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Rock music, universe, physics, acoustics, string theory, lecture, british science association

Are you ready to ROCK?

Next weekend (4th March) we are holding our annual Prestige Lecture open to the public for free. This year we are welcoming physicist and winner of the first FameLab Dr Mark Lewney a.k.a The Rock Doctor. So in preparation for a show full of ear bending, mind blowing science using guitar music to understand the universe, BSA volunteer Amy caught up with him for a chat.

Amy: Since winning FameLab back in 2005, what have you been up to; how has life changed?

Mark: Since winning FameLab, I have done TV and radio work including a “Three Minute Wonder” for Channel 4 and a live show from Edinburgh Festival with Spinal Tap’s Harry Shearer (I jammed on stage with Ned Flanders). I’ve also toured the world with my rock guitar physics show, including science festivals in Tokyo, Las Vegas and most of Europe.

Amy: What’s your favourite part of your job and why?

Mark: My favourite shows are at schools in the evenings, where students, parents and indeed anyone at all turn up. Their questions are always surprising and often really astute.

Amy: What can people expect from the lecture in Birmingham later this month?

Mark: I explain the physics of guitars and use this as a crowbar to explore String Theory and quantum mechanics, culminating in a musical finale. Requests welcome in the warm up!

Amy: What’s your favourite scientific theory/hypothesis and why?

Mark: Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle is mind blowing. Together with the hypothesis that a Higgs Field can make gravity repulsive, it could even explain how you get an entire universe from a tiny quantum fluctuation: Basically, it says that there’s no such thing as true nothingness – you’re not allowed to have precisely zero forever.

Amy: What are you getting involved in next?

Mark: I’m trying my hand at historical fiction, and I’m appearing at Cheltenham Science Festival debating philosopher Ray Tallis on the topic “Can Science Explain Music?” I say yes.

A fascinating talk is guaranteed at the lecture with heaps of fun (and good music) thrown in. This free event on 4th March is open to all and is located at the ThinkTank Science Museum, Birmingham from 6-7pm.

If you fancy rocking your socks off please pop over to our Facebook page for more details: