Professor Stephen Hawking

So on Wed me and C went to a talk given by Professor Stephen Hawking at the Royal Albert Hall. I thought originally the talk was going to be about his new book The Grand Design, it wasn’t it was more him talking about his life growing up, his time at university, and then a little bit on the new book. Shows that I should read details about concerts/talks more carefully. Not that it mattered, the point was that we wanted to be able to see someone of Prof Stephen Hawking’s caliber give a talk. It was also pretty interesting, and he is pretty funny (although it was the first half of the talk, when he’s talking about growing up and his family which was funny and the second half, when he’s talking about the universe and blackholes where there were no jokes). But still as I’m rubbish and haven’t read any of his previous books I didnt’ really know that much about him, so it was quite an insight, espeically when you learn that he never had any formal Math’s training (didn’t do it at A-Level or whatever the equivalent was then).

It was a slightly weird experience because I’m pretty sure no where else when someone is giving a talk do you get such long silences between sentences (and sometimes mid sentence) as he programmes in what he’s saying next.

I also felt that as awsome as the Royal Albert Hall is for music, it does not do very well with a computerised voice, it was bit echoy and sometimes I couldn’t quite catch what had been said. There was a joke about how he learned not to start sentences with the word And after having read Genesis and half of one other book from the bible, it took me a while to realise he’d said And and not something like At.

Because I’d only just managed to grab the last few avaliable tickets for sale, we were stuck in the restricted view, which meant we could see the slides, but, because of the side we were sitting on, we couldn’t easily see Hawking (unless we leaned far forward). But no matter at least we weren’t in the choir, I’m not sure what they’d have seen from there.

My biggest complaint of the night however came at the end, with our tickets we were also given a copy of The Grand Design, which we could collect when leaving. However we were sitting in the Circle, which is right at the top, which meant that no one could go anywhere for a good 15 -20 mins after the show finished, while we waited for everyone on the lower floors to collect their books and leave. I was hot, tired and thirsty by this point (I’d forgotten just how hot it gets on the RAH) and I felt this could have been handled better, either have some books on all floors, some kind of traffic light system where a few people from each floor go at a time. I don’t know, I just wasn’t that impressed, it’s not like they don’t know how many seats there are and how many tickets they’ve sold. 😦

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