Tom Blundell

Listen in pop-out player

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the leading scientist Professor Sir Tom Blundell. His specialism is in molecular biology, which involves studying the tiniest building blocks of life under a microscope, in the hope of finding treatments for diseases such as cancer and diabetes. It is a hugely visual kind of science, and this, he says, is no coincidence - he loves science first and foremost for its beauty.

He regularly seeks this beauty beyond the laboratory too; in art, in music and in travelling all over the world. One very special trip was to Africa for his wedding, after which he was somewhat surprised at being asked to pay for his Zimbabwean bride - a fellow academic - in cows. As a working class student at Oxford in the 1960s, he developed a fascination with politics, and at one point this activism threatened to overwhelm his life completely. When forced to choose between science and politics, he says he realised that politics was simply too hard. In recent years, he has finally been able to combine the two, by chairing numerous government science committees, and making key recommendations on issues as diverse as mad cow disease and climate change.

[Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs]

Favourite track: Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting by Charles Mingus
Book: Lessons in Ndebele by J. Pelling
Luxury: A combined heat and power micro-unit.

Release date:

Available now

45 minutes

Last on

Fri 8 Jun 2007 09:00

Credits

Role Contributor
PresenterKirsty Young
Interviewed GuestTom Blundell

Featured in...

Call 0800 082 82 84 to donate to the Radio 4 Christmas Appeal

Donate Now

Thank you. Your help changes the lives of homeless and vulnerable people across the UK

Desert Island Dishes: 11 life lessons from culinary castaways

Culinary Castaways V2

Ottolenghi, Nigella, Jamie, and more great chefs talk about love, dreams and cream cakes.