The festival started with a (big) bang as 40 of the grooviest geeks in town flashmobbed Birmingham Cathedral and put on one hell of a show! Not bad for only a couple of hours of practice that morning.
There was too much going on to cover the whole festival in any detail, but there are some personal highlights that are sure to live long in my memory. My participation in a Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation experiment with friend and colleague, Dr Craig McAllister, went down very well at Tuesday’s X-change. Craig placed a TMS coil over my motor cortex and, much to the delight and alarm of the audience, used very high-field magnetic pulses that made my arm twitch!
In an irony that we can all enjoy, someone else has suggested that we’re still not sure that God would have said it that way. You can see more of Brother Guy and what exactly being an astronomer for God involves in this interesting BBC documentary about the Vatican Skip to around 22:30 to hear Brother Guy’s astonishing twisting of logic as he explains that ‘my religion tells me that God made the Universe, but my science tells me how it’s done’. He obviously hasn’t read Stephen Hawking’s latest book.
Although it ran until the Sunday, Saturday was the last day of my festival and, despite recovering from some over-enthusiastic consumption of Desperados with the BSA team the previous night, it ended it on an absolute high. Baba Brinkman is a Canadian rapper and straight-up genius. His Rap Guide to Evolution is one of the best rap albums and coolest methods of science communication that I have ever heard. When I heard he was performing at the science festival I jumped at the chance to invite him to the X-change. A busy schedule meant that this wasn’t possible, but he put on a frenetic, funny and informative show, which included this performance and a very surprising inclusion of me in his freestyle! His latest offering is the Rap Guide to Human Nature, which is also definitely worth a few hundred listens.