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Series 3 - Episode 5
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The Radio 4 Blog

The 2010 Reith Lectures are now at an end. Four lectures with a science theme by Astronomer Royal and President of the Royal Society Professor Martin Rees. And for each lecture we organised a live chat here on the Radio 4 blog. Across the four lectures, thousands of people joined in - contributing to the discussion or reading it after transmission.

If you joined in or if you read the discussion while listening to the programmes, we'd be thrilled if you'd take a minute to leave a comment here on the blog: would you like to see more live interaction like this around Radio 4 programmes? Does live conversation of this kind enhance the experience for you? Or does it make it harder to enjoy the programme? And, if you think it works, which programmes should we try it with next? Live discussion, documentaries, drama? Please leave a comment below. Your feedback will help us design more interactive activity for future programmes.

Steve Bowbrick is editor of the Radio 4 blogs

  • Visit the Reith web site to listen to all of the previous lectures and to many from the archive.
  • Get the Reith lectures podcast here - you can download the lectures to listen to on your computer or MP3 player. It's free and you can keep them forever.
  • The picture shows a mosaic of pics from the recording of the third lecture, in the Royal Society's lecture theatre.

Comments

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  • Comment number 66. Posted by Riya

    on 21 Sept 2010 05:16

    This comment was removed because it broke the house rules. Explain

  • Comment number 65. Posted by Morphtree

    on 16 Jul 2010 14:57

    This comment was removed because it broke the house rules. Explain

  • Comment number 64. Posted by srmsofttech9

    on 9 Jul 2010 09:34

    This comment was removed because it broke the house rules. Explain

  • Comment number 63. Posted by dllewellynfoster

    on 29 Jun 2010 09:03

    Just scanned through all this, it should be analysed into a relevant digest for wider dissemination. The extended argument between those two relentless commentators who dominated the discussion generated by the last lecture has merits, as it exemplifies extremes. At the beginning of the series I posted a comment I should like to reiterate: science per se is not the real issue, it is the way we conduct our science. As I suggested before, we need to nurture an "ecology of science" not just restrict ourselves to what can be comfortably relegated as yet another specialisation viz a "science of ecology"...there is important grist for our cultural, social, intellectual and ethical political understanding here!

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  • Comment number 62. Posted by mike_chesh

    on 27 Jun 2010 13:49

    Here in the UK there is not enough funding for idears, iv invented a redical new way of producing power from tidal stream enery. I can get a few thousand pounds from local government if i start up my own buisness, but im not a buisness man, im an inventor and there is no help to get in touch with a buisness man who I could trust.

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  • Comment number 61. Posted by DocSpeek

    on 23 Jun 2010 12:50

    As this must be almost the last word,pity there was not more about
    the error of not adopting EJ Bronte`s evolutionary theory which preceded Darwin`s but was more modern,had less bloodlust rhetoric and might not have encouraged two world wars and a holocaust-all because she was not a middle-class white guy.She was miles better as a naturalist and illustrator than Darwin was. Paul Camster wrote a convincing account of it-probably now exclusive to his co-writer`s firm.
    He had a website at:

    http://americanstalingrad.bravehost.com/HOLLYWOODRebeccaR-.htm

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  • Comment number 60. Posted by Megan

    on 23 Jun 2010 07:03

    I find the lecture of interest, but the debate it has provoked profoundly depressing.

    Science is neutral, like fire or a knife. It can do great good and it can do great harm... and often it is not on purpose but an accident which outcome you get. But we don't forgo fire because it can destroy, not get rid of all our knives because if you stick them in people it hurts and they can die (ask any surgeon!).

    It is the old "Two men look out from prison bars, one saw mud the other stars" concept: your opinion on the value of scientific endevour depends more on YOUR outlook than on SCIENCE itself. I believe in the optomistic view, but tempered with pragmatism - and prefer above all, to KNOW. Finding out can be the greatest fun imaginable, it's why learning is such an enjoyable process even when you are learning about what others have already done rather than adding something new.

    No event is devoid of opportunities... and climates have changed ever since the planet was in a state to HAVE a climate. The trick is to find out what the climate is doing, and adapt to it.

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  • Comment number 59. Posted by polly_gone

    on 23 Jun 2010 06:48

    Life is important in all its various guises. We know, with or without science, our tendency to think about beginnings and endings may be very simplistic and death may be a far more complex event than we can consciously understand. We know, with or without science, our subconscious is a jewel in our personal crowns, almost unfathomable in its rich tapestry of potential.

    Science needs to apply the same unlimited freedom of expressions it bestows in cosmology to all avenues of human endeavour, including, dare I say it, the more spiritual, sacred, and esoteric guilds of humanity.

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  • Comment number 58. Posted by markus_uk

    on 22 Jun 2010 21:20

    education - inseparable from science - was cut by 25% today. Says it all!

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  • Comment number 57. Posted by corum-populo-2010

    on 22 Jun 2010 21:07

    Having read so many sophisticated comments from those 'sow' much brighter than me, I comment with huge trepidation?

    1) GM crops - honestly? Are still ultimately about private license and permission to grow said GM crop? Why are huge multi-national companies investing in GM crops? If you were a share-holder and not a peasant - what would you invest in?

    2) As for climate change - am agnostic - the focus for science and scientists, in all areas, should focus on ensuring and maintaining a clean drinking water supply. Australia is building de-salination plants.

    3) All governments, scientists, business and 'ordinary' people absolutely KNOW that we, as humans are living on the edge of power supply and that however many millions of ordinary people cut their use of power - it is nothing compared to the waste of ALL government departments and business globally?

    It would be helpful if governments, scientists etc., stopped pretending - people know the problems - be honest and deal with power and water supply - don't allow anarchists and greens with no answers to run the main problems?

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