Ionian Enchantment

I’ve been asking for a while now about your experiences with Science and STEM subjects, what were your memorable lessons? What do you think is one of the most important things to learn or to teach someone when they are new to scientific thinking? What turned you away from STEM? What brought you back? I’ve had some really grate discussions about being able to think and observe in a critical manner, learning to removing your bias and ego from those observations. I had some conversations that infuriated me, stories of people who were interested, curious about a particular field being pushed to study something else and having their curiosity and spark stifled. I also had conversations with people who’d forgotten they liked science, one event had turned them away from STEM fields and it wasn’t until we spoke that they remembered the excitement of learning something new.

It got me thinking about my experiences with Science, when I realised I wanted to be more involved, to learn more, do more.

In their book “Why does e=mc2: and why should we care” which explains Einstein’s theory of relativity using mathematics no more complicated then Pythagoras’ theorem. Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw talk about the Ionian Enchantment, the moment of intellectual enlightenment when something just ‘clicks’. You understand a concept or process and how things link together, it excites you, incites you, makes you hungry for more. (It’s why I’m writing this at 2am) It was only the other day I realised it was because of this book and Doctor Who, that I’m doing this.

Let me explain.


Around Christmas of 2013 the BBC television series Doctor Who celebrated its 50th anniversary, as a tie in event Professor Brian Cox of Manchester University held a lecture at the Royal Institute of Grate Britain. Where he explained Einstein’s theory of relativity to the audience, demonstrating the science behind the sci-fi with simple descriptions and audience participation. Intercut with scenes of him and Matt Smiths iteration of ‘the Doctor’ talking about time travel, black holes and again, that moment of excitement and inspirations borne of a glimpse into the workings of our universe. One of my favourite parts in the program is when the cameras randomly cuts to the audience and you get to see this moment happen as a young kid ‘clicks’ and gets that Ionian Enchantment.


It was the experience which made me realise that science and maths could be exciting and fun. I realise now, it was also the experience that prompted me to return to study, at the start of the next academic year I enrolled in my diploma of Engineering to see what it was like and if I liked it. I’ve just finished my 2nd year of a bachelor’s degree in engineering technology and want more.


I’ve got a few things in the works with Ballarat Science in the Community and hope to share more content and experiences with everyone in the new year.


Until then, I’d love to hear more of your stories about favoured/hated lessons, what things encouraged you with STEM and what science you’re getting up to over the holiday season. Oh and don’t forget, if there’s something you want to find out more about you can ask questions on the Facebook page and we can look into it together, after all “In science we share.”


I’ve included a couple of cool links you should check out.

Have fun and as always,

Ask your questions, support your opinion with evidence, discuss, edify.



The Science of Doctor Who


the Candle Icebreaker, critical observation activity.


the TED talks, (Technology, Entertainment and Design) just watch something cool.


Future Learn offers free online courses in a range of cool and interesting things in case you get bored over the summer.








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