Digital Drills

not_uncle_quentin_wideDue to a busy semester, I’m rusty as hell in the drawing department, and so have been trying to find time to practice some faces in a graphic style. (Click for larger view.) not_uncle_quentin_rough I’m forcing myself to do it all digitally from scratch, just to encourage myself to get used to being in full-on drawing mode (not just inking mode or painting mode) on screen. In view of a certain film release coming up, this gentleman’s face has started turning up on magazine covers, and so I used one as reference for a quick sketch (see rough on right), and then did some over-inking (digital) and colour finishing experiments here and there, with the result at the top. Title*: “Not Uncle Quentin”.

-cvj

(*Kind of a shout out to Enid Blyton, oddly…)

Conversation Starting Somewhere…

Somewhere near you, some perfectly ordinary people are about to do something wonderful – start a conversation about science… turn their minds to how the world around them works. Isn’t that great? Here’s an iPad rough of an opening splash page of a story with one such conversation*. Listen! – It is about to begin. (Click for larger view.) Pick your city/street/people…

city_overhead_page_sample_17_12_15

-cvj

(*Oh, you thought I’d stopped sharing drawings from the book in progress? Think again!)

Tales from the Industry XXXXII – Equation Wrangler (Again)

notes_for_a_show_smallThose pages of notes are from a couple of weeks back (I did not get time to post about it – been busy). I’ve had to blur pretty much everything on them since although they were real physics computations, they are for an episode of the TV show Agent Carter, and a few of you might be able to read the equations and with a bit of educated guesswork perhaps figure out elements of the show. I don’t reveal details of that sort without permission, as you know by now. Anyway, it was interesting to do (on this and some other occasions for this show), since from the scripts I get to interpret what I think the scientist involved is thinking about and working on at a very technical level, and then create some of their scribblings that you’ll see when looking over their shoulder. This case was particularly fun to do since a lot of the material is Click to continue reading this post

Knee or Elbow?

knee_elbowToday’s big conundrum: Call this curve a knee or an elbow?

On the one hand, it goes from horizontal to vertical, so obviously a knee.

On the other hand, the little bump before the plunge is sort of a bit like a cartoon elbow*. Think of Popeye, etc.

Hmmmm.

-cvj

*Or perhaps a real one, but with a case of olecranon bursitis

The New Improved Scooby-Gang? (Part 2)

usc_dornsife_frontline_scholars_medium(Click for larger view.) The answer’s still no, but I still amuse myself with the joke. (Alternative forms would have been “The New Expendables Poster?” or “Sneak peek at the Post-Infinity Wars Avengers Lineup?”…) This is a photo that I was thinking would not make it out to the wider world, but that’s probably because I was not paying attention. We spent a lot of time on that rooftop getting that right – no it was not photoshopped, the city is right behind us there – as part of the “Frontline Scholars” campaign for USC’s Dornsife College of Letters Arts and Sciences… and then the next thing I heard from our Dean (pictured three from the right) is that he is now our ex-Dean. So I figured the campaign they were planning would not feature him anymore, and hence this picture would not be used. But I think the photo was actually in use for the campaign for a while and I did not know since I don’t actually pay attention to Click to continue reading this post

Happy Centennial, General Relativity!

general_relativity_centennial_kip_thorne(Click for larger view.) Well, I’ve already mentioned why today is such an important day in the history of human thought – One Hundred years of Certitude was the title of the post I used, in talking about the 100th Anniversary (today) of Einstein completing the final equations of General Relativity – and our celebration of it back last Friday went very well indeed. Today on NPR Adam Frank did an excellent job expanding on things a bit, so have a listen here if you like.

As you might recall me saying, I was keen to note and celebrate not just what GR means for science, but for the broader culture too, and two of the highlights of the day were examples of that. The photo above is of Kip Thorne talking about the science (solid General Relativity coupled with some speculative ideas rooted in General Relativity) of the film Interstellar, which as you know Click to continue reading this post

The New Improved Scooby-Gang? (Part 1)

This is a group shot from an excellent event I mentioned on here only briefly:

887394_10153132751126472_4536606045371698286_o

(Click for larger view. Photo from album linked below.) It was on Back to the Future Day… the date (October 21st 2015) that Marty McFly came forward in time to in the second of the BTTF movies… where we found hover boards and so forth, if you recall. The Science and Entertainment Exchange hosted a packed event at the Great Company (in downtown LA) which had several wonderful things and people, including some of the props from the films, the designer of lots of the props from the films, a ballroom done up like the high school prom of the first film, the actor who played George McFly (in the second two films), an actual DeLorean, and so much more. Oh! Also four experts who talked a bit about aspects of the science and other technical matters in the movies, such as hover boards, drones, web security… and of course, time travel. I did that last bit, and my talk was a 15 minute series of recipes for how to actually make a time machine.

It was fun! That’s us (me far left, wearing my coat that looks a bit like a blue lab coat (I was being ironic), and Parisa Tabriz, Romeo Durscher and Spiros Michalakis far right) and some of the event organisers standing next to the DeLorean before the event began. They have a whole photo album here.

-cvj

One Hundred Years of Certitude

Einstein_CentennialSince the early Summer I’ve been working (with the help of several people at USC*) toward a big event next Friday: A celebration of 100 years since Einstein formulated the field equations of General Relativity, a theory which is one of the top one or few (depending upon who you argue with over beers about this) scientific achievements in the history of human thought. The event is a collaboration between the USC Harman Academy of Polymathic Study and the LAIH, which I co-direct. I chose the title of this post since (putting aside the obvious desire to resonate with a certain great work of literature) this remarkable scientific framework has proven to be a remarkably robust and accurate model of how our universe’s gravity actually works in every area it has been tested with experiment and observation**. Despite being all about bizarre things like warped spacetime, slowing down time, and so forth, which most people think is to do only with science fiction. (And yes, you probably test it every day through your Click to continue reading this post

A Mexico Meeting

from_museo_nacional_antropologia_mexico_1Continuing in the “tradition” of sharing a drawing from a visit to a city South of the border, let me introduce you to this character I met (to my delight) on the recent Mexico trip. I did a quick visit to the wonderful Museo Nacional Antropologia, and there he/she was. I neglected to get the information about the figure. Sorry. There was no time to do it in the spot since they were closing, so I took a snap and sketched the figure in pencil in my hotel later, and painted it on the plane (with watercolour pencils and brush) on the way back. (Click for larger view; I’ve another to share… stay tuned.)

-cvj

D-Brane Fun!

imageTurns out that it still a lot of fun to lecture about string theory and D-branes! (The latter are an important type of extended object, generalizing membranes, that have been very useful in theoretical physics for the last 20 years. — My goodness, it has been 20 years since Joe Polchinski first demonstrated their importance for string duality!) The students at the Latin American String School here in Mexico City seem to be very engaged and enjoying themselves. Although I was having fun I was also not without a presentation error or two brought on by Click to continue reading this post

Not the Cafe from Hell…

imageQuite the opposite actually! And a very welcome find across from my hotel soon after arriving here in Mexico City since it provided me with an excellent ham sandwich and good coffee. While I approve of my companions choice of Hendricks gin, I decided not to have any since it was 3:00pm, and also I’d planned a walk to explore.

I’ll try to show you the amazing Day of the Dead find I made shortly after, but now I’d better prep my lectures for today.

Happy Halloween!

-cvj