The Life Scientific: Paul Murdin

Astronomer Paul Murdin believes a good imagination is vital for scientists, since they're so often dealing with subjects outside the visible realm.

Indeed, over a long and successful career his imagination has taken him on a journey through space, discovering various new and unusual celestial occurrences - notably the first successful identification of a black hole, Cygnus X-1.

Paul tells Jim Al-Khalili how he spent much of his career at the Royal Greenwich Observatory, working with astronomers around the world on some of the most advanced telescopes ever built. He headed up the Astronomy section of the UK’s Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council, was Director of Science for the British National Space Centre and even has an asteroid named after him.

This list of achievements is testament to the fact that Paul has never let his disability hold him back; a leg brace and walking sticks have been part of his life since contracting polio in childhood. But he maintains that as long as you have curiosity and a vibrant imagination, nothing should stand in your way.
6 Nov 2023 English United Kingdom Science

Other recent episodes

The Life Scientific: Michael Woolridge

Humans have a long-held fascination with the idea of Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a dystopian threat: from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, through to the Terminator movies. But somehow, we still often think of this technology as 'futuristic': whereas in fact, it's already woven into the fabric of our daily lives, from…
19 Feb 27 min

The Life Scientific: Mercedes Maroto-Valer

How do you solve a problem like CO2? As the curtain closes on the world’s most important climate summit, we talk to a scientist who was at COP 28 and is working to solve our carbon dioxide problem. Professor Mercedes Maroto-Valer thinks saving the planet is still Mission Possible -…
12 Feb 27 min

The Life Scientific: Sir Harry Bhadeshia

The Life Scientific zooms in to explore the intricate atomic make-up of metal alloys, with complex crystalline arrangements that can literally make or break structures integral to our everyday lives. Professor Sir Harry Bhadeshia is Professor of Metallurgy at Queen Mary University of London and Emeritus Tata Steel Professor of…
5 Feb 28 min

The Life Scientific: Cathie Sudlow

“Big data” and “data science” are terms we hear more and more these days. The idea that we can use these vast amounts of information to understand and analyse phenomena, and find solutions to problems, is gaining prominence, both in business and academia. Cathie Sudlow, Professor of Neurology and Clinical…
29 Jan 27 min

The Life Scientific: Sir Michael Berry

Professor Jim Al-Khalili meets one of Britain's greatest physicists, Sir Michael Berry. His work uncovers 'the arcane in the mundane', revealing the science that underpins phenomena in the world around us such as rainbows, and through his popular science lectures he joyfully explains the role of quantum mechanics in phones,…
22 Jan 27 min