The BBC Radio 4 Reith Lectures were given in 2010 by the Astromer Royal, Professor Martin Rees. In this expanded version of the lectures (doubled in length with new material) Martin Rees shows how important science will be to the global ecomies of the 21st century, to solving some of our apparently intractable problems and to understanding the risks that the world faces.Science is often seen as difficult or obscure, but some great scientists (like the author) are so clear that we can all understand it and participate in the great debates that should concern us all whether they are about swine flu, global warming, oil running out, or even space travel. In four dazzling chapters (plus introduction and conclusion) Martin Rees shows the pleasures and importance of science, warns all of us (including governments intent on cutting funding) why we must take science deadly seriously and why it apart from everything else it is so satisfying - one of humankind's greatest achievements.
Martin Rees is Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics and Master of Trinity College at the University of Cambridge. He was the President of the Royal Society until this year, and is the Astronomer Royal. A member of the House of Lords, he is a foreign associate of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is an honorary member of the Russian Academy of Sciences. His awards include the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society, the Einstein Award of the World Cultural Council and the Crafoord Prize (Royal Swedish Academy).