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How Science Changed Our World - Comments

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 1 by Neodarwinian

Well this will have to wait for tomorrow. I find I can not stay up past a certain hour anymore. I think this may be worth the wait.

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 06:26:07 UTC | #570006

William T. Dawkins's Avatar Comment 2 by William T. Dawkins

Here are my choices. All are great advances in science. Great program!

Decoding the Human Genome Increasing Evidence for the Big Bang The Contraceptive Pill Stem cell research The microchip The Internet The laser Bio-mechanics MRI scanning IVF In the future hopefully we can add: Unified Theory of Everything, Room Temperature Superconductivity, Dark Matter, Secure Quantum Communication, Higgs Particle, Deep Sea and Space travel to name only a few. Oh Yes! Hovering flying cars.


Wed, 29 Dec 2010 06:42:02 UTC | #570011

keith's Avatar Comment 3 by keith


Well this will have to wait for tomorrow. I find I can not stay up past a certain hour anymore. I think this may be worth the wait.

Hmm, well worth the comment. Maybe next time you could go into more detail, perhaps telling us exactly what time you usually go to bed or what colour your bedroom is?

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 11:28:46 UTC | #570055

ANTIcarrot's Avatar Comment 4 by ANTIcarrot

"For all the risk of exposure to violence and pornography, worring issues that we have to face, the internet is one of the most significant advances in the past 50 years." @ ~37:50

The hell? Does he mean: A) Violence and pornography are worrying issues we have to face? B) We might have to honestly confront other worrying issues? C) These 'problems' are unique to the internet?

Incidentally, did anyone else catch his implication that animal testing (involving his old rabbit) only ever leds to wonderful advances like MRI technology? Pros and cons of vivisection aside, that's is a real stretch of the truth on several levels.

This is why I have disliked Robert Winston ever since he took over the declining Tomorrows World. He simply can't keep his political BS out of discussions of science and technology.

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 11:52:05 UTC | #570064

huzonfurst's Avatar Comment 6 by huzonfurst

This show was fascinating to watch and gave me a much-needed jolt of optimism for humanity and the world as a whole. It's difficult to decide which of these advances are the "most important" since they are all important - and many of them would be impossible without the existence of the others - but I'm voting for fusion power this morning. Without clean, reliable and abundant energy both civilization and a sustainable environment will collapse in the uncomfortably near future, making all the others moot in a dead world.

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 14:47:11 UTC | #570135

Dr. monster's Avatar Comment 7 by Dr. monster

those IVF children and babies would make a powerful lobying group for stem cell treatment. they owe their lifes to the same scientists and were opposed by the same theists. i wonder if that has ever been tried?

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 15:06:38 UTC | #570145

Degsy's Avatar Comment 8 by Degsy

Fantastic program. I think it wonderful that the development of such technologies brings such happiness to people, whether in an actual sense by virtue of practical applications, or in the theoretical sense, in that, such food for thought provides for a rich and varied intellectual diet. My personal favorite would be the microchip. Without it, the computing power that is a necessary pre-requisite to efficiently aid the development and application of the other technologies mentioned, would seem to me a near impossibility.

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 16:07:48 UTC | #570171

PaulJ's Avatar Comment 9 by PaulJ

I voted for the microchip. As Degsy says above, without it most of the others on the list wouldn't be possible.

I thought "increasing evidence for the big bang" seemed out of place on the list, and was surprised when Robert Winston picked it as his choice.

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 17:30:42 UTC | #570235

Stafford Gordon's Avatar Comment 10 by Stafford Gordon

I plumped for Stem Cell Research.

Well done BBC.

One of our daughters is at Imperial College reading Biochemistry.

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 17:38:53 UTC | #570240

bethe123's Avatar Comment 11 by bethe123

Professor Robert Winston presents his top ten scientific breakthroughs of the past 50 years.

Many engineering or technological breakthroughs are not of themselves scientific breakthroughs.

The internet did not involve the discovery of new scientific principles, rather it was an application of known science.

An example of a top notch scientific discovery would be something like the recent result that neutrinos have mass.

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 18:23:13 UTC | #570274

hinterstella's Avatar Comment 12 by hinterstella


Wed, 29 Dec 2010 23:09:25 UTC | #570454

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Comment 13 by Cook@Tahiti

Comment 10 by Stafford Gordon :

I plumped for Stem Cell Research.

The header is past tense 'changed',and Stems Cell Research hasn't changed our world that much, certainly not as much as the microprocessor, internet and pill.

Interesting how many of the big changing breakthroughs occurred quite a while ago, and none this century. I wonder if the frequency of big breakthroughs is slowing down despite more being spent on R&D.

Thu, 30 Dec 2010 01:56:53 UTC | #570527

RMIV's Avatar Comment 14 by RMIV

What about the Saturn 5 rocket? Or the Apollo space program as a whole? Or the space programS as a whole? That's change not only our world, but the way we view ourselves in the universe. I always wondered how much of the science community in the 1970's was seeded by people from the Apollo program. Apollo might be know for the sheer scale of scientist working together as a whole with one goal. I know the Manhattan project predated this, the audacity of the goal in a short time frame and the fact that there were over 400,000 people working together to get the program off the ground makes it spectacular.

However, this is nothing compared to the breakthrough that geneticist like Craig Venter and friends have made in decoding the genetic make ups and actually synthesizing the first man made lifeform.

This experiment, putting together a living bacterium from synthetic components, is clumsy, tedious, unoriginal. From the point of view of aesthetic and intellectual elegance, it is a bad experiment. But it is nevertheless a big discovery. It opens the way to the new world of synthetic biology. It proves that sequencing and synthesizing DNA give us all the tools we need to create new forms of life. After this, the tools will be improved and simplified, and synthesis of new creatures will become quicker and cheaper. Nobody can predict the new discoveries and surprises that the new technology will bring. I feel sure of only one conclusion. The ability to design and create new forms of life marks a turning-point in the history of our species and our planet. ~FREEMAN DYSON

Thu, 30 Dec 2010 04:53:19 UTC | #570580

fullyladenswallow's Avatar Comment 15 by fullyladenswallow

A good presentation which reminded me a little of the original Connections series by James Burke. It was broadcast here in the states (late 70's) along side Cosmos and Jonathan Miller's, The Body in Question. Really great stuff.

Thu, 30 Dec 2010 07:54:26 UTC | #570619

Nardia's Avatar Comment 16 by Nardia

As I understand it and I may be wrong Professor Winston does not believe in God in any traditional sense, rather he maintains a relationship with his Jewish background as a sense of belonging and kinship. From what I can tell his view is that it really doesn't matter whether or not God exists in any literal way because it is only the belief in something outside of yourself that is important. I always think of him as spiritual rather than religious.

I enjoyed the show, I think I would go for lasers, if those guys can ever get that fusion machine to work.

Thu, 30 Dec 2010 13:47:32 UTC | #570771

ferg's Avatar Comment 17 by ferg

Entertaining show. Although I like Robert Winston as a presenter though I think it would have been better had they had contributions from a number of different scientists, considering most of the choices were directly within his own field of medicine. And it's also interesting to note that most of the medicine sequences were longer than the non-medical ones.

Other scientists would surely have mentioned things like communications satellites, first used in the early 60's so within the time scale, and have transformed our lives far more than say, 'bionics' for most of us.

Mon, 03 Jan 2011 00:12:21 UTC | #572506