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!
This week brought us a little unexpected avian adventure. We returned home the other day to find an injured pigeon sitting in the drive to our apartment. The front-facing neighbors had kindly put out birdseed and a water dish for him, so I returned him to their stoop, but I was filled with worry....
I thought it probably wasn't healthy for him to just be eating bird seed - it didn't seem like a sufficiently varied or natural diet, so I looked for some supplements around our apartment. I was wondering aloud whether blueberries would be good for him when Pickle noted that since "he isn't going to last long anyway - the best you can do is give him some good tasting food". This was an attempt to ease my concern about the appropriateness of his dietary supplements and to make me feel better about making the best of his doomed little life, but unfortunately, the message did not have the uplifting impact Pickle had anticipated. Now I was distraught. Of course his little wing wasn't going to heal itself! And even if he did make it for quite awhile, there's no quality of life being confined to a little stoop, no matter what you get to eat! This was not an adequate solution. I suggested the idea of calling a vet or an animal rescue...Pickle noted, unenthusiastically, that we would probably have to pay for this option, as "it's not like there's Medicare for pigeons". This quip was not well received, and Pickle, being the good guy that he is, immediately offered to call a local vet who, lo and behold, DID offer to provide free care to our friend in need and send him on to an animal rescue center. (Score one for Australia for public healthcare for birds.) So I gently coaxed him onto our pigeon platform, transferred to the passenger vessel (Pickle's laundry basket) and loaded him into the car. We arrived just 10 minutes later to the Kogarah Veterinary Hospital, where he was admitted for care.
I would like to thank Pickle for his time, effort and support (and for the use of his laundry basket, which our nervous little friend pooped in...twice). He actually had a lot of work to do that evening, and this was not part of his plan. I appreciate having a partner who is willing to go to so much trouble to ease my mind about a pigeon. He's truly a good one ♡