Monday, 7 March 2011

Space, time and baby sick

As I stood on the station platform this morning, my train - once again delayed as a result of a signalling problem in the Epsom area - seemed to take an age to arrive. It was cold, I was tired and time was ticking...slowly.

What's more, having watched Wonders of The Universe on BBC2 last night, I felt even more like I was wasting valubale minutes of my life. As Professor Brian Cox eloquently explained, we only have "10,000 trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion years" left before the end of the universe! So, how can South Western trains be allowed to get away with another 16 minute holdup for the 0841 to London Victoria?! I'm demanding compensation.

In all seriousness, however, I have always had an interest in space and the universe. I can remember lying in the garden with my brother as a boy, staring up at the stars, wondering which ones are home to aliens and searching for the only constellation I have ever been able to identify; the trusty plough. I can remember watching the televsion in shock when the space shuttle Challenger exploded on take off, and I can recall advanced lectures from my grandfather on the intricacies of interstellar physics, aged seven.
So hats off to Aunty Beeb, and Prof Cox, for a fantastic exploration and explanation of time in the context of the universe. I will not pretend I understood it all - Brian lost me a little when discussing entropy and the second law of somethingorother - but it did give me an appreciation of the inevitability of time and how, slowly, we are edging towards oblivion. Brian's almost boyish enthusiasm for the subject matter, meanwhile, couldn't help but make me think how good a job my science teachers made of making such a fascinating topic so turgidly dull.

The task that faces me now, however, is how I will one day explain all this to Baby B who was, as I sat transfixed to the telly, sucking the life out of his toy monkey. Indeed, as Brian once again explained our fate while staring into space atop a lofty mountain perch, Baby B exhibited his own understanding of the cosmos and the journey from order to chaos, by puking over my Levis.

Thank God the universe's D-Day is still a fair way away,  I might just have enough time to wash my jeans and help the little man to spot The Plough!

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