Difficulty Rating: 5/5
Scientific Content: ??
Universal Expansion Rating: Accelerating!
Last Friday, Queen’s invited Prof. Brian Schmidt from Australian National University, Nobel Prize laureate, to present the Fall 2014 Cave Memorial Lecture in Physics. Schmidt is the leader of High Redshift Supernovae Search Team, one of the two teams that discovered the expansion of the universe to be accelerating – the work that led to three Nobel Prizes in Physics in 2011, including one that went to Schmidt.
Starting at 7pm, Bio Science atrium was filled with professors wearing suits, professors wearing regular clothes, students wearing regular clothes, and students wearing leather jackets with obscure patches. The event was thoughtfully catered, with refreshments available and alcoholic drinks for purchase.
“I’m getting my fruit of the day: fermented grape juice counts right?” Said Chelsey, EngPhys’15, while sipping her glass of wine.
Most students attending the event are studying physics. When asked why they wanted to attend this lecture, here are some of the reasons the students provided:
“I don’t want to seem dumber than my friends who are going.”
“I wanna see what kind of a guy gets the Nobel prize…I mean I’m obviously smart enough, so I don’t know why I haven’t won it yet.”
“I was doing homework in Stirling on a Friday evening and desperately needed free food and a nap place.”
“I did research at Queen’s over the summer looking for dark matter. We didn’t find it yet, but I thought I should at least try to hear what the hell dark matter actually is from someone knows their shit, unlike my prof.”
Of course, everyone who came to this lecture cared way more about the fact that they’re gonna meet someone who’s famous than the science. Otherwise they would’ve at least went on Google Scholar and search up that paper from 1998.
Distinct Professor Schmidt knew the wants of his audience all too well. At 8pm, students, professors, and Kingston MP Ted Hsu alike, all gathered in Bio Science 1101 for the formal event of the night. A physics lecture can truly be a place of ultimate diversity and inclusivity!
Schmidt’s hour-or-two long lecture was an impressively high quality presentation with as dumbed-down scientific content as possible. The graphics and transition animations were perfected to each second. There was not a single physics equation or a graph showing empirical data in the presentation.
Indeed, once one receives the Nobel Prize, one’s purpose in life shifts, from contributing to the scientific discoveries of humanity, to entertaining the public minds with the illusion that they know half a shit.
The lecturer was one of the most well-spoken presenters I have ever encountered: not even a single stumble or filler word in his speech! Watching his presentation felt like watching a TED talk on Youtube, except longer, not from a computer screen, and presented by a fucking NOBEL PRIZE WINNER.
The laureate himself is actually quite down to earth. He and his wife own a winery, and during his meeting with the Swedish King, he presented the king a bottle of his hand-crafted wine – an ingeniously frugal gift. I guess it makes sense; the laureate’s most valued possession is simply the Nobel Prize, and the Swedish King gives them out all the time, so obviously the King wouldn’t want anything else from him.
Of course, this is just one of the many Nobel Prize winners in history. All of them have done hard work – arguably except for those two bros who claimed to have found what the DNA molecules looked like while partying through university and just mooched off of the scientists who actually worked hard in the X-ray labs and died of cancer as a result – and have contributed tremendously to the ocean of human knowledge.
So go ahead and win a Nobel Prize, but make sure you don’t speak with filler words.