I have enjoyed participating at the World Science Festival in early June, 2017. Given the recent media attention my participation contributed to, here are a few of the particular details.
Apart from giving a public talk about Black Holes, I have participated in a panel on Pondering the Imponderables: The Biggest Questions of Cosmology, moderated by Jim Holt, a long-time contributor to New Yorker. The panel discussion (which you can see in full here) ranged from infinity in physics and multiverse to the holograhic AdS/CFT correspondence and nature of reality. While a fun discussion in itself, it had a momentous incident which subsequently received much merited attention: The audience felt that I was not given enough chance to speak, in fact that Jim Holt was mansplaining the topic he asked me about, till one member of the audience, Marilee Talkington, bravely interjected with the words “Let. Her. Speak. Please!” and subsequently posted about it in Facebook. The post went viral, with well-deserved praise of Marilee’s courageous act.
Interestingly, my personal perception of the event that provoked this reaction in the audience was quite different though, so in an attempt to provide an encouragement to those put off by what was perceived as blatant display of “sexism”, as well as to applaud Marilee’s actions, I have replied to her post. The post offers my perspective, and shares what my thoughts were during the panel discussion. (I have also shared further thoughts in my replies here and here.)
This was summarized, with excerpts from the posts on e.g. BuzzFeed News.
At the time, several stories have appeared about the incident; here are a few of the ones I’m aware of:
This further blossomed and joined into a broader dialog, e.g. #LetHerSpeak on Twitter.
A retrospective discussion with myself and Marilee Talkington also appeared on the BBC OS radio program (minute 33:47 – 44:00).