The Life Scientific – Jim Al-Khalili

According to Wikipedia:The Life Scientific is a BBC Radio 4 science program, presented by Professor Jim Al-Khalili OBE FRS FInstP, in which each episode is dedicated to the biography and work of one living scientist. The program consists of an interview between Jim al-Khalili and the featured scientist. A variety of third parties contribute anecdotes about each program’s subject. The program is broadcast on Tuesday mornings in the United Kingdom, and is available online and via BBC Sounds, as is an archive of past episodes. The program’s BBC Program Identifier (PID; a unique identifier) is b015sqc7 and there have been over 200 broadcast episodes since it began eight years ago”.

Wikipedia states: “Jameel Sadik “Jim” Al-Khalili OBE FRS FInstP (born 20 September 1962) is a British theoretical physicist, author and broadcaster. He is Professor of Theoretical Physics and Chair in the Public Engagement in Science at the University of Surrey. He is a regular broadcaster and presenter of science programs on BBC radio and television, and is a frequent commentator about science in other British media. In 2014, Al-Khalili was named as a RISE (Recognising Inspirational Scientists and Engineers) leader by the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). He was President of the British Humanist Association between January 2013 and January 2016”.

I mention this because as I listened to today’s broadcast while driving in my car, which incidentally had Prof. Jim talking with a climate change scientist, it occurred to me that this now rates alongside my other BBC Radio 4 programs: The Today Program, Test match special, The Archers, Desert Island Discs, Last Word, From our own correspondent and In Our Time as being among my favourites (I don’t watch much TV these days). It does what all good broadcasting of a more serious kind does / should do and that is to communicate important and interesting information and insights that I might not be otherwise aware of and, to Prof Jim’s credit, he makes the subject interesting and does a good job helping us to understand difficult concepts. It also keeps my hand in as it were for, while science is not among my main areas of activities these days, I am a Bachelor of Science and taught the subject three years and, as it turned out, my main career was as a computer scientist.

There is another angle though, which is why I am posting this article. There is much talk, if my various media streams are to be believed, of the present government looking for ways to shake up or dismantle the BBC. I am among those who believe the BBC does need shaking up due to its bias that leans toward a worldview, which whatever it is, is not one I share, which is based on that of Judaeo Christianity and is anti globalist, which is being increasingly consigned to the margins or even thrown out. Yet I have grown up with the BBC and even now I prefer it to many of the alternatives, if only because of programs mentioned, its absence of irritating adverts and its commitment to public / world service. The Life Scientific is a program I highly recommend that has more recently joined my “need to listen to” list. For that, I wish to thank the BBC.


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