Thursday, 11 September 2008

Things to do in the Universe when you're dead #2

BBC Radio 4's Coverage

Yesterday Radio 4 treated us to a day of coverage of LHC based entertainment, including live coverage, documentaries, comedy and drama (although the drama, in the form of a special Torchwood episode, verged on the comedic in it's quality).

Andrew Marr kicked off the day with live coverage from CERN, Geneva.

The day of the special programming was properly for the off with everyone's favourite beardy weirdy Adam Hart-Davis who discovered "what it takes to build the world's most intricate discovery machine."

This was followed by a look into Physics and Entertainment by the increasingly chirpy Brian Cox (I'm not sure if I really like him or would like to hit the smug bastard, I think I'm jealous... Rock Star Physicist... eeeww!)
The BBC website leads with the line "Is particle physics the new rock 'n' roll?" which, as a statement makes my lips pull past my teeth in the same way the phrase "Bladerunner: On Ice" might. Yes, I think particle physics is pretty cool, that's cos I understand it. You can't just make people think something is great by calling it the new rock'n'roll. Anyway, the documentory's pretty good and shows the, not unsurprising, link between physics and comedy.

"Somewhere out there in that chaos of darkness and light, of science and protons, of gods and stars and death... somewhere there's an answer." **GAG**
What is it about Sci-Fi that feels the need to solve every problem by "reversing the polarity" (and I'm not kidding)? Anyway BBC Wales treated us to an especially amateurish episode of Torchwood entitled Lost Souls where is available as a podcast [] which I won't spoil here as it deserves a listen too, even if only to put the rest of the days programming into context.

Next up, Simon Singh chimes in with the 3rd episode in his week long journey through particle physics; the Electron, the Quark, the Anti-particle, the Neutrino and the "next particle". I've not listened to it yet as I'd like to hear them in order, which you can do from the BBC episode listing []

Comedian and physicist Ben Miller's documentary "The Great Big Particle Adventure" was just what the doctor ordered by concentrating on the Higgs particle and what it means. It's the 1st in a weekly series which, so far, I think I might well enjoy.

Steve Punt's "The Genuine Particle"... All I can say is accurate, topical, satirical, edgy, funny. But what else have we come to expect from ole Punty?

All in all aunty Beeb's Big Bang Day [] coverage proved to be well rounded and balanced and I didn't get my physics hackles raised to often, which is pretty good considering the popular media's common portrayal of physics but, then again, this is radio 4.

A chronology of the events at CERN can be found at the BBC News LHC Guide [].

And finally: (**WARNING** Torchwood spoiler)
Anyone who thinks the way to stop a beam of high energy protons with a beam of antimatter (of any sort) needs to be shot, or at least smothered with a pillow until they see sense.
For those that don't know what will happen, well... Think big bang of the traditional sort.

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