10:00am Tuesday 27th March 2012
By Jeremy Smith
WELL, I did my homework – I whizzed through Cosmos by Carl Sagan, A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking and Wonders of The Universe by Prof Brian Cox.
Also, because I know nothing about art, I flicked through The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown and a glossy tome entitled Michelangelo: A Life.
The reason for all this cramming was the talk Art and Science: Where The Two Collide by Prof Sir Roger Penrose and artist Matthew Collings at Christ Church.
Sir Roger has a brain the size of Jupiter brilliantly concealed in an average-sized head.
Matthew, on the other hand, sports the kind of look that screams ‘arty’.
The point of the talk was to determine whether scientific and artistic sensibilities and processes are more similiar than we might assume.
And yes, I know what you’re thinking – a trifle ‘heavy’ for an afternoon talk?
Well, that depends.
I’d had an interesting lunch, mulling over the issue of cheating in sport, courtesy of a midday debate called, with great invention and originality: Cheating In Sport.
The discussion was led by Richard Moore, an award-winning sports journalist; Dave Farrar, a sports commentator and writer; and Chris Cooper, a top biochemist at the University of Essex.
As someone who was always picked last for the school football team, I have a certain, sneaking sympathy for anyone who can cheat in matters of sporting prowess. And while of course it’s not right, you can’t change 10 years of locker-room bullying in a single lifetime.
Still, the debate itself was excellent. The organisers wanted an early start but were reprimanded – quite severely – by Christ Church staff who told them: “We usually wait until Tom Tower strikes noon...”
And quite right too.
For me the highlight was when Mr Cooper chose to use the word “Eeeyoohah” to describe steroid-enhanced female athletes. No, I don’t know what it means either but the audience seemed to appreciate it.
Understandable then that after all the gravity and sobriety of such a pertinent discussion – apparently, the Olympics are in London this year – I wanted to seek a more illuminating pasture.
Which is how I came to find myself face-to-face with someone who clearly eats trawler-loads of fish.
Prof Penrose was fantastic – eccentric, clearly more intelligent than the whole of China, and yes, I DIDN’T UNDERSTAND A WORD BUT LOOKED LIKE I DID (which I achieved by nodding my head knowingly).
Artist Matthew Collings made a tad more sense, but 45 minutes later I left bewildered and none the wiser.
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