bbc.co.uk
Home
Explore the BBC
Radio 4
PROGRAMME FINDER:
Programmes
Podcast
Schedule
Presenters
PROGRAMME GENRES:
News
Drama
Comedy
Science
Religion|Ethics
History
Factual
Messageboards
Radio 4 Tickets
Radio 4 Help

About the BBC

Contact Us

Help


Like this page?
Send it to a friend!

 
BBC Radio 4 - 92 to 94 FM and 198 Long WaveListen to Digital Radio, Digital TV and OnlineListen on Digital Radio, Digital TV and Online

Science
AHEAD OF THEIR TIME
MISSED A PROGRAMME?
Go to the Listen Again page

Exploring challenging new ideas and creative research

Wednesday 18 December at 9.00pm

Why are so many visionaries ignored?

This is a question which confronts fundamental issues about how science and discovery operate.

Tesla coils
Tesla coils in action. Has Nikola Tesla received due recognition?

Is science merely a consensus of what the scientific community thinks it is?

If someone appears to be outside the mainstream, there is a natural tendency to reject them. To accept their ideas might undermine your own research, even make your career seem "pointless". So they are ignored, vilified, dismissed or worse. But, by closing its doors, the establishment often holds back progress that might have real benefits for the rest of us.

Some critics have argued for a complete reassessment of the scientific process and declared that an anarchistic approach, "against method", would deliver as much - if not more - discovery than the narrow mindedness we currently accept.

Peter Evans with Nick Field
Peter Evans (left) interviewing Nick Field

Peter Evans explores this conundrum and asks modern innovators, philosophers and scientists what lessons we can learn from such past errors of judgement.

He cites the historical example of Alfred Wegener, who first suggested that continents moved around on the surface of the planet in 1915. His ideas were dismissed as fantasy. His claim was largely based on the fact that the landmass of the Earth looked like a huge jigsaw: Africa and South America appear to fit together. It was only years later that other evidence emerged to support his theory and the new science of plate tectonics was born.

Peter meets modern maverick Rupert Sheldrake who believes that "forcefields" control nature and may be responsible for telepathy and instinct. The editor of the science journal Nature called for his books to be burned, but others are taking him very seriously. How should the establishment deal with such radical thinkers?

Listen again to the programme Listen again to the programme
Listen Live
Audio Help
DON'T MISS
Leading Edge
Science, Nature & Environment Programmes
Current Programmes
Archived Programmes

News & Current Affairs | Arts & Drama | Comedy & Quizzes | Science | Religion & Ethics | History | Factual

Back to top

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy