In The Footsteps Of Giants


01Sue Blackmore On Albert Hofmann2010041920101121

In the first in a series of passionate explorations we discover the connections between leading scientists today and yesterday, with one contemporary scientist looking back upon the life of another whose experience has fascinating parallels to their own.

Susan Blackmore delves into the unique connecting point between herself and LSD pioneer Albert Hofmann- someone she has admired for decades.

Susan shares her personal audio archive of her meeting with the Swiss scientist and discusses how the man has inspired her own research into consciousness, tackling the controversial area of LSD research on the way.

Producer: Lucy Adam.

Susan Blackmore explores the connection between herself and LSD pioneer Albert Hofmann.

02Paul Davies On Carl Sagan2010042020101128

Within a series of passionate explorations, Paul Davies looks back on the life of Carl Sagan.

Sagan's public lectures laid the groundwork for Davies' own fascination with the universe.

Both scientists have played key roles in SETI (the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) and both have championed the popularisation of science.

Paul Davies returns to the Boyd Orr Lecture Hall at Glasgow University where Sagan delivered his Gifford lecture 'The Search for Who We Are', meeting up with Martin Hendry, Senior Lecturer in Astronomy at Glasgow University who also attended the lecture and was similarly inspired.

Looking back at Carl's work, he reflects on the similarities to his own life and career.

Producer: Lucy Adam.

Paul Davies looks back on the life of fellow scientific populariser Carl Sagan.

03Hugh Pennington On Joseph Lister2010042120101205

As part of series of passionate encounters between scientists past and present, bacteriologist Hugh Pennington- an expert on E Coli outbreaks- looks back at his hero and fellow scientist Joseph Lister.

Lister has affected Hugh's life, and not just as he has been awarded the Lister Medal of the Society of Chemical Industry.

As a pioneer of sterilisation, Lister banished bugs from the operating theatre.

As an expert on E Coli outbreaks, Hugh Pennington has spent decades trying to discover where the bugs got back into food that should have been safe.

Hugh looks back upon the life of Joseph Lister and explores the connections between the great man and himself.

The producer is Lucy Adam.

Prof Hugh Pennington looks back at the life of Joseph Lister.

04Barry Marshall On John Hunter20100422

Nobel Laureate Barry Marshall experimented on himself to prove a scientific hypothesis.

Here he goes in search of John Hunter, a zealous seventeenth century surgeon who similarly made himself into a guinea pig.

Marshall was certain that stomach ulcers were caused by bacterial infection, as opposed to stress or diet, but he needed to prove it against the weight of settled scientific opinion.

Keeping his family in the dark, he drank a culture of bacteria to give himself stomach ulcers.

It may have seemed madness but he managed to cure the ulcers he caused with antibiotics, proving they were a bacterial infection.

This may be extreme, but Marshall is impressed by the exploits of John Hunter.

In order to prove his hunch of how gonorrhoea is contagious, John Hunter took the infected pus from a patient's penis and injected it into his own.

He got gonorrhoea - proving it was contagious - but also syphilis, which probably caused his death.

Marshall will explore Hunter's life, and asks whether even he could be that dedicated to scientific discovery.

Producer: Lucy Adam.

Barry Marshall goes in search of John Hunter, a zealous 17th-century surgeon.

05 LASTSusan Greenfield On Rita Levi-montalcini2010042320101212

Eminent neurologist Susan Greenfield, a professor at Oxford, life peer and recipient of the Royal Society's Michael Faraday Prize looks into the life of someone who has inspired her own career, Nobel Laureate Rita Levi-Montalcini.

She draws upon the parallels in their lives- both Jewish women in the field of neurology- and delves into Rita Levi-Montalcini's extraordinary career, while questioning whether she could ever have the stamina to overcome the stumbling blocks that were placed in Professor Levi-Montalcini's way.

Produced by Lucy Adam.

Neurologist Susan Greenfield looks into the life of Nobel Laureate Rita Levi-Montalcini.