Saturday, January 10, 2015

Robin Ince with tales of the jelly-stirring Richard Feynman and other scientific marvels to be curious about

Robin Ince is “not a scientist, just interested in science” but that doesn’t limit his ability to hold an audience’s attention for more than an hour as he flits from subject to subject. It’s like watching a science factoid version of Inception, without the time to dream.

Ince is an exponent of the wonder and beauty of science, and a role model for being curious about it. He’s excited by scientists, dead and alive. He has neither time for those who misuse science – other than explaining the error of their ways in his one man show – nor litigious libertarians who try to limit what he can say about science … and them.

This Friday Salon performance was part of the Out to Lunch Festival and a foretaste of the NI Science Festival that runs from 19 February until 1 March. [Some events already announced; full programme to be launched very soon.]

The sold out Friday lunchtime audience chomped pasta while their ears and brains considered anthropomorphised sub-atomic particles and the parallels with children misbehaving unseen in their bedrooms doing “everything” yet collapsing into a single well-behaved static state when their parents walk in on them.

Inquisitive theoretical physicist and jelly-stirrer Richard Feynman is a hero of Ince, along with Darwin who once noted in his diary that “the mind is a chaos of delight, out of which a world of future and more quiet pleasure will arise”.

The Black Box audience walked away with a smattering of experiments we could try at home with worms, marigold gloves and a mirror (though not all at once).

Robin Ince joked that his show once stretched to three and a half hours, so any Friday punters feeling short-changed and longing for more mind-expanding ideas should check out his appearances on The Infinite Monkey Cage on Radio 4 (with 56 episodes available on iPlayer and in the podcast archive).

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