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How the Ocean Shapes Our World, with Helen Czerski and Tom Whipple

To understand the world you need to understand the ocean. That’s the argument of physicist Helen Czerski who has long studied the complex ecosystems and forces that drive the ‘blue machine’ which covers 71% of our planet. In June 2023, Czerski came to Intelligence Squared to discuss what we should know about these vast bodies of water – the waves, currents, invisible ocean walls and underwater waterfalls and how they all fit into an interlinked system that shapes the world around us.

In conversation with science editor of The Times Tom Whipple, Czerski discussed how, since the beginning of human civilisation, the oceans have been central to the way human societies have evolved and how threats like climate change and overfishing could threaten our future. 




Helen Czerski

One of the UK’s most popular science presenters

Oceanographer, physicist and television presenter. Her many programmes for radio and TV include Radio 4’s Inside Science, Orbit: Earth’s Extraordinary Journey, numerous Horizon documentaries, The Sky at Night, and Dara O Briain’s Science Club. She is a Research Fellow at University College London, and holds a PhD in experimental explosives physics. She is the author of books including Storm In A Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life and the new title Blue Machine: How the Ocean Shapes Our World.

Tom Whipple

Science editor at The Times

Tom Whipple is the science editor at The Times. He was named science journalist of the year for his coverage of the pandemic and covers everything from archaeology to zoology. He writes news, features, reviews and commentary across the paper, as well as appearing regularly on Times Radio. During the course of his job he has visited the tunnels below Cern and the top of Mont Blanc above it. He has seen inside the world's hottest sauna and the world's most irradiated nature reserve. He has interviewed Stephen Hawking and Jedward, as well as both the Nobel Prize winners for CRISPR.