You three at the front ... look like a galaxy

On Monday I am giving a colloquia at the Origins Institute at McMaster. This research seminar series is interesting since the audience are all scientists, but from a wide range of areas. So, for instance, I can happily assume I can talk in some depth about the hydrodynamics equations my code is using, but might have to remind them what a galaxy is.

There is one other small challenge I am dealing with; my laptop had hard-drive failure over Christmas and my new one ... is in Alaska. However, it was previously in China so we're making progress. Nevertheless, China, Alaska or even the sorting office in Toronto will be no use to me come Monday and I still have to write the talk, so borrowing someone elses is also problematic. I believe this gives me two choices:

1. A blackboard talk .... on computational astrophysics. I'll simply have to draw my simulation results. The key movie for my talk consists of a galaxy evolving for 300 million years with one image taken every million years. So I will sketch, tell my audience to hold that thought and then draw the image corresponding to a million years later. Or perhaps I could have a gigantic flip chart with a huge mechanical thumb to flick through the pages for the audience to see.

2. The option my supervisor suggested was that of interpretative dance. In fact, this colloquium is compulsory for students studying at the Origins Insitute, so I could enlist them in this endevour:

"You, over there, you are part of a spiral arm! Try and curve your spine a little more ..... right, now you've undergone gravitational fragmentation. Curl up. Oh please! GRAVITY IS ACTING BABY! Tighter. Try and become a point mass ..... Okay, now you've formed a star. At least try and glow...."

However you look at it, it is going to be awesome.