Lavin Weekly #36: Mallett, Levin, Taylor-Lind, & Wilson
Is time travel possible? Theoretical physicist Ronald Mallett thinks so, and it’s the subject of the new film How to Build a Time Machine, which premiered this week at Hot Docs. When Mallett was only 10, his 33-year-old father (and hero) died of a heart attack. From then on, his entire life—overcoming poverty and racism, earning a PhD in physics and tenure at UConn, and conducting groundbreaking research on black holes and time travel theory—has been a quest to see his father once again. And although his dream is an unlikely one, Mallett’s research has been extremely well received. By using a circulating light beam to drag time into a closed loop, we might achieve time travel—albeit on a micro scale—sooner than we ever thought possible. How to Build a Time Machine is earning rave reviews: Twitch Film says it “beautifully mixes craft and emotion,” Toronto Film Scene calls it “an all around wonderful experience,” and NOW Magazine says it delivers “maximum emotional impact.” See the film tomorrow (Saturday, May 7th) at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, or better yet, hear the story in one of Mallett’s awe-inspiring keynotes by contacting The Lavin Agency, his exclusive speakers bureau.
2. Janna Levin Talks LIGO, Writing, and Black-Hole Batteries in a New Quanta Feature
Quanta Magazine has published a new interview with the multi-talented Janna Levin, where she discusses everything from her new book Black Hole Blues to her life-changing car accident at 16. Levin occupies a curious niche at the intersection of art and science—she’s equal parts writer and physicist. And for her, this works perfectly. “I’m more surprised people become only one or the other,” says Levin of her dual occupation, “All kids are scientists, and all kids are artists. They all read. How is it that we give up such big things?” As interesting as the interview itself is where it was conducted: Levin’s studio space at Pioneer Works in Brooklyn is a converted ironworks factory decked out like a 1920s speakeasy—with a dash of black-hole inspired artwork, of course. But whether she’s talking about black holes, the marriage of art and science, or the infinity of the cosmos, Levin’s keynotes are an always-fascinating exploration of creativity, passion, and unlimited human potential.
3. Photojournalism Needs More Diversity: Anastasia Taylor-Lind in TIME
Women are making strides in every profession, but according to Anastasia-Taylor Lind, photojournalism is still a boys’ club. In a recent global survey of 1,556 photographers, 65 percent were North American or European; a disconcerting 15 percent were women. But the lack of diversity extends beyond gender: racial, sexual, and socioeconomic minorities are also underrepresented. If we can’t open the gates for people of disparate backgrounds, argues Taylor-Lind, we risk supporting a “single homogenous narrative that can lend too much weight on a small part of the larger story.” We need cross-pollination, she says—heterosexual artists documenting LGBT stories, foreign photographers capturing American experiences—a defiant intermixing of cultures and identities. Taylor-Lind is a bold young documentarian, a TED Fellow, and a Harvard Nieman Fellow, and her stirring talks remind us how macro-level war narratives often overshadow those most affected.
4. How Do We Save Life on Earth? E.O. Wilson Lays Out His Bold Strategy
Edward O. Wilson is the father of modern environmentalism, and at 86, he’s still hard at work. In his latest book, Half-Earth, Our Planet’s Fight for Life, he has a not-so-modest proposal: if we set aside 50 percent of the Earth’s land as natural habitat for its non-human species, we may be able to save 80-90 percent of them from extinction. Fifty percent, Wilson argues, is more attainable than it seems on the surface—more than 15 percent of the Earth already serves conservation purposes. When it comes to promoting biodiversity, he doesn’t mince words: “If we allow the living part of the environment to disappear,” Wilson says, “it would be by future generations regarded as one of the most catastrophic, even evil periods in human history.” To see the new interview with Wilson from PBS NewsHour, shot in his native Alabama, watch below—or better yet, book him for a keynote on Half-Earth, uniting science and religion, or the future of biology.
The Lavin Agency represents hundreds of the world’s most influential leaders in the arts, business, innovation, politics, and more. To book a lecture from Ronald Mallett, Janna Levin, Anastasia Taylor-Lind, Edward O. Wilson, or any of our other captivating speakers, contact us today.