What’s The Matter?

There’s a lot of conversation about the declining status of science in the UK so it’s always refreshing to find people finding imaginative ways to reverse that. It feels like we are in a cultural moment that is more about people and less about objects and processes and ‘things’. This isn’t bad, for a long time I think cultural and political dialogues had been dominated by mechanistic and ‘rational’ approaches and the shift to an understanding of the emotional and subjective aspects of our world is welcome.

However, a sad by-product of this is a sidelining of science in our daily lives. I think this is exacerbated by the way we culturally fetishize a certain interpretation of ‘creativity’, which seems to think ‘creatives’ only exist in right brain activities like art, design or music. I think this approach fundamentally misunderstands what real creativity is, which is the ability to think in new and original ways. Whether you do this in art or science or whether you do it through intuition or logic is irrelevant (is there really a clear separation between these things anyway?); there are derivative designers and blindingly original scientists.

So as part of the battle against this I’m going to do my best to dig out the best science nubs I can find over the next few weeks. So to start us off is a great nub from all round legend Alom Shaha. Alom is a one-man science battleship. As well as being a science teacher in North London and running a website about how to improve science teaching (HowScience.co.uk), he is also a top film maker. You can find a host of his films on his YouTube channel, ScienceFilms and on his film company website Labreporter, and watch his half hour doc, Why Is Science Important here.

This lovely nub is about why the universe is made about anti-matter which is the opposite of matter. Which I guess should mean that it doesn’t exist. But it does. Sort of. I have a deep love for this particular part of physics, it’s where science meets philosophy and start to go bonkers. Though I’ll probably love it a bit less when they turn on the Hadron Collider next year and it implodes the entire universe.


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