What the Bleep Do We Know!?

1. Big Bang Down Under
2. What the Bleep Do We Know!?
3. The Singhsons
4. Theatre of Science
5. Puzzle Competition
6. Competition Winner

1. Big Bang Down Under

I am just packing my suitcase and getting ready for a big trip to New Zealand and Australia. ‘Big Bang’ is being published in paperback down under, so I will be giving a dozen lectures on cosmology over the next 3 weeks, including talks at the Auckland and Sydney literary festivals. All my other lectures are listed at: https://www.simonsingh.net/Simon_Lectures.html

The lectures website also contains details of my forthcoming UK lectures in Hay, Cheltenham, Glasgow and London.

2. What the Bleep Do We Know!?

I don’t think I have previously used this newsletter to criticise anybody else’s work, but when it comes to the utter junk that is ‘What the Bleep Do We Know!?’ then I am prepared to make an exception.

I first came across this film when I was in America back in February and now it is about to open in cinemas in the UK and elsewhere. It is the third highest grossing documentary ever and it claims to be about quantum physics, but in fact it makes gross distortions that would make any self-respecting scientist squirm. For example, the film states that experiments imply that labelling a bottle of water with words like ‘love’ or ‘hate’ can change its molecular structure. Indeed, the film suggests that quantum physics can explain why this is the case. Apparently quantum physics can also be exploited to bring about world peace through meditation.

If you have a science background then please do not go and see this film as you will be violently ill afterwards. And if you do not have a science background then please do not go and see this film as you will be submitting yourself to two hours of (badly filmed) pseudoscientific propaganda. If you want to learn about quantum physics then I would advise you to pay a visit to the library or find a TV documentary on the subject – both options cost less and deliver more than this atrocious film.

As you can tell by now, I really do hate this film. Having spent the last fifteen years making documentaries and writing about science, I care hugely about the accurate and honest portrayal of science. I am working on an article that details exactly why I hate this film so much, and I will put it online soon and link to it in my next newsletter.

3. The Singhsons

Having discussed a film that made me horribly depressed, here is one that made me ridiculously happy. I apologise if you have already seen this clip, but it is the opening sequence of ‘The Simpsons’ revamped with an Indian spin. Go to the following website if you want to meet ‘The Singhsons’:
http://www.badmash.org/singhson.php

4. Theatre of Science

Some of you may remember ‘Theatre of Science’, a show performed a couple of years ago by myself and Richard Wiseman in London and Edinburgh. We are coming back to the Soho Theatre in London this July with a new show. There will be more details in the next newsletter, but you can find out how to book tickets or find out about the previous show at the web pages below: http://www.sohotheatre.com/comedy/

https://www.simonsingh.net/Theatre_of_Science.html

5. Puzzle Competition

Astronomers recently published an astonishing and historic picture, which showed the first direct observation of a planet outside the Solar System: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4501323.stm

The planet is currently known as 2M1207b, but I was wondering if you could come up with a better name.

Email your suggestion to puzzle@simonsingh.net and my favourite entry

will win a copy of “The Genius of Science: A Portrait Gallery of 20th Century Physicists” by Abraham Pais.

6. Last Month’s Winner

In the last newsletter, I asked: “What do the following fractions have in common – 26/65, 19/95, 49/98, 16/64?” The answer is that you can strike out the common numbers top and bottom and simplify the fraction, e.g., 26/65 = 2/5 by knocking out the 6s. Of course, this is just a coincidence and not something that you should do as a rule, but if you want to be mischievous then show these fractions to some schoolchildren and it can destroy their understanding of how to cancel fractions.

Jason Ermer from Texas was the first entry out of the hat and winner of ‘Fermat’s Last Theorem’ by me.

See you on the other side of the world,

Cheerio,
Simon.

Ps. If you need to email me, then please do not reply to this address, as your email will not reach me. Please go via the website https://www.simonsingh.net and click the contact button. It takes me ages to answer emails, as I am struggling to keep up with my correspondence, so please be patient.

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