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Adam Rutherford

Radio 4 has always sought to bring listeners the best and most engaging science stories possible, with a range of programmes, from news and documentaries to discussion programmes and debates. Central to our science offering for a long time has been Material World, the weekly science strand ably presented by Quentin Cooper for the last 13 years. While we will continue to have a half-hour science strand running 52 weeks a year, we have decided the time is right to make some changes to ensure the programme meets the demands and expectations of the Radio 4 audience into the future. We have been evolving our science offering over the last few years as we move beyond celebration of science to a deeper understanding of it. Among the programmes we have introduced are The Life Scientific, The Digital Human, Inside Health and The Infinite Monkey Cage. Inside Science – the programme replacing Material World – is part of this evolution.

Presented by Dr Adam Rutherford, Inside Science will be an authoritative, in-depth and enjoyable guide to science and the way that it is changing our world. It will keep the audience abreast of important breakthroughs in science, explore in depth some of the news stories that can get oversimplified elsewhere and work through implications of scientific discovery for society at large. It will mark significant developments within the various scientific disciplines and try to help the audience better understand the scientific process. The show will also share the wonder, passion and excitement of science by telling some of the great science stories that are out there.

Professor Alice Roberts and Dr Lucie Green will share presenting duties with Adam, hosting some programmes later in the year. The presenter team continues Radio 4's commitment, following Brian Cox, Jim Al-Khallili and Mark Porter, to presenters who work inside science and medicine. The new title reflects this, allows the programme to be more easily located online and brings it into line with other science programme titles like Inside Health.

The new programme will be pre-recorded on the day of transmission to give the production team more flexibility in order to get the best guests and experts from the scientific community and present the most important material to listeners. From 4th July, Inside Science will air on Thursdays at 4.30pm and will be repeated at 9pm the same evening.

I would like to thank Quentin for his years of dedication to science on Radio 4 and look forward to working with him on other projects in the future. In the meantime, I would like to welcome Adam, Alice and Lucie on board. I hope you enjoy the new programme.

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  • Comment number 60. Posted by Toonser

    on 28 Jun 2013 09:46

    It hadn't registered with me before (otherwise I'd have mentioned it in #29), but the last edition of Leading Edge (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006wj9b) was on 26th November 2009. 4 days later the first edition of The Infinite Monkey Cage was broadcast. That was a major dumbing down of Radio 4's science output.

    Hopefully that's not going to be the case when Inside Science replaces Material World next week.

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  • Comment number 59. Posted by macarbor

    on 27 Jun 2013 23:36

    I am gutted.Quentin is a gifted, clever, excellent presenter and bloke. I wish I could buy him a pint for all the puns, alliteration, and elucidation he brought to my listening. the Beeb will not find anyone to match him. the high water mark has indeed been reached. thanks again Quentin, thanks for nothing, so-called programmers.

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  • Comment number 58. Posted by Blair Nimmo

    on 27 Jun 2013 18:06

    Quentin is one of the most able, intelligent and entertaining science presenters. I hope he isn't away from presenting too long. I would like to agree strongly with Declan's comment, 'Please don't dumb down the content...'. There's plenty of trivialised science on the radio and TV; we don't need more.

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  • Comment number 57. Posted by Wesley H

    on 26 Jun 2013 17:51

    I will miss Quentin, and MW, but Adam is brilliant in conveying the science to the public, and as an editor for Nature is also qualified to do so. I only hope that the quality of the content is not diminished to entice a broader audience.

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  • Comment number 56. Posted by Anthony Frost

    on 25 Jun 2013 15:25

    Why on earth have you got rid of your best presenter on radio four?!!!! Quentin Cooper is a wonderful presenter who brings humour and wit to a serious subject. He has made the subject of science interesting and his quick responses and sharp questioning makes the programme what it is,a very very good programme!!!! I listened to The Infinet Monkey Cage yesterday and realised why you got rid of Quentin because you obviously want celebrity's from the world of science and comedy just drivelling on and on! Bring back Quentin who related to me / us as you know he is hip to music, books and what's happening now and asks very perceptive questions that we understand and he gets answers we understand too, bring him back now!!!!!

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  • Comment number 55. Posted by lauriet

    on 25 Jun 2013 11:41

    Thanks to Quentin for a great programme. Like most of the commentators here I cannot understand the reasoning for what is being done. You say you want 'practicing scientists' but for a general programme on science the presenter will only have a narrow background, so surely a gifted amateur like Quentin is a better bet? After all by this logic, you ought to give David Attenborogh the push as well and something tells me that's never going to happen. Please re-think this decision.

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  • Comment number 54. Posted by Brenjamin

    on 24 Jun 2013 23:30

    Although i wish no ill feeling upon this new presenter and what he may offer to the field of scientific communication, i feel I must express both my disbelief at Quentin´s Radio 4´s public influence coming to an end and the gratitude that I owe him for the influence he has had on my career.

    Since entering the scientific community I have found the institution to be stuffy, jargon filled, selfish, uncooperative and often very greedy with it´s personal information. After finishing with a promising degree in Marine Biology at Glasgow University this year I still find myself running into literary barriers when reading papers that are entirely relevant to every aspect of my degree due to over–complications in text or lack of explanation in technique. Over the past few year, through discovering Quentin´s program, i have often found sweet relief from my indignations through well explained, entertaining and informative scientific communication. In a world where almost all journals are locked behind pay barriers and even those which are accessible can be as legible as cantonese to your average European, it is essential to have people like Quentin acting as a babel fish in the ears of all those without PhDs in the original authors particular field.

    Although i cannot speak for the vast majority of the general public, I feel confident in representing a broad spectrum of budding young scientists (many of which either originally recommended Material World and or continue to do so on a regular basis) when i say that shows like Quentin´s are a breath of fresh air in a dusty institution that will continue to require more ingenuitive and abstract minds as the anthropogenically induced environmental problems continue to pile up over the coming years. Put simply, removing Quentin from the scientific discussion may leave a deficit in a younger audience that will be very difficult to replace.

    I myself, having just gained a degree and being only 22 years of age, am currently running a community based conservation expedition in the East of Iceland which i have set up off my own back through the realisation that the best way to put forth an scientific ideal is to communicate the importance of your work to local people in a format that they can understand, relate to and realise what consequence their involvement may have upon both their own lives and the lives of other around them. I firmly believe that without developing a friendly understanding with your audience, change will never happen soon enough and this point i feel confident in contributing towards years of listening to the most enthusiastic scientific communicator in radio.

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  • Comment number 53. Posted by ursm

    on 24 Jun 2013 09:31

    I am stunned; here you have a live science programme with a virtuoso presenter who unerringly asks the very question that popped into my mind and whom the interviewees obviously relish enthusing to about their latest research. The only programme on the BBC or anywhere that lets the public eavesdrop on the way scientists talk to one another. And you cancel it?

    What a disservice to science reporting and education you are doing by this ill-supported action. Cancel the asinine Infinite Monkey Cage (did ever a title so accurately fit the content?) and reprieve the excellent Quentin.

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  • Comment number 52. Posted by Christoph K

    on 24 Jun 2013 08:05

    Material World presented by Quentin Cooper is - now sadly was - simply the best audio popular science program. I subscribe and listen to many podcasts, a fair share of them about science, and have always been amazed by the amount of information that Quentin has managed to elicit from his guest, the depth and breadth of his knowledge that has come across in his questions and - yes, I admit it - I have always enjoyed the way his comments and awful puns made me chuckle.
    I agree with the all the other comments puzzled about this decision by the BBC and am very disappointed.

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  • Comment number 51. Posted by Darklight

    on 24 Jun 2013 04:36

    Quentin, a great injustice has been done. You will be sorely missed (I was amazed to learn that the programmes were recorded 'live'!) I look forward to seeing if 'Inside Science' can fill the gap but honestly, you were (and hopefully will continue to be in some capacity) a class act. Your insightful, intelligent and witty (puns aside) commentaries contrast perfectly with the corporate drivel used to justify the removal of Material World. Deeply saddened and will miss your presence.:(

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