An MIT Alumni Association Publication

Alumni Books Podcast: How the Ray Gun Got Its Zap

  • Joe McGonegal
  • 1

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If it’s possible to lase Jello for your party guests, Stephen Wilk ’77 can tell you how. He can also tell you the best ingredients for a laser gin-and-tonic.

In his recently published book How the Ray Gun Got Its Zap, published by Oxford University Press in the fall, Wilk provides dozens of inquiries into such geeky interests.208397

Consider this volume The Anarchist’ Cookbook for MIT alums. If you’ve ever wondered why cats’ eyes are reflective, why the moon is blue every so often, whether autopsies of murder victims’ retinas will reveal images of their assailants, or who the first spectacle-wearers were in history, this is your book.

Besides some hard science and math, Wilk is a student of pop culture, too. As he discusses here, Hollywood has done some good in popularizing science over the years.

“My concentration is on optics,” Wilk says in this podcast. “I've been a great admirer of science popularizers like Stephen Jay Gould, L. Sprague de Camp, and Carl Sagan. And I wanted to write the same sort of thing that I was reading, with the emphasis on my own particular background.”


Hear more by listening to this podcast interview and add your comments below.

Note to MIT alumni: This podcast presents alumni authors discussing their latest books. Help us keep up with recent books or send along names of alumni authors you’d like to hear interviewed.

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Thu, 02/27/2014 4:36am

Thank you for sharing.

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