William Hurt as Richard Feynman – catch it quick on BBC iPlayer (picture BBC.co.uk)
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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