I’ve really been enjoying the BBC2 programme Wonders of the Solar System. It’s presented by the rather cute Professor Brian Cox and although I don’t understand a word of the physics, he makes it very sexy and interesting. He explores how the laws of physics carved natural wonders across our solar system. The Beeb describes the series as spellbinding and it really is.
Seriously, the universe, black holes, dark matter and all that stuff, it thoroughly fascinates me. I don’t get the physics behind it all but I am utterly fascinated just the same.
My friend’s son is doing a PhD in Solar Physics and I once asked him just how much one can one know about the sun. I mean what is there in that great big lump of burning gas that one could study to PhD levels. The look in his eyes told me that I’d asked a dumb question and no wonder I failed my O level.
I did Physics O level at school and I was rubbish. Truly rubbish. I wanted to drop it and I made an official request to the year Head seeking permission to do just that. She saw my request and made me take an IQ test before making her decision. Then she told me that my IQ score told her that I was capable of doing A level Physics and so no, I couldn’t drop it. I told my Physics teacher what she said and he said well she doesn’t teach you Physics does she. See, even he agreed that I was rubbish. He was a great teacher, one of my favourites but I was never able to please him in the old Physics lab.
I sat the O level and just as we both expected, I was humiliated. I got a derisible U. In case you don’t know, U stands for Ungraded. It doesn’t get lower than that. Science just wasn’t my bag. I was the same in Chemistry. All those bloody equations. That said, I do remember most of the periodic table which sometimes comes in useful at work. I was quite good at Biology too which is just as well given my chosen career path. But anyway, I was made to sit through a traumatisingly cruel Physics exam and the only thing I learned was that IQ scores are no measure of academic ability.
As for that universe out there, I remain completely and mind-bogglingly fascinated . . . and in utter awe and on that note, I’m off to put my feet up and get ready for tonight’s episode.