Series 2

Series in which three of Britain's most influential and respected scientists explain how their unique scientific perspectives have redefined how we think about the world around us

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Professor Richard Dawkins

3/3 How Richard Dawkins became the most influential evolutionary biologist of his generation.

Tue 1 May 2012 00:00 BBC Four

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  • Episode 1 - Professor Jenny Clack

    Episode 1 - Professor Jenny Clack

    Professor Jenny Clack, is a world renowned palaeontologist who’s discovery in the late 1980s of the missing link between fish and amphibians overturned decades of mistaken thinking about how life first emerged from the seas onto land. But to do that was no easy task. She had to find the courage to overturn decades of stifling academic etiquette to put together an expedition to Greenland in search of the evidence she needed. She finally landed the killer piece of evidence, the fossil Acanthostega, through a combination of unstinting attention to the details others had overlooked, a willingness to go to the ends of the earth to find new specimens, and the bravery to publish findings that appeared to overturn the accepted orthodoxy.

    Episode 1 Page
  • Episode 2 - Professor Andre Geim

    Episode 2 - Professor Andre Geim

    Professor Andre Geim is a condensed matter physicist at the University of Manchester. His life’s work has been to gain a better understanding of the materials that make up the world around us. While just one subject can be a scientist’s life’s work, Andre has made switching fields a feature of his career. But while straying from the conventional path can be risky for a scientist, Andre has repeatedly turned it to his advantage. His ‘let’s try it and see’ approach means he’s the only individual winner of the both the Nobel and the more light hearted IgNobel Prizes. He won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2010 for uncovering the extraordinary properties of a material called graphene, but Geim can also lay claim to seeding two other new areas of physics research – levitation and gecko tape.

    Episode 2 page
  • Episode 3 - Professor Richard Dawkins

    Episode 3 - Professor Richard Dawkins

    Professor Richard Dawkins is one of the most well-known and controversial scientists in Britain. A passionate atheist he believes science rather than religion offers us the best way to appreciate the wonders of the Universe we live in. In the last 10 years he has become notorious for his outspoken views on religion, but at the heart of his success is his explosive first book – The Selfish Gene – which put forward a radical rewriting of evolutionary theory and divided the scientific community. Much of the controversy comes from its provocative title. Now, in this uniquely candid programme, Dawkins admits that the title may have been a mistake. In this journey through Dawkin’s life we’ll discover how The Selfish Gene got its controversial name, how Dawkins became the most influential evolutionary biologist of his generation and what has motivated him to become religion’s most ferocious critic.

    Episode 3 page

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