Re:Do We Really Need The Moon? (BBC2)

Forums General Discussion Do We Really Need The Moon? (BBC2) Re:Do We Really Need The Moon? (BBC2)


Posted by Steve Holmes2 at 18:08 on 2013 Dec 13

If only she was an "expert" perhaps it wouldn’t be such an issue! Frankly, I feel she has already had the benefit of any doubt I would wish to give her, following the debacle of "DWRNTM" and her other decidedly dumbed-down presentations.Yes, she has been involved in many branches of science but this was many years ago. Her tribology thesis was 1995 and she seems to have done her "hands-on" work developing instruments for satellites in the early 2000’s. There’s then a big gap in her Wikipedia career profile before the "she is now working on and managing" phrase so I guess she’s now more a manager than a scientist as such. She probably currently spends a lot more time "communicating" than researching/developing, in any case. All of which is fine, but there is no "astronomical" qualification there at all! Yes, she may have "wanted to be an astronaut" as a child (didn’t we all?) but even she says she is "committed to inspiring new generations of astronauts, engineers and scientists" – no mention of astronomers there! – and always describes herself as a "space scientist". This lack of an astronomical background (and presumably knowledge base) does not bode well. Her emphasis on children and young people is also worrying: while ‘The Sky At Night’ must of course continue to attract an ongoing audience it is not (and was never intended to be) a "children’s programme". To try to make it so would clearly invite disaster.Her credits are said to include the mini-series ‘Paradox’ (panned by the critics and cancelled after one series); ‘Dr Who Confidential’ (just one appearance, and that as a "space scientist"); the infamous DWRNTM (no further comment needed!), and ‘How Satellites Rule Our World’ (2012): not an impressive list. I think I saw the last one and was not impressed by the level of its content – definitely one for the masses rather than a serious study. Example – when discussing geostationary orbits, did we get an explanation based on the fact that higher orbits take longer to traverse and hence if you go high enough it will take 24hrs = geostationary? No, we got the presenter running round a carousel, trying to keep up with it as it turned and saying you had to go a long way out as "gravity was so weak there" you wouldn’t be pulled back to the earth. Oh dear!As for inviting lots of people with different skills to tell us about their work (as per Sir Patrick’s approach) I have this nasty feeling that Dr A-P will not be able to keep herself in the background long enough for much useful to be said! (as Sir P was very adept at doing). Not sure how much respect such (real) experts would have for a "science populariser" in any case: will they even agree to appear?I fervently hope that our fears for the programme will not be realised but I’m not at all confident. Recruiting Dr A-P and moving to BBC4 may sound the death-knell for TSAN, not herald its salvation – but maybe that’s what the BBC are intending all along??Steve Holmes