes of a staged reading of winning entries from the Princeton science playwriting competition. It will take place 8 p.m., Oct. 17 in Taplin Auditorium.
Video Closed Captions
I'm Chris Herzog. I'm an assistant professor
in the physics department. Last year, I ran
the first Princeton science playwriting competition.
This year, I'd like to invite you to listen
to the winning entries. Weâ€™re going to have
a staged reading on Monday, Oct. 17 at 8 p.m.,
in Taplin Auditorium.
I got the idea for "A Quantum Comedy" last
year in Integrated Science, when we were talking
about concepts such as Heisenbergâ€™s uncertainty
principle. I wrote about two guys in a dorm
room and I thought that was something that
every college student could relate to.
So I wrote my play about the "Many Worlds"
interpretation of quantum mechanics, which
states that whenever an action entails multiple
possible outcomes, the universe splits into
different versions of itself, one to accommodate
each possible outcome.
Wu Chien-Shiung was a Chinese-American physicist
famous for violating the law of parity in
1953 in an elegant experiment at the national
bureau of standards in D.C. She came to Princeton
in 1943 as the first female instructor in
the physics department, although she left
for Columbia and the Manhattan Project the
next year. What I wrote is a compressed, surrealist
interpretation of her life up until the 1953 experiment.
People are often turned off, I think, from
physics and math because they think itâ€™s
too hard. One thing thatâ€™s kept me going
is the idea that if it were really that hard,
then no one would understand it. The fault was
somehow in a poor explanation. Science plays,
I think, are a way of getting around this
problem. By definition, they excite and engage
the audience, and ultimately, if they reach
some higher artistic level, they convey some