Dark Matters: A night of short fiction inspired by John Stewart Bell and CERN with Lucy Caldwell, Professor Andrew Whitaker and Dr Michael Davis.
Celebrating one of Belfast's most famous physicist, John Stewart Bell (1928-1990), tonight's event explores the life and legacy of the great CERN physicist and his relationship with the city, through fiction, biography and... a little bit of science. Bell, who hailed from modest roots in Belfast, paid his way through college (in the very building this event takes place in!), and eventually established himself at CERN where he worked on particle accelerators. There, as a side hustle to his day job, he developed a theory ('Bell's Theorem') that changed the way we think about quantum mechanics and ultimately proved the great Albert Einstein wrong! Tonight Belfast-born author Lucy Caldwell reads from her short story in Collision, a new book of short stories celebrating the physics of CERN, while Dr Michael Davis talks about his own journey as a Computer Scientist from Belfast to CERN, and Bell's biographer, Professor Andrew Whitaker shares insights about the great man's life and work.
Lucy Caldwell was born in Belfast in 1981. She is the author of three novels, several stage plays and radio dramas, two collections of short stories (Multitudes, 2016, and Intimacies, forthcoming in May 2020), and is the editor of the anthology Being Various: New Irish Short Stories (Faber, 2019). Awards include the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, the George Devine Award, the Walter Scott Prize, the Dylan Thomas Prize, the Imison Award, the Susan Smith Blackburn Award, the Irish Writers’ and Screenwriters’ Guild Award, the Commonwealth Writers’ Award (Canada & Europe), the Edge Hill University Short Story Prize Readers’ Choice Award, a Fiction Uncovered Award, a K. Blundell Trust Award and a Major Individual Artist Award from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. Lucy was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2018. She was previously shortlisted for the BBC International Short Story Award in 2012.
Michael Davis is a computer scientist and software engineer working for CERN. He holds a BSc in Computer Science (from Brunel University, London), an MSc in Computer and Electronic Security and a PhD in Data Science (both conferred by Queen’s University, Belfast). In 2017, Michael joined the Storage and Data Management group in CERN’s IT department, where he now leads the team responsible for the long-term archival storage of the physics data. Michael’s greatest accomplishment is reading stories to his children every night. Now that they are all grown up, he is very happy to collaborate on creating a brand new story.
Andrew Whitaker is Professor of Physics at Queens University Belfast. He is also author of the acclaimed biography, John Stewart Bell and Twentieth-Century Physics: Vision and Integrity (OUP, 2016). He is also author of Einstein, Bohr and the Quantum Dilemma: From Quantum Theory to Quantum Information (CUP, 2006), and The New Quantum Age: From Bell's Theorem to Quantum Computation and Teleportation (OUP, 2011).