Never mind the flashing lights – science matters

I don’t think I ever did forgive the BBC for dumbing-down their flagship science programme ‘Horizon’  some 20 or so years ago.

There’s very little of scientific nature on the TV, aside from natural history material, and as a teenager I used to enjoy getting a fix of decent TV science.

(Perhaps this is one of the reasons for a lack of a date back then.)

But then it was decided to be elitist and should be brought in line with the rest of the programming to encourage ‘less-scientific’ minds to watch. Cue lots of graphics, flashing things, personal life items and an element of jeopardy – all to spice things up.

Of course, it didn’t encourage the masses to get into science and left us without our coverage either.

So I’m not sure what has happened in the last couple of years. Suddenly there is a number of programmes which seem to have re-discovered the joy of unashamed science. The delivery is different – no grey people in lab coats persecuting test tubes – but instead the approach is more accessible (for the masses) but with enough content to satisfy those truly interested in the subject matter.

It’s one of the things I’m passionate about. I studied science to a stupidly high level and up until I joined the real working world and it still fascinates me. I shied away from getting a science job – I never wanted to be a ‘bucket chemist’, working and re-working industrial scale reactions from a recipe. But then to succeed in  the theoretical stuff you’ve got to be

a) very good
b) able to persuade people to fund you

I probably could have managed (a) but (b) would have driven me to complete madness. And probably all those around me too. And it seems that the jobs are few and far between and too fragile in an economy on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

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