Bridging Different Interests
I always enjoy learning about people whose careers take unexpected turns, so I was delighted to read a story in an MIT publication about a nuclear engineering major who is now the poet laureate of Hawaii.
When I was much younger, I dabbled in poetry myself. Although nothing ever came of it for me (well, OK, I did win a minor award in an undergraduate poetry writing contest), I was always perplexed when people laughed when they learned that I liked both science and poetry. Not only did they find it contradictory, they apparently found it funny.
From my own perspective, it gave me a chance to exercise different interests and think about different things. And maybe I thought that the idea of being creative transcended the particular area of endeavor.
I never really lost my interest in poetry, but for me, it was never more than a hobby, and over the years, I found less and less time to pursue it at all. So, I don't claim to be a poet.
But I have to admire others who manage to pursue more than one passion, and who even manage to marry the two. Thus, I was fascinated to learn about how Steven Wong (now called Kealoha), MIT Class of '99 and nuclear engineering major, has ended up as the first poet laureate of Hawaii, and how his work melds science and art.
In fact, he now has a show, complete with musicians and dancers, that starts with the Big Bang, includes dancers building the periodic table with disco moves, portrays human evolution and migration across the planet, and looks at climate change and the future "through the lens of science."
This sounds fascinating enough for me to try to look for an opportunity to catch the show. What an excuse for a visit to Hawaii!