|If you live in Helsinki come to our live webcast of the event. We will feed you.|
I had intended to write today's post on anomalies in cosmology. Unfortunately, I have suffered a crisis of confidence and have decided to postpone such a post for the future. I now have both a bunch of notes on the topic, left over from the Planck conference and a half-written post, left over from the weekend. The topic is a bit controversial and when I publish some thoughts on it I want to be very careful and precise so as not to accidentally annoy anyone.
Instead, I will tell you quickly about a really cool event that is taking place this Friday.
CERN is hosting a TED-x event. What is that? Well, a TED-x event is similar to a TED event, except that it isn't organised by TED itself. It is only endorsed by TED. What is TED? OK, well, TED is an organisation that organises a set of conferences around the world. The theme of the conferences is "ideas worth spreading" and speakers are given quite short time slots (typically less then twenty minutes) to express these ideas. Consequently the talks are often very fascinating as the speakers are forced to only say what really matters, leaving all the superfluous details aside. At the main TED events the speakers are also almost universally very good at giving talks, so the quality is high.
|George Smoot, the host of the webcast/show. He has also been awarded one of the most illustrious honours any scientist can, a |
In fact, the TED realm of YouTube is one of the most dangerous black-holes of procrastination you can find. The shortness of the talks, combined with how interesting and intellectually stimulating they are is like the perfect storm of procrastination conditions. They don't last long enough for you to think that watching just one more is a problem. They are interesting, so you don't get bored. And they stimulate your mind so you don't even feel like you're using your time poorly (always my biggest procrastination danger). Then, half the day has gone.
Anyway, I have been making an analogy between science and sports in my mind for a long time now, and first wrote about it here more than a year ago. I really think that there is the potential for fundamental research to be as popular in today's society as sports is. Seriously! You might wonder why, if this is true, science isn't as popular as sports. Football matches fill out arenas and tennis players earn millions each year, entirely from the private sector throwing money at them to do nothing that is even remotely productive, yet even the highest profile fundamental research event of 2012, the discovery of the Higgs particle, was only front page news for a day.