Science TV and Radio Guide – Review of 2013

Hello to all the faithful followers of the Science TV and Radio Guide. It’s been a fantastic year for Science TV and Radio, and as such we thought it worth a review of the year.

The year started with Star Gazing Live 2013 along with the idea of suggesting online science videos as well as scheduled TV and Radio.

Sir David Attenborough’s programmes featured throughout the year. (Picture: BBC)

Sir David Attenborough was the main focus of 2013 for the BBC, along with his many programmes including Life on Earth, First Life, Africa, Life in the Freezer, The Blue Planet and my favourite, the Private Life of Plants. Lots of these programmes are still available, and likely to be repeated throughout the year.

February was the month where the world went ISS mad, and much was due to the wonderful video posts of Commander Hadfield. Also we were treated to the the rather excellent Absolute Genius with Dick and Dom and @NeedhamL56 protege Fran Scott.

March brought a review of the Challenger disaster, and there were many programmes about the irrepressible Richard Feynman including the rather wonderful drama, The Challenger.

April and May saw a celebration of the life and discoveries of Russel Wallace who contribution to the theory of evolution is often forgotten. This included the fantastic documentary Bill Bailey’s Jungle Hero.

We reached an end of an era in June, with the last ever episode of Material World (hosted by the wonderful @MaterialWorld aka Quentin Cooper). The BBC had decided their flagship science radio programme needed a facelift and there a least a little uproar!

So came July and with it, Adam Rutherford (et al) presenting Inside Science. It was hard to imagine how it could match up to Material World, but it certainly has done so, and I would say it is a definite improvement of an already great programme. They also have engaged with the science education world, including the debate on using practicals in science classrooms.

August – summer holidays – ‘nough said. Dara O’Briain’s Science Club kept the enthusiastic amongst us entertained.

For September and the new academic year, I redesigned the guide and also started an automated tweet reminder of the week’s programmes. This has been met with much approval, and although it means a little more work, we think it’s worth it.

Peter Higgs was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in October so there were a few programmes celebrating his work. Also Prof Brian Cox presented his new series, Scientific Britannica

Comet ISON was flavour of the month in November which despite the damp squib after its encounter with the sun, led to a few comet related programmes. Also it was announced that 2014 would be the International Year of Crystallography, so Stephen Curry’s RI lecture on the subject was a good opener to the field of science which is so often uncelebrated.

So December arrived and with it The Infinite Monkey Cage. Which leads us into:

Over Christmas and New Year there are the following programmes – sorry that this post is post some of these programmes (you can still get them on iPlayer) – Christmas took over my life for a few days. Thank you to Sarah for compiling them.

  • The Infinite Monkey Cage – Mon 23rd Dec, 4:30pm, Radio 4 –
    Great for science teachers as this week’s is all about science communication.

  • How to Put a Human on Mars – Tues 24th Dec, 3:30pm, Wed 25th Dec, 11:30am/7:30pm, Thurs 26th Dec, 8:30am/9:30pm BBC News Channel
    Following a team of researchers from Imperial as they design crafts for getting to (and importantly from) Mars
  • Polar Bear: Spy on the Ice – Thurs 26th Dec, 8pm, BBC 4, Wed 1 Jan, 11:55am BBC 1
    A fab documentary that tracks polar bears using specially designed spy cameras.
  • Horizon: Secret Life of the Cat – Sat 28th Dec, 7pm, BBC 4
    Another chance to see what a village’s cats really get up to when their owners can’t see them. 
  • Naked Scientists – Mon 30th Dec, 6pm, Radio Cambridgeshire
    A special edition exploring the question of alien life on Mars.
  • The Code of Life – Mon 30th Dec, 7pm, BBC 4,
    Find out more about the scientists who first cracked the code of life.  (With Prof Steve Jones, Sarah’s scientific idol.)
  • Dolphins – Spy in the Pod – Thurs 2nd Jan, 8pm, Sun 5th Jan 4:35 – BBC 1
    Spy cameras including an amorous robotic turtle give an up close and personal insight into dolphin feeding, play and social interactions11.

The TV and Radio guide will be back in the New Year with normal service resumed. First week back – Star Gazing Live!


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