After battling it out against popular flicks like ‘Sunshine’ and ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’, Ridley Scott’s classic ‘Alien’ emerged as the winner of our Sci-nema Smackdown Poll and will be screened in Blackfriars basement on 12th June. Self-professed sci-fi geek Professor Martin Hendry is among the physicists involved in the event. In today’s blog, he chats about what he’s looking forward to at this year’s Glasgow Science Festival.
Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Martin Hendry. I am Head of the School of Physics and Astronomy at Glasgow University, and Professor of Gravitational Astrophysics and Cosmology. That means that I’m interested in finding out what happened a long time ago in galaxies far, far away!
What brings you to Glasgow Science Festival this year?
I’ve been a regular contributor to, and supporter of, the Festival for many years, but this year I come bearing a new hat – as chair of the West Scotland branch of the British Science Association. In that role I’m delighted to contribute to the Festival as part of our year-round mission to promote a wide range of events that engage and inspire a variety of audiences about science and engineering.
When you think of Glasgow, what are the first 3 words that come to mind?
It’s tempting to say “rain”, “rain” and “rain”, but it’s sunny and warm today so I’ll go for “dear green place”.
If there was a zombie apocalypse, where would you hide?
Probably where I grew up, in East Kilbride. The zombies could never handle the roundabouts!
What’s your favourite park or nature spot in Glasgow and why?
Being a southsider I think I’d vote for Pollok Country Park. There’s fantastic variety, from the awesome kids’ playground to the more rugged and wild woodlands and fields, and of course there’s the wonderful Burrell Collection.
Impress us with your favourite science fact
There are so many great facts about science it’s really hard to pick a favourite, but here’s one that keeps me awake at night: of all the matter and energy in the Universe only about 4% is in the form of atoms – i.e. stuff we know about. All the rest exists in a mysterious form that we call “dark matter” and “dark energy” but we don’t really know what they are.
Favourite sci-fi flick? And why?
I think it’s got to be “The Empire Strikes Back” as the high-point of the Star Wars saga so far! (Some would say that wouldn’t be hard, but I have high hopes for Episode VII in the hands of JJ Abrams).
Meet Martin at ‘Celebrate Scinema: Viewers’ Choice’ in Blackfriars on Wednesday 12th June for a special screening of the classic sci-fi hit ‘Alien’, followed by a Q&A with spacey experts from the University of Glasgow. The festivities kick off at 19:30. Tickets are a bargain at £3 + booking and available online.