Quantum Biology, Boycott and Bottles

BBC Four can always be relied upon to surprise and delight and last night I watched Professor Al-Khalili present his documentary on quantum biology. It is the second part of a series he has written and presented on quantum mechanics. It is excellent but I found myself being rather surprised at his surprise that the quantum world had such an influence, indeed was one of the key influence on processes that operated at the cellular level. After all what happens at the quantum level, at the level of the fundamental particles, must be the basis on which all else is predicated. I suspect that his excitement was fired by the realisation that physics is the scientific discipline that underpins all else and that the Professor was being gentle and considerate on other scientists

Now I don’t for one-minute claim to understand quantum mechanics. It is weird, it is bizarre, and if you think about it for too long and try and apply common sense to it then you will get a headache or go mad or probably both.

But I can see that at the quantum level, in the world of the very small, and we are talking very very small, then for things to happen at all, the laws of physics that govern the quantum world are necessary, if not essential. Without it there would be no larger world, or at least not as we know it. Just as in the world of the large if the laws that governed the quantum world applied then we would all be in a sorry state. I’m neither in the supermarket nor out of the supermarket, but visiting all possible supermarkets at the same time, until such time as I decide whether to buy red or white wine. Mind you if it worked for pubs then maybe…..no don’t go there.

His explanations were excellent and fascinating and worth watching over and over again. Part of the charm was the simplicity of the filming and the techniques used to aid understanding and provide an explanation. Like all good popular science programmes, this one left me with a desire to find out more, to try and reach into the fog, that for me surrounds much of this subject, and see if I could grasp a little bit more.

The programme is currently available on the BBC I-player. If you have an hour to spare it is well worth it.

From the bizarre world of quantum mechanics to the equally strange world that is the mind of Geoffrey Boycott. I have just read his latest book, ‘The corridor of certainty’ less an autobiography more a ‘thoughts of chairman Geoffrey,’ though the chapter on his battle with cancer is harrowing and inspiring, providing as it does an insight into the single mindedness that made him the great batsman that he was and the at times grating the pundit that he now is.

The book is written as Geoffrey speaks. So to give it a flavour of authenticity it helps if you have a Yorkshire accent running through your head as you read.  This also means that at times there is repetition, and a restating of facts that have already been stated. Even so this does not detract from the challenges that he lays down. He has interesting things to say, on Kevin Pieterson, on the current state and future of test cricket, and of course on the chaotic and at times brutal world of the Yorkshire cricket committee.

On a completely different note I am currently waiting to see if the company that empty the bins for High Peak Borough Council will empty my bottle box. The one that the council supplied me was stolen a few weeks ago and as yet I have no replacement, so improvising, I have used a plastic box similar in size but clearly not council issue. My suspicion is that they will not empty it. No doubt they will be able to sight health and safety regulations that exempt them, as the box does not conform to a standard size and may pose a hazard.

This may be unfair on them. We shall see. I suspect a trip to the local waste disposal facility is on the cards.

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