Tuesday, 27 October 2015

A life in Science: Richard Dawkins

I have been looking forward to this event for a long while and was superexcited! This conversation took place at The Lowry Theatre, Salford, lastnight Monday 26th October at 8pm. It was chaired by Roger Highfield who is Director of External Affairs for the Science Museum Group. Whilst part of the Manchester Science festival, this event didn't require any volunteers so I was just another member of the audience. The festival did get a plug though, at the start and again at the end. I believe some people from MOSI, may have been in the audience downstairs. I was up in the gallery but did have a good view. Unfortunately we weren't allowed to take photo's but I did get this shot pre-event from my seat :)

Prof Dawkins talked about his life. He has written part two of his autobiography which is called A Brief Candle in the Dark and is doing a tour. He read extracts from it and told us stories on such things as how he met his wife at Douglas Adams' 40th birthday party, the christmas lectures and anecdotes from his days at Oxford. After a 20 minute interval there was a Q&A where some good questions were asked but perhaps inevitably the first 3 at least were about religion. Then Richard read a final poetic extract which was rather funny. An evening very well spent in my opinion.  At 9.50pm I found myself joining a queue to get my book signed (which I had bought in the interval for £15). This queue went down quick as I had hoped it might and to speed it along no dedications or photo's with RD were allowed. There were people hanging about from Manchester Humanist Society signing people up and I gladly gave my email address. The guy I spoke to was very funny and looked familiar but he took off before I could ask if we'd met before. I suspect he may have been at MOSI in the past, perhaps one of the singing scientists? Later I discovered he was in fact an actor though his name is not familiar only his face. I had taken my 30th Anniversary copy of The Selfish Gene along with me planning to get that signed instead but I was on the verge of bottling out as I knew thwy wanted to get through this asap. When I asked a couple of the folks managing the queue if  he would sign it I got a very positive and laid back response ''of course he will, he's a nice person. He will sign both'' I felt happier and decided to go for it. At 10.30pm, it was my turn and I had seen the lady before me shake his hand so I thought I would do that. He seemed a little hesitant but shook it. He was cold relative to me. I asked if he would sign both books and he said yes and did so. That was literally it, but he did then give me such a lovely big smile. Very warm. I am still thinking about that and still on some sort of happiness cloud!!

Tomorrow I am back at Salford University doing Liz West's 'Your Colour Perception' .See 'DAY1'. Please do call in and say hello should you be there. I will be on this event all day. I will be back to blog about my day on thursday which sees me back at Salford University with the Royal Photographic Society. I am looking forward to discovering that and the nearby installation about Chernobyl. There is still so much to see at science festival in venues all around Greater Manchester.  Film screenings, walks and tours, conversations, something for all ages. Don't forget about the Science After Dark for adults, and the ball pool. Evaporation and Cravings at MOSI itself but lots of other things also happening at the Manchester Museum and plenty to see at Manchester Art Gallery and the Central Library.

Manchester Science Festival 2015

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