In this episode of the STEM Read Podcast, host Gillian King-Cargile (@gkingcargile) interviews author and filmmaker Alex Garland (Ex Machina, Annihilation) about his latest project, a mind-bending, tech-centric television series, Devs, and how he creates stories to satisfy his own curiosity about science and technology.
Then Gillian is joined by physicist Rebecca C. Thompson (@mathlete79) to unpack Devs’ topics of quantum mechanics and determinism. Rebecca is head of the Office of Education and Public Outreach at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. She is also the creator of the Spectra comic book series and author of Fire, Ice, and Physics: The Science of Game of Thrones. She’ll give us a crash course in quantum computing, refresh our memories about Schrödinger's Cat, and share her take on the science behind Devs.
We interviewed Alex Garland at C2E2. Special thanks to C2E2 and FX for making the interview possible!
Northern Illinois University’s STEM Read is part of the NIU STEAM family of programs that explore science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math. Find more great books, lesson plans, and resources at stemread.com.
The STEM Read Podcast is produced in collaboration with WNIJ.
Notes & External Links
- Alex Garland on IMDb
- Devs on FX and Hulu
- Annihilation the Movie compared to Annihilation the Book from The Verge.
- Watch STEM Read’s interview with Jeff Vandermeer and, OMG, read The Southern Reach Trilogy. STEM Read also has lesson plans related to the novel.
- Determinism defined in Psychology Today.
- Learn more about Rebecca C. Thompson in this Q&A.
- Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory has awesome outreach programs. Many explore connections between science and art!
- Ruth Spiro’s Baby Loves Quantum Physics is a great primer on Schrödinger's Cat. Don’t worry. Baby, the cat, is only sleeping!
- Time is linked to Velocity
- Spectra: The Original Laser Superhero comic books are great resources for middle school!
- Fire, Ice, and Physics: The Science of Game of Thrones is Rebecca’s latest book on everything from the biology of beheadings to the genetics of incest. It is not a great resource for middle school!
- Ant Man and Quantum Physics – Is there anything Marvel can’t make cool?
- Schrödinger's Cat and the man behind the paradox
- Argonne National Laboratory’s super computers are “Mind-blowingly Fast!”
- “Is Quantum Computing a Cybersecurity Threat?” By Dorothy E. Denning
- What’s a Qubit?
- What’s a Q*Bert?
- “The other side can do magic, too.” from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
- The Three Body Problem – Read this article because it talks about falling cats.
- The Three Body Problem is also a book written by Cixin Liu and translated by Ken Liu.
- Ken Liu is going to be a keynote speaker at NIU’s Future Telling: Science + Fiction Conference. Rebecca Thompson will also be speaking. You should be there!
- The Good Place – Physics, philosophy, and theology on prime time?! It’s so good!