Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Botany on the airwaves

Solanum dulcamara
Image: J. R. Crellin http://www.floralimages.co.uk/
Seems like you can't turn on the radio at the moment without hearing about botany and how we record and classify plants. Not complaining, just trying to keep up with so much good stuff around!

This morning the fabulous Sandy Knapp was on Jim Al-Khalili's The Life Scientific on Radio 4. Click here to listen again on iPlayer. My favourite quote was Sandy saying that becoming a scientist is like being given a licence to have a great time. For a woman whose important work on Solanaceae will, as Jim Al-Khalili said, still be referred to when we are all dead and gone, she is remarkably modest and down-to-earth, with a great sense of humour. Just like most botanists you meet, actually!

Last night Shared Planet featured Mark Avery talking about natural history - click here to read how RSPB's former Conservation Director is getting interested in plants. Nice to see what happens when botanists point out what is growing on a site and how that helps you interpret it and put former land use into a cultural/historical context. Click here to listen to Shared Planet on iPlayer.


Kew at night
Image: W. Arshad
And there's more to come: a 25-part radio series has been made, examining the history of RBG Kew, its contribution to scientific research and its future in these financially-straitened times. The series, called Plants: From Roots to Riches, will be broadcast on consecutive days starting on 21st July, and will be available on iPlayer here - there is also a tie-in book. Professor Kathy Willis, Director of Science at RBG Kew, will present the programme and has co-authored the book. There's an excellent piece about the series here in the Telegraph, and here the Controller of Radio 4 talks about the programme. 

If you need pictures with your words, here's a video of Kathy talking about biodiversity and here's a video of Sandy on taxonomy. Inspirational scientists who also happen to be female ;-)