Jim Al-Khalili

Jim Al-Khalili, theoretical physicist, author, and broadcaster, writes:

In 2009 we celebrate fifty years since C.P. Snow’s famous Cambridge lecture on the Two Cultures. He was referring in 1959 to the rift and irreconcilable differences, as he saw them, between the sciences and the arts. Are we any closer today to bridging this divide? I see science from two perspectives. On the one hand, I feel it has yet to be accepted comfortably within popular culture along with any other intellectual pursuit of an enlightened society, such as literature, music or history. After all, what can be more fascinating and noble a cause than attempting to answer questions about the Universe and our place in it?

On the other hand, science for me also means the ‘scientific method’. We simply do not have any other rational way of finding out about how and why our world works the way it does and how to use that knowledge when we have it. And of course the next time you get in a car, use your mobile phone, switch on your tv or get inoculated against a disease, remember it is science that has enabled us to develop technologies that have made our lives so much better.

Science is more than just the hard subject at school that preoccupied the smart kids. It is a way of thinking about our world that can lead to changing it for the better.

Find out more about Jim Al-Khalili and his work at his website.


  1. Posted November 18, 2008 at 2:34 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Hmh, I feel that there is quite a capacity for science in popular culture. Given that there were around 50,000 people at CERN Open Day and the 'Large Hadron Rap' on youtube has had about 4 million plays! Surely, that can't all have been scientists!
    I imagine that a lot of people are curious about the world, but maybe do not perceive themselves as engaging with science when they watch TV programmes such as Atom, which some people could mentally file as a history documentary. As a science blogger I have found through my statistics that if there is something in the news or on TV that people don't know about, they look it up on the internet and ask questions. They realise that it is important, but some may feel only feel capable of following a scientist's account to a certain degree (also depending on how s/he communicates the subject in question).

    PS: cars, TVs and mobile phones are good things? ;)

  2. Posted February 13, 2010 at 4:01 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I am a lover for the Physics, but she is a lot a woman difícilcil of being conquered by me, no matter how much I study it!
    Thank you for the information transmitted in the film on the atom
    Great hug

  3. Posted September 3, 2011 at 8:52 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Science is a subject which occupied our mind simply! That is neither something more than anything nor a hard thing. Adjectives in science is nonesence basically! Al-Birouni told that " asking is half of knowledge" but four centuries later Toussi wrote in his logical book " Assass-al eghtebass ": " Asking is knowledge as whole". Science can be a sort of mental tendency to our questions. Science is nothing except for scientific method.
    Unfortunately I have no time now I will continue this subject-matter.
    Dr. A.H.Randjbar - Philosophy lecturer, History of western philosophy,
    History of Ideas, Philosophy of Science as well as researcher on Islamic Culture & Civilization in AFTAB Institute.

  4. Posted September 3, 2011 at 8:57 PM | Permalink | Reply

    The right of thais note is yours confidently!

  5. George Rowe
    Posted January 11, 2012 at 3:37 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I watched the program on the LHC recently--I am not an Astrophysist,
    or much of a mathematician,but I have some questions.regarding antimatter,and the formation of the universe,and possibly? it's ultimate end? interested?

Post a Comment