Philosopher Stephen Webster investigates the links between scientists' personal beliefs and their scientific work. He wants to know how an individual scientist's personal, psychological and intellectual qualities map onto their chosen area of science. How much of a scientist's personality is reflected in their work? Should subjective private beliefs be a part of objective scientific outcomes? What happens if tensions develop between a scientist's beliefs and the formal demands of science? If tensions arise, how can they be resolved?
In this programme, Stephen meets zoologist Andrew Gosler. For more than 25 years, Andrew has been studying the Great Tit population in Wytham Wood near Oxford. Andrew greatly respects the animals he studies and the environment they inhabit. He finds inspiration working so closely with nature, and that inspiration motivates his scientific enquiries. But Andrew accepts that scientific description can only ever provide a partial description of reality. Science will never encapsulate Andrew's own, private and unique relationship with the world he studies.