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Marty Jopson - Four Way Interview

Marty Jopson is an expert on science, hosting talks across the country. Regularly appearing on BBC One’s The One Show as their resident science reporter, he has also appeared on ITV, Channel 4, Sky, the Discovery Channel and National Geographic, as well as lecturing at The Royal Institution. He is the author of the bestselling The Science of Everyday Life, and The Science of Food. His latest book is The Science of Being Human.


Why science?

Because it’s cool. Simple as that. I could bang on about how science has given us incredible super powers to survive disease, see back in time to the start of the universe and talk to people on the other side of the globe. We could talk about understanding what it means to be conscious, the very nature of matter itself or if there are parallel universes, but that all gets kinda heavy. On the other hand you could consider the small things like your mobile phone, your breakfast cereal, the lightbulb over your head or the shampoo you use. But that seems too trivial. Bottom line science is just fascinating. I recently found out about the Larus gull ring species and it has changed the way I look at Herring Gulls. Science makes life more exciting. For me it’s the special sauce, the MSG and the umami of life. And if you want to know about the Larus ring species - buy the book (or Google it). 


Why this book?

This in now my third book, each of which has had a similar format of relatively short dives into chunkets of science. The first was very general and based in you own home, the second was about food - because food is good. But for the third I wanted to get my teeth into some more biological science. I was trained as a biologist but then went off and became a generalist on telly. This book was a chance to make some connections between human biology and a bunch of other subjects that I have grown to appreciate. So how does biology and technology interface and what about biology and maths? That’s why.


What’s next?

I’d love to write something about bridges. Over the many years I have been working in television I have spent a lot of time filming on bridges for one reason or another. I have become a teensy bit obsessed with them. My family groan when I mention them and I have been banned from taking them to look at bridges. Which is a shame as I am convinced that bridges are the most spectacular example of modern engineering on the planet. 

Oh and I’m about to start trying to write some books aimed specifically at kids. I spend a lot of time communicating science to kids and it would be fun to write something for this audience.


What’s exciting you at the moment?

Cross polar microscopy. I recently teamed up with Zeiss - makers of fine microscopes - to deliver a microscopy based biology show that has been doing the rounds and has been seen by in excess of 45,000 people. The follow up to this is a material science show with microscopy. Part of this will be looking at polarised light microscopy. It has the potential to allow me to produce some stunning visual displays and some really ooh aaah moments from the audience. So right now I am just getting my geek on with the technical aspects of fitting up my microscopes with polarisation filters. 

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The Science of Being Human - Marty Jopson *****

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