Y’all in Albuquerque are invited to a talk next Tuesday evening by yours truly at Southwest Writers (click through for the when and where). It’s entitled “A Spectator to the Grand Adventure of our Time: Writing About Science.” The title’s based on a quote from Richard Feynman, except that I was doing it off the top of my head when I emailed the title of my talk to the organizer, and I got it wrong:
The work is not done for the sake of an application. It is done for the excitement of what is found out…. You cannot understand science and its relation to anything else unless you understand and appreciate the great adventure of our time. You do not live in your time unless you understand that this is a tremendous adventure and a wild and exciting thing.
(That’s Feynman from a series of lectures he gave in 1963 at the University of Washington, collected in the book The Meaning of it All.)
I’m having fun with this. I hope it works out. There’ll be some newspapering nuts and bolts in the talk, which is important context for a group of writers who will need to understand the constraints. But mostly I’m going to try to talk about the aesthetic of science – the great privilege I have to be paid to watch science happen, and the grist that provides.
As a bonus, for those who don’t fall asleep, I promise a Picasso reference. Watch and be amazed as I draw a thread through Galileo to Picasso and Voyager at Neptune (or fall on my rhetorical face trying – that may be the real fun).