How can a New Year be a surprise? And yet I find myself surprised at the consensus view that another year has begun – it just feels like more of the ‘same old same old’. My feelings put me in mind of a short poem I wrote as I approached 50:
I once was young, but now I am old.
The slowest surprise in the world.
Looking back, 2010 was a genuinely busy year and updating my CV I noted that in 2010 I acquired 8 refereed publications with my name on, 25% of my lifetime total! And in a bizarre twist of publishing timing, in 2011 I already have two published articles, and another accepted for publication – and its only January 8th!
Aside from being a busy year for ‘work’, I also did quite a bit of what NPL calls outreach – giving talks about my work at schools and university physics departments. Together with my colleagues, I presented the Protons for Breakfast course twice and I also learned a lot about film making.
- I made a film about the unit of temperature, the kelvin. I had to basically ad lib the whole thing so even though its a bit painful and unclear in parts, I feel OK about this one.
- And then I met some real film makers Alom Shaha and Jonathan Sanderson . Under their guidance I helped present some short films about physics demonstration experiments. These may appear unexceptional and unexciting, but as I look at them I see the exceptional care of the film makers. For some idea of what is involved, the film about laser diffraction – which is 4 minutes 30 seconds long took around 10 hours to shoot and probably as along again to edit. Can you tell?
- And then I helped Horizon make a film – yet to be shown – with the topic ‘What is one degree?”. The shooting took around 10 hours for what will probably be a minute or so of screen time, and was just overwhelmingly depressing. I have previously commented on the dire state of the Horizon team and this encounter did nothing to restore my hope. That the idea for the program was spawned at a Hampstead dinner party only served to confirm my worst prejudices and fears. Perhaps they will cut the entire section at NPL:-)
- My colleague Andrew Hanson ran a fantastic challenge to make science films and my children’s film won a prize :-). My film was an also ran 😦
Anyway. 2011 is here and I really need to get ready for it…bye for now.