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Professor Brian Cox explores why science gets a bad press in latest TV series

16 Sep 2013

University of Manchester scientist Professor Brian Cox returns to television screens in a new BBC2 series called Science Britannica starting on Wednesday 18 September.

Professor Brian Cox

Rock-star turned scientist Professor Cox, part of the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, will explore why, when science has done so much for humanity, it sometimes gets such a bad press.

In the first episode Frankenstein’s Monsters, he reveals that the gothic novel Frankenstein drew on Italian scientist Giovanni Aldini’s public attempts to raise the dead using electricity in the1800s.

It’s this powerful image of scientists ‘playing God’ that has dogged discovery ever since. Brian explains how the discovery of DNA, like nuclear fission before it, has resulted in controversy, with tales of ‘Frankenfoods’ fuelling the public’s mistrust of science.
Meeting Professor Tipi Aziz, whose pioneering work has helped thousands of Parkinson’s disease sufferers, he reveals that - because the treatment was developed through experimentation on monkeys - it is wholly unacceptable to some.

Professor Cox, who has done  much to popularise science through his BBC TV programmes Wonders of the Solar System and Wonders of the Universe, said: “Scientific progress sometimes comes at a cost that scientists and the society they serve struggle with. However, although Aldini’s work appalled his 19th-century audience, we are well served by the electronic defibrillators that routinely save lives today.”

The next episode looks at ‘Method and Madness’ on 25th September followed by ‘Clear Blue Skies’, which had input from Professor Matthew Cobb, from the University’s Faculty of Life Sciences, broadcast on Wednesday 2nd October.

Science Britannica starts Wednesday 18 September 9.00-10.00pm BBC TWO

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