Stephen Hawkings, Brian Cox and Andrew Liddle rock Cambridge Cosmo 2013

An amazing public lecture at Lady Mitchell Hall given last night as part of the International Conference on Particle Physics and Cosmology – COSMO 2013. There was an astonishing line-up of three great physics Professors – Andrew Liddle, Brian Cox and Stephen Hawkings.

Andrew Liddle a theoretical physicist talked to us about the recent PLANCK satellite results which you may remember from back in March when they released a picture of the early universe. We were particularly excited because he referred to Marina’s graph as ‘the most amazing graph you’ll ever see. Andrés and I sitting next to her grinned at her like children!

Liddle was followed by Brian Cox and it was fantastic to see him in real life. He truly is a great public speaker. He possessed the stage. Without any notes he launched into his talk with an enthusiasm that was infectious. There was just something about him – perhaps the slight Manchester accent or the way his hair fell across his face almost into his eyes but most likely his evident passion to explain something as utterly baffling to most of us as the Hadron Collider! I particularly liked his attempt to teach us the language of equations by looking beyond the squiggles and recognising symbols! He truly is the darling of the popular science world – a physics pin-up! All that attempt to understand equations got Andrés talking about Richard Feynman‘s equations and how he portrayed them in what became known as Feynman diagrams.

And then, as if Brian Cox wasn’t enough, Stephen Hawkings took the stage. The most famous living physicist in the world. His mechanical 80s voice held us spellbound. He too showed an immense capacity to communicate with us non-scientists about the Big Bang by humorously showing us cartoons, clips of the Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy and referring to some of his most famous quotes to check we’d at least read reviews of his books. Turns out ‘God does play dice’. A simply awesome experience to watch him speak.

All in all Paul Shellard wasn’t wrong when he introduced the three speakers as ‘gifted communicators’. If you’d like to watch the speakers you can see them here as the whole event is now online.

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