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ROUGH SCIENTISTS TAKE UP THE TROPICAL CHALLENGE

Rough Science, the popular TV challenge show, returns to BBC TWO in May for a new six-week series.

A team of five diverse scientists stretch their skills to the limit, swapping their hi-tech laboratories for a disused Caribbean lime factory and a kit of only the most basic tools and equipment.

Kate Humble, recently unveiled as the new face of TV science as a presenter on Tomorrow's World, sets the scientists a series of seemingly impossible challenges designed to test their combined scientific knowledge, resourcefulness, ingenuity and team spirit. How do you lower the temperature when it's soaring to a blistering 38C? How do you make a working microscope out of next to nothing? And how can you produce a scale map of the area without a compass, measuring devices, pen and paper?

Watch Rough Science and the answers to these and other questions will be revealed! The Open University (OU) series forces scientists to go back to basics to complete their challenges, and in doing so show how pooling inspirational thinking and knowledge is the only way to succeed. It also shows how everyone can enjoy science and experiment with it safely at home.

A specially written booklet and interative website will support the series. The site includes details of the challenges featured in each programme, sets challenges exclusive to site users, offers online chat with the scientists after each programme, photos and video clips and a huge resource bank for further information. And for those who want to go on to study science there are full details of the OU's special science short courses.

OU chemist Mike Bullivant says filming the series was a fantastic experience:
"Rough Science reminds you what science is all about. It's fun, it's experimental, it's hit and miss, and things, more often than not, do go wrong.
"It shows viewers that science is all around them, affecting their everyday lives, and challenges them to get involved and have a go too.

"Everyone can enjoy science, no matter what their age or ability, and after watching the series we hope viewers will come to be as excited by the subject as much as we are," he said. The series, which was filmed on the Caribbean island of Carriacou, is scheduled for broadcast from Tuesday May 7th 2002, at 7.30pm on BBC TWO. The challenges are:

May 7: Make paper, pen and inks, create a scale map and make a sound recording.
May 14: Build a weather station, microscope, biology lab and anti-bacterial cream.
May 21: Make a transmitter and receiver, a clock and a kite.
May 28: Lower the temperature and make a thermometer and sunscreen.
June 11: Make an underwater torch, and recharge a battery.
June 18: Make fireworks and music for an end-of-series party.

Editor's Notes
The scientists taking the Rough Science challenge are: chemist Mike Bullivant from the Open University in Milton Keynes; physicist Jonathan Hare from Sussex University; Oxford- based virologist Mike Leahy; physicist Kathy Sykes from Bristol and botanist Ellen McCallie from the Missouri Botanical Garden in the USA.

The Rough Science website can be found at www.Open2.NET and will be active from Tuesday May 7th, 2002. Online chat with the scientists will take place via the website after each programme.

The Rough Science booklet will be available by calling 0870 900 0313 from May 7th. Preview tapes, interviews with the scientists, electronic images, and scientists' biographies are available by calling Fiona Leslie on the number below.

Contact details
OU Media Relations Fiona Leslie 01908 653256 F.M.Leslie@open.ac.uk

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THE CREATIVE SCIENCE CENTRE

Dr Jonathan Hare, Physics Dept., The University of Sussex
Brighton, East Sussex. BN1 9QJ

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