BBC 4 @ 8:00pm
The 2020 CHRISTMAS LECTURES start Mon 28 Dec with Chris Jackson, then on Tues 29 Dec with Helen Czerski and finally Weds 30 Dec with Tara Shine.
This year’s CHRISTMAS LECTURES may be a little different to anything we’ve ever done before, but there is still one thing that is the same: We’re crazy excited about watching the lectures on TV BBC 4.
The second lecture for the series “Engine Earth” starts tonight at 8.00PM and explores Earth’s heating and plumbing systems.
Our planet is travelling at 30km/s around our Sun, which is travelling at 250km/s around the centre of the Milky Way, which is zooming at over 2 million km/h into deep space.
The only reason we can survive this epic cosmic voyage is because Earth is equipped with everything we need to survive. Our home planet creates an endless supply of food, water and oxygen. It maintains a perfect temperature for our bodies and recycles our waste. It even shelters us from cosmic storms and asteroids on our dangerous journey through the universe.
In this year’s Christmas Lectures from the Royal Institution, three expert scientists from different fields will present a unique ‘user’s guide’ to Planet Earth. They will unravel astonishing global systems and remarkable natural wonders that combine to keep life on Earth alive.
And then they’ll explore how human activity has become an overwhelming geological force – disrupting the finely tuned systems that have kept our planet running smoothly for billions of years. We’ll learn how we can each help repair the damage we’re doing and live more sustainably, as Earth’s population increases.
Each of these world-famous Lectures from the Royal Institution will bring to life one aspect of Earth’s inner workings:
In Lecture two, physicist and oceanographer Helen Czerski unpicks the Earth’s heating and plumbing systems, showing how shifting ocean water creates an engine that distributes heat and nutrients around our planet. This engine forms the heart of our planetary life support system, and it’s linked to almost every aspect of our existence.
ABOUT THE SPEAKER
Dr Helen Czerski is a physicist and oceanographer with a passion for science, sport, books, creativity, hot chocolate and investigating the interesting things in life.
Helen graduated from the University of Cambridge in 2001 with a first in Natural Sciences (Physics), and again in 2006 with a PhD in experimental explosives physics. A continuing fascination with the world of very fast small-scale phenomena led her from explosives to the study of ocean bubble formation. In 2010, Helen returned to the UK after four years spent working in the USA at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and URI’s Graduate School of Oceanography. Her academic home now is the Department of Mechanical Engineering at University College London.
Her academic research addresses the physics of breaking waves and bubbles at the ocean surface. These bubbles change underwater sound and light, help transfer gases from ocean to atmosphere (helping the ocean breathe) and also eject ocean material into the air. She has spent months working on research ships in the Antarctic, the Pacific, the North Atlantic and the Arctic, and is an experienced field scientist. It still astonishes her that we don’t talk about the ocean more and she spends a lot of time working to bring this beautiful blue engine, the heart of our planetary system, to the public eye. Outside work (as well as a lot of other sports), she paddles Pacific outrigger canoes here in London. That’s the place where her interests in science, culture and the ocean all meet, because you need all of them to succeed in an outrigger canoe.
Helen has been a regular science presenter on the BBC for ten years, covering the physics of the natural world in many BBC2 landmark documentaries.