Read. Watch. Listen. with Francesca Vidotto

Read. Watch. Listen. introduces you to the personal side of our faculty, staff and alumni. Participants are asked to answer three simple questions about their reading, viewing and listening habits – what one book or newspaper/magazine article is grabbing your attention; what one movie or television show has caught your eye; and what album/song, podcast or radio show you’re lending an ear to.

Professor Francesca Vidotto is a theoretical physicist working in the Departments of Applied Mathematics and Philosophy. She investigates the quantum properties of gravity that are important to understand the primordial universe and the evolution of black holes.

Today, she takes a turn on Read. Watch. Listen.

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Disordered Cosmos bookcosmologist Chanda Prescod-Weinstein

Read.

The Disordered Cosmos by Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, a professor at the University of New Hampshire. We met many years ago in Waterloo at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics when we were both graduate students trying to apply quantum gravity to cosmology. While we’ve grown as scientists, I’ve also come to appreciate her for her activism.

She has a sharp eye for calling out unfairness –­ not a total surprise as she has some influential thinkers such as Selma James in her family constellation. On the other hand, nobody prepared her for the oddities of a career in academia, especially bringing in her identity as a queer, black and Jewish person. In this book she not only disseminates her research on dark matter, one of the most mysterious aspects of the universe, but she also shares the story of her journey to become the 63rd Black American woman to earn a PhD in physics.

Even before it arrives in the bookstore in the next few months, I look forward to sharing some with students in my course, ‘Women and Science’.

Watch.

GLOW, the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. I am not a big series watcher, but I admit this has hooked me lately and produced some genuine laughs! I am now waiting to watch the fourth and final season, which will be screened in Canada in the fall.

The story is inspired by the real GLOW show, which aired in the 1980s. A highlight is its soundtrack of rock songs from the 80s –  along with how episodes contrast the stereotyped characters these women had to play in the ring, with their real-life struggles about career, gender identities, dreams and desires.

The show has been hailed as feminist, and also criticized for not being feminist enough. It is worth watching, even if you’re not a fan of wrestling but enjoy theatre and athleticism, and some thought-provoking comedy thrown in for good measure.


Listen.

Eutopia, the new album by Massive Attack. The first three tracks released are freely listenable on YouTube. Robert Del Naja, one of the founders of Massive Attack collective and the soul beyond this new project, is known beyond his music for his provocative street art and for activism. While the political message has always been present in the work of Massive Attack, this time of multiple crises demands the political message to stand up front. This led to a collaboration between Massive Attack and some outstanding global thinkers, whose speeches are blended with the music, and accompanied by powerful visual art.

I admit that I listen to this with a mixture of hope and nostalgia: the sound brings me back twenty years, when we were already protesting about the same problems and warning about the crises that were coming. Now I hope more people are supporting the message and the movement to address these global crises.

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If you have a suggestion for someone you would like to see in Read. Watch. Listen., or would like to participate yourself, drop a line to inside.western@uwo.ca.