Material World (radio programme)

Material World (Radio Programme)

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Material World (radio programme)

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Material World is a weekly science magazine programme on BBC Radio 4 on a Thursday afternoon, presented by Quentin Cooper with contributions from scientists researching areas under discussion in each programme. It is the UK's most listened-to science programme.


The programme began in 1998, being presented by Trevor Phillips, the Imperial College chemistry graduate. From 2000, Quentin Cooper was drafted in.


The programme is divided into two sections of fifteen minutes on separate topics, taking the form of interviewing a guest scientist or engineer. The topics discussed are not generally on repetitive subjects, but cover most aspects of science, no matter how many long words or jargon end up being used. The more controversial or revolutionary a piece of recent scientific work is, the more likely it is to be included into the programme. Quentin Cooper often ends the programme with a terrible, but scientific, pun.

Many past-programmes are available for online listening via the program's web-site. Some sequential sets of programmes have been made in collaboration with the Open University (OU).

BBC science output

Since Tomorrow's World was cancelled in 2003, Material World is one of the BBC's main conduit for up-to-date scientific news, along with Frontiers and Science in Action. However, in July 2009, the Bang Goes the Theory series kick-started the BBC's science television once again.

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