Lynda Willams: MS, Physics, 1998

For Lynda Williams, MS 1998 (see her home page), science and entertainment are a perfect mix in her world of physics and pop culture. She is the Physics Chanteuse, a cabaret-style performer who produces a musical act that aims to educate and entertain the public about the inner workings of the world.

Williams invented the Physics Chanteuse while a graduate student of physics in 1996, writing and performing the "Cosmic Cabaret: the Proto Show" at an experimental theater in San Francisco.

She had no desire to pursue math and science at the secondary level after performing poorly in highly school. Instead, she wanted to be an entertainer. After a failed summer in Hollywood she enrolled in a community college, dedicating herself to becoming a straight A student.

"I took a philosophy class from an awesome teacher who turned me on to logic and metaphysics," said Williams. She became enthralled by the great metaphysical question of philosophy and consumed everything she could find on the subject. She came to the conclusion that serious study of metaphysics requires a solid background in math and physics. The next semester she changed her major to physics and mathematics "and never looked back."

"I'm not a genius, but I work very, very hard and I did well, but not without a lot of pain and suffering," Williams said. "I had to make up for all the missed learning I lost in high school. I taught myself algebra and trigonometry over the summer and figured out how I learned math. It was always a struggle but the pay off was huge. When you finally understand something, it's beautiful."

Williams has a master's of science in physics from San Francisco State University and bachelor's of arts in mathematics from California State University, Sacramento.