Reason to Love Portland: Christine McKinley

The writer, musician, and host of Brad Meltzer's Decoded and Under New York shares why a physics lover loves PDX.

By Aaron Scott May 22, 2014

As part of our May cover story, 100 Reasons to Love Portland, we've been asking some of our favorite Portland authors, performers, and thinkers to tell us why they love our city.

Christine McKinley is a veritable rennaissance woman. She first appeared on our radar when she debuted in the band Dirty Martini (she now performs with Swan Sovereign, which plays the Crystal on June 12). A mechanical engineer, she hosts Brad Meltzer's Decoded on History Channel and hosted Under New York on Discovery Channel. She also penned a Drammy-winning musical, Gracie and the Atom. And now she is releasing the book Physics for Rock Stars on June 3, 2014, where she applies principles of physics (what she dubs "the sexiest science") to life. We'll have more on the book next week, but until then, here are her reasons for loving Bridgetown:

What a lover of physics loves about Portland, specifically my SE neighborhood:
Watching skateboarders shoot down Mount Tabor, in a daring conversion of potential to kinetic energy [For more on the physics of skateboarding, see our story about the Tony Hawk exhibit at OMSI.]
Hearing the evening air wrinkle invisibly with sound waves from bands practicing in garages and basements
Riding over Hawthorne Bridge with its trusses distributing weight the same way they have since it was built.  The calculations that balanced the forces and sized the counterweights are still correct after more than 100 years of its existence and will be the same forever, even after the bridge is gone. We trust the laws of physics with our lives when we cross. And we all do it without hesitation. What else do we trust as much as physics? Am I the only one who thinks about that?

For love letters from other local artists and innovators, including local lit superhero Justin Hocking, YA fantasy queen Laini Taylor, magical surrealist private investigator Rene Denfeld, formidable author Brian Doyle, and urban studies professor (and sci-fi geek) Carl Abbot, see the May cover story.

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