PZ was sleepy this morning, but he was a diligent blogger – he sat through each and every talk this morning and wrote about them all in two posts. Knowing myself (and my ADHD) I did some cherry-picking. I skipped the heavy-duty chemistry lectures that I was bound not to understand, and went to only two talks I really wanted to see.
The first one was by my yesterday’s co-panelist Prof. Sir Harold Walter Kroto (homepage, Wikipedia, Lindau biography). Just this moment, I am sitting in the press room discussing with other bloggers who are at this very moment writing blog-posts about Kroto’s talk, how impossible it is to describe it. He touched on many topics – numbers, chemistry, science, environment, education, Web (or as he puts it: GYWW – Google/YouTube/Wikipedia World), religion, scientific method and much more. But it is impossible to describe it, really. What was it about? It is one of those talks where you need to be there, sit back, and let the speaker grab you. Laugh. Enjoy. So, you should just watch it yourself. See what strings it pulls for you. How it makes you think. What moral you get out of the story.
The second talk was by Prof. Dr. Peter Agre (Wikipedia, Lindau biography). This was definitely something different (watch his talk here). After all these talks about chemistry, and several on the science of climate change, Agre decided to do something different – remind us what this is all about. His talk was essentially a vacation slide-show of his four camping/canoeing trips in the Arctic areas of Canada and Alaska. But every shot was breathtakingly beautiful. And every now and then, a picture would remind us how fragile those seemingly harsh environments are and how strongly susceptible they are to climate change. Others used numbers and graphs to issue warnings about the necessity for quick response to the climate issue. Agre used powerful imagery to appeal to our emotions instead – not just how it all works, but what is it that we are trying to preserve and protect.