Dara O Briain

Dara O Briain: on Peter Higgs

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In the third of four blogs from The Times Cheltenham Science Festival Guest Director Dara O Briain, he talks about the legacy of Peter Higgs’ work, and swotting up before meeting the man himself.

On the Large Hadron Collider…

The scale of the Large Hadron Collider alone is amazing, the way it required over 500,000 rivets to be welded: one of which was missed and it caused an almighty explosion because the helium leaked and exploded – just one out of 500,000 welding points! It’s an astonishing thing, and to know that that came from a man and a blackboard 30 years earlier, writing equations, and then going, ‘wait a second, there’s something here’ and that led to the most advanced machine ever made: that is an astonishing journey.

On meeting Peter Higgs…

At the very least Peter Higgs is going to want me to know what I’m talking about, so at some point I’ve got to go back to the book. My job in Science Club is to be that bridge: I’m just a member of the general public, albeit it one with slightly better training, but in the distant past. That will be my role with Peter Higgs in a nutshell. Not by any stretch of the imagination translating; I’m sure he’s been speaking on this for his entire life, but being the person asking the questions that presumably the audience would ask – though there’ll be a Q&A as well. I’ll be moderating a much as quizzing. There’s an element of standing next to someone whose name will go down in history and who may in November get a Nobel Prize. Though he may be quite coy about it and I’ll leave it to one of the later questions!

Dara O Briain appears in four events at The Times Cheltenham Science Festival; Coding the Game, Peter Higgs in Conversation with Dara O Briain, Dara O Briain: School of Hard Sums and Dara O Briain’s Science Club.