Brian & Robin's Christmas Compendium of Reason (2015)

It was another night of fun and science at the Christmas Compendium of Reason in December

If you're unfamiliar with this event, it's effectively a charity variety show full of science, comedy and music, set up by Brian Cox and Robin Ince, hosted yearly in Hammersmith around Christmas. A couple of my friends came along this year and described it as 'like the Royal Variety Show for people who aren't idiots'. A little unkind, maybe, but there's certainly a much better variety of guests as far as I'm concerned! 

Here are my highlights from the show: 

  • Greg Foot performing an experiment on stage which we were encouraged to tweet him about later with the answer as to how it worked. I was still tweeting him the next day trying to puzzle it out. Science is hard, man!

  • Jonny Berliner performing a song about the scale of the universe, if the universe was fruit. Yep, great entertainment and perspective!

  • Brian Cox took to the stage to talk about the anniversary of Einstein's General Theory of Relativity and how light from stars can distort due to gravitational lensing to form an Einstein Ring, which looks like this:


  • Beautiful singing from Compendium Regular Grace Petrie, joined by Charlotte Church (who genuinely blew me away with how amazing she sounds live).

  • Festival of the Spoken Nerd, who demonstrated conductivity by passing a soundwave through the stalls of the Hammersmith Apollo (the following week I bumped into Matt at Stargazing Live and told him how great that set was.)

  • Fast-talking Ben Goldacre talking about logistic regression.

  • Andreas Sella blew a chemistry experiment up all over the stalls and stage. Again, this is standard, I recommend stalls seats AFTER row H if you have any HSE concerns!

  • Comedy from Bridget Christie, she puts a great comic slant on perceptions of feminism, I laughed at this a lot.

  • Chris Hadfield, former commander of the ISS, sang for us and talked through what Tim Peake could expect on his trip to the ISS the following week.

The night ended with a set from New Order. I'm very unfamiliar with their music over the last decade or so, but it was a great way to end the night on a high. 

At the time of the show, we were told there'd be no Compendium in 2016 as they were running out of favours, as I write this post I see that minds have been changed and favours offered as there are tickets on sale for the 2016 show (I've just frantically bought two for myself!). It's only for one night, so you better get in quick and click here to purchase. All proceeds from this event go to charities, so you can't spend your money better. I still insist it's one of the most entertaining nights out you can have in London for £35.

If you get a ticket, I'll see you there! 

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