Thursday, 24 June 2010

Showing off or what!!!

This is where we went yesterday. Are you impressed?

Each year the Royal Society holds a Summer Science Exhibition, usually at the society's headquarters in Carlton House Terrace, but every 50 years they make it a special bash, and this was one such.

As the president, Martin Rees, said, 50 years ago they were privileged to welcome the Queen and Prince Philip, who are patrons of the society, and we're doubly pleased that they were able to be with us once more.

Curiously, though I don't feel particularly strongly about it, I kind of like the fact that we have royalty, even if they are hellish expensive.

We also had the Duke and Duchess of Kent, the Princess Royal and Prince Andrew, the latter being accepted as a Royal Fellow. I don't think you have to be especially brainy to be a Royal Fellow of the RS, but his acceptance speech was OK and mercifully short!
videoWhile waiting for it all to start, we were entertained by a couple of 2m long penguins and a similarly sized ray, flying around the auditorium. Yes, they really did fly by flapping their wings! They were clearly helium balloons with control systems added, being flown by radio control by a bunch of guys down at the front. They were spectacular and thoroughly entertaining, and drew much applause when they were finally put to bed. Sadly, I had decided not to take my camera, opting to rely on my phone, so the movies are pretty poor quality, I'm afriad.

video
After about an hour of ceremony, we retired to one of numerous bars where we drank complimentary fizz, which was very nice, though I had to keep in mind that I was driving home from the park-and-ride later in the evening. We wandered around the exhibition, letting enthusiastic scientist (mostly students!) enthuse at us, then retired hurt to a restaurant close by for some dinner. And more wine, of course! While outside, we took in the life-sized model pterosaurs that have been slung overhead.


And the bonus of the day was that half the world had taken the day off to watch the footie, so our coach ride into and out of the wicked city took 3/4 as long as expected, saving us half an hour in each direction.


Later: I found a leaflet, so scanned in this pic of the flying animals, as it shows them much better than the phone movies.

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