Physics Ph.D. alumnus launches video series of scientists

Author: Shelly Goethals


César Hidalgo, who earned a Ph.D. in Physics at Notre Dame in 2008, has started an online video series of scientists, “Cambridge Nights: Conversations About a Life in Science.” The series is produced at the M.I.T. Media Lab that he joined last year. Hidalgo is the ABC Career Development Professor at The Media Lab and a faculty associate at the Center for International Development at Harvard University.

Hidalgo’s first guest last October was Albert-Laszlo Barabasi, his advisor at Notre Dame who is now at Northeastern University, on the science of networks. Others were Juan Pérez Mercader of Harvard on the origins of life and astrobiology; Marshall Van Alstyne of Boston University on information markets; Luis Bettencourt of the Santa Fe Institute on the science of cities and on scientific productivity; Ricardo Hausmann on what differentiates nations at different levels of development and on economic “black matter”; Marc Vidal of Harvard on systems biology; and Geoffrey West of the Santa Fe Institute on the fractal nature of the metabolism and the scaling laws of life.

Two filmmakers at the lab assist with the low-budget project, with most guests from Harvard University a taxi drive away or visitors in town for research collaborations. The academics in the first season were friends of Hidalgo. Marta Gonzalez, Rosalind Picard, Steven Pinker, Nicholas Christakis and Joe Loscalzo are already scheduled for the second season. The site has received more than 15,000 visitors, including some from the United Kingdom, Canada, Chile, Spain and other countries. The site is