Pint of Science was a good buzz, very modern, with lots of instant social media going on in parallel with the formal talks. It was kind of weird to find out afterwards that, even as I was waving my arms and clicking through some powerpoint slides about chromosomal anomalies and pathogen-host interactions, one of the PoS organisers was pushing out pictures of self on Twitter. I consciously used the event as an opportunity to push The Blob out but I've seen effectively no hint of going viral . . . yet. It was the same nil response that I got when I posted something on the Royal Society website. I don't care, The Blob is a near infinite resource now: everything I know is there, so it's an easy seam to mine for a presentation about Science. Pint of Science was meant to be scientists explaining their passion to The Public but when the first speaker asked "Who doesn't know what a transcription factor is?" only one bloke put up his hand. The rest, by elimination, did know about TFs and so could hardly be classified as the [drooling] Man on the Wexford Omnibus. It's less vital and important for scientists to be talking about their stuff to/with other scientists but still useful; if only because it forces you-the-speaker to imagine what it could be like not to know what you take for granted. In the mill afterwards I was introduced to a young chap who had done science in TCD several years ago and was now working in biotech. He said that he met me before when he was a chap and I'd harangued him for 30 minutes about the Joy of Bioinformatics . . . and that it had changed his life! That was nice, and they gave me a pint glass etched with the Pint of Science logo; that was nice too.
Royal Society, which has been in
Primo Levi's book The Periodic Table: it should be in the library: must read! Galena has been useful unsmelted in the past because the crystal is a semiconductor with a handy bandgap of 0.4eV, that allowed it to help sort signal from noise in early wireless transmission. It was the crystal in crystal wireless sets of 100 years ago. This-all was just fascinating but we couldn't agree on much because the five of us couldn't muster much information at our finger-tips in a bar in Wexford. But that's the point: science is hearing about something that sounds a little 'off' and the hounds are off after that fox. I think we agreed that Galena was a pretty name for a girl and resolved to find out more about the tumbled clatter of things that had cropped up over pints. I feel alive.