Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Brian Cox's Science Britannica

I missed his last show as I thought it was a bit unfair how a physicist is taking all of science for himself in terms of BBC's science programming. This show is about Science in the UK though so I'll let him off as he's British and a scientist.

The first episode is about the perception of Scientist's as Dr Frankenstein and he posits where in British history the public fear may have arose and how it still remains to this day. He touches on the atomic bomb, GM food and animal testing and while those who are against all of those things won't be convinced I think he presents good arguments for them all to the general lay person and how scientists have a goal in mind rather than aimlessly "interfering with nature".

He also suggests that public engagement by scientists is the best way to combat the negative perception. The show makes good on this promise by interviewing several scientists involved in the controversial topics mentioned along with Sir Paul Nurse head of the Royal Society.

There are couple of funny moments. I liked how Brian giggles like a child when looking at a drawing of a horrible tumour from the 19th century. Then there's the staged "looking thoughtful on a train" scenes. My favourite moment though is one that I can only assume is the result of a dare. Brian is listing all of the big British discoveries in science which are popping up on the screen. The list includes, wireless telegraph, the first traffic light, jet engine, underground rail, the microphone, theory of evolution, the Christmas cracker, the structure of DNA and the discovery of elements. Does anything in that list strike you as not being that amazing? I'm not convinced the Christmas Cracker is in the same league at all. Maybe it revolutionised Christmas but it's not that amazing or useful.when compared to all the other things. Hopefully a tongue in cheek joke from the makers of the show.

I'll try and watch the other episodes and share my thoughts on them when I get the chance.

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