Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Darwin and the Rough Guide to Evolution on the Radio and iTunes

On Tuesday I drove from Malvern to Norwich and back (a nine hour round trip) to give a seminar. I used the time to catch up on my backlog of radio programmes on Darwin. I worked through all the BBC Radio 4 In Our Time programmes, plus the Dear Darwin letters. In general, I thought they were all well done, although the acoustics on the In Our Time shows was sometimes poor. I did wince or even shout "no it is not, or get it right" at the car's stereo a few times (first sign of madness?) as some of the myths were aired (Darwin's delay, Annie's death, the Huxley-Wilberforce debate) or when Darwin was misquoted ("Light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history", not "light will be cast"!). And to say that Hitler was a Darwinist was somewhat off the mark (see earlier posting).

But all in all, a good series, although two other programmes I listened to were even better:
  • Hunting the Beagle, Robert Prescott's search for the remains of this remarkable ship
  • Two views of Creation, from Radio New Zealand, in which Paul Nurse (a Nobel laureate and graduate of the University of Birmingham, where I work) does a good job comparing the world views of Milton and Darwin, who were both students at Christ's College, Cambridge.
And while on the subject of radio, the publicity office at Rough Guides has been working hard and has secured two radio interviews for me. I shall be on BBC Radio Scotland around 1.45 pm on Tuesday next week (20th Jan) talking about Darwin's influence on popular culture. Also, I should be appearing on an Irish radio programme, Weekend Blend on the station Newstalk, although precise timings have yet to be sorted (watch this space!).

And finally, it worth noting that The Rough Guide to Evolution playlist (a composite of two playlists from the book) featured in the Daily Mirror science blog recently. You can access the playlist as an iMix from iTunes via this link. Enjoy!

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