Her lab door was closed. I knocked but there was no response. I waited in the hall, reviewing my notes, trying to look professional and casual. She opened the door a few moments later and apologized for being late. We walked through her empty lab (it had a distinctly unused look) into her office. I sat in her guest seat, a large comfortable armchair. It made her space feel homey, almost domestic. My pitch flowed easily and as I described my past work she commented on various projects with enthusiasm. We discussed my tar sand van she offered that she might be able to help find a parking space near the building where her partner’s students constructed on solar cars. I took this to be a good sign. She told me that she had been intrigued by my initial email because she had never seen a connection between her work and art.
When we go to the inevitable “but there is no one possible future” she responded thoughtfully, offering thoughts on ways her perspective might be representable. We talked about her research and the relationship of the past to the future.
“The more I learn about the past the less I think we can predict the future. Everything unfolds based on specific conditions so it is impossible to know exactly what will happen.”
On the subject of emotions, she echoed others. Though she seemed less fearful than some, her trepidation was clear. She postulated everyone in her field must have emotions about their research but was unsure if anyone had the space or the desire to share them.