By Christianne Guillotte, on 14 June 2010
I’m not sure how I could possibly wrap up my thoughts on the Cheltenham Science Festival in a neat, conclusive way. Where would I even begin – with the fascinating things I learned? The wonderful events I attended? The new friends I made? The venture into a new town? Even if I discussed each element, it wouldn’t do justice to the full experience. It is a case of the whole being so much more than the sum of its parts.
But if I absolutely had to pick a favorite event, it would be Jim Al-Khalili’s talk on chaos theory. Not only is it a subject that I love, Jim also has a special way of making a complex subject easy to understand (and his visual demonstrations left me feeling amazed!) Like I mentioned in a previous post, it is fortunate for all of us that he has committed part of his career to using this talent. He inspired me to want to be a better scientific communicator.
Outside of the festival grounds, my most cherished part of the experience was meeting people from various fields, from students to professors to journal editors. It opened my eyes to the multifaceted nature of the scientific community.
I knew there would be plenty to learn, to do, and to see. I suspected that I’d meet a few people, and that I would generally enjoy myself. But what I will miss most is the genuine excitement about science I’ve experienced the last five days, something that often gets buried beneath the stress of daily life. For now, my enthusiasm has been renewed, and if at any time it seems to be fading, I will recall my time in Cheltenham and remember how much I truly love the field of science and desire to be a part of it.