A very excited Bacon Theatre welcomed three eminent scientists to Dean Close School this weekend.
The School hosted a packed-house, Cheltenham Science Festival event with speakers Brian Cox, Alice Roberts and Adam Rutherford, who came to deliver not so much a lecture, but a scientific ‘discussion’.
A large amount of the discussion focused around the idea of the origins of life, with mentions from certain other scientists ranging from Aristotle’s’ spontaneous creation to Darwin’s much viewed evolution. Of particular note was the debate around the popular ‘primordial soup’, the notion that by having a number of chemicals and pieces of matter together, life will ‘spontaneously’ be created. Adam Rutherford quipped from this that you can put a frog in the blender, and get a soup, but that this will not suddenly turn into a frog!
Another popular scientific myth poked at was the idea of humans being at the pinnacle of evolution. Alice Roberts noted that everything alive was at an equal level of evolution; after all, they had survived thus far and come from the same original organism. Arguably even bacteria, which are incredibly simple, are better off, and more likely to survive.
When the floor was opened to Q&As the trio answered a wide range of questions from whether artificial intelligence would out ‘evolve’ humanity, to whether the quantum physics proposed within the mind contributed to the existence of God, with many in-between, such as the existence of cryosleep. Throughout this, the speakers answered with a high degree of goodwill, warmth and humour, running well over time.
Of particular note to those thinking of studying the sciences at any level, Adam Rutherford explained that the three disciplines of Physics, Chemistry and Biology begin to overlap far more and are almost interchangeable to an extent, as science is, pardon the pun, an evolving and changing discipline which requires application and knowledge in a broader sense, as well as deeper. In fact, many of the ‘old’ scientific persons studied them generally – Aristotle was a philosopher, but his science survived for two millennium.
The trio seemed to really enjoy their discussions, so much so that they over ran by 15 minutes, much to the delight of the animated audience.