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Scientific principles, theory, and the role of key figures in the advancement of science.

In Our Time: Science BBC

    • Geschiedenis
    • 5.0 • 13 beoordelingen

Scientific principles, theory, and the role of key figures in the advancement of science.

    Alan Turing

    Alan Turing

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Alan Turing (1912-1954) whose 1936 paper On Computable Numbers effectively founded computer science. Immediately recognised by his peers, his wider reputation has grown as our reliance on computers has grown. He was a leading figure at Bletchley Park in the Second World War, using his ideas for cracking enemy codes, work said to have shortened the war by two years and saved millions of lives. That vital work was still secret when Turing was convicted in 1952 for having a sexual relationship with another man for which he was given oestrogen for a year, or chemically castrated. Turing was to kill himself two years later. The immensity of his contribution to computing was recognised in the 1960s by the creation of the Turing Award, known as the Nobel of computer science, and he is to be the new face on the £50 note.

    With

    Leslie Ann Goldberg
    Professor of Computer Science and Fellow of St Edmund Hall, University of Oxford

    Simon Schaffer
    Professor of the History of Science at the University of Cambridge and Fellow of Darwin College

    And

    Andrew Hodges
    Biographer of Turing and Emeritus Fellow of Wadham College, Oxford

    Producer: Simon Tillotson

    • 53 min.
    Paul Dirac

    Paul Dirac

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the theoretical physicist Dirac (1902-1984), whose achievements far exceed his general fame. To his peers, he was ranked with Einstein and, when he moved to America in his retirement, he was welcomed as if he were Shakespeare. Born in Bristol, he trained as an engineer before developing theories in his twenties that changed the understanding of quantum mechanics, bringing him a Nobel Prize in 1933 which he shared with Erwin Schrödinger. He continued to make deep contributions, bringing abstract maths to physics, beyond predicting anti-particles as he did in his Dirac Equation.

    With

    Graham Farmelo
    Biographer of Dirac and Fellow at Churchill College, Cambridge

    Valerie Gibson
    Professor of High Energy Physics at the University of Cambridge and Fellow of Trinity College

    And

    David Berman
    Professor of Theoretical Physics at Queen Mary University of London

    Producer: Simon Tillotson

    • 50 min.
    The Evolution of Horses

    The Evolution of Horses

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the origins of horses, from their dog sized ancestors to their proliferation in the New World until hunted to extinction, their domestication in Asia and their development since. The genetics of the modern horse are the most studied of any animal, after humans, yet it is still uncertain why they only have one toe on each foot when their wider family had more, or whether speed or stamina has been more important in their evolution. What is clear, though, is that when humans first chose to ride horses, as well as eat them, the future of both species changed immeasurably.

    With

    Alan Outram
    Professor of Archaeological Science at the University of Exeter

    Christine Janis
    Honorary Professor in Palaeobiology at the University of Bristol and Professor Emerita in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Brown University

    And

    John Hutchinson
    Professor in Evolutionary Biomechanics at the Royal Veterinary College

    Producer: Simon Tillotson

    • 50 min.
    Solar Wind

    Solar Wind

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the flow of particles from the outer region of the Sun which we observe in the Northern and Southern Lights, interacting with Earth's magnetosphere, and in comet tails that stream away from the Sun regardless of their own direction. One way of defining the boundary of the solar system is where the pressure from the solar wind is balanced by that from the region between the stars, the interstellar medium. Its existence was suggested from the C19th and Eugene Parker developed the theory of it in the 1950s and it has been examined and tested by a series of probes in C20th up to today, with more planned.

    With

    Andrew Coates
    Professor of Physics and Deputy Director in charge of the Solar System at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory, University College London

    Helen Mason OBE
    Reader in Solar Physics at the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, University of Cambridge, Fellow at St Edmund's College

    And

    Tim Horbury
    Professor of Physics at Imperial College London

    Producer: Simon Tillotson

    • 55 min.
    Hybrids

    Hybrids

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss what happens when parents from different species have offspring, despite their genetic differences. In some cases, such as the zebra/donkey hybrid in the image above, the offspring are usually infertile but in others the genetic change can lead to new species with evolutionary advantages. Hybrids can occur naturally, yet most arise from human manipulation and Darwin's study of plant and animal domestication informed his ideas on natural selection.

    With

    Sandra Knapp
    Tropical Botanist at the Natural History Museum

    Nicola Nadeau
    Lecturer in Evolutionary Biology at the University of Sheffield

    And

    Steve Jones
    Senior Research Fellow in Genetics at University College London

    Producer: Simon Tillotson

    • 50 min.
    Dorothy Hodgkin

    Dorothy Hodgkin

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the work and ideas of Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin (1910-1994), awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1964 for revealing the structures of vitamin B12 and penicillin and who later determined the structure of insulin. She was one of the pioneers of X-ray crystallography and described by a colleague as 'a crystallographers' crystallographer'. She remains the only British woman to have won a Nobel in science, yet rejected the idea that she was a role model for other women, or that her career was held back because she was a woman. She was also the first woman since Florence Nightingale to receive the Order of Merit, and was given the Lenin Peace Prize in recognition of her efforts to bring together scientists from the East and West in pursuit of nuclear disarmament.

    With

    Georgina Ferry
    Science writer and biographer of Dorothy Hodgkin

    Judith Howard
    Professor of Chemistry at Durham University

    and

    Patricia Fara
    Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge

    Producer: Simon Tillotson

    • 52 min.

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