Pete Marcherro is a physicist who plays an engineer at work, and who works to make the invisible visible by measurement, and teach others how to do so, too. You can learn more about me at

1 Are you an early bird or night owl?

Early bird

2 Are you pro- or anti-pun?


3 Do you have any pets?

Yes, two cats: Gretel and Bram.

4 Do you have any science-themed home decor?


5 Do you prefer cooking or baking?


6 Do you prefer sweet or savory?


7 Do you speak any other languages?

Does C count?

8 If you could switch professions, what would you do?

I’d run an instrumentation company.

9 If you could switch science fields, what field would you want to work in?


10 If you got a plane ticket right now, where would it go?

Ithaca, New York

11 If you had one superpower, what would it be?

The power to understand all math. Or invisibility.

12 Is there anything you strongly recommend we watch and/or read and/or listen to?

Watch: Wizard People, Dear Reader by Brad Neely and Real Genius
Read: Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
Listen to: Anything by Tom Lehrer

13 It’s your day off. What do you want to do?

Walk in the woods. Maybe visit some goats.

14 What are three things you can’t live without?

Chocolate, a soldering iron, and cats.

15 What beverage gives you life?

Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.

16 What book did you read in school that positively shaped you?

Several books by Richard Feynman: Surely You’re Joking, QED, and What Do You Care What Other People Think?

17 What did you want to be be when you grew up?

A scientist

18 What drives you and keeps you going?

Teaching others to make things, making tools to help people, and the ever-present question, “Can we measure that?”

19 What got you excited in science?

Among other things, the Golden Book of Chemistry and Getting Started in Electronics by Forrest Mims.

20 What excites you about science now?

That there’s always another question to answer, and another thing to build!

21 What is a guilty pleasure of yours?

Early morning snacks.

22 What is a secret talent of yours?

I can play the accordion.

23 What is your favorite game?

Cards Against Science V2:

24 What is the last book you read?

A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers

25 What is one of the best pieces of advice you’ve received?

“People without dirty hands are wrong. Doing something makes you right.” — Bre Pettis

26 What is something you’ve always wanted to try but you’ve been too scared to do?

Start my own business.

27 What is the best advice for your 18 year old self?

Keep going. It gets better. Then worse. Then better again. And worse again. “Take a step forward. No, sorry, take a step back. Ok, no, take a step forward, and now we’re cha-cha-ing!” — Val Kilmer as Chris Knight in Real Genius

28 What is the best way to de-stress?

Walk outside, play the accordion, snuggle cats are all tied for the best.

29 What is the last thing you watched?

An episode of Supernatural

30 What is the weirdest thing you’ve had in your bag?

A mollusk

31 What is your favorite animal?

Any cat.

32 What is your favorite book?

Can’t decide!

33 What is your favorite comfort food?


34 What is your favorite day of the year?

Since I’ve mostly worked jobs with annual contracts, renewal day.

35 What is your favorite plant?

It’s a tie between birch and sassafras.

36 What is your favorite science fact?

That you have a nearly 100% chance of consuming a fig wasp head when eating a Fig Newton, and that said Fig Newton weighs about 1 Newton.

37 What is your favorite season?


38 What is your favorite smell?


39 What is your favorite sound?

Cat purrs and music

40 What is your favorite thing about yourself?

That I try to make everyone happy.

41 What is your favorite word (in any language)?


42 What is your proudest moment?

Fixing a washing machine by replacing a single surface mount darlington array chip.

43 What kind of tree would you be?

A sassafras, so I could have different shapes of leaf.

44 What’s the best thing about where you live?

It’s pretty bike-able.

45 Tell us something we probably don’t know.

That it took me four tries to pass calculus 1.

46 Who would you like to see 46 Questions interview next?