Saturday, October 4, 2008

Losing the plot but diverting attention

Leonard takes questions from the floor.


Floor: What is the relation between a black hole and horizon?

Leonard: This is very strange for most people. You see, the information carried by the er… by the er… by the er…

Floor: Yes?

Leonard: Well, what has this got to do with string theory? And what does it have to do with string theory, you may ask? That’s the question. What does it have to do with string theory? All right. All right. So the first thing, the first thing, that I want to explain, has to do with clocks, near a black hole. The closer a clock gets to the horizon, the slower and slower and slower the clock seems to go. Now what does that have to do with dogs?

Floor: Dogs?

Leonard: Dogs can hear sounds that people can’t hear.



Talking fluently for an hour on an abstract topic such as particle physics or black hole theory can make anyone stumble.

A speaker can forget what he was about to say. So how to handle this? Ask a question on a totally unrelated topic? Or perhaps the question is related.

Or maybe it’s to divert attention away from fuzzy areas of the theory to somewhat related but even more abstract issues.

Repetitions become inevitable.


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