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.
But 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.