Self Drives - Maxwell's Equations

Episodes

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01Maxwell's Edinburgh20151123

Will Self embarks on a road trip from Edinburgh to Cambridge on the trail of Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell who 150 years ago pioneered the theory of the electromagnetic waves which made mobile phones, radio, radar and GPS all possible.

In a bid to understand Maxwell and his achievements, Will plans to drive 600 miles in an electric car, stopping off at locations relevant to the much neglected 19th century physicist.

Will's trip starts promisingly enough when he has a chance encounter with Nobel prize-winning physicist Sir Peter Higgs on an Edinburgh back street not far from Maxwell's birthplace. But things then start to go awry as Will has a rather less welcome run-in in a multi-storey car park...

Producer: Laurence Grissell.

02Maxwell At Glenlair20151124

Will Self continues his 600 mile road trip on the trail of Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell who 150 years ago pioneered the theory of the electromagnetic waves which made mobile phones, radio, radar and GPS all possible.

In a bid to understand Maxwell and his legacy, Will plans to drive from Edinburgh to London in an electric car, stopping off at locations relevant to the much neglected 19th century physicist.

Today Will's at Glenlair, Maxwell's country estate, where he attempts to get to grips with what inspired the physicist's scientific imagination. Will's electric car, on the other hand, is proving somewhat less than inspirational...

Producer: Laurence Grissell.

03Maxwell And A Chinese Dinner20151125

Will Self continues his 600 mile road trip on the trail of Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell who 150 years ago pioneered the theory of the electromagnetic waves which made mobile phones, radio, radar and GPS possible.

In a bid to understand Maxwell and his legacy, Will is driving from Edinburgh to London in an electric car, accompanied by Akram Khan, professor of particle physics at Brunel University.

Over a Chinese meal in Manchester, Will expresses fundamental concerns about the nature and value of scientific progress. Akram is troubled by Will's misgivings.

Producer: Laurence Grissell.

04Maxwell In Space20151126

Will Self continues his 600 mile road trip on the trail of much neglected Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell who 150 years ago pioneered the theory of the electromagnetic waves which made mobile phones, radio, radar and GPS possible.

In a bid to feel the wonder of Maxwell's work and legacy, Will is driving from Edinburgh to London in an electric car, accompanied by Akram Khan, professor of particle physics at Brunel University.

Following a clash of views about the value of scientific progress, Will and Akram drive to Jodrell Bank Observatory in a bid to understand more about the application of Maxwell's equations.

Producer: Laurence Grissell.

05Maxwell's Genius20151127

Will Self concludes his 600 mile road trip on the trail of much neglected Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell who 150 years ago pioneered the theory of the electromagnetic waves which made mobile phones, radio, radar and GPS possible.

In a bid to feel the wonder of Maxwell's work and legacy, Will is driving from Edinburgh to London in an electric car, accompanied by Akram Khan, professor of particle physics at Brunel University.

Will ends his journey in Cambridge posing the question: was Maxwell really a genius?

Producer: Laurence Grissell.