Episode 1

Is science quite as scientific as it's supposed to be?

After years of covering science in the news, Alok Jha began to wonder whether science is as rigorous as it should be, and in this two-part series, he will try to find out.

Many of us might be forgiven for assuming that the pursuit of scientific knowledge is a precise and controlled process, one that involves detailed experiments, careful analysis, peer review and demonstrable evidence. But what if it's not as simple as that?

Scientists are human beings after all, so what if they are prone to the same weaknesses, failings and uncertainties as everyone else? And what would that mean for their findings?

Alok delves into dodgy data, questionable practices and genuine ambiguity to ask if human decision making is impeding scientific progress, and if anything can be done about it.

Along the way he hears from academics who think almost all science is wrong, scientists who think the system is in crisis and those who say error and uncertainty are actually an integral part of science's creative process. He'll also talk to a former professor caught out after going to the ultimate extreme - faking his data - to find out what drives someone to betray their entire field.

Producer: Faizal Farook.

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28 minutes

Last on

Mon 14 Mar 2016 21:00

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