Genius of Britain: the scientists who changed the world
1 June 2010
In a new five-part Channel 4 series, leading scientific figures, including Bristol University academic Professor Kathy Sykes, celebrate the British scientists and inventors who literally created the modern world from the steam engine to evolution, the atom, computers and the World Wide Web.
The Channel 4 series, Genius of Britain, tells the stories behind innovations from steam engine to evolution, the atom, computers and the World Wide Web.
From Isaac Newton to Frank Whittle, James Watt to Isambard Kingdom Brunel, and Joseph Banks to Rosalind Franklin, these are the people who - through blood, sweat and tears - overcame all obstacles in the search for answers.
Professor Kathy Sykes said: “This series is a great celebration of our heritage of British science thinkers, showing scientists as very human, and that they can come from any kind of background. It's a privilege to be one of the presenters.”
Tonight’s episode [Tuesday 1 June] looks at the scientific titans of the 19th century, whose drive and ambitions created the railways, discovered electricity and devised one of the most explosive ideas ever: evolution.
Kathy will explore the many achievements of Lord Kelvin, who amassed over 70 patents, wrote the laws of thermodynamics and was responsible for the first transatlantic telegraph cable.
Tomorrow’s episode [Wednesday 2 June] examines how war can bring with it innovation as well as horror.
It tells the story of some of the scientists and engineers who helped Britain win the Second World War, and how we have enjoyed the benefits of their discoveries to this day.
Kathy explains how Paul Dirac tried to combine the seemingly incompatible worlds of relativity and quantum mechanics, and helped to pave the way for modern electronics.
The final programme in the series [Thursday 3 June] looks at the incredible discoveries of the last 50 years and reveals where some of the greatest minds of our time think we are heading.
To end the series, Stephen Hawking and Richard Dawkins ask each other the questions they really want answered: Is there life on other planets? Why are you so obsessed with God?
And all of the scientists explain just why they think science is now more important than ever.
Genius of Britain on Channel 4 at 9 pm runs until Thursday 3 June.