Category Archives: Science

How the Space Shuttle Broke My Heart

  This weekend’s Radio 4 Extra Floating In Space 3-hour special (9am and 7pm Saturday Mar 1th and iplayer after) with Simon Guerrier explores the history and the fantasy of manned space exploration from the cosmonauts to dreams of Mars … Continue reading

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On location for HG Wells and the H Bomb

As well as this documentary I’ve written this feature for BBC Culture about how the Atom Bomb changed our culture and imagination. And I discuss it with Robert Elms on BBC London here. Listen from 1 hr 39 minutes. In … Continue reading

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Plankton of the midsummer air

This week’s Something Understood takes its title Inebriate of the Air, from an Emily Dickinson poem about the insect heavy honeyed thickness of midsummer light and air. And insect and bird sounds (swifts) dominate this programme. Entomologist Ross Piper helps us … Continue reading

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Interstellar’s Heart of Darkness & the Dust Bowl

I like to go to the cinema to escape the gloom of a Sunday evening and what better escape than Interstellar? An epic journey to other worlds. It begins in a rural America devastated by environmental disaster. Real survivors of … Continue reading

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The Outer Limits: A fantastic voyage

“To God there is no zero. I still exist.” – Richard Matheson’s The Incredible Shrinking Man screenplay (1957) The summer solstice  has just passed — marking the extreme tipping point of the earth’s axis and the longest day. It was … Continue reading

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Transience: Clocks, Voyager & Potsdamer Platz

My programme for this week’s Something Understood on BBC Radio 4 is about transience: the fact that all things must pass. It begins in the clock room of the British Museum, where time is made physical by its embodiment in … Continue reading

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Frogs, Freud and Frankenstein: Behind the scenes at the Science Museum’s Mind Maps exhibition

This is my blog post for the Science Museum’s Mind Maps exhibition. All slideshow photos: copyright Samira Ahmed It looks like a kind of over-engineered Victorian executive toy: A semicircle of metal with carefully marked grooves and two long wooden … Continue reading

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Only connect: Charles Correa and the power of the empty centre

(Jun 18th 2015) I was saddened to hear the news of Charles Correa’s death. An international name who declared he was proudly an Indian architect first, I was fortunate to  interview him for Radio 3’s Night Waves in May  2013. … Continue reading

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Concorde: How a dead end can be a glorious high point of innovation

1976 Paris-Rio First commercial Concorde flight to Brazil Photo: Jean-Claude Deutsch Paris Match I chose Concorde out of a 100 Great British Innovations for a National Museum project to mark National Science and Engineering Week. You can vote for it … Continue reading

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How The Middle East Became Another Planet

From Flash Gordon’s Ming the Merciless with his harem and his war rocket Ajax, to Frank Herbert’s prophecy-obsessed desert tribes in Dune battling over a valuable resource, the Middle East has always been another planet to western science fiction creators. … Continue reading

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