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Publisher's Summary

The landmark BBC series exploring science in art, developed by Radio 4 in partnership with the Science Museum - with an introduction read by Toby Jones

Art and science are often considered to be in conflict, with art dealing in creativity and science in cold, hard facts. But the two disciplines have always been interconnected, taking inspiration from each other and shaping each other's worlds. In this fascinating 20-part series, Sir Ian Blatchford, Director of the Science Museum, and Dr Tilly Blyth, the Science Museum's Head of Collections, reveal how science's ingenuity has been incorporated into artistic expression - and how art's creativity has stimulated scientific progress and technological change.

Beginning with the Enlightenment and concluding with our modern-day Age of Ambivalence, they take a chronological journey through 250 years of British history, looking at the often surprising relationships between iconic works of art and key scientific objects and ideas. Among the pieces they analyse are Philippe Jacques de Loutherbourg's theatrical portrayal of the Industrial Revolution, Coalbrookdale by Night; Constable's cloud paintings; John Nasmyth's extraordinarily detailed photographs of the Moon; Roy Nockolds' Supersonic, the first abstract image to show the breaking of the sound barrier; and Longplayer, a 1000-year-long musical composition created by computer algorithm.

From Joseph Wright's 1776 painting A Philosopher Giving A Lecture On The Orrery, illuminating a new scientific age of wonders, to Cornelia Parker's Einstein's Abstracts and Cold Dark Matter, shining cosmological light on what is yet to be known, we see that science and art are part of the same rich culture, engaged in an ongoing dialogue driven by mutual curiosity, creativity and imagination.

Presented by Sir Ian Blatchford and Tilly Blyth
Introduction read by Toby Jones
Readers: Shaun Mason, Katherine Cusack and Sean Baker
Music composed by Mark Russell
Produced by Adrian Washbourne, in partnership with The Science Museum Group

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on the following dates:

The Scientific Sublime 23 September 2019
Masters of Spectacle 24 September 2019
Satirizing Science 25 September 2019
Observing the Air 26 September 2019
Tracking Progress 27 September 2019
Plants on Paper 30 September 2019
Reaching for the Moon 1 October 2019
Dyeing to Display 2 October 2019
Capturing Time 3 October 2019
Celebrating Speed 4 October 2019
Art as Protest 7 October 2019
Humans in the Industrial Machine 8 October 2019
Forms of Knowledge 9 October 2019
Supersonic 10 October 2019
Patterns from Atoms 11 October 2019
Wonder Materials 14 October 2019
Polaroid Perceptions 15 October 2019
Protecting the Earth 16 October 2019
Patterns of Thought 17 October 2019
Imagining Matter 18 October 2019 

©2021 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd (P)2021 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd

Critic Reviews

"A real treat." (The Spectator

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