Clifford V. Johnson is a professor in the Physics and Astronomy Department at the USC. “I mainly work on (super)string theory, gravity, gauge theory and M-theory right now, which lead me to think about things like space-time, quantum mechanics, black holes, the big bang, extra dimensions, quarks, gluons, and so forth.” Clifford V. Johnson runs a well respected blog called asymptotia.com and recently wrote and illustrated an exploratory book on physics called The Dialogues using the revolutionary format of a graphic novel. Learn more below…
Lend us some background on how you got interested in physics and some experiences in youth/school that were formative
What was it about the theoretical side of physics that peaked your interest?
What are your thoughts on some current issues in science communication and how are you addressing them?
How do you see your blog “Asymptotia” and other forms of social media fitting into the pie of science communication along side traditional sources like news outlets, journals and research repositories?
How do you balance the technicality of physics with the required accessibility for the general public?
How did you come to decide on the unique format for your new book “The Dialogues” and how did you get into drawing in general?
Can you give us some insight on the process of “The Dialogues” creation?
If we would have a (planetary mass) black hole in our solar system to study, which experiments would you propose first?
Do you expect that we can experimentally test string theory in this century?
What is our view on the state of the field of string theory?
What are black hole heat engines, why should one care, and what does one learn?
Are there any recent publications or projects that have you particularly excited?
Oh, that’s easy. Colliding black holes, neutron stars, etc. All the wonderful things coming out of LIGO/Virgo and the associate multi-messenger astronomy revolution that’s coming. It’ll change a lot of things.
I have a BS in Information Sciences from UW-Milwaukee. I’ve helped manage Physics Forums for over 18 years. I enjoy learning and discussing new science developments. STEM communication and policy are big interests as well.