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Eric Laithwaite 1974 RI Christmas Lectures, Lecture 3 "Jam Yesterday, Jam Tomorrow"

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 Physics   |   Science
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Professor Eric Laithwaite presents his second televised series of CHRISTMAS LECTURES exploring the world of engineering.

A sequel to his 1966 series, 'The Engineer in Wonderland', Laithwaite was the first person to present two series of Lectures on national television.

His overriding theme running through series is that Science is exciting, curiosity its bait. Just as Lewis Carolls Alice peered down the rabbit hole and went through the mirror, Laithwaite describes the engineers target as the seemingly impossible.

As he states in his programme notes: "There may be no crown at the end for those who step through the glass, as there was for Alice, but if the delight is there, the journey itself is the reward".

His five lectures explore the varied work of engineers across gravitation, inertia and electromagenitism, including the controversial Lecture Four where Laithwaite used the behavioural gyroscopes in an attempt to challenge the validity of Newtons Laws of motion and the laws of thermodynamics.

Through the title of this third lecture and the theme of chess running through Alice's adventures, Professor Eric Laithwaite introduces the concept of 'odds and evens'.

With the aid of the Radiophonic Workshop, Laithwaite experiments with sound and speech before we journeying with Alice to the "wood of thought" to enquire whether the Universe as a whole has a preferred 'direction'. Is the Universe left or right-handed, for example, and what answers does the phenomenon of electromagnetism reveal?

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