I should have learnt by now never to underestimate the Bang Goes the Theory team.

The first time they came to see me they brought a vacuum cleaner, an excitable presenter and boundless enthusiasm for science. They then literally climbed the wall. They used the vacuum to provide the suction to clamber up the stairwell outside my office with the casual throwaway line that they were keen to do the same thing again up the treacherously shiny face of the BBC White City building in London. And they did.

It was the start of an exciting journey that put popular science right back at the heart of the BBC One schedule. Bang captured the audience imagination with its enthusiasm for making sense of the world. Seventy thousand people braved some pretty atrocious weather to meet the team and put science to the test at a series of roadshows.

Many more went online to pose a question for the charismatic Dr Yan or watch experiments they could try at home. From their rather magnificent home in a disused power station, Dallas and Liz tackled everything from the behaviour of cows to sound waves. And all the time, Jem went on building things.

This time round, Jem's surpassed himself. He's driven from London to Manchester in a car powered by nothing more than coffee beans.

Before he started on his epic drive, Jem and his the team told me that this alternative fuel could get Jem's motor to 45kph.

That was their theory anyway. Until recently, they'd only managed to drive 5km altogether so the pressure was really on.

Well, they made it. Having faced what must have seemed like endless traffic jams and a few minor engine hiccups the car arrived in Manchester late last night, still in one piece but a little bit dirtier than when it first left.

On the way, in true Bang spirit, Jem was not only greeted by drivers tooting their horns and people waving as the car raced to its end but was helped by dozens of drivers (including a very helpful group of nuns) who came up with any number of creative solutions whenever the car faced any difficulties.

Today, his car will be the centrepiece at The Big Bang Fair, the country's largest science and engineering exhibition for young students.

That's a hugely exciting moment for him and for the team because this journey has embodied what Bang does best - show science in action. Alternative energy is a notoriously tricky thing to make interesting. Jem and his coffee power car might just have cracked it.

Watch out for the car and for lots more spectacular builds when the series returns on 15 March.

Bang Goes The Theory won't be ducking the difficult subjects. Dallas sets himself the challenge of explaining atoms with the use of a few mopeds and a beach and Liz looks at the lab data around whether we can live forever.

It's part of a new look for science on BBC One. Shows like Richard Hammond's Invisible Worlds and Jimmy's Food Factory are making difficult subjects engaging in the most entertaining way. And through the website we are also gathering real data of our own.

Thirteen thousand people (at the time of writing) have contributed data to a bold new experiment about brain training. Does it matter if you keep exercising the grey matter or does it not make any difference at all? We have a large enough sample to deliver some real insight. Watch out for Brain Test Britain - a Bang Goes the Theory special on BBC One soon.

So congratulations to Jem and the team. So far we've had a coffee powered car and a vacuum powered climbing machine. I am slightly terrified about what they might suggest next!

Jay Hunt is controller of BBC One

Tagged with:

Comments

This entry is now closed for comments.

  • Comment number 25. Posted by John Cena

    on 7 Mar 2011 10:39

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

  • Comment number 24. Posted by mercymake

    on 21 Feb 2011 18:49

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

  • Comment number 23. Posted by cupon12

    on 29 Dec 2010 18:35

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

  • Comment number 22. Posted by cupon12

    on 29 Dec 2010 18:32

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

  • Comment number 21. Posted by U14717710

    on 10 Dec 2010 16:03

    Methane IS natural gas. Its chemical composition is CH4. One atom carbon, 4 of hydrogen. Breaking the bonds between the Carbon and the hydrogen needs energy (which is why solid oxide fuel cells only work at high temperatures) and the formation of new bonds between the Hydrogen and Oxygen in the air (makes water) and the Carbon and Oxygen in the air (makes CO2) produces more energy.

    Apart from not needing elemental hydrogen or platinum I'm not entirely sure what your objection to post 13 is. They still take [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator] fossil fuel in and put CO2 out. The only plus side is that they do it more efficiently than burning the stuff in an internal combustion engine.


    Best regards, Yuriy, CEO of youtube downloader

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 21: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 21: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 20. Posted by jeffysmith

    on 17 Nov 2010 05:02

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

  • Comment number 19. Posted by U14671850

    on 8 Nov 2010 00:40

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

  • Comment number 18. Posted by Vedavyas

    on 23 Oct 2010 15:35

    Methane IS natural gas. Its chemical composition is CH4. One atom carbon, 4 of hydrogen. Breaking the bonds between the Carbon and the hydrogen needs energy (which is why solid oxide fuel cells only work at high temperatures) and the formation of new bonds between the Hydrogen and Oxygen in the air (makes water) and the Carbon and Oxygen in the air (makes CO2) produces more energy.

    Apart from not needing elemental hydrogen or platinum I'm not entirely sure what your objection to post 13 is. They still take [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator] fossil fuel in and put CO2 out. The only plus side is that they do it more efficiently than burning the stuff in an internal combustion engine.

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 18: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 18: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 17. Posted by David James

    on 19 Oct 2010 09:29

    If we discuss about fuel cells then it will become non stop topic. A fuel cell is an electrochemical cell that converts a source fuel into an electric current. It generates electricity inside a cell through reactions between a fuel and an oxidant, triggered in the presence of an electrolyte. The reactants flow into the cell, and the reaction products flow out of it, while the electrolyte remains within it. Fuel cells can operate continuously as long as the necessary reactant and oxidant flows are maintained. If we are buying any branded cars like Honda,Bmw and Nissan Cars, they don't make such a cars which is having fuel cells on it so they can save some petrol.

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 17: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 17: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 16. Posted by cyrillicsam

    on 3 Apr 2010 17:52

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

More comments

More Posts

Previous

Next