The Beauty of Diagrams

BBC 4 (6 x 30 mins)

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Why do complex scientific theories and equations often only make sense when portrayed in pictures? How have scientific diagrams, drawings, sketches and graphs revolutionised our understanding of science?

One of the most pervasive myths about science is that it doesn't require art. Science, we're told, is about the logic of numbers, hard cold facts and the recording of experiences purposefully stripped of emotion. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In this new six part series Professor Marcus du Sautoy, eminent Oxford Professor of Maths and public understanding of science, will illustrate and explore that far from being a reluctant visual medium, science is actually at the forefront of the design and creation of a number of iconic visual diagrams. From Newton's Prism to Da Vinci's Vitruvian Man to Watson and Crick's extraordinary diagram of the Double Helix diagrams have successfully shaped and defined our understanding of complex scientific theories and over time have become accepted in society as astonishing illustrations in their own right. Professor du Sautoy will creatively navigate his way through the numerous diagrams, graphs, sketches and designs that have revolutionised our understanding of the world around us.