Study Skills

  • Learning to Think Critically

    From the author: Despite great strides in our understanding, the average person still does not understand science in the facts or in the practice, and instead fills the void with pseudoscience.

    This reflects a worldview that values an emphasis on commonly accepted, traditional lore, and a general disinterest in the role of science and reason in our lives.

    Science is perceived by the media, government, and popular conciousness as something that happens to other people.

    This is unacceptable. We need to find a way to reach out with reason to the unreasonable, with knowledge to the ignorant, or else we will be unprepared when the moment of crisis finally arrives. There has never been a more important time to value and respect science, technology and reason.

    Those who value science can not retreat into their academic towers. We are dependent on popular, political support for this effort, and we will never advance to the next stage without overwhelming public momentum. Outreach is essential, and it can start anywhere, and at any level.

    I have a message and a challenge to all viewers. Do something to raise awareness of the role of science in our society, the importance of reason. Take it as a personal responsibility, or no-one will

    Running time 2 hours; 18 min.
  • What Makes a Genius?

    Could you have come up with Einstein's theory of relativity? If not - why not? This is what Marcus du Sautoy, professor of mathematics, wants to explore.

    Marcus readily admits that he is no genius, but wants to know if geniuses are just an extreme version of himself - or whether their brains are fundamentally different.

    Marcus meets some remarkable individuals - Tommy, an obsessive artist who uses his whole house as his canvas; Derek: blind, autistic, and a pianist with apparently prodigious gifts; Claire who is also blind, but whose brain has learnt to see using sound.

    Marcus is shown how babies have remarkable abilities which most of us lose as teenagers. He meets a neuroscientist who claims he has evidence of innate ability, a scientist who's identified a gene for learning, and Dr. Paulus, who has discovered how to sharpen the brain... by electrically turbo-charging it.

    Running time 60 min.

  • Why Reading Matters

    Science writer Rita Carter tells the story of how modern neuroscience has revealed that reading, something most of us take for granted, unlocks remarkable powers.

    Carter explains how the classic novel Wuthering Heights allows us to step inside other minds and understand the world from different points of view, and she wonders whether the new digital revolution could threaten the values of classic reading.

    Reading is an important skill that needs to be developed in children. Not only is it necessary for survival in the world of schools and (later on) universities, but in adult life as well.

    The ability to learn about new subjects and find helpful information on anything from health problems and consumer protection to more academic research into science or the arts depends on the ability to read.

    Running time 60 min.