Friday, 21 July saw the release of 2023’s two biggest movies, Barbie and Oppenheimer, and while we can’t think of any obvious Manc links to the iconic children’s doll and Greta Gerwig’s cinematic take on it, there’s a very real connection between Manchester and Christopher Nolan’s new film.
In case you’ve been living under a rock, Nolan‘s new flick and three-hour-long epic revolves around the life and legacy of J. Robert Oppenheimer, a.k.a. the ‘father of the atomic bomb’, and how he changed the world forever.
A controversial figure in history, for sure, the American theoretical physicist was responsible for inventing the ‘A-bombs’ that were dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, and while they were initially intended to be used against the Nazis, that reality never came to be.
However, what Oppenheimer, the Manhattan Project team and the US government did may have never been possible were it not for the scientific discovery of the one man right here in Manchester.
For anyone unfamiliar with the name Ernest Rutherford, two decades before Oppenheimer made his ground-breaking achievement, the physicist originally from New Zealand found himself researching radioactivity at none other than our very own University of Manchester.
This proved to be the nucleus of a hydrogen atom and Rutherford had suddenly discovered the subatomic particles known as protons, taking the next step in completing the puzzle of the atomic structure: electrons, protons and neutrons — the lattermost was discovered by his workmate James Chadwick at Cambridge many years later.
So, even before he went on to become the second-ever person from the Manc institution to become a Nobel laureate for “the disintegration of the elements” (work which led to things like carbon-dating), Rutherford had already created the field we now know as nuclear physics.
Cut to 1938 and the experiments done by Manhattan Project brains of chemists Otto Hahn, Fritz Strassmann and physicists Lise Meitner and Otto Robert Frisch, nuclear fission had now been discovered and in ’39, when WWII had just started, Oppenheimer realised its destructive potential.
Seeing the obvious military applications, the greatest minds across Europe were put together to create a weapon capable of stopping Hitler and ending the war, choosing plutonium and uranium as the elements for weaponising nuclear fission — none of which could have been possible without Rutherford.
The war might have been drawing towards an end by the time Oppenheimer and co. created the first-ever atomic bombs, but nuclear energy as know it today may not have existed were it not for Ernest Rutherford and the work he carried out at the University of Manchester. No wonder he has a building and a plaque with his name on.
If you want to see what is being called a “devastating” tale of his life and the legacy he left behind, you can see you catch a very special version of Oppenheimer at the VUE Printworks now.
Adult film star and LGBTQ+ icon Sophie Anderson dies aged 36
Adult film star and much-loved LGBTQ+ icon Sophie Anderson has sadly died aged just 36, as confirmed by colleague, influencer and friend Rebecca More.
The recognisable UK porn star and internet personality, best known for being one-half of the viral online duo ‘C*ck Destroyers’ alongside More, was announced dead on Tuesday, 5 December following reports from numerous media outlets before being confirmed by her former co-star.
Sharing the news on social media, Rebecca wrote: “I’m devastated hearing the awful news of Sophie’s passing. We shared some amazing times together and that’s how I’m going to remember her.
She signed off by adding, “This is so tragic but I know you are now at peace. I will always, always love you and hold a special place in my heart”.
Her heartfelt sentiment was echoed online as countless people on social media have paid tribute to the viral sensation who was an advocate for the LGBTQIA+ community and all things queer culture, as well as sex positivity in general.
As mentioned, it was only on 17 November that her ex-partner Spedding himself passed away, but the former footballer was also disturbingly found to be the one behind previous claims she had died that turned out to be a hoax earlier this year.
Regardless, the news unfortunately appears to be genuine this time and it’s clear from the reaction online how saddened so many people from all walks of life are to learn of her passing.
Jason Manford blasts theatre-goers after showing the ‘shocking’ state of litter on the Opera House floor
Comedian and performer Jason Manford has criticised theatre-goers for leaving the floor of one of Manchester’s most beloved venues covered in litter and in a “shocking” state following one of his recent performances.
Currently part of the ongoing Jack and the Beanstalk pantomime run, Manford shared a social media post revealing the amount of rubbish left on the floor of the Manchester Opera House following the cast’s show to the general public.
Opening the video by stating, “Look at the bloody tip people leave”, the Salford-born stand-up, singer, actor and presenter asked, “Why do people do this?”
Posting the short clip on Instagram along with the caption, “What’s your take on litter inside a theatre? Is it [the] audience or staff’s responsibility? What d’ya reckon?”, the video itself has comments turned off but has already sparked plenty of discussion online.
The 42-year-old went on to urge people attending the show, or any theatre production for that matter to clean up after themselves, noting that there was rubbish of some form on “every single row”.
Manford, who is starring as Jack, labelled the behaviour unbelievable and argued, “You wouldn’t treat you’re own home like that, would you?”
Citing that his days working front-of-house in cinemas might have coloured his opinion on the matter, he said it takes very little effort to simply pick up your refuse and find the nearest bin on the way out and the majority of people reacting online are in overwhelming agreement.
One commenter underneath his post on X said, “People’s responsibility. Why can’t people just do the right thing and take their litter home with them ?? Or use a bin nearby??”, while most agreed at the very least that aside from accidental spillages, it’s just “common courtesy”.
Another person went so far as to say: “People are disgusting. Personally, I’d ban food and drink in theatres and cinemas.
“It totally ruins the experience for me, listening to people chomping and slurping their way through the performance.”
Jason’s turn in Jack and The Beanstalk began on Thursday and is set to run until the end of the year — here’s hoping this public callout will mean the theatre staff have less mess to clean up going forward.
It isn’t Manford’s only big stage production here in Manchester city centre either, as the local legend is also hosting The Big Night of Musicals in 2024.