Why A Scientist Made A Graphic Novel About Understanding Physics

In “The Dialogues,” a graphic novel by theoretical physicist Clifford Johnson, the superheroes are scientists—and they’ll teach you a thing or two about physics.

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an illustrated book cover of two people sitting across from eacher with multiple science concepts overlaid on the table in front of them. the text says "the dialogues: conversations about the nature of the universe"Comic book superheroes use and abuse physics for their supernatural powers. But how many can actually explain the physics behind gravitation or electromagnetism? In The Dialogues, the new graphic novel by physicist Clifford Johnson, the heroes are scientists—and though they have no special powers beyond their scientific abilities, the characters address everything from the mysteries of dark energy to the possibility of immortality.

In this interview, black hole physicist Janna Levin joins Clifford Johnson to discuss the quantum questions vexing physicists today—and why black holes might be the perfect place to find the answers.

Universe of Art is hosted and produced by D. Peterschmidt, who also wrote the music. The original segment was produced by Christopher Intagliata Our show art was illustrated by Abelle Hayford. Support for Science Friday’s science and arts coverage comes from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. 

Do you have an idea for a future episode of Universe of Art? Send us an email or a voice memo to universe@sciencefriday.com.

Meet the Writers

About D. Peterschmidt

D. Peterschmidt is a producer, host of the podcast Universe of Art, and composes music for Science Friday’s podcasts. Their D&D character is a clumsy bard named Chip Chap Chopman.

About Christopher Intagliata

Christopher Intagliata was Science Friday’s senior producer. He once served as a prop in an optical illusion and speaks passable Ira Flatowese.

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