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Nhan Tran | Fermilab | USA

View Blog | Read Bio

Physics and outreach: my social media adventure

Hi Quantum Diaries readers!  This is my first post.  Here goes nothing…

Physics is awesome. Of that I’m sure. We do it because we want to answer the BIG questions. But, in my mind, equally important to the work itself is explaining our work to the public. Without their support, we wouldn’t have the funds to do what we do. But it’s challenging to explain highly complex ideas – which often require a lot of background knowledge – and convey our enthusiasm for the subject and our work in a way that will motivate and interest others. That said, I generally find that non-experts are fascinated by the subject matter and interested in knowing more.

While there is a very dedicated and knowledgeable following, I believe it is very important to draw in new enthusiasts, especially the younger crowd. I don’t want to just reach the people who are already coming online to read this blog (my first post and I’m already insulting the readership!).  Instead, I want to get the interest of those who would not normally go out of their way to visit the site, but then see something that piques their interest and inspires them to learn more.

Maybe social media is the answer. Unfortunately, it’s not my forte. I’m terrible at Facebook. Up until a month or so ago, I barely knew what Twitter was. In my in-depth internet sleuthing I came across #hashtag by Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake (Side note: I find the concept of hashtags fascinating). From there, with my fellow postdoc compadre Jim Dolen, the idea to do a Large Hadron Collider spoof of the video was born.

For people who don’t know what the LHC is, we want them to see the video and to think “what the heck are those guys talking about?” and go and learn more. It’s short (maybe catchy?). I think the other goal of the video is for people to see a side of physicists they maybe don’t usually see. We like to have fun. We have a (weird) sense of humor. Take a look — and let us know what you think. Is it something you’d share with your friends and family? Do you have any other ideas or comments? Thanks for reading/watching!

Follow us on Twitter because we have no idea what we’re doing and it’s funny! I hope to break into double-digit followers soon.

@_nhanvtran @jimmydolen

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