In July 1969 when I was in primary school they rigged a TV in the assembly hall and we watched the Apollo 11 Moon landing sometime in the afternoon ISTR, so it must have been a replay rather than live. Harold Wilson was the prime minister, mouthing off about the white heat of technology, though that must have been as reported since I can’t have heard his original speech.
It was an exciting time to be into science, and some of that rubbed off which is how I got to get into engineering – all sorts of exciting things were possible. This was a time when there no downsides and you could solve things by throwing technology at them, I also recall a school trip to the newfangled Thames Barrier. There had been a couple of years where London had flooded and you had water four foot deep in the High Street – the Thames Barrier fixed that as it never happened again.
There’s a feeling of deja vu around as all sorts of things seem to be happening that are solutions to age-old dreams. This last week I’ve read about
- Holographic 3D TV like Star Wars Princes Leia
- Invisibility cloak like in Harry Potter
- cure for the common cold
- proposed human mission to Mars (catch is it’s a one-way ticket)
It all stirs the inner schoolboy in me, and I’m jingoistically chuffed that all these innovations seem to be originated in our burnt-out and decadent West rather than the fiery intellectual cauldrons of the East. It’s as if there’s the glimmer of life in the old dog yet…