Surely, you've seen his comics xkcd on the web before and perhaps you've seen his new site What If, where Randall pondered things like what would happen if you tried to hit a baseball pitched at 90% of the speed of light, how long you'd have to wait while opening your mouth till a bird pooped in it, and what would happen if everyone on Earth aimed a laser at the Moon. (See kids? Science can be fun!)
Megan Garber of The Atlantic spoke to Munroe about how the new What If series got started:
First things first: Why did you create What If?
It actually started with a class. MIT has a weekend program where volunteers can teach classes to groups of high school students on any subject you want. I had a friend who was doing it, and it sounded really cool -- so I signed up to teach a class about energy, which I always thought was interesting, but which is a slippery idea to define. I was really getting into the nuts and bolts of what energy is, and it was a lot of fun -- but when I started to get into the normal lecture part of the class, it felt kind of dry, and I could tell the kids weren't super into it. And then we got to a part where I brought up an example -- I think it was Yoda in Star Wars. And they got really excited about that. And then they started throwing out more questions about different movies -- like, "When the Eye of Sauron exploded at the end of The Lord of the Rings, and knocked people over from this far away, can we tell how big a blast that was?" They got really excited about that -- and I had a lot more fun doing it than I did just teaching the regular material.
So I spent the second half of the class just solving problems like that in front of them. And then I was like, "That was really fun. I want to keep doing it."
Read the rest of the interview: Link