“the future of science” or “would i fall asleep?”

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 starlight is a nighclub/bar in uptown waterloo/my 'hood

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).

there was already a long line forming when i arrived at 7 pm!

i love the juxtaposition of "night club" and "science lecture"

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!

yes, the bar was open!

i love a good disco ball!

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!

seats filled up quite quickly - if you look closely, almost everyone is pecking away on a blackberry or iphone, while waiting - > funny!

view from the bar that i took when i was ordering my beer.....joke!!

i purposely chose a spot near the back, at an "aisle" so i could make an early get-away if need be...

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].

embarrassingly, it took me a couple seconds to recognize anne - used to seeing her in yoga clothes, in class!

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!

i love when i don't have to look around people! i enjoyed a clear sight-line of the stage, and space in front of me

all set to scribble down notes!

the lecture started promptly at 7:30 p.m. *like!*

the panelists

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!

view from my seat - no complaints!

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

got that?!

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:

many eager people! so different from what i usually see at events when people are hesitant to pose questions!

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!

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  • Johanna  On September 19, 2011 at 6:21 am

    Good for you on attending this, Cath! How very ‘Big Bang Theory’ of you. lol
    I loved (LOVED) biology, enjoyed (but had to work at) chemistry but was completely mystified by physics – its the only class I ever dropped. The teacher was talking english but I couldn’t make sense out of any of it!

    • 1970kikiproject  On September 19, 2011 at 6:26 am

      i need to watch that show! have heard it’s very funny! i managed ok thru grade 11 physics; no way was i going to tackle grade 13, though!

  • Zo  On September 18, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    Science was not my subject! Any science that relies on math (like physics) makes my head spin. But that looked like a fun evening and the time limit and early end time would be plusses for me!

    • 1970kikiproject  On September 18, 2011 at 6:36 pm

      i feel an internal rant building about girls and science/the school system/popular culture!…and yes, i was THRILLED when dr epp started with that “we have to stick to the timeframe” announcement! 75 minute lecture – even better than a 90 minute movie! 🙂

  • The Orchard  On September 18, 2011 at 8:08 am

    I am definitely not science-y at all! I leave that part up to my husband! Of all the science subjects in high school I enjoyed biology the best. Not a fan of physics or chemistry!

    Great to see you yesterday! Can’t wait to try out my shoes later on today. Thanks for your help!

    Enjoy the Perimetre Institute today!

    • 1970kikiproject  On September 18, 2011 at 8:57 am

      enjoy the new shoes, tricia! they always feel so spring-y, fresh out of the box! was great to see you, too, and meet the girls. hope the CIGI tour was fun!

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