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Clifford Johnson News

Prince performs an iconic set in pouring rain during half-time for Super Bowl XLI at Dolphin Stadium on February 4, 2007, in Miami. Photo by Anthony Correia.

Remembering Prince, virtuoso and provocateur

April 25, 2016

Dearly beloved We are gathered here today To get through this thing called life So begins Prince’s song “Let’s Go Crazy,” which opens the 1984 film Purple Rain. The movie, in which he starred as famed…

<em>A Penny for Your Thoughts</em> centers on a sleep-deprived character. Image courtesy of Evan McGahey.

USC Science Film Competition unites scientists and artists

February 10, 2016

Registration for the fourth annual USC Science Film competition, which seeks to promote public engagement in the sciences through filmmaking, officially opened in January. Students interested in creating a science-themed film…

Clifford Johnson, professor of physics and astronomy, is using graphic novel storytelling to explain the nature of the universe. The process, shown above, begins with rough work as depicted in blue on the bottom and develops into a detailed finished sequence as shown on top. Image courtesy of Clifford Johnson.

A physicist gets graphic about the nature of the universe

January 15, 2016

Clifford Johnson is a champion of making the sciences accessible to all.  When he’s not teaching at USC or working on his research, the USC Dornsife professor of physics and astronomy lectures, blogs and even…

Scientists must reconcile the fundamental components of reality if humankind is ever to comprehend the cosmos.

The Universe As We Know It

November 25, 2015

Sitting in a small French bistro across from Pershing Square in downtown Los Angeles, Clifford Johnson held the pumpkin-hued drinking straw parallel to the table. “Essentially, this straw has two dimensions to it. I can…

Life on the Holodeck

Life on the Holodeck

November 16, 2015

When Albert Einstein published his  general theory of relativity 100 years ago, he revolutionized the way scientists perceived the physical world. Redefining the force of gravity as a curvature in the combined fabric of…

Professor of Physics and Astronomy Clifford V. Johnson.

Phantastic Physics?

August 14, 2015

Despite being much anticipated, particularly by Marvel fans, the newest Fantastic Four feature is failing to live up to its name, appearing to flame out at the box office. And as far as critics are concerned, it’s…

To participate in the third annual science film competition, students must register by Oct. 16 at sciencefilm.usc.edu.

Cerebral Cinema

September 27, 2013

The deadline is fast approaching to sign up for the third annual USC Science Film Competition. To participate, students must register by Oct. 16 — registration details can be found online at sciencefilm.usc.edu. The…

The altruistic behavior of bees — social insects completely devoted to the queen and willing to surrender their lives to defend their hive in the face of predators, thereby allowing their species to become the most successful pollinators on the planet — was cited in the short movie <em>A Very Altruistic Christmas</em>, winner of the USC Science Film Competition. Photo by Kevin Frates.

Altruism Wins Out

February 8, 2013

Why should we adopt altruistic behavior rather than act out of self-interest? Filmed on the USC campus, A Very Altruistic Christmas answers this compelling moral question using the science of biological altruism by dramatizing…

Last year, eight short films were entered in USC's first science-themed movie competition, organized by Clifford Johnson, professor of physics and astronomy in USC Dornsife. Shown here are stills from the films. Courtesy of Clifford Johnson.

Cinematic Science

September 25, 2012

Looking for an innovative, interdisciplinary classroom project? Now is the time for professors in all USC schools to motivate their students to enter the 2012 Science Film Competition. The deadline for competition…

In USC's inaugural science-themed filmmaking competition, USC Dornsife's Kevin Le and USC School of Cinematic Arts' Edward Saavedra, sophomores, took top prize for their short movie, <em>Time</em>, which explains why times moves forward and never back. Shown here is Salvador Dali's 1931 melting clock painting, <em>The Persistence of Memory</em>. Image © 2007 Salvador Dalí, Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Time Flies

February 17, 2012

To learn why time moves only forward one must first understand a fundamental law of physics: the increase of entropy. The law describes the tendency for systems to go from a state of higher organization to disorder. Consider…