Sunday, 30 October 2011

Celebrate Science '11 (and Art and Science)

This is wonderful. It's simply one of those places everyone wants to be: the children, the parents, grandparents or friends, the students... On two of the days of the festival I turned up latish in the afternoon expecting to find people contented but flagging. Instead the atmosphere was still electric, the enthusiasm boiling over, and no outward sign that anyone had had anything like enough of this!

Thank you to everyone who had anything to do with Celebrate Science. It is absolutely the Durham way to do this - setting the most moving, the most searching, the most imaginative, possibly the most spiritual activity a human being can enjoy - that is doing science, on Palace Green, one of the most inspirational places of learning on Planet Earth.

Discovery seemed to be the theme right to, and beyond, the last moment. Even as part of the cleaing up process the remains of a dewar of liquid nitrogen tipped over the floor became an experiment in cloud dynamics for some 8 and 9 year olds who were kicking about the floor (see the photo above - the best happened before I could get the iPhone out: a veritable spiral galaxy on the floor). Proctor and Gamble scientists were helping visitors smash (chemically) oil drops to smithereens with surfactants, the Institute of Physics had completely lost it and were making music with teapots as far as I could make out ... and I actually had a rather serious conversation with the psychologists about their spinning black and white wheel that makes you see colours (it's all about temporal and spatial retinal colour calibration gone wrong I think ...).

And Art and Science ... perhaps I'll save my twopennyworth for later; suffice to say that some of us were unhelpfully talking about it when we should really ahve been carting tables away...

Who's for keeping the blog going all the way to Celebrate Science '12?

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