‘Simon’s Radio 4 series The Serendipity of Science starts this week’

Having had a website for over a year, I have at last decided to start emailing the people on my www.simonsingh.com mailing list. This will be the first of a regular newsletter covering my latest projects, and I suspect that I will probably send out about 8 emails per year.

The reason for this particular newsletter is my new 3-part radio series, The Serendipity of Science, which starts on Wednesday 5 September at 9pm on Radio 4. The series reveals how sheer luck has influenced the course of science, from the microwave oven to the Big Bang, from mysterious sprites to gut bacteria.

The word ‘serendipity’, invented by Horace Walpole, means the chance discovery of things that were not being sought. Discoveries resulting from serendipity clearly involve luck, but they also require sagacity. As Louis Pasteur (a beneficiary of serendipity) once said, “chance favours only the prepared mind.”

If you do not live in the UK and cannot pick up Radio 4 (arguably the finest facet of the BBC), then you can still catch the series by visiting the BBC website at 9pm British Summer Time, (e.g., 4pm New York Time or 10pm Paris Time). The series has its own special BBC site, where there are some clips, along with an article by me about serendipity.

To give you a flavour of future newsletters, announcements over the next six months should include a teenage edition of The Code Book, a cryptography CD-ROM, an interactive crypto section at www.simonsingh.com, a radio series about numbers (which is more interesting than it sounds) and a TV debate that I am hosting about artificial intelligence.