Occupation Author and professor of physics at Harvard University
Residence CambridgeYou give a lot of talks in front of your colleagues. Do you put a lot of thought into what you wear to work?
Actually, not that much. Probably when I first had job interviews I thought about it a little bit. But generally speaking, it’s not a big deal. If anything I tried to be as understated as possible.But from the photos I’ve seen of you, it looks as if you have a great sense of personal style.
I really appreciate that. It was a conscious decision when I started doing more public speaking. I realized I’m going to be out there with people who don’t live in the same environment that I live in.So you have a Jekyll-and-Hyde sense of style?
Well, at this point I just do more of what I want. But when I first got to Harvard, I went to a reception for new women faculty, and a friend afterward said, “I thought that was so cool that you wore jeans to this.” I hadn’t realized I had done anything out of the ordinary. I would say that I’ve always known a little about fashion, but I did try to avoid it. Then at some point, I stopped avoiding it.Is that generally how people who work in science approach fashion?
It’s funny, I was just on a panel with a friend of mine, and somebody asked him a similar question. He said, “Well, if you look at someone who is badly dressed, he is more likely to be a scientist than a violinist.” — Christopher MutherInterview has been condensed and edited. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.