Comedians Discussing Chaos Theory? Only on British TV | Science | Smithsonian
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Comedians Discussing Chaos Theory? Only on British TV

One of the things I love about visiting the U.K. is British television. Specifically what my friend calls "quiz shows." That's not quite the right name for them, though, because they usually consist of a panel (or two) of comedians discussing anything from current events to music to natural history...

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One of the things I love about visiting the U.K. is British television. Specifically what my friend calls "quiz shows." That's not quite the right name for them, though, because they usually consist of a panel (or two) of comedians discussing anything from current events to music to natural history (a favorite is "QI"). The questions only start the talking, and scoring is just for fun. But I was still pretty shocked to turn on the TV one day to find a panel judging scientific and academic theories. It was a show called "It's Only a Theory," and on it academics are invited to present theories like "texting is good for the English language." The panel then decides whether to keep the theory or toss it out.



On the episode I watched, Chris Budd, a mathematician at the University of Bath, presented his theory, "there is nothing random about chaos." I'm still floored that such a thing could exist on TV (and wish they would show it here in the U.S.). Here's how the segment went:



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About Sarah Zielinski
Sarah Zielinski

Sarah Zielinski is an award-winning science writer and editor. She is a contributing writer in science for Smithsonian.com and blogs at Wild Things, which appears on Science News.

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