Meet • Celebrate • Stay

CWF 2017 – Robyn Williams in conversation


Robyn Williams in conversation

In his lively account of 40 years of The Science Show, In Love with Betty the Crow, Robyn charts the fun and games, the big issues and the controversies surrounding a science program that won’t go away.


Robyn Williams AM

The author of more than 15 books, Robyn Williams AM has presented science programs on ABC radio and television since 1972. Early in his career he made guest appearances in The Goodies, Monty Python’s Flying Circus and Dr Who. He is the first journalist to be elected a fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, was a visiting fellow at Balliol College, Oxford, and is a visiting professor at the University of New South Wales. His most recent book is In Love with Betty the Crow which covers his 40 years as presenter of The Science Show on ABC RN.


About the book

Robyn Williams reflects on why science matters, after 40 years of ABC RN’s The Science Show.

The Science Show has been broadcast every week for over forty years, is downloaded over three million times a year and regularly runs utterly outrageous jokes. How come it’s survived – even flourished?

Robyn Williams, who has presented the program since the very beginning, says the secret is the compelling nature of science and its capacity to surprise. Who’d have thought that a crow named Betty could turn out to be an insightful planner and an enterprising engineer? Who’d have thought that women, mostly excluded from science for centuries, would become the pre-eminent achievers during the lifetime of The Science Show? Who’d have thought that R&D, assumed to be a drain on that famous public purse, could actually be the greatest creator of wealth in history?

The recent buzzword in Australia today is Innovation. Well, it has been the theme of the Science Show for years. What is Australia’s true history as innovators, beyond the cliché’s, and what can we do to destroy the blockages that have made us bottom of the list of rich countries in this field?

And then there’s the gossip: the guests on the show who’ve been to jail, those accused of fraud and the accusation, often borne out, that the program is obsessed with sex.

In Love with Betty the Crow charts the fun and games, the big issues and the controversies surrounding a science program that won’t go away.

In Love with Betty the Crow is published by Harper Collins.

Buy the book from the festival’s bookshop partner Dymocks.