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Irving Finkel on the Ark Tablet

Tom Sutcliffe discusses the role of the scientific expert with Harry Collins, Colin Blakemore, Hattie Naylor and Irving Finkel.

Tom Sutcliffe looks at the role of the expert. The curator Irving Finkel decodes the symbols on a 4,000 year old clay tablet and discovers the instructions for the building of an ark. Harry Collins asks why attitudes towards scientific expertise have changed and looks to reassert the special status of science. Colin Blakemore is an expert in neuroscience and vision and he reflects on his part in the documentary, Tim's Vermeer, which explores the relationship between art and science. The playwright Hattie Naylor tells the story of an astronomer going blind who learns to see the wonder of the universe in a different way.

Producer: Katy Hickman.

Available now

43 minutes

Irving Finkel

Irving Finkel

Irving Finkel is Assistant Keeper of Ancient Mesopotamian script, languages and cultures in the Department of the Middle East at the British Museum.


The Ark Before Noah: Decoding the Story of the Flood is published by Hodder & Stoughton.

(Photograph © Dale Cherry)


Irving Finkel

Harry Collins

Harry Collins is Distinguished Research Professor of Sociology and director of the Centre for the Study of Knowledge, Expertise and Science at Cardiff University.


Are We All Scientific Experts Now? is published by Polity.


Harry Collins

Colin Blakemore

Colin Blakemore is Professor of Neuroscience and Philosophy and director of the Institute of Philosophy's Centre for the Study of the Senses in the School of Advanced Study.


Tim’s Vermeer is out now and has been nominated for a BAFTA.  The awards ceremony takes place on Sunday 16 February at the Royal Opera House in London and will be broadcast on BBC One.


Colin Blakemore

Hattie Naylor

Hattie Naylor is a playwright.


Sound&Fury’s Going Dark, written by Hattie Naylor in collaboration with Sound&Fury, is on at the Science Museum in London, 5-9 March.


Science Museum


Role Contributor
Presenter Tom Sutcliffe
Interviewed Guest Harry Collins
Interviewed Guest Colin Blakemore
Interviewed Guest Hattie Naylor
Interviewed Guest Irving Finkel
Producer Katy Hickman


  • Mon 10 Feb 2014 09:00
  • Mon 10 Feb 2014 21:30