This weekend, we cashed in my Valentine's Day gift to Pickle - tickets to An Evening with Dr. Brian Greene. The event was, oddly enough, held at the Big Top at Luna Park. Since we drove to Luna Park last time, this was our first time taking the train over the Harbour Bridge, which was a cool experience (sometimes, it's the little things), and it's always nightmarishly fun to walk through the clown mouth entrance.
They brought out an opening act first, a physicist from the University of New South Wales, but his brief talk wasn't particularly memorable. He had no visuals (not even slides with dot points), and he shuffled back and forth at the extreme front of the stage between the spotlight and the dark for the duration. Unfortunately for him, most attendees had been waiting for well over an hour, as all of the tickets noted a 6pm start time (which was actually a planned 6:30 start time, but in execution, ended up being a 7pm start) - gauging from the Twitter chatter, this seems to be a theme at the other Think Inc. hosted Brian Greene talks across Australia. Anyway, once we were introduced to our host, Dr. Dean Rickles, Professor of History and Philosophy of Modern Physics at the University of Sydney, the evening began to improve!
The intended format for the evening wasn't really made clear in the marketing, and it turned out to be a chat followed by a Q & A with the audience. I'd hoped that Dr. Greene would be presenting more content, integrating visuals, and discussing some of the newest endeavors in modern physics (I was particularly interested in hearing him discuss further implications of our recent detection of gravitational waves!). Initially, I was a bit disappointed that the format was more of an informal interview, but it really turned out to be be very interesting as well. He did, obviously, discuss some aspects of string theory and the multiverse among other things like the popularization of science, connections between science and art and implications of science for religion. The highlight for me was the last segment when audience members were able to ask questions, as there were quite a few physics students and academics in the audience, along with well-informed enthusiasts, who asked some great questions.
In case you're interested in hearing Dr. Greene speak, this is his 2005 TED Talk about string theory...
Here is his 2012 TED Talk on the multiverse...
...here's one last short clip on gravitational waves...
Heehee. Have a great week!