It is done. Fertig. Au fait. About 10 people came to my talk, which was one of three in that time slot, so I got my fair share. The audience seemed to like it. The level of glassy-eyed stares in the audience was gratifyingly low. Maybe I’ve learned something about talking to non-scientists since I last taught intro physics.
There was a sardonic remark during the opening plenary session about scientists who stick their noses into areas where they have no expertise. (She meant Fred Hoyle.) Thanks, whoever you were, for setting the bar low for me. Low bar = no pressure. (Trust me, that kind of thing has physicists rolling in the aisles with laughter).
I have a bad habit. Over the years, I’ve drifted into a presentation mode of putting graphs up on the screen and improvising the interpretation based on reactions from the audience. That doesn’t work well in a context where (a) they’re expecting me to read from a carefully-written paper, and (b) they’re not waiting to pounce on the slightest error in my Ansatz. Consequently, I said “um” a lot more than I should have. Next time, I’m just going to read the paper and see what happens.
In the question period, we had a pleasant discussion. Almost everyone had something to contribute. Kara Samborsky  pointed out that, while I’d been treating the parochialism of hobbits as a running joke through my talk, the Brexit vote seems to indicate that staying where you came from is a serious characteristic of the English. Her observation jibes awesomely well with James Cheshire’s results — the West Midlands (i.e., the trustworthy hobbits) had the highest percentage of “Leave” votes of any region in England. I thought I was giving a science/literature talk, not a current-events/literature talk!
One more “thank you” to everyone who came. Based on their responses, I need to make some tweaks to the paper before I publish it. The good thing about that is that I can give another presentation of the revised version. (In conformance with Arrow’s Other Theorem.)
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