TV and Radio Guide w/c 1st April 2013

Dear readers,

I’ve had a lovely weekend so far with my family and have been avoiding the Twitter as much as my addiction will allow in case my brain gets uploaded to the Great Intelligence. Even so I was feeling really bad that I’d not been able to collate all the TV and Radio programmes for next week. But then I looked and I’m sorry to say but there’s not much on.

There are of course repeats of Blue Planet, Africa, and Horizon as well as Attenborough’s First Life. But other than that the only things I can recommend are Material World’s visit to the Edinburgh Science Festival and Horizon on Thursday about what amazing things can be done with all the data that is being collected. Oh and Sky at Night late Sunday night is all about meteorites. Enjoy.

Normal service will resume next week but until then have a nice break.

TV and Radio Guide w/c 25th March 2013

William Hurt as Richard Feynman – catch it quick on BBC iPlayer (picture

Firstly an apology: I missed The Challenger from the TV Guide last week. This was a brilliant drama based on the eminent physicist Richard Feynman’s key involvement in the investigating commission that looked into the cause of the fatal Challenger disaster in January 1986. William Hurt gave a fantastic portrayal of perhaps the greatest modern physicist (save for his broad New York accent). If you can catch the programme before it becomes unavailable on iPlayer it’s well worth a viewing. So, sorry for not spotting that fantastic programme, though I don’t often check the War and Disaster genre when compiling the Science TV and Radio Guide. To make up for this I have started a Scientists Collection in the Teaching Library and Richard is going start this off. It will contain books, videos, and anything else I can lay my hands on (when I get the chance – Easter holidays?)

While I’m in apology mode – I also forgot last week’s In Our Time (this doesn’t show up in the science section of the BBC programme listings either but I usually check it) which was about the work of Darwin’s contemporary (who independently conceived theory of evolution by natural selection) the biologist Alfred Russel Wallace.

@MrsDrSarah has collated this week’s guide so there shouldn’t be anything missing. It’s a lighter week this week, the BBC are clearing their schedules for all things Doctor Who I imagine (which starts next Saturday).  Sarah’s pick of the week is Horizon on Wednesday on the advances in transplants. She’s just taught this to her Year 11, and is going to point them towards this in the hope some will watch it and gain a wider perspective.

My pick of the week, aside from the plea that you catch  The Challenger before the programme is taken off iPlayer (sorry you have until Monday evening – why, BBC, was it not listed in the Science genre?), is Material World on Monday discussing the new findings of the Planck telescope. I saw Tim O’Brien (Associate Director of Jodrell Bank) give a public lecture in York on Wednesday evening and he finished with a teaser that there would be some exciting news in Thursday’s announcement. This turned out to be that Planck’s map of the cosmic microwave background radiation has allowed us to revise the age of the universe to 13.82 billion years and that the ratios of matter, dark matter and dark energy that make up the universe have changed from previous measurements. And one for the chemists (well everyone really if they can cope with 45 minutes chat on a single subject) is this week’s In Our Time about Water and what makes it so awesome (I’m trying to add some vim to IOT – I like it but it’s not for everyone).

Ok the video of the week: well I’ve just shared this one on twitter tonight but I’ll share with you all: SmarterEveryDay (aka Destin or @SmarterYouTube) produces some lovely science videos from his backyard (or off on his travels – including a lovely tour of Machu Picchu as well as helping out with some of the hi speed filming for Brady’s recent Periodic Videos) but this video absolutely floored me when I watched it today –  The Prince Rupert’s Drop. I’d never heard of this before but I was absolutely amazed and think it would be good for showing examples of tension or stored energy (a little bit like the Cobra Weave chain reaction). Check out the rest of Destin’s videos, he’s a smart guy who makes some smart videos!

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Richard Feynman Collection

Richard Feynman at Fermilab

Richard Feynman (1918-1988)

Richard Feynman will be subject the first collection of resources held at the Science Teaching Library. I hope to collate links, books, videos etc to form a collection that people can refer to.




The Challenger – BBC Films (currently on iPlayer – March 2013)



to follow over Easter break when I have time :).

TV and Radio Guide w/c 18th March 2013

There is a surprising amount of insect related TV and Radio this week from dissections to alternative menu ideas. But my pick of the week is on Sunday; Project Nim is an award winning documentary about the chimpanzee Nim Chimpsky who was the subject of a study designed to find out if an ape could acquire language skills. He was treated as a human and developed the ability to use basic American Sign Language. I’ve not seen the film yet so am definitely going to be watching this.

I will also be looking forward to the insect dissection on Wednesday and I’ll be recommending the documentary about the Japanese family affected by the Fukashima disaster to my GCSE students as it will complement our lessons on radiation.

Sarah’s pick is  Bang Goes the Theory which is on a sugar rush this week. There has been a lot in the news recently about sugar in the diet affecting obesity. The team are going to be looking at how sugar is useful as well as why it is bad for you.

I also can’t resist pointing out that there are two radio programmes on sleep this week. The first on Monday is about why we sleep and the second is on the condition of insomnia with a repeat for those still awake at 4:30 in the morning! And continuing on from last week’s non-white male scientist pick (Elsie Widdowson), Professor Jocelyn Bell Burnell is interviewed in Science Cafe about her work as an astronomer and her discovery of pulsars.

It is National Science and Engineering Week this week and the theme this year is Invention and Discovery; so here are a few videos that follow that theme:

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TV and Radio Guide w/c 11th March 2013

The science teaching library has undergone a small face lift. This is for two reasons:

  • the first was I wanted to make it easier to explore the library so I’ve added a menu to the top of the page. This couldn’t be done in the old wordpress theme I was using so we have a complete theme change.
  • the second was to make space for a 5th column in the guide as I’ve added a link to each programme. All the short links are also available in one place for easy refere Ince.

My pick of the week is actually from last week, but we missed it off the guide by accident. In Our Time is a 45 minute radio chat between Melvin Bragg and various experts on subjects ranging from science to art and literature to the classics. The discussion can be a bit dry, but this week they are discussing Absolute Zero so I’m going to set it for homework for my A2 Physicists.

Sarah’s pick of the week is Bang Goes The TheoryThey are investigating germ theory and microbes which is perfect for GCSE biologists.
I have one more pick of the week, which relates to the fact that Friday was International Women’s Day. Most of the scientists that students will meet in their studies are white and male, and inevitably this helps contribute to the stereotype of what a “scientist” is. This week Absolute Genius  looks at Elsie Widdowson (whom I had never heard of) the nutritionist whose studies into malnutrition (often on herself) led to the mandated provision of vitamins and minerals during the rationing period of the Second World War.
My video(s) of the week are also trying to break the stereotype of what a scientist is, although this chap is white and male. My physics hero: Feynman, the great explainer I’m going to put together a collection of Feynman videos here in the Science Teaching Library but to whet your appetite here is Feynman on the Scientific method:

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Rebooting the science teaching library.

This is a very quick post inspired by this great crowdsourced list of Popular Science books by Kash Farooq
(thanks @Bio_Joe).

The original intention for the science teaching library was to provide a similar list of books for teachers to read and recommend to their students. The posts started in the summer last year but petered out as my second year of teaching began and so the blog stagnated. It has, of course, found a new lease of life as the home of the weekly Science TV and Radio guide collated by myself and @MrsDrSarah.

As today is World Book Day here in the UK I think it’s time to restart the reviews. My goal therefore is one TV and Radio guide post and one science book post a week. Not an insurmountable challenge!

Keep reading and sharing your favourite science books. Join in with the hash tag #sciteachlib. And do read Kash’s excellent post; there are some great suggestions.

TV and Radio Guide w/c 4th March 2013

A quick post this week – Sarah has collated the guide this week and her pick of the week is Material World discussing ‘junk’ DNA. One of her friends works in this field studying non-coding DNA, so it holds particular interest for her. Sarah is also going to ask her A level biologists to listen to it for homework. How many of you use the guide in this way, to set further learning opportunities for your students? Let us know in the comments if you have any specific ideas or examples.

I noticed this week that Bang Goes the Theory is back on for a new series. This programme always has interesting items and this series Tomorrow’s World presenter Maggie Philbin is joining the team. During the first episode Jem Stansfield is going to try to make plastic from potatoes – good for GSCE C1:, I’ll be watching with interest.

I love these videos from Veritasium. Derek often starts his videos by finding out what people know about the particular subject and this video is no different: people in Sydney are astounded by the results of Young’s Double Slit experiment. What is Light?: I’ll be passing this on to my A Level Physicists. (A point of interest, the 2 people with Derek in the vault under the Royal Society are Brady Haran, who makes the PeriodicVideos and Henry Reich who makes the MinutePhysics videos. They all met up in London last summer so there is a lot of crossover in their videos at the moment).

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