Recalling the past, almost 3 years ago...
...and here in lies a great mystery...
He accepted the sculpture, stood up and held it up in one hand, high in from of us all and I recall he said ‘and here in lies a great mystery’, it was a beautiful moment. He continued to explain that It is the depth and breadth at which all life is interconnected that precedes this ‘great mystery’. From the tiny plankton we may as well say all life on earth depends and therein lies its great importance of study. Words to remember and ponder!
There is one question that for me stood out and the answer to which has enriched my sense of wellbeing and optimism for the future, I feel I am not alone in this sentiment as I heard it again talked about in the afternoons events.
The question was something along the lines of- ‘What are your thoughts for the future of the Earth and everything that lives on it?’
It felt as if there was a hesitance in the voice of the audience member, perhaps a little anxiety too, I believe we all felt that feeling a little, we all know how much we humans have messed up Earth and the problems we have caused as a species. Sir David Attenborough replied with sincerity and compassion (from my recollection it was along the lines of);
-Had you asked me 10 years ago I would have had a very different answer to the one I am telling you now. I would have been more sceptical. But now I have seen a change; When Australians noticed the hole in the ozone over their heads, a change commenced and since 1996 CFC’s have been banned. When whales diminished to the point of extinction, commercial whaling was banned in 1987. When I first started presenting, the oceans did not have many whales left, but now I see massive shoals, it is a change I have seen in my lifetime. Now we have plastics and the burning of fossil fuels to deal with, it is heart-breaking, however with; innovation, research, science and technology along with our ability to be curious, connect and communicate on a worldwide instantaneous level I feel that change again will happen. We are at a tipping point and the world of humans is now able to begin correcting the mistakes it has made. –
Hope for the future
For example, with regards to plastics; It is s a problem that caught the imagination of a Boyan Slat when he was a 16-year-old schoolboy from the Netherlands. I highly recommend finding out all about him.
Photographer Kirsten Holst www.kirstenholst.com
I had to be ready by 2.30pm to give my first talk in the Cosmoparticle Hub in front of the artsci-work, I was really frilled to be asked, I absolutely love having the chance to discuss the science that goes into the work and how it has come together, I was nervous too, I wanted to get it right for Hiranya Peiris, Andrew Pontzen and Chamkuar Ghag who had provided me with all the data. Here is a video showing, visually the development of the COSMOPARTICLE over a 5 months.
Explaining theCOSMOPARTICLE to Sir David Attenborough.
I explained as best I could, with a little help from the Dean Professor Ivan Parkin and encouraging looks from Hiranya and Andrew.
Find out more about Xenon and why it may help us find Dark Matter, click here.
Here is a photo by Anita Maguire of the Hiranya, Andrew and I all together->
Xenon or Plankton
However, in hindsight, Sir David may have thought it looked a little like Blue Planet plankton created by Dr Samantha Gibbs. I should have asked him.
I was in awe, the memory, a fuzz of excitement and before I knew it the tour was moving on, I had forgotten to give the letter from my daughter and gift I had for him. I quickly grabbed the gift and passed it to Sir David. He shook my hand again and thanked me for it and I managed to say, ‘you’re an inspiration, it’s been an honour to meet you’ words I am sure he hears many times every day.
The Cosmoparticle Painting
So that was the day I met Sir David Attenborough! What a memory, it has been fun recalling the day for this News blog I hope you have enjoyed reading it (especially thus far, well done! It is long!)
I will be back soon with news about COSMIC RAY, NEW SIGNALS and other projects happening right now.
For now, all the best, please feel free to post comments below about -if you had the honour- to meet Sir David Attenborough and also about how you are #goingplasticfree and/or #goingpaperfree.
Many thanks go to Anita Maguire for looking after me all day, Andrew and Hiranya for inviting me along and to Linda, Chris, Luísa, and Martin for sharing their knowledge and the brilliant conversations we had when some of us unwound at ‘Resting Hare’.
Penelope Rose Cowley
Signed Limited Edition Prints are available here. -
Hahnemuhle German Etching 310gms
Signed Limited Edition of 75
Paper size 26" by 28"
Image Size approx 22" by 24"
Cosmoparticle was commissioned by Hiranya Peiris for University College London's (UCL) new Cosmoparticle Hub, where it is on permanent display. The original of this work is 200cm x 180cm, Oil on Canvas, It is a painting that incorporates dark matter, cosmic microwave background, galaxies and so much more see the development video here