It is a common truth that no matter how dull the subject matter, if somebody is truly passionate, excited and unable to suppress their enthusiasm for stamps or trains or birds (these are just examples, naturally), some of that ‘intensity’ will undoubtedly rub off on the not-particularly-fascinated-until-now bystander.
And so it was at Professor Tim Birkhead’s talk ‘The Most Perfect Thing: Inside (and Outside) a Bird’s Egg’ at Oxford Martin School this afternoon (which incidentally boasts the most extraordinary disabled entrance I have ever seen).
Perhaps naively, I had expected the audience to be made up of ‘Twitcher’ like individuals wearing army camouflage fatigues and bowed down by binoculars.
No such luck however.
Everyone looked respectable although over the age of 50.
As I intimated at the beginning, Professor Birkhead is one of those people that could make, for instance, dialling tones seem sexy.
Consequently, this talk on birds eggs came alive, literally in front of my eyes, and while I couldn’t quite match the enthusiasm everybody else showed for Guillemot eggs, I at least came away viewing them in a more… sympathetic light.
Now I’m not saying I’m going to go out and buy Profesor Birkhead’s latest book, but should I come across any of his fine tomes in Blackwell’s, I will at least now pause momentarily before hurtling on toward the TV and celebrity aisles…