The Science of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

VCON Academic Speakers Series:
The Science of the Hitchhiker’s Guide To the Galaxy

VCON 42 is pleased to be host to a special “Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy” (HHGG) academic speakers series, presented for your illumination by the Roving Researchers from Betelgeuse (RRB), a distinguished, inter-galactic, ivory-tower academic group. This series consists of nine sessions – seven 25-minute presentations, one 50-minute moderated panel, and one 50-minute hands-on workshop – touching on topics of the greatest interest and import to both the professional and amateur HHGG scholar.

Sessions have been scheduled throughout the weekend and we, and the RRB, hope you’ll pop by for an intellectual rendezvous (or two) that would surely make the forefather of the RBB, Douglas Adams, proud.

Note to Outergalactic visitors: Babel fish will be available at the door for a small fee.

Title: 42
Date: FRI, OCT 5, 2018
Time: 6:00 PM – 6:50 PM
Type: Hands-on Workshop

“The Answer to the Great Question . . .Of Life, the Universe and Everything . . .Is . . .Forty-two,” said Deep Thought, with infinite majesty and calm.

Mathematics educator and artist Susan Gerofsky presents on numbers, number sequences, and all manner of topological, geometric, and improbable mathematical connections in art, music, architecture, and culture. The infamous Wurzelschnecke (AKA Root Snail) may well make an appearance.

Title: Fjords
Date: FRI, OCT 5, 2018
Time: 7:00 PM – 7:25 PM
Type: Presentation

“Norway… that was one of mine. Won an award, you know. Lovely crinkly edges.” –Slartibartfast (planet builder)

Geologist, Nick Roberts, presents the award-winning coastline designs of Norway and compares the fjord formations of the local solar system.

Title: Vogon Construction
Date: FRI, OCT 5, 2018
Time: 7:30 PM – 7:55 PM
Type: Presentation

“What do you mean, why’s it got to be built? It’s a bypass. You’ve got to build bypasses.”

Fred McCague, a columnist for Western Maritime Magazine, presents a cold, calculated perspective on the global transportation of goods and the requisite pipelines, shipping lanes, railways, and highways.

Title: So Long and Thanks for All the Fish
Date: SAT, OCT 6, 2018
Time: 10:00 AM – 10:50 AM
Type: Moderated Panel

Curiously enough, the dolphins had long known of the impending destruction of the planet Earth and had made many attempts to alert mankind to the danger…

Panellists from diverse fields of research discuss the oddness of life and the strange ways our natural world talks to us.

Title: Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster
Date: SAT, OCT 6, 2018
Time: 1:30 PM -1:55 PM
Type: Presentation

Alcohol is a colourless volatile liquid formed by the fermentation of sugars…[and] the best drink in existence is the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster†

Chemist, Claire McCague, presents the galaxy’s most intoxicating and powerful molecules from alcohols to opioids to oxidizers that can light water on fire.
† No samples will be distributed.

Title: Towels
Date: SUN, OCT 7, 2018
Time: 2:00 PM – 2:25 PM
Type: Presentation

A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have.

Polymer chemist, historical re-enactor and wilderness camper Graham J. Darling discusses the history, technology and applications of this remarkably versatile personal item.

Title: Mice
Date: SUN, OCT 7, 2018
Time: 2:30 PM – 2:55 PM
Type: Presentation

These creatures you call mice, you see, they are not quite as they appear. They are merely the protrusion into our dimension of vast hyperintelligent pandimensional beings. The whole business with the cheese and the squeaking is just a front.

Ecologist, Robert McGregor, discusses the scientific and science fiction definitions of species and the evolution of intelligence.

Title: The Universe: What Colour Should It Be?
Date: SUN, OCT 7, 2018
Time: 12:00 PM – 12:25 PM
Type: Presentation

The function of art is to hold the mirror up to nature, and there simply isn’t a mirror big enough.

Beth Wagner of the Mid-Galactic Arts Nobbling Council presents on astrophysics as it applies to two-dimensional art forms.

Title: Unregarded Yellow Sun
Date: SUN, OCT 7, 2018
Time: 12:30 PM – 12:55 PM
Type: Presentation

Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral Arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun.

Stargazer† Michael Unger will describe the most flashy, odd and intriguing celestial residents of the galactic neighbourhood.

Astronomical stargazer, not venomous stargazer fish with bulging eyes


  1. Graham Stokes Posted on October 5, 2018 at 4:48 AM

    Sounding great! I’ll attend those I can!!

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