29 December 2011 Comments Off

The World Tomorrow

The World Tomorrow

I had a great experience just before Christmas. I sat in a studio with a group of enthusiastic young scientists to record an updated radio version of Tomorrow’s World for 5Live. It’s set for transmission tonight at 9.30 pm and will be repeated on New Years day at 9pm. I can’t tell you how excited I was to be involved.

The premise was simple –ask bright research scientists to do a brief report on an area of emerging science and technology – not necessarily their own – and then open up a studio discussion.

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Peter Zeidman, Caroline WilliamsLeo Garcia and Jonathan Webb

I’m not going to give away too much about “The World Tomorrow” but the heartening thing was having the opportunity to do a show that didn’t focus exclusively on consumer technology but offered some insight into some fascinating areas of science. There was room for some discussion about the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ of the story.

I also hope we provided some balanced reporting – with discussion around the possibilities tempered with clear reminders of the current limitations.

One of the real joys of Tomorrow’s World was the wide range of science and technology we covered and at times the fearlessness of tacking subjects that might not seem to have an immediate appeal.

Peter Zeidman, one of the PhD students taking part said he enjoyed opening “a window into research which could one day change our lives” and that there was real joy in “having something explained  in plain English which we might never have been able to comprehend”. He added that he learnt a lot from the show, and would love to do more.

I would certainly echo that. As a reporter , learning more was one of the deep joys of working on Tomorrow’s World. And the chance to learn it first hand from people who were at the height of their research careers.

I’ve just climbed out of a cab after doing a brief promo for the show and the taxi driver was waxing lyrical about Tomorrow’s World and the way it assumed interest and curiosity in its audience and never patronised.

I hope we captured some of that spirit in the show tonight and that you enjoy “The World Tomorrow ” as much as we enjoyed making it. We had to be turfed out of the studio after we’d finished recording but carried on chatting in a cafe round the corner.

It felt like a decent pilot …of course, I’m kicking myself about the questions I could have asked and I would have loved it to have been live …but very selfishly I hope it opens the door for more Science nights on 5Live. There are so many good stories out there …