04 January 2008

A Physicist without a Physics Voice

I was chatting away with a friend of mine on New Year's Day, perched beside the computer as I too often am, with some article from the Telegraph up on the computer -- I can't remember what, because my eye was caught by the most fantastic headline in the corner of the screen:
Surfer dude stuns physicists with theory of everything
It's brilliant, isn't it? I don't know about you, but for me the headline demanded investigation, conjuring up as it did images of some random beach bum coming up with a Grand Unified Theory during what could be euphemistically described as a lucid moment. In fact, I've got a very clear mental picture of the very beach bum, and if you remember to ask me I'll tell you about him someday.

But anyway, if you read the article you'll find that Garrett Lisi, the postulator of this Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything, is rather better qualified to speculate on such matters than your average 'surfer dude'. Granted, he's not your stereotypical physicist either, but I think the Telegraph's headline writers may have done him some disservice.

Which reminds me, there was a fella on The Weakest Link earlier demonstrating the most impressive nerd voice I've heard in a long time -- the kind of voice I'd normally and unfairly refer to as a physics voice. Anyway, called Mark as far as I can remembered, he had a mop of hair less dignified than my own, a lurid yellow tie, and an alarming pringle cardigan, and purported to be a medical student.
-- Where did he study, he was asked after the first round.

-- I'd rather not say, he replied. I don't wish to say, as I feel that were I to answer any science questions incorrectly that this might reflect poorly on my school.

-- Don't be ridiculous, Anne Robinson replied, and stop putting on that silly voice.
In the background and out of focus you could see the other contestants creased up with laughter, notably one girl with whom I felt Anne Robinson got a tad too personal in her comments. I'm not sure if they were laughing because he was faking his nerdy persona, or if they were laughing at his nerdiness.

Anyway, when Mark was voted off, his comment was suitably priceless, being along the lines of 'I think my family will be disappointed, but I imagine that my so-called friends in University will be pleased that I was voted off in the third round.'

Marvellous stuff, almost more entertaining than Roland Rat, Soo, and Nobby the Sheep battling it out the other week.

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