Sunday, June 01, 2008

Geek = cool

America might not be able to produce enough scientists and engineers on its own - it has to import quite a number, mainly from Asia, to fill up the grad school classes - but you wouldn't know it from pop culture. After going into hiding in the 70s, geekdom is experiencing a rebirth, beyond just Bill Gates and the 90s Internet boom.

One sign is the wicked funny Big Bang Theory from CBS, airing since its premiere last fall. How does a show like this stay on the air? Will it? (The season finale is tomorrow night.) Speaking from personal experience, I'd say it's dead-on. Physicists, young and full of themselves, really are like that - at least, some of them :)

Another is Rivka Galchen's new novel, Atmospheric Disturbances, her first, about weather control and narrated by a middle-aged psychiatrist who thinks he's going crazy. The book was released just this past Tuesday and is getting lots of good buzz. She's even speaking up in favor of science, scientists, and what she calls the "scientific imagination." Perhaps a marriage of science and art and a repair of the breach dating from the late Renaissance are in the offing. Galchen is herself the child of scientists.

Read about Galchen and her book at the New York Observer (that pink paper) and over at Daily Candy-New York (that gossip-fashion blog).

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