Brad Pitt—who cares? Tom Cruise—I don’t think so. George Clooney or Johnny Depp—well, maybe but still not quite. If I had to choose a man or two to have dinner with, it would not be some Hollywood entertainer, but instead, give me a physicist.
Oh! The Physicist! And while waiting for my physicists to come to dinner, I’d flutter about nervously while lighting candles and worrying over the sauce and just the right wine and what do I wear?—I don’t want to over do, you know. I want to be as beautiful as planet Saturn, as hot as the sun, as mysterious as the moon, as bright as the stars–all my clichés should be perfect for my physicists.
My first two physicist guests would have to be, ka-thump ka-thump goes my heart: Neil deGrasse Tyson and Michio Kaku. Tyson, with degrees in physics and astrophysics (oh my!), has interests that “are broad, but include star formation, exploding stars, dwarf galaxies, and the structure of our Milky Way.” (Swoon) And Kaku, a theoretical physicist and best-selling author, co-founder of string field theory, is “a popularizer of science,” and “continues Einstein’s search to unite the four fundamental forces of nature into one unified theory.” (Pant Pant)
Both Tyson and Kaku have a way of looking out of the TV screen that says, “I love what I do, and I love it so much I am sending that love out to you…I want you to see what I see, feel what I feel, know what I know, and I am going to show and tell you in such a beautiful and interesting way that you cannot fail to be one with me—come with me now as we explore, together.” (Shouldn’t we do this as writers, artists, musicians, too? Yes!) And I am there with them, and I understand—well, most of the time, or even some of t, anyway.
I want to be where they are. I want to walk with them as they point to this and that and there and here, while they tell me all the wonders of our world and of the universe. Their gentle voices, their wise faces, their very intelligence, but more, their curiosity of all things–all things!–makes me long to have them here, in my house, at my table, where all the mysteries of the universe swirl about as we lift our forks to our mouths, as we sip wine, as our molecules and synaptic electrical firings off make protons and electrons and whatevertrons explode, as the warmth from human contact and interested energies swirl about the room. Oh, the physicists and scientists and theorists and all manner of ists! But mostly, to my Kaku and my Tyson, whom if one day I met face to face, I would surely blush and giggle like a silly old schoolgirl.
Who do you want to have dinner with?
(version of this was on year of gratitude blog three years ago)