Family Day

Yesterday, I returned to the Royal Institution to take part in the family day. I must admit that I was not too keen as I had just completed my first week back in full time lecturing, had a bunch of deadlines and would have preferred a peaceful saturday to deal with domestic things. Not to mention that it was -8c when I poked my nose out the door in the morning to catch an early train to London and the forecast was for worse to come. Still, I had promised the Ri that I would take part in the event where families can bring their children along to the Ri to listen to lectures, take part in demonstrations and look at the exhibits. Some of my Twitter followers had even tweeted that they were coming along so I felt I had to make the effort. I hadn’t even prepared a lecture but thought I would ad lib. I wasn’t even sure that anyone would turn up.

So I was really pleased to see about 500 families with children from tiny toddlers right up to teenagers. Some of them had even been to the actual Christmas Lectures but wanted to come back again. It was strange to be the centre of attention again. I signed autographs and had my picture taken with the kids. One young teenager had even memorized the periodic table and wanted to recite it back to me – which she did whilst being filmed by her proud parents. However, the sweetest child who stole my heart was  Rose who rushed up to me and handed me her drawing of the brain and a letter about how much she liked the lectures.

Me and my number one fan - Rose

The Christmas lectures had been great fun for everyone but I was unaware of the impact that they had had on the children. Of course, the ones who attended were excited by all the cameras and action but I did not appreciate that children at home would be inspired. The parents came telling me how grateful they were. It was deeply moving. And to think that I was not so sure about coming. Never again.


Filed under General Thoughts

11 responses to “Family Day

  1. Oh, wow. That sounds fun. Congrats on such a great turnout. Well done by Rose, a brain is not easy to draw no matter what. All those folds! Darn it, you should have taught them the Elements song from Big Bang Theory (well, Sheldon had a few drinks so maybe not…….)

  2. It was a great day, thank you. We are very grateful you did brave the weather. My kids were really engaged by the Christmas Lectures (as was I), so when we saw you would be speaking on Saturday, we couldn’t let the opportunity pass. Oh, and I am now reading SuperSense on the back of all this. Best wishes!

  3. Kylie Sturgess

    See, so much for silly newspaper comments. Your work matters a lot and matters where it counts. Well done you.

  4. My honestly respect to you and your family. I see your interview in Redes, very interesting

  5. Anonymous

    I understand that you’ve now turned off comments on your blog, but please don’t – we can all work out for ourselves who the trolls are – and we know how to side-step them; but to deny all comments when you raise questions that may demand discussion is in my view ill-advised and utterly un-scientific.
    It also devalues your work, your word and your blog.
    Would you not step out of your house because there was a shouty person out on the street? Don’t let them beat you down. To quote a popular wartime campaign.’Keep Calm and Carry on.’
    Rational argument wins every time over the irrational, and if you lose the odd battle, so be it.

    • brucehood

      I am not sure I understand why you think that it is un-scientific to curtail commenting. My experience is that if you ignore persistent types they usually give up but in this case, these were comments that were dominating the blog. This puts off other people from commenting. So it was not so much for me but rather others that I turned off commenting. But as you can see comments were turned back on some time ago. And yes, I would not step out of my house if there was some shouty person in the street. I think that you are wrong to say that rational argument wins every time over the irrational – that’s kind of the whole point to my blog and writings. Humans are inherently irrational. Also people don’t listen coz they are shouting too loudly and too much. But thank you for your opinions

  6. Rox

    Some of my own comments were even deleted, so perhaps I am counted as one of the “trolls”, whereas I thought I was being rational while slightly sympathetic. If “troll” means deliberately making things up to be a nuisance, I did not realise that most contributors were doing that. I thought they had sincere but very irrational views. In that case, it was interesting to study their beliefs and arguments here, and their reactions to counter-arguments. This stuff was not in the right place on “About Bruce”, and a more appropriate action would have been to move it to its own position. I think what Anonymous means by “unscientific” to turn off the comments is that the evidence of an interesting case of irrationality was being destroyed. If a biologist finds some fossils that he doesn’t much like the look of, he doesn’t destroy them.

    The comments for a very important piece about Baroness Warsi were turned off, then “closed” before there even were any visible comments (at least for long), and as far as I know have not been reopened. This is a shame.

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