Monday 5 January 2015

Will Self collides with science

I've just listened to the first episode of "Self Orbits CERN":
Will Self embarks on a 50 kilometre walking tour of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN just outside Geneva.

Following the course of the Collider through the French and Swiss countryside, Will stops at regular intervals to descend to the tunnel and view the experiments below. He aims to complete the circuit entirely on foot.

Invited to 'feel the wonder' of particle physics, Will is unconvinced. At lunch with his CERN hosts, he questions them closely on the rationale for their work.

And as Will's journey gets under way, far from wondrous, he very soon finds himself wondering about his own capacity for misunderstanding - expressing concerns that his walking tour may be a complete waste of time.

Producer: Laurence Grissell.
"...Will is unconvinced." This isn't surprising. Disdain for scientific endeavour drips from every sentence. Will Self has made "being an arrogant prick" something of an art form, and he's very good at it. We'll see if his "concerns that his walking tour may be a complete waste of time" are applied to the LHC itself. They might not be, but I don't hold out much hope in this regard, given the distinctly deaf ears he turns towards those who would enlighten him.

Not an auspicious start to this series of five 15-minute episodes airing on BBC Radio 4 all this week, available on iPlayer/RadioPlayer for ... ages, and also available as a podcast: