Fascinating and Fearless Icons

I wonder how many of you have watched the BBC 2 series entitled ‘Icons’?  My mother, yes the one that does not want my mind to turn to mush, is a big fan and managed to convince me (force me) to watch some of the episodes.  It was indeed fascinating!  This series is still available for another 10 days on BBC iPlayer so there is time to watch all eight episodes.  Failing that, I recommend watching the final; it has some very convincing arguments put forward by the different advocates for each category.  As we are about to start the third round of the debating competition here at Bickley, I enjoyed watching the extremely persuasive speeches and they certainly taught me a thing or two about speaking confidently, passionately and convincingly (though I’m not sure I should be giving my opponents any tips!).

As I don’t want to give anything away in terms of the final winner, I thought I would just mention a couple of the characters that I found particularly interesting.  As soon as I had seen all the names, I was convinced Martin Luther King Junior would emerge triumphant, while my Mum was counting on Nelson Mandela prevailing… you truly will have to watch if you want to know who was right (or if indeed, we were both wrong!)

 The episode I most enjoyed was, ‘The Scientists’ (if you’re reading this, I hope you’re proud Mr Hornby!). Firstly, Marie Curie is such a fascinating person as she had to fight for her education and had to leave Warsaw to continue her studies in Paris.  She remains one of only three women to win the Nobel Peace Prize for Physics.  One thing I did not know about her was the fact that she operated portable x-ray machines during WW1 and, if there was a surgeon who did not like women in the room while operating, she had to stand in the doorway and give instructions from there.  Like the suffragettes, she certainly played her part in helping promote women’s rights.  Her commitment to science was so great, it eventually killed her due to her exposure to radiation.

Einstein and Turing are the two incredible male representatives in this category and I strongly advise you watch this episode to learn more about both these brilliant icons!  The fourth representative was completely unknown to me and I’m pretty sure most of you would not have heard of her either.  Her name is Tu Youyou and she is still alive today. In 2015 she won the Nobel Peace Prize for medicine due to her discovery of artemisinin and dihydroartemisin (Yes I had to use copy and paste these words!).  These drugs have saved millions of lives as they treat malaria.  After having discovered the drugs, she volunteered for the first human trials – quite an amazing woman!

And so, reader, I will leave you with just one link this time and that is to the BBC  iPlayer website so you too can find out about these iconic and inspirational characters:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/54SKx1nh5p7dTYFKwf0y2NH/scientists