Friday, January 22, 2010

timber, interest, elements


Posted by Picasa January composition.
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Even when it rains, I look forward to the most routine of expeditions. Today for example the paper boy failed to deliver the paper. I saw him cycle forgetfully by. Why do I miss the paper? Not because I need to read the news. I already know what's going on, courtesy of the BBC Radio 4 or the BBC website. And I can guess at most of the opinions of which in the paper is full. I need the paper because I have got used to one of three sudoku which it contains. My day is not complete until I have tackled it. So, and this is the point, ungrumblingly, I set out across The Grove in the rain to pick up the paper from the newsagent. And I enjoy every moment of the walk. Familiar though it is, there is always something to look out for, which is one of the benefits of writing a blog like this one. As I walk through the drizzle I notice the birds are unusually active. A cat is perhaps on the prowl. The crows are calling. One sits on a TV aerial. Another chases a pigeon in a far from good natured way. On the way back I look up at a starling on a branch and I notice the hints of purple and green on its feathers - a sign of summer on its way.
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When I was at school, with very few exceptions, the teachers seemed to make subjects like chemistry as boring a possible. Or perhaps the fault was mine. Either way how much I missed! I have since caught up in a general fashion with physics and chemistry to which I find totally fascinating. Today I watch on BBC Iplayer Prof Jim Al Kahili describing how the elements were discovered. He takes us through their history, with all the false starts. From the earth, fire, air and water beliefs of the ancient Greeks, to the discoveries of Henry Cavendish, Joseph Priestley, Antoine Lavoisier and Humphrey Davey. Next week, the Periodic Table. I can't wait.

6 comments:

CC said...

I am thinking of using your description of going to get a paper as subject material for a new sample illustration for my portfolio.
Of course it won't be what you actually saw, it will be how I imagined it from your description.

marja-leena said...

Isn't it fascinating that with some maturity comes the appreciation for learning! Of course, the 'teachers' are far more interesting these days!

Lucy said...

Sorry to have missed the chemistry programme now - we watched the one about time just before it, but I gave in to tiredness and an early start next day. One of the reasons I can enjoy such things now is that it doesn't actually matter if I don't fully understand everything I'm told - at school that used to induce a paralysing sense of panic. Now I can allow myself just to relish the words and images and the mystery. I find I read quite a lot of history of science too.

We pay a lot for the Presse to get us a Radio Times every week which we don't really need, mostly for the sudoku and the crossword.

Plutarch said...

CC That's good to know.

M-L I hope they are. Mind you I had some brilliant teachers, but they were too few.

L We are fortunate in being able to catch up with BBC IPlayer, whhich I understand is not available outside the UK. We can't at the moment receive BBC 4 or BBC 3 where we live so we depend on the computer.

Barrett Bonden said...

There's a sense of community about watching programmes like the one on chemistry, knowing others - well-scattered - may be watching it too. He did a fair stab and I enjoyed it but the subject was inevitably episodic and didn't have the exciting sense of mounting climax that the programme on chaos theory had. But isn't it remarkable that TV, so well equipped to do this sort of thing, is finally stirring its stumps?

Plutarch said...

Our chemistry reacher was a dry stick called Crump. Al Kahili would have done a better job. What we all hoped for at school was magic, like the flaring soap bubbles he showed us.