26 April 2008

A week in search of the Beagle (parts 1-5)

This has been a great week for HMS Beagle enthusiasts (such as your very own Beagle bloggers): we've been treated to five 15-minute episodes on BBC Radio 4 about the quest, led by Dr. Robert Prescott of the University of St. Andrews, to find her remains (most likely buried under five metres of mud in the river Roach in Essex).

And why it should matter to us whether we find the original Beagle's timbers? I liked Robert Prescott's answer, and I think it works just as well as a reason to build a new Beagle:
"It's a question of inspiration."
If you'd like to share in the inspiration, you can listen again to all five episodes here:

Episode 1
A broad brush overview of the history of the ship from her birthplace at Woolwich dockyard in London, and moving reflections by Robert Prescott, Keith Thompson and Gordon Chancellor on the irony of her anonymous end in light of her now-famous contributions to science. Listen again and read my mini-review.

Episode 2
Northward to Cambridge with Robert Prescott to learn more about Darwin's own thoughts about the little ship that was his home for five years. Listen again.

Episode 3
Back to London, to the National Archives at Kew, and then down to Paglesham in Essex where the Beagle quietly lived out her tenure as a Coast Guard watch vessel; treasures emerge from the mudflats, but the mystery is still not solved. Listen again.

Episode 4
Joined in Paglesham by Colin Pillinger of Beagle 2 fame. Listen again.

Episode 5 (Guest starring Beagle Project founders Peter McGrath and David Lort-Phillips!)
Up to St. Andrews to analyse the cores extracted from the Beagle's likely final resting place - looking for diatoms and other denizens of the ship's sediments that might indicate passage through antipodean waters. Listen again.

1 comment:

Travis said...

Thanks for posting these. I am always looking for various BBC programs to listen to. Now that I have listened to most of the In Our Time shows have run out of a concentrated single source of listening goodness. I will listen to this before I go to sleep tonight.