Friday, 1 January 2010

A Big Year for Science

This year 2010 marks the 350th anniversary of the foundation of the Royal Society in 1660, so it's going to be another big year for Science. Melvyn Bragg is getting it off to a good start with four "In Our Time" programmes in the mornings on radio 4. No doubt we can expect to hear of some results from the experiments at CERN during the year, and perhaps from the new space telescopes.

Another series of programmes on Radio 4 are the "Dear Darwin" letters written by current scientists explaining how Darwin's ideas are relevant to their research. (These were apparently first broadcast early in 2009, and are now being repeated late at night.) Last night's letter by Peter Bentley covered developments in computing, whereby evolutionary methods are being used for purposes of improving design. Contrary to "Intelligent Design" proponents who maintain that evolution cannot produce more information, he indicates that evolution is all about information, and that it has much wider relevance than solely to the evolution of biological species.

The "Material World" is another Radio 4 science programme that I regularly listen to. The presence of science on Radio has been quite good lately. However on television my impression is that it is less evident. The Royal Institution Christmas Lectures for instance have been sidelined to a lesser channel.

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