LHC Podcasts: Science Meets Science Fiction

Confession: I’ve no idea what Torchwood is, and I find the current Dr. Who shows annoying overall (there have been some good episodes that I’ve seen, but they’re swamped in a sea of such poorly thought through and simply phoned-in crappy episodes that I find it too annoying to take the risk of wasting an hour I could have better spent with my head in the oven…) Feel free to disagree with me, and I have not seen the most recent season, so maybe things are better.

LHC You TubeBut anyway, where was I? Oh, right. Someone called John Barrowman (apparently one of the stars on those shows? He plays a scientist? I honestly don’t know, but you will, if you’re a fan) took a visit to CERN (the particle physics lab in Europe you often read about here and elsewhere) to better inform himself about the intersection between science and science fiction. One of the resulting jumpy noisy and (reportedly) fun videos can be found on YouTube here. There are some somewhat interesting animations alongside some of the, er…jolly madcap fun, illustrating the physics. Following the particles along the beam-pipe to the collision is not a view I’ve seen before, I’ll admit.

Much more interesting is something they mention at the end. A series of podcasts on the LHC (the big experiment at CERN we’re all interested in and excited about). This is driven by Brian Cox (no, not that one, this one, the physicist), and seems to be in a sort of “chat show meets documentary” format. Have a look at those, and there’ll be more in the future I understand. John Barrowman is a guest on one of them, and the video above makes a lot more sense once you hear this, since this podcast is where the actual in-depth content is – the video just grabs some bits while they’re recording the podcast. There’s some rather good back and forth between the scientist and the actor who plays a scientist. I’ve not heard Brian in action before, but he’s an excellent expositor, by the way. I think I’d likely recommend other things he does on the strength of this alone.

For more information on CERN, the LHC, and what’s going on there and what we hope they’ll teach us about, you could start by typing LHC into the search engine here to find some earlier blog posts and links therein. I’ve also put some of them into the “related” section at the end of this post. See also a post I did recently on the interesting topic of Science meets Science Fiction. You’re welcome to join in the discussion raging in the comments there.


From Gia’s Blog via Often in Error.

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6 Responses to LHC Podcasts: Science Meets Science Fiction

  1. Urbano says:

    I totally agree with you about Dr. Who :-), but anyway I think it is (almost) always nice having things like that to call the attention of the public for the second part of the video, don’t you agree? šŸ™‚

  2. Clifford says:

    Ah, the greater good argument. I imagine that you’re correct… I suppose. It is just so demoralizing to give up an hour of your time only to be effectively spat in the face and laughed at by the writers. This has nothing to do with writing…. just basic rules of story-telling. And there’s too much relying on the old excuse that for nostalgia purposes they’re deliberately trying to make it “quirky”, “camp”, and other such words (strangely, “crappy” is not included).



  3. Carl Brannen says:

    Despite never having owned a television, I watch it avidly whenever I’m in a hotel (on the sci-fi channel) or visiting relatives (history channel or movies, typically). I have seen a half dozen Dr. Who episodes and also found them rather lacking.

    I grew up in the 1960s. Since that time television has changed considerably for the better. Star Trek was an amazingly one dimensional program; its spawn are great improvements. I have this fear that if I had a set in my house it would be on all the time and I’d get less stuff done, but I’d probably read at the same time.

  4. pedant says:

    Every age gets the Doctor Who it deserves – William Hartnell/Patrick Troughton (when I watched it), Jon Pertwee (the kids’ Doctor) and now this appalling fellow in a melange of CGI, self-reference and a peculiarly callous campery. Much the same with Robin Hood really – Richard Greene, Jason Connery/ Michael Praed and a load of spotty teens and Lily Allen’s dad. O tempora! O mores!

  5. Clifford says:

    Good Ol’ Michael Praed. Whatever happened to him? And all that (often overwrought) Clannad music. Oh! I miss the 80s sometimes…..


  6. Quasar9 says:

    Clifford you are right.
    Torchwood is a travesty – a charade – poor script, poor plots and fifties (1950’s) props & monsters – and it gets no better. Sticking your head in the oven or snorting gas will give you more of a buzz and less of a headache (or hangover).
    Mind you the new Dr Who is not much better. Much much hype for old socks.

    For the budget they could have produced something at least ‘novel’
    Watch out for the Xmas episode (filmed in July) it’s got Kylie
    Yep Kylie Minogue (from aussie soap neighbours) to Dr Who
    and a Xmas show? – well you know its gonna be another panto-mime

    The thing is in Torchwood they started dealing with some very interesting and topical concepts as Time & Rifts and other dimensions – but sadly it’s been done in B-movie trash tv style, and come out as trash tv. Maybe they could have put the hero in the LHC for real. I mean put him in and switched on. Now that might have improved the audience ratings – or at least made interesting science (fiction)