Suchitra Sebastian and Logan Dandridge

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We’re doing things a bit differently this month, welcoming not one but two guests in this episode.

Suchitra Sebastian is a professor of Physics at the Cavendish, but like cats, she had more than a few lives before becoming a world-class scientist. And like cats, she moves gracefully between very different worlds. It took time and a few twists and turns before a career in research became a conscious choice and ever since, she’s been finding ways to keep it interesting, fresh and fun for her.

Since 2016, she’s the director of Cavendish Arts Science, a programme that seeks to question and explore material and immaterial universes through a dialogue between the arts and sciences. Last autumn, the programme appointed the artist Logan Dandridge, our second guest today, as the First Cavendish Arts Science Fellow.

Logan grew up in Richmond, Virginia in the 90s to become a filmmaker whose work explores race, memory, and time through sound and the moving image. Last January, Logan traveled all the way from Syracuse University in the State of New York (USA), where he teaches films, to spend six months in Cambridge. Here, he’s creating encounters with Cavendish physicists to create new work that grapples with questions of memory, and re-imagined futures.

With Logan and Suchitra, we talk about personal awakenings, messing around and finding out things by chance, and seeking out intersections between worlds that don’t necessarily collide.

Jump into the conversation:

[00:30] - Guests intro

[02:10] – When Physics is not an obvious choice, one takes detours

[05:20] – A fringe physicist venturing into the borderlands of condensed matters

[09:18] – Physics alone will not do – exploring different forms of expression to know the world and be in it

[13:40] – Pushing the boundaries of arts and science to create a dialogue and provocation between the two

[17:15] – Crossing the line between Arts and Science and vice versa.

[21:05] – In the news this month: Two-dimensional material could store quantum information at room temperature

[25:05] – Who are you, Logan Dandridge?

[26:50] – The beauty of the moving images, “sculpture and painting happening at the same time”

[28:35] – Why engaging with scientists now?

[29:40] – Expectations v. reality

[30:40] – ‘Oh, I’m looking!’

[32:20] – What to expect from Cavendish Arts Science

[37:07] – How many black futures will end before they begin…

[38:48] - Outro

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Useful links:

  • For more information about Cavendish Arts Science, visit cavendish-artscience.org.uk
  • If you would like to explore some of Logan Dandridge’s previous works:

BlackContinuum 01

Here,yesterday (136)

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  • Any comment about the podcast or question you would like to ask our physicists? Email us at podcast@phy.cam.ac.uk or join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #PeopleDoingPhysics.

Episode credits:

Hosts: Vanessa Bismuth and Jacob Butler

News presenters: Simone Eizagirre Barker and Paolo Molignini

Producer: Chris Brock

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