In her 22 years on this planet, Britney Spears has been many things: “Star Search” contestant, Mouseketeer, seductive schoolgirl, snake handler, patent-leather-clad spacegirl, movie star, a slave (4 U), married, Madonna’s make-out partner, a futuristic spy/stewardess, Bobby Brown, and married (again).
Now, in addition to all that, she’s a professor of physics.
Witness “Britney’s Guide to Semiconductor Physics,” in which she holds forth on such topics as the subtle differences between intrinsic and extrinsic semiconductors, the properties of the Schrödinger equation and the delicate art of photolithography. All while wearing little more than a sparkly tank top and a wry, come-hither smile.
It’s all the brainchild of Carl Hepburn, a postgraduate student at Great Britain’s University of Essex. For no particular reason, he’s developed the world’s only online guide to all things semiconductor-y that relies on photographs of Britney interspersed with diagrams and charts to explain complex scientific concepts. On the site, visitors can see Brit hold forth on topics like “the Wigner-Seitz Cell,” “the zincblende structure” (“Diamonds might be a girl’s best friend, but their crystalline structure is closely related to the zincblende structure”) and “the Reciprocal Lattice.” Oh, and they can also learn the lyrics to all of Spears’ songs, too.
As Hepburn writes, “It is a little known fact that Ms. Spears is an expert in Semiconductor Physics. Not content with just singing and acting, in the following pages, she will guide you in the fundamentals of the vital laser components that have made it possible to hear her super music in a digital format.”
And Hepburn appears to be an expert in both realms: Not only does he have degrees in theoretical and experimental physics, but, as he writes in his bio, he “also enjoy[s] playing the piano.”
Let’s try to simplify things. According to “Britney’s Lip-Glossary of Semiconductor Physics,” a semiconductor is defined as “a material that is characterized by the ability to conduct a small electrical current.” These materials include diamonds (which Brit famously covered herself with in her “Toxic” video), metal (which she proved herself to be when she covered “I Love Rock-n-Roll” in her film “Crossroads”) and silicon (which, um … never mind). When impurities are added to, say, diamonds, and an electrical current is added, electrons are re-combined and photons are emitted. Those photons are what make up lasers. And those lasers can be used to read tiny grooves on compact discs, of which Britney has sold plenty — which is what makes her an expert on the subject.
“Now that the site is established, I have secondary hopes for it. I would like it to be a useful reference to anyone that wants to know about semiconductor physics of lasers,” Hepburn writes on the site. “The strange addition of Britney Spears to the guide has made the Web site stand out from the crowd. I hope that Britney does not mind being an Ambassador of Science.”
Some of the ways Britney upholds her ambassadorship: demonstrating how the plunging neckline of her tank top relates to the dip of a “Conduction Band,” posing next to a blackboard filled with the equation explaining the “Density of States” and donning a shiny top to illustrate the principles of “Distributed Bragg Reflectors.” And though all the photos are clearly doctored, they do make for more interesting viewing than anything in your average science textbook.
So Hepburn will continue to use Brit to help decipher the intricacies of the semiconductor. And when he isn’t busy continuing his pursuit of a “Ph.D. in GaInNAs Vertical Cavity Semiconductor Optical Amplifiers (VCSOAs)” or updating the site’s fairly large collection of Britney galleries, he’s putting his degrees to good use, wading through the volumes of nearly indecipherable comments left by confounded visitors to his site.
“Britney is tha best n ppl who dont like her is jealous bc tjey cant be her or be like her,” writes Lauren from the United States. “So every1 who reads this if u dont like britneyt spears u ’SUCK.’ ”
“I want to say to the people who think she’s stupid it’s her life nobody tells you how to run yours so don’t tell her how to run hers,” adds Tasha from the United Kingdom. “I love you britney and you’ll always have my support forever.”
But one wayward music fan appears to be the most confused of all.
“Hi ppl,” writes Stacie from the U.K. “I love Usher.”
Clearly, Stacie doesn’t know that Usher’s more of a molecular biology type of guy.