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Foresight: The week ahead

Thursday 14 November

Material World

Of the 250,000km long UK sewer network, well over half is between 50 and 100 years old. Twenty per cent is damaged in some way and each year there are 5,000 collapses and 200,000 blockages.

Researchers at King's College, London have come up with a very scientific solution to the problem of inspection, repair and maintenance. It is a network of laser and ultra sound sensors that will monitor conditions and feed digital information directly back to computers programmed to identify problems. How clever is that? Bazalgette would be proud.

Quentin Cooper investigates.

BBC Radio 4, 4.30pm

Horizon - Freak Wave

New research by scientists suggests an old mariners' tale about an encounter with a huge destructive wave might be true.

When the state of the art cargo ship the Munchen disappeared in 1978 with all hands, wreckage showed it had been hit with massive force. Ship captains - including one from the QE2 - reported seeing such monster waves, and scientists now believe that they may well have misunderstood these incidents - and the power of the sea in places as far apart as the North Sea, the Southern Ocean and off the coast of South Africa. Scary.

BBC2, 9pm Friday

Great Britons - Isaac Newton

OK, so Brunel's got to win, but don't let that stop you from enjoying this fine fellow's achievements. BBC2, 9pm Fly Me To The Runway The story of air navigation and air traffic control.

BBC Radio 4, 11am

Saturday

Giant Cranes

Features the largest crawler crane in the world, the Manitowoc 21,000, powerful enough to lift 600 cars at one go.

Discovery Channel, 12 noon

Monday

What The Stuarts Did For Us

Last in the series which looks at inventions and innovations from the Stuart period. This week Adam Hart Davies looks at the impact of microscopes and telescopes.

BBC2, 8.30pm

Wednesday

Super Structures Of The World: The Panama Canal

Could engineers build a canal to link the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans?

Of course they could.

Laydeezungennelmun, I give you the Panama Canal.

Discovery Channel, 2pm

Ooops Cap in hand, on bended knee, Foresight begs your forgiveness once again, readers. For the last couple of weeks we have listed Britain's Best Buildings, a programme on BBC2, 8pm, Tuesdays. Thank you to Mr Bristow in Oxted, Surrey who called us to say he had tuned in only to find, ahem, nothing doing - on both weeks. A call to the beeb - which believe me, if the Kremlin had ever run a call centre, this would be it - revealed a late cancellation. The third in the series is on Saturday the 16th at around 7.15pm.

If you know of events, exhibitions, books, programmes or websites that ought to be included in Foresight, contact Karl Thompson, tel (020) 7505 6682, e-mail karl. thompson@ construct. emap. com

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