friday nights make for great movie nights. that would be my usual go-to choice for celebrating the start of the weekend [or mid-work week, as is my case!]. this past friday, i got to try something new for my evening’s entertainment! [i debated
long and hard whether i should classify this outing as a new experience and decided against it. just didn't get the vibe].
anyway! this weekend is a big one for the local perimeter institute for theoretical physics. and when i say “local,” i mean it is right across the street from the condo casa! if you’re not familiar with the institute (and if you’re not from waterloo, you probably are not) just know that stephen hawking has visited, and in fact, this weekend, they are opening the stephen hawking centre, a new addition to the building.
friday evening, the perimeter institute hosted a FREE lecture entitled “the future of science.” when i found out about it, i signed up for my ticket right away. now, when it comes to being artsy or being scientic, i am definitely more in touch with the creative side of my brain; i haven’t thought scientifically since high school. but, i was quite jazzed about this opportunity for a neat social outing that is outside the realm of what i usually enjoy (hello, woody allen movies and author events).
plus, i loved the choice of venue for the event:
the instructions that came with my ticket were very explicit in stating that we HAD to be in our seats by 7:15 p.m. for the 7:30 start time (those in the waiting line would be admitted after 7:15 p.m).
usually, i really dislike arriving so early to something. i get b-o-r-e-d waiting. however, i easily amused myself by snapping photos!
it’s all about the blog!…
the starlight was a great choice of venue – intimate yet spacious enough. seating was very informal: small tables, rows of chairs, comfy couches…and we were encouraged to move seats to wherever we wanted!
i had wondered if i would know anyone…sure enough! anne from yoga was one of the organizers with perimeter! [something cool: anne mentioned that we were welcome to facebook photos, or post to twitter, if we wanted to; i told her about the blog, and she said "even better!" much nicer than events where photography is not permitted, and shows perimeter is with the times].
this was seriously such an awesome place for this event: the atmosphere was relaxed and laid-back, not at all stuffy, pretentious, or formal. in terms of the crowd present, i was surprised: it was a much younger group, by and large, than i had anticipated – including several teens!
the lecture started promptly at 7:30 p.m. *like!*
the host for the evening was dr richard epp, on the far right in the photo, above. the other three men are all researchers/scientists. dr epp started by saying we were on a strict timeline and HAD to be out of the club by 8:45 p.m. *like even more!* early + mandatory finishing time? perfect!
now: i have to tell you right now that i’m not going to share a lot of info about “the future of science.”
in a nutshell, the discussion was over my head.
this doesn’t bother me a bit. i thoroughly enjoyed the panel discussion. but, i have not studied science – physics in particular – since grade 11 with mr pfisterer, so i truly had not a clue as to the ideas being examined. black holes and string theory? say what?!
dr epp was a fabulous moderator: he kept the discussion flowing and on-topic. i understood the questions he was asking…it was the scientists’ responses that lost me!
so i made up a game: “quantum” quickly emerged as the word of the night. how many ways was it used? well we heard about:
- quantum mechanics
- quantum gravity
- quantum encription
- quantum teleportation
- quantum field theory
but here are the ideas i did pick up:
- in regard to teaching kids about science, the answers are not in books
- the universe gets less mysterious but also more deeply mysterious (as we make progress in scientific study)
- what distinguishes us from animals: our insatiable curiosity
ok! all was not lost: i walked away with three things learned.
the evening concluded with a q & a session:
true to their word, we were out at precisely 8:45 p.m. *nice!*
the night was not boring at all, as i had somewhat feared. i enjoyed
the people-watching myself thoroughly. it was fun to step outside my usual “thinking comfort zone.” i commend the perimeter institute for their outreach into the local community, and for offering these sessions – for free – to the general public.
bonus: i got to see inside the starlight! i highly doubt i’ll get there as a club-goer!
are you a scientist, by nature, or an artsy? i’d say i’m 95% artsy, 5% science-y! no balance whatsoever!
“science” is a pretty vast subject. what aspect of science do you prefer? in high school, biology as in cells/plants/animals bored me to tears, but i loved genetics!