Sunday, March 18, 2007

Q&A with Lene Hau
Originally appeared in the Boston Globe

By Harvey Blume

As the Danish physicist Lene Vestergaard Hau, a tenured professor at Harvard, explained to me how she slows light down -- and, when it's going at a "comfortable bicycling speed," does something to it that's weird even by the standards of quantum mechanics -- I couldn't resist blurting out the suspicion I'd harbored since reading about her work: "You're going to win a Nobel Prize if you're not careful." Hau, one of nine MacArthur Fellows picked by the MacArthur Foundation in 2005 to represent the history of its "genius" awards, just laughed and went back to energetically explaining the apparatus she had built to experiment with light.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Q&A: Jonathan Lethem

Originally appeared in the Boston Globe.

'I'm suggesting [originality] is an overrated virtue.'

By Harvey Blume | March 4, 2007

WHEN I VISITED the writer Jonathan Lethem he boasted of his new novel, "You Don't Love Me Yet," being "a profoundly unimportant book." He emphasized its irrelevance as we chatted in his Dean Street apartment, in the Boerum Hill section of Brooklyn, on the block where he grew up and that he used as a setting for "The Fortress of Solitude" (2003), his best known novel.