Siddhesh Joshi (Editor)

Quentin Cooper

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Station(s)  BBC Radio 4
Spouse(s)  Suba Subramaniam
Role  Journalist

Country  United Kingdom
Name  Quentin Cooper
Time slot  Thursday 16:30–17:00
Website  BBC Profile
Show  Material World
Quentin Cooper ichefbbcicoukimagesic1200x675p01lcg70jpg
Books  Maypoles, Martyrs & Mayhem: 366 Days of British Customs, Myths and Eccentricities

Education  University of Edinburgh
Previous show(s)  Connect, Kaleidoscope

The fiddle case music session with banjo solo by quentin cooper beveren belgium nov 2015

Quentin Cooper (born 1961, Grimsby) is a science journalist and facilitator, best known as the presenter of BBC Radio 4's Material World. He speaks at science festivals and lectures, and works regularly with science and educational organisations such as the Royal Society and the British Council.


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12 tips for science communication with quentin cooper

Early life

Cooper attended Wintringham school in Grimsby. He then studied for a BSc in Psychology and Artificial Intelligence at the University of Edinburgh. He then went to University College Cardiff where he obtained a Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism Studies.


At the BBC, he started as a producer in News and Current Affairs, then moved to produce youth programmes at Radio Scotland (in Glasgow), and Radio 5 in Manchester where he created programmes such as Hit The North which first united Mark and Lard aka Mark Radcliffe and Marc Riley and Bite the Wax, a BBC Scotland show presented by Armando Iannucci.

Moving to London he produced arts programmes before becoming one of the regular presenters of Kaleidoscope. This then led to him scripting and fronting a range of arts, entertainment, technology and science programmes across Radio 1, 2, 3, 4, 5Live and World Service as well as for over 10 years being a regular film critic first for 5Live then for Radio 2's Parkinson's Sunday Supplement. He was the guest Michael Parkinson interviewed most often. While it has more than once been observed he has a "face for radio", he has been interviewed on television interviewee and presented the series Science Fix for BBC Four and New Scientist Reports for Discovery Channel.

From 1999 to 2013 he presented Material World on Radio 4. Described by the Radio Times as "the most accessible, funny and conversational science programme on radio" and by Bill Bryson as "quite the best thing on radio", in the 2011 BBC Trust review of impartiality and accuracy of the BBC's coverage of science it was singled out for "particular praise".

Cooper is an occasional presenter of the BBC World Service discussion programme The Forum.

Science Communication

An advisor to many national and international science organisations and festivals and host of numerous recurring and one-off events and conferences, in 2011 he was given an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science by Heriot-Watt University, in 2012 he became the first radio presenter to be made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, and in 2013 the University of Edinburgh awarded him an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science in recognition of his "major contribution to the public understanding of science and engineering".


In October 1994, he wrote Maypoles, Martyrs, and Mayhem: 366 days of British customs, myths and eccentricities (ISBN 978-0747518075) a book with Paul Sullivan, an old schoolfriend from Grimsby. The almanac of British customs, myths and beliefs across the year was described by The Times as a "'A perfectly conceived compendium of culture' and it was serialised by the Sunday Express

He writes occasional articles for many national newspapers, and has been a columnist for publications as diverse as the Fortean Times and the Radio Times (where he was both their technology editor and music editor). As of 2012 he writes a regular column on science and fiction for the international BBC site BBC Future, which is not available from within the UK.

Personal life

On 26 September 2009, he married Suba Subramaniam at St Dunstan's church in Monks Risborough, Buckinghamshire. She is a choreographer and artistic director of Sadhana Dance, as well as an education director for Cape Farewell, UK, an organisation which brings together artists, scientists and schoolchildren to help explore and tackle problems relating to climate change.


Quentin Cooper Wikipedia