I’m reading “In Search of Schrodinger’s Cat” By John Gribbens. It’s something I gravitated to after finishing “The God Delusion” by Richard Dawkins.

Anyway, on the train to work this morning (not the tube, the train) a lady sitting opposite me tapped the fromnt of the book and said something. I unplugged myself from Solipsistic Nation (Biotron episode, excellent podcast) and said “Pardon?” “Do they find it?” she asked,  “The cat I mean?” She said, as I looked at her uncertainly. “Well… yes and no”, I said.

Honestly, I did.

We had a quick chat about the book. I recommended it to her so I thought I’d recommend it to you.

I packed in physics after O’level, but this book guides you through quantum mechanics with a sure hand, dealing from a  low level understanding of classical physics, bringing in the history of the various contributors with facts and anecdotes. At times it had me laughing out loud, at others taking gasps of amazement as some thread came together and another vista of understanding and wonder opened before me. At one point I was cursing my physics teachers, saying “why didn’t you tell me?” over and over. Really. And I’m not even an actor. It was written in 1984, which dates it a little, but for my level it gives me a great base to be able to understand some friendly summaries of developments since then.

I unreservably apologise for every bad gag in this post.

How to Listen to the Moonlight Piano Sonata on a Tube Train

As any fule kno, sometimes great things come together and the total is greater than the sum of parts.

So, the great things were: having an ipod (which Dan set me on the track of a few years back – thanks Dan); the Moonlight Sonata (Op. 27, No. 2, movement 1 by Ludwig van Beethoven) starting playing on it straight after Smack My Bitch Up by the Prodigy (was on shuffle). The crap bit was I was on a tube on the way to work just leaving Essex Road. However the experience was the most uplifting moment I’ve had on a tube train (even one going homeward with a free seat on it, oh yes).

To replay Niall’s bestest tube moment follow these simple instructions:

  • The Station: must be properly underground as the dark tunnel is important to the overall effect. Don’t try this on the Circle Line round Kings Cross/Liverpool Street as you will be sorely disappointed.
  • The Track: Moonlight Piano Sonata (Op. 27, No. 2, movement 1 by Ludwig van Beethoven) . Cue it up on the player of your choice. Ram the earbuds in deep/headphones on tight.
  • Positioning: Ideally want the carriage seats full (usually not a problem) and with 4 or 5 standing at each of the doors and as few as possible in the aisles. I don’t suggest you try and ask people to move though. Stand with your back to door to adjoining carriage looking down your carriage. Make sure your peripheral vision is tuned in on the windows slightly ahead and to your left and right. Try not to zone out staring at anyone. It’s safer.
  • Press play as the train motors ramp up to pull out of the station.
  • Enjoy.

Your mileage may vary, etc. Use your Moonlight Sonata responsibly.