Numerous studies have shown us that those given authority are more likely to lie, cheat, and steal, while also being harsher in their judgments of others for doing these same things. Science tells us people with power feel less compassion for the suffering of others.
Historian Ben Woolley discusses the attitudes to science, experimentation and even death that 18th century painting so perfectly captured in Joseph Wright of Derby's An Experiment on a Bird In The Air Pump. Ben Woolley tells the story of a neglected masterpiece: Joseph Wright of Derby's An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump. Until recently, Wright was dismissed by many art critics as a minor provincial but Wright was in fact a virtuoso painter whose scientific paintings give a unique insight into the Enlightenment in Britain. Ben Woolley's deconstruction of this epic painting takes him from Wright's birthplace in Derby to East Germany, where he witnesses a reconstruction of the famous Magdeburg hemispheres experiment. He visits London's Royal Society and uncovers the strange history of animal experimentation in the 18th century.