Rough Scientists in Zanzibar, East Africa

Rough Science is scheduled for transmission from Wednesday 16 February on BBC TWO at 19:30
but viewers are advised to check their television listing guide for confirmation

Rough Scientists face toughest challenge yet in exotic marine location Zanzibar - one of Africa's most enticing locations - is the setting for the most ambitious set of challenges that Rough Science has ever undertaken.

Open University web site

The latest series of the popular Open University and BBC TWO production Rough Science will see the scientists take on a range of exacting marine challenges that will pit their scientific wits and ingenuity against the Indian Ocean. The four resourceful scientists, Mike Bullivant, Jonathan Hare, Kathy Sykes and Ellen McCallie, will have two bases during their stay in Zanzibar a traditional Zanzibari fishing Dhow and a remote beach-side workshop. All they have to help them tackle their science-based challenges are a few basic bits of kit, whatever the island holds that they can harvest or recycle, and their own resourcefulness and ingenuity.

During the series the Rough Scientists, led by host Kate Humble, will attempt to locate and explore a shipwreck, mount a sea rescue, build a lighthouse on an uninhabited island where there is no electricity and touch on the ecology of the area when they have to come up with an environmentally-friendly way of protecting one of the spectacular corals reefs that lie off the Zanzibari coast.

Kate Humble, an experienced diver, will judge from the depths of the ocean whether the Rough Science team has what it takes to complete the underwater challenges set for them. By the end of this six-part series there will be nothing that the Rough Scientists haven't discovered about the natural resources that this fertile island and its reefed waters offer.

Series summary:
Shipwrecked: The Rough Scientists will be sent to a nearby wreck which offers a whole new artificial habitat for plants and fish. As in every programme the team are set three challenges. Firstly, Jonathan and Mike will need to design and build a submersible, remote-controlled rover to send back pictures from the sea-bed; Kathy's challenge is to work out how to reach the wreck at low tide, when it will be most visible; while Ellen and Mike will need to figure out how to purify the team's water supply.

Lost at Sea: It's a dark tropical night and Kate has fallen overboard and is in need of rescue. Mike has to build a distress flare, while Kathy and Ellen are tasked with making a life jacket or some sort of flotation device. Jonathan is given the job of producing a warning light that's triggered by seawater.

Call of the Wild: The waters around Zanzibar are teeming with life and they are surprisingly noisy. The team's challenge this week is to eavesdrop on the underwater sounds of the reef to discover what is making all the noise. Jonathon and Mike will work together to construct a hydrophone an underwater listening device. Kathy has to build a contraption that will allow them to see under the water. Meanwhile, Ellen has to fend off some of the island's less desirable wildlife mosquitoes.

To the Lighthouse: The team have to build a lighthouse on an outlying island which does not have electricity. Challenge one is for Ellen and Mike to make a light source that can be seen from far out at sea, while Jonathan and Kathy are challenged with building the lighthouse infrastructure and making the light flash.

The Reef: This week the scientists are set their most environmentally friendly challenge yet to protect a coral reef. The reef is home to over 400 species of tropical fish and 200 types of coral. However, it's under threat from passing boats and the team are challenged to invent a system that can alert approaching boats to the fact hat they are entering a protected area. The team come up with a quite unique solution possibly the world's first coral reef burglar alarm!

Beneath the Waves: It's the final challenge and perhaps the most dangerous yet. The Scientists have to make a SCUBA device so that Kate can descend safely to the seabed some 5m down. It has to be sophisticated enough to supply her with breathable air at the right pressure, while giving her the freedom and time to explore beneath the waves. They only have access to the simplest tools and materials, however, and Kate has to put her trust in the team to get their Rough Science spot on this time. There can be no room for error.

Editor's Notes
Rough Science is scheduled for transmission from Tuesday 15 February on BBC TWO at 1930 but viewers are advised to check their television listing guide for confirmation. The Open University and BBC have been in partnership for over 30 years providing educational programming to a mass audience.

In recent times this partnership has evolved from late night programming for delivering courses to peak time programmes with a broad appeal to encourage wider participation in learning. Other Open University and BBC productions currently being broadcast are Child of Our Time, What the Past Did For Us, Nation on Film and Journeys from the Centre of the Earth.

Contact details:
Gabi Nobis OU Media Relations 01908 655026 e-mail:
Open University web site


Dr Jonathan Hare, The University of Sussex
Brighton, East Sussex.

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