Friday, 26 February 2010

Page boy

Life is full of surprises.  Well, mine is, at any rate.  As regular readers may recall, within the last few weeks, I've appeared on a West End stage, made small talk with a drunken convicted murderer, and worn the late comedian Billy Dainty's toupee whilst listening to a 78 recording of The Beverley Sisters.

Surprised though I was by all of the above, none of them comes close to my latest bolt from the blue; I have been included in the acknowledgements of a physics text book for undergraduates!

Yes, I, the schoolboy whose lack of interest in science was eclipsed only by his loathing of PE, the boy who scraped a grade C physics O-level then gratefully dropped the subject like a hot brick, have been thanked in print by the author of a learned tome.

The writer is Dr Sharon Ann Holgate whom I've known for years since she was a regular contributor to my afternoon show on BBC Southern Counties Radio.  Sharon has a brain like a planet and a string of letters after her name that looks like a lengthy Croation sentence.  Yet she pulls off the rare trick of also being down-to-earth, fun-loving and fashion-conscious.  She even knows about popular culture!  And, despite being an uber-smarty-pants, she's a total klutz when it comes to mobile phones.  She was, therefore, the ideal candidate to demystify a different aspect of popular science and how it relates to the world around us on my radio show each week.

We've since kept in touch and, this week, I attend the launch of her latest work, Understanding Solid State Physics (yours from Amazon for a mere £37.04  - go on, it'll make a change from your Danielle Steel or Len Deighton).  I flicked through a copy and, sure enough, there was my name with those of significant academics I'd never heard of.

I couldn't wait to take Sharon to one side to ask her what I'd done to deserve such an honour.  One of her aims is to link physics theories to everyday life, and she'd once asked me, as a foodie, what I thought of a product designed to keep food fresh for longer in the fridge. Apparently, my response saved her from writing a large number of wasted words.  Who'd've thought!

What's coming next, I wonder: a citation from The Rugby Football Union?  Candlelit dinner with Thierry Henry (yes, please)?  A private audience with The Pope (no, thanks)? 

As a rock star with an unfortunate propensity for bedding his followers once said: "Life is what happens whilst you're busy making fans."

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