Physicists can sometimes feel neglected.
Not always the party types, their lack of screen presence makes them seem weird, peculiar, and other-worldly.
Famous actor and renowned non-Scientologist Will Smith intends to narrow that gap. He knows that physics is the core of human life.
How can I make such a provocative statement?
Well, because I just read an interview he and his son Jaden gave to New York magazine, one intended, I think, to promote their new movie "After Earth."
In it, Smith boldly goes where few actors have gone before in declaring: "At heart, I am a physicist."
Yes, your first reaction might be that, at heart, Smith is a lunatic. But, please, hear the man (in black) out. He has something scientific to say. So does Jaden.
These are not mere thesps, vain to the roots, egos the size of planets.
Take Smith's full elucidatory quote about his essential Hawking-like nature: "I'm a student of patterns. At heart, I'm a physicist. I look at everything in my life as trying to find the single equation, the theory of everything."
The idea that there is a single equation to life surely makes the God Particle seem like a croissant crumb, dropped to the floor, shortly to be swept up by your dachshund.
Smith sees patterns that you might not see -- perhaps because you are not a physicist.
These patterns are everywhere. Well, almost:
The sun coming up, but even a little more. Like for Best Actor Oscars. Almost 90 percent of the time, it's mental illness and historical figures, right? So, you can be pretty certain of that if you want to win--as a man; it's very different for women. The patterns are all over the place, but for whatever reason, it's really difficult to find the patterns in Best Actress.
To think you imagined that Best Actress was always Meryl Streep or someone who never gets a lead role again. But you are wrong, apparently.
This penchant for pattern-seeking has a pattern in the whole of the Smith family, it seems. For Jaden flexed his scientific bent -- specifically his mathematical biceps.
He is rather critical of those who think they possess such fine mathematical minds: "I think that there is that special equation for everything, but I don't think our mathematics have evolved enough for us to even -- I think there's, like, a whole new mathematics that we'd have to learn to get that equation."
I had been under the impression that Google had already created a whole new mathematics, one that will not merely define us, but dictate who we will be in the future.
Jaden Smith is not convinced. He sees the special equation as being "beyond mathematical. It's, like, multidimensional mathematical, if you can sort of understand what I'm saying."
I feel sure that there will be several bright minds at MIT seconded to understanding what Jaden is saying. They may fail. He is only 14, but his patterns of thought seem already post-terrestrial.
He does give them a small chance to catch onto his pattern theory, however, with this insight: "Like you worked in your family business with your dad. I'm just working in my family business with my dad. Patterns, boom."
"After Earth" is a movie about what happens when physicists don't save the Earth in time and have to fly off somewhere else to find new and more exciting -- and lasting -- patterns.
Or something like that.