Trinity Grammar School’s Arthur Holt Library has found a unique way to engage boys and their parents by giving them the opportunity to meet celebrated authors, discuss books and enjoy breakfast all before the working day begins.
Books@Breakfast aims to promote boys’ literacy, inspire lifelong learning and help parents to model good reading habits. This week, as part of the Trinity Arts Festival, the record audience of 180 was captivated by Dr Karl Kruszelnicki who spoke enthusiastically about everything from global warming, IQ and war planes … to crime, coffee and politics.
Renowned for creatively explaining complex science in a way that listeners understand and find interesting, Dr Karl’s career history includes stints as a physicist, labourer, roadie, car mechanic, film-maker, hospital scientific officer, biomedical engineer, TV weatherman and medical doctor. He has not one, but four degrees (Physics, Mathematics, Biomedical Engineering, and Medicine), and he is now the most famous science advocate in the country. With a penchant for loud shirts, Dr Karl has used television, radio, podcasts and more than 40 books to share his vast knowledge and to make science ‘cool.’
Jumping from one seemingly disparate topic to another, Dr Karl kept Trinity boys and their parents captivated as he weaved the topics together explaining some complex themes. Using many examples, data, illustrations, graphs and anecdotes, Dr Karl distilled his message into three key takeaway points for his audience:
- We can fix global warming.
- People are getting smarter through the generations (boys in the audience were clearly pleased to hear that they are apparently smarter than their parents)!
- We live in the most peaceful times with violence being at its lowest in recorded history.
These three points challenged boys to realise that global warming is not a fait accompli, they have the intelligence to change the world, and that although disturbing, terrorism today doesn’t amount to the levels of violence experienced by the world in the past.
The messages were that much more engaging as Dr Karl has a unique ability to deliver sometimes dry information with humour, enthusiasm and vigour – he even broke into song with a brief but heartfelt rendition of Robert Palmer’s Bad Case of Loving You (Doctor, Doctor)!
Dr Karl impressed on the boys that it doesn’t matter how intelligent (or not) they are; what matters is that they seek out information and read as much as they can. In his words, “Reading is a high-speed way of learning stuff.”
When asked what boys could do to help save our planet, Dr Karl encouraged them to make a difference by going into politics. He said that power grows out of the parliament, “The best way to influence is to get into politics… you can’t be any worse than ‘they’ are!” he exclaimed.
Trinity Head Master, Tim Bowden said: “We were delighted to have Dr Karl with us. His presentation combined the creativity in manner and style that have been the hallmarks of his public presence for years, which make his deep and broad knowledge of science accessible and interesting to a wide range of people. To have him present at our Books@Breakfast event during our Trinity Arts Festival brought together the threads of creativity, science and literacy.”
Trinity boys eagerly took up the opportunity to meet Dr Karl and have their books personally signed with witticisms such as “This is your handbook of knowledge for the 21st Century,” “Avoid opinions, stick to the facts, trim down to the science,” “Science is a way not to get fooled,” and “You can’t have everything, after all, where would you put it?”
Previous Books@Breakfast guest authors have included journalist and broadcaster Richard Glover, crime writer Yoni Bashan, and Iranian refugee Professor Munjed al Muderis.