Friday 4 March 2011

Songs from the Scientific Cabaret - A Podcast Posting

Listen to the Podcast Here and Subscribe on iTunes Here

By Patrick Redmond

Dr Martin Austwick is a physicist and a very sociable one at that, which leads nicely onto one of his many web guises, the man behind the blog The Sociable Physicist. This is a good example of what I like about him, he doesn’t shut his science up inside a test tube or hide it behind a spectroscope, he  makes it accessible and he demonstrates the creativity of thought that can lie at the heart of science behind the necessary but sometimes less exciting  process of experimentation, analysis and repetition. We need that data but we also need minds that can make connections and leaps of imagination to apply them in ever inventive ways.
One of his other internet nom de plume is as Martin the Sound Man on the Sony Award winning comedy podcast
  Answer Me This. He’s part of a triumvirate of bantering presenters that respond to the queries of the listeners on all manner of topics. It’s not always sceptical but Martin keeps the science side on track in his own inimitable way, and it is funny. Through AMT I got to know about his musical side which he expresses through his own blog and podcast as The Sound of the Ladies. He’s taken his individual style of music composition and performance and applied it to his love of science; and I like this a lot.
He’s not out to overtly campaign for science, he’s expressing his own passion for the subject in a way that other people can access and appreciate. Like all music you may like it or you may not, that’s the way of art. It’s another dimension to science that takes it away from the mundane and stereotypical views of those that might dismiss it. Science isn’t just facts and data it can be beautiful and the expression of it can be too. Sure, those reports can be heavy and dull as they satisfy all the criteria of methodical standard, but science is how we explore and express the wonders of the world around us and why shouldn’t that sometimes be as a poem, a painting or a song?
One unlikely example that sprang from the machinations of Boris Johnson is a video depiction of the dispersal of bicycles from the cycle hire scheme on one particular day. You can read a little more of the context of the graph on Martin’s blog, or you can just sit and admire the way the patterns move for a while like I did.
Listen to this podcast and if your interest in his music is piqued think about downloading his new album from here. It’s a pay as much as you like deal in digital format. Seek out the hard copies though as they are packaged in a very special way. If you’re further interested in the science and music interface and you’re in London on March 10th then you’re in luck. Head over to Wilton's Music Hall for Geek Pop. You can hear Martin play as well as the hilarious Amateur Transplants. That’s the night after Adam from the Amateur Transplants is playing at Birmingham SitP so why not try and make it to the Victoria as well on the 9th whilst you’re at it? Go on, you know you want to.

Patrick Redmond was Born in Stoke and moved the vast distance to live in Birmingham. He is one of the organisers of Birmingham Skeptics in the Pub and presents the Birmingham Skeptics podcast.

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