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Sir Patrick Vallance will reflect on the role science has played over the course of the pandemic during an interview marking Radio 4’s Day of the Scientist.
The Government’s chief scientific adviser will be among the special guests on the station’s science takeover day, which will be held on October 12.
The station will also be celebrating the 10th anniversary of its science programme, The Life Scientific, with an hour-long special edition.
In an extended interview from 8-9pm with The Life Scientific’s presenter Jim Al-Khalili, Sir Patrick will discuss his role within the Government and science’s relationship to politics.
He will also reflect on how the pandemic has changed science, the place of the scientist in everyday society and the key scientific challenges ahead, including how to achieve carbon net-zero and preserve the diversity of species.
They will also discuss how the UK can capitalise on its scientific expertise and ethical questions about scientific innovation to ensure it is harnessed for the benefit of our society.
The day will begin with the Today programme examining if there are enough scientists in the right places, such as in politics, media and other key parts of public life.
Jim Al-Khalili is the presenter of The Life Scientific.
He talks to leading scientists about their work, what inspires them, and their latest discoveries. @jimalkhalili
— BBC Radio 4 (@BBCRadio4) September 28, 2021
Woman’s Hour will also have a science-centred episode looking at whether engagement in science is affected when the scientist is a woman, while also looking at topics like issues of trust in science.
The science-focused day will end with Inside Health, exploring the potential the development and distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine has unlocked for other diseases.
Mohit Bakaya, controller of Radio 4, said: “The scientist has taken centre stage during this pandemic and our understanding of both the value of what scientists do as well as how science works has been significantly enhanced.
“Following on from this, I want Radio 4’s Day of the Scientist to be a deep dive into the many issues that emerge out of the pandemic, but also an exploration of how science, education, politics and the media will have to evolve together if we are to face the challenges of the future.
“I am also thrilled to able to use the day to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the brilliant Life Scientific and feature the first in-depth broadcast interview with Sir Patrick Vallance since the pandemic began.”