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2017-05-24 10:40


BBC Radio


Science Podcasts

Science Podcasts

  • 5 live Science

    5 live Science Podcast May 20, 2017 | 19:00 pm

    Dr Chris Smith and the Naked Scientist team tackle questions sent in by you. Such as - why do mints make your mouth feel cold?

  • Dr Karl

    5 live Science Podcast May 17, 2017 | 19:00 pm

    Dr Karl on why the night sky is so bright, how mobile phone networks find you and the difference between cats and dogs.

  • Louis Pasteur

    In Our Time: Science May 17, 2017 | 19:00 pm

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the life and work of Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) and his extraordinary contribution to medicine and science. It is said few people have saved more lives than Pasteur. A chemist, he showed that otherwise identical molecules could exist as 'left' and 'right-handed' versions and that molecules produced by living things were always left-handed. He proposed a germ theory to replace the idea of spontaneous generation. He discovered that microorganisms cause fermentation and disease. He began the process named after him, pasteurisation, heating liquids to 50-60 C to kill microbes. He saved the beer and wine industries in France when they were struggling with microbial contamination. He saved the French silk industry when he found a way of protecting healthy silkworm eggs from disease. He developed vaccines against anthrax and rabies and helped establish immunology. Many of his ideas were developed further after his lifetime, but one of his legacies was a charitable body, the Pasteur Institute, to continue research into infectious disease.WithAndrew MendelsohnReader in the School of History at Queen Mary, University of LondonAnne HardyHonorary Professor at the Centre for History in Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical MedicineandMichael WorboysEmeritus Professor in the History of Science, Technology and Medicine at the University of ManchesterProducer: Simon Tillotson.

  • 5 live Science

    5 live Science Podcast May 13, 2017 | 19:00 pm

    Georgia Mills with the latest science breakthroughs, including lava in space, how getting a good nights sleep can help with pain and do cats really like milk?

  • Dr Karl answers your science questions

    5 live Science Podcast May 10, 2017 | 19:00 pm

    Dr Karl answers your science questions including whether you can you eat 14 year old marmalade and if it's possible to drive an F1 car upside down on the roof of a road tunnel.

  • Dr Karl and Dr Rhod discuss the science of fake news, and how planets are formed.

    5 live Science Podcast May 9, 2017 | 19:00 pm

    Dr Karl and Dr Rhod discuss the science of fake news, and how planets are formed.

  • 5 live Science

    5 live Science Podcast May 6, 2017 | 19:00 pm

    Put on some safety goggles as Naked Scientists Chris Smith and Kat Arney ignite your bunsen burners with the hottest science news stories, analysis and breakthroughs.

  • Dr Karl

    5 live Science Podcast Apr 26, 2017 | 19:00 pm

    Dr Karl answers your science questions. This weeks subjects include barrier reefs, meteors hitting the moon and potato's.

  • 5 live Science

    5 live Science Podcast Apr 22, 2017 | 19:00 pm

    Science breakthroughs, plus how stem cells are turned into brain cells to treat conditions like Parkinson's disease.

  • Should I Sequence My Genes?

    5 live Science Podcast Apr 15, 2017 | 19:00 pm

    The Naked Scientists ask "Should I sequence my genes?"

  • Dr Karl answers your science questions

    5 live Science Podcast Apr 12, 2017 | 19:00 pm

    Dr Karl answers your science questions. From April 6th 2017

  • Dr Karl joins Rhod to answer your science questions.

    5 live Science Podcast Apr 12, 2017 | 19:00 pm

    Dr Karl joins Rhod to answer your science questions.

  • Dr Karl

    5 live Science Podcast Apr 12, 2017 | 19:00 pm

    Dr Karl answers your science questions. From 30th March 2017

  • 5 Live Science

    5 live Science Podcast Apr 8, 2017 | 19:00 pm

    Put on some safety goggles as Naked Scientists Chris Smith and Kat Arney ignite your bunsen burners with the hottest science news stories, analysis and breakthroughs.

  • Pauli's Exclusion Principle

    In Our Time: Science Apr 5, 2017 | 19:00 pm

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the life and ideas of Wolfgang Pauli (1900-1958), whose Exclusion Principle is one of the key ideas in quantum mechanics. A brilliant physicist, at 21 Pauli wrote a review of Einstein's theory of general relativity and that review is still a standard work of reference today. The Pauli Exclusion Principle proposes that no two electrons in an atom can be at the same time in the same state or configuration, and it helps explain a wide range of phenomena such as the electron shell structure of atoms. Pauli went on to postulate the existence of the neutrino, which was confirmed in his lifetime. Following further development of his exclusion principle, Pauli was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1945 for his 'decisive contribution through his discovery of a new law of Nature'. He also had a long correspondence with Jung, and a reputation for accidentally breaking experimental equipment which was dubbed The Pauli Effect.WithFrank CloseFellow Emeritus at Exeter College, University of OxfordMichela MassimiProfessor of Philosophy of Science at the University of EdinburghandGraham FarmeloBye-Fellow of Churchill College, University of CambridgeProducer: Simon Tillotson.

  • 5 Live Science

    5 live Science Podcast Apr 1, 2017 | 19:00 pm

    Chris Smith asks whether an abundance of facial hair makes a man more fertile and why does eating something cold cause a headache?

  • 5 Live Science

    5 live Science Podcast Mar 24, 2017 | 19:00 pm

    Put on some safety goggles as Naked Scientists Chris Smith and Kat Arney ignite your bunsen burners with the hottest science news stories, analysis and breakthroughs on 5 live Science.

  • Dr Karl

    5 live Science Podcast Mar 22, 2017 | 19:00 pm

    Dr Karl joins Rhod to answer your science questions. This week's topics include comets, fizzy drink bottles and the aerodynamics of cars.

  • 5 live Science

    5 live Science Podcast Mar 18, 2017 | 19:00 pm

    Put on some safety goggles as Naked Scientists Chris Smith and Kat Arney ignite your bunsen burners with the hottest science news stories, analysis and breakthroughs on 5 live Science.

  • The Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum

    In Our Time: Science Mar 15, 2017 | 19:00 pm

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the high temperatures that marked the end of the Paleocene and start of the Eocene periods, about 50m years ago. Over c1000 years, global temperatures rose more than 5 C on average and stayed that way for c100,000 years more, with the surface of seas in the Arctic being as warm as those in the subtropics. There were widespread extinctions, changes in ocean currents, and there was much less oxygen in the sea depths. The rise has been attributed to an increase of carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere, though it is not yet known conclusively what the source of those gases was. One theory is that a rise in carbon dioxide, perhaps from volcanoes, warmed up the globe enough for warm water to reach the bottom of the oceans and so release methane from frozen crystals in the sea bed. The higher the temperature rose and the longer the water was warm, the more methane was released. Scientists have been studying a range of sources from this long period, from ice samples to fossils, to try to understand more about possible causes.WithDame Jane FrancisProfessor of Palaeoclimatology at the British Antarctic SurveyMark MaslinProfessor of Palaeoclimatology at University College LondonAndTracy AzeLecturer in Marine Micropaleontology at the University of LeedsProducer: Simon Tillotson.

  • Dr Karl

    5 live Science Podcast Mar 15, 2017 | 19:00 pm

    Dr Karl joins Dr Rhod to answer all your science questions, including the multiple mysteries of black holes and the science of ultra running. This week they're joined by a very special guest, the astrophysicist Professor Lisa Harvey Smith.

  • 5 live Science

    5 live Science Podcast Mar 11, 2017 | 18:00 pm

    Put on some safety goggles as Naked Scientists Chris Smith and Kat Arney ignite your bunsen burners with the hottest science news stories, analysis and breakthroughs on 5 live Science.

  • Would life be better if robots did all the work?

    The Public Philosopher Mar 6, 2017 | 18:00 pm

    Harvard philosopher Michael Sandel asks if life would be better if robots did all the work. Professor Sandel skilfully and entertainingly uses live audiences to help address important ethical and philosophical questions. He has travelled across the world and brought together global audiences for his method of Socratic dialogue.Michael gathers an audience in a secondary school in Dagenham, East London, to address one of the most pressing issues of our times - the future of work in a world where automation threatens to replace more and more workers with robots. A much-cited Oxford University report predicts that 35% of jobs in the UK are at risk.There is nowhere better to examine this issue than Dagenham, where once 40,000 people built cars at the famous Ford factory. The plant stopped making cars in 2002 and now makes vast numbers of car engines, but with fewer than 3,000 employees. Barking and Dagenham is judged by the Legatum Institute as the least prosperous borough in London and among the 10 least prosperous in the UK. The unemployment rate is one of the highest in London. As automation moves from the factory floor to the office, Michael Sandel and his audience will try to understand how we regard the ethics surrounding this profound shift.Producer: Tim Mansel.

  • 5 live Science

    5 live Science Podcast Mar 4, 2017 | 18:00 pm

    Naked Scientists Chris Smith and Kat Arney ignite your bunsen burners with the hottest science news stories, analysis and breakthroughs.

  • The Kuiper Belt

    In Our Time: Science Mar 1, 2017 | 18:00 pm

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Kuiper Belt, a vast region of icy objects at the fringes of our Solar System, beyond Neptune, in which we find the dwarf planet Pluto and countless objects left over from the origins of the solar system, some of which we observe as comets. It extends from where Neptune is, which is 30 times further out than the Earth is from the Sun, to about 500 times the Earth-Sun distance. It covers an immense region of space and it is the part of the Solar System that we know the least about, because it is so remote from us and has been barely detectable by Earth-based telescopes until recent decades. Its existence was predicted before it was known, and study of the Kuiper Belt, and how objects move within it, has led to a theory that there may be a 9th planet far beyond Neptune.WithCarolin CrawfordPublic Astronomer at the Institute of Astronomy and Fellow of Emmanuel College, University of CambridgeMonica GradyProfessor of Planetary and Space Sciences at the Open UniversityAndStephen LowryReader in Planetary and Space Sciences, University of KentProducer: Simon Tillotson.

  • Dr Karl

    5 live Science Podcast Mar 1, 2017 | 18:00 pm

    What would happen if the earth stopped spinning and should you complete your course of antibiotics?

  • Swearing

    The Philosopher's Arms Feb 26, 2017 | 18:00 pm

    Matthew Sweet examines knotty philosophical conundrums in an abstract pub.

  • 5 live Science

    5 live Science Podcast Feb 26, 2017 | 00:00 am

    The week's science news and an in-depth look at the treatment of HIV.

  • Dr Karl

    5 live Science Podcast Feb 23, 2017 | 06:19 am

    Dr Karl and Dr Rhod discuss how to convert renewable energy to hydrogen power. Can you really fit the world's population onto the Isle of Wight, and what's the science behind multitasking?

  • Cake or Biscuit?

    The Philosopher's Arms Feb 19, 2017 | 18:00 pm

    Is a Jaffa Cake a cake or a biscuit? A tough question for Matthew Sweet and the drinkers at The Philosopher's Arms, a pub offering both beer and philosophy. Among those helping him resolve this important conundrum are a Cambridge professor of philosophy and a former winner of the Great British Bake Off, who will be turning up in the pub with a very large, and possibly quite tasty, Jaffa Cake.Producer: David Edmonds.

  • 5 live Science

    5 live Science Podcast Feb 19, 2017 | 00:00 am

    Dr Chris Smith and team present 5 live Science.

  • Dr Karl

    5 live Science Podcast Feb 15, 2017 | 22:05 pm

    Dr Karl and Dr Rhod discuss why hair goes grey and whether it can be stopped, what is inertia and why is so little understood about it, and are we trying too hard to discover a unifying theory when the answer is really simple?

  • Maths in the Early Islamic World

    In Our Time: Science Feb 15, 2017 | 18:00 pm

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the flourishing of maths in the early Islamic world, as thinkers from across the region developed ideas in places such as Baghdad's House of Wisdom. Among them were the Persians Omar Khayyam, who worked on equations, and Al-Khwarizmi, latinised as Algoritmi and pictured above, who is credited as one of the fathers of algebra, and the Jewish scholar Al-Samawal, who converted to Islam and worked on mathematical induction. As well as the new ideas, there were many advances drawing on Indian, Babylonian and Greek work and, thanks to the recording or reworking by mathematicians in the Islamic world, that broad range of earlier maths was passed on to western Europe for further study.WithColva Roney-DougalReader in Pure Mathematics at the University of St AndrewsPeter PormannProfessor of Classics & Graeco-Arabic Studies at the University of ManchesterAndJim Al-KhaliliProfessor of Physics at the University of SurreyProducer: Simon Tillotson.

  • Hypocrisy

    The Philosopher's Arms Feb 12, 2017 | 18:00 pm

    What's wrong with hypocrisy? The Philosopher's Arms, everyone's favourite abstract pub, is back with a pint and a philosophical conundrum. This week, presenter Matthew Sweet is joined at at the bar by philosopher Lisa Bortolotti and political scientist David Runciman. Plus human rights activist, Peter Tatchell, who in the past has publicly exposed people whom he has accused of hypocrisy.Producer: David Edmonds.

  • 5 Live Science

    5 live Science Podcast Feb 12, 2017 | 00:00 am

    Optogenetics - how scientists are using light to control the brain.

  • Dr Karl

    5 live Science Podcast Feb 9, 2017 | 00:30 am

    Rhod and Dr Karl are joined by Clare Collins, Professor of Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of Newcastle, to discuss the science stories of the week.

  • 5 Live Science

    5 live Science Podcast Feb 5, 2017 | 00:00 am

    Grayha Jackson and the Naked Scientists with this week's science news, and they also ask, "Are we alone in the Universe?"

  • Dr Karl

    5 live Science Podcast Feb 1, 2017 | 22:13 pm

    Dr Rhod and Dr Karl answer your questions on photographic memory, the biology of snoring, and whether animals' ears and noses get bigger as they age.

  • 5 live Science

    5 live Science Podcast Jan 28, 2017 | 01:04 am

    Chris Smith and the Naked Scientists look at the week's science news.

  • Dr Karl

    5 live Science Podcast Jan 25, 2017 | 22:27 pm

    This week Rhod and Karl talk about cryogenics and building muscle.

  • Parasitism

    In Our Time: Science Jan 25, 2017 | 18:00 pm

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the relationship between parasites and hosts, where one species lives on or in another to the benefit of the parasite but at a cost to the host, potentially leading to disease or death of the host. Typical examples are mistletoe and trees, hookworms and vertebrates, cuckoos and other birds. In many cases the parasite species do so well in or on a particular host that they reproduce much faster and can adapt to changes more efficiently, and it is thought that almost half of all animal species have a parasitic stage in their lifetime. What techniques do hosts have to counter the parasites, and what impact do parasites have on the evolution of their hosts?WithSteve JonesEmeritus Professor of Genetics at University College, LondonWendy GibsonProfessor of Protozoology at the University of BristolandKayla KingAssociate Professor in the Department of Zoology at the University of OxfordProducer: Simon Tillotson.

  • 5 live Science

    5 live Science Podcast Jan 22, 2017 | 00:00 am

    Chris Smith and the Naked Scientists look at the week's science news, plus the science of laughter and can robots learn to tell jokes?

  • Doctor Karl

    5 live Science Podcast Jan 18, 2017 | 22:15 pm

    This week Rhod and Karl discuss Tennis and Lightning.

  • 5 live Science

    5 live Science Podcast Jan 15, 2017 | 00:00 am

    Chris Smith and the Naked Scientists answer more of your science questions.

  • Dr Karl

    5 live Science Podcast Jan 4, 2017 | 22:18 pm

    Rhod and Dr Karl discuss global warming, astronomy and black holes. Plus more science questions posed by 5live listeners

  • Dr Karl: Futureproofing

    5 live Science Podcast Dec 28, 2016 | 22:21 pm

    Dr Karl is on holiday so Bianca Nogrady, who is a science journalist and author and Dr Alice Williamson from the School of Chemistry at the University of Sydney join Rhod Sharp.

  • Johannes Kepler

    In Our Time: Science Dec 28, 2016 | 18:00 pm

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the German astronomer Johannes Kepler (1571 - 1630). Although he is overshadowed today by Isaac Newton and Galileo, he is considered by many to be one of the greatest scientists in history. The three laws of planetary motion Kepler developed transformed people's understanding of the Solar System and laid the foundations for the revolutionary ideas Isaac Newton produced later. Kepler is also thought to have written one of the first works of science fiction. However, he faced a number of challenges. He had to defend his mother from charges of witchcraft, he had few financial resources and his career suffered as a result of his Lutheran faith.WithDavid WoottonProfessor of History at the University of YorkUlinka RublackProfessor of Early Modern European History at the University of Cambridge and Fellow of St John's CollegeAdam MosleyAssociate Professor in the Department of History at Swansea UniversityProducer: Victoria Brignell.

  • 5 live Science

    5 live Science Podcast Dec 25, 2016 | 01:00 am

    Put on some safety goggles as Naked Scientists Chris Smith and Kat Arney ignite your bunsen burners with the hottest science news stories, analysis and breakthroughs.

  • Jessica Bloom and Bianca Nogrady stand in for Dr Karl, answering your questions about the weird and wonderful world of science.

    5 live Science Podcast Dec 21, 2016 | 22:28 pm

    Jessica Bloom and Bianca Nogrady, answering your science questions.

  • 5 live Science

    5 live Science Podcast Dec 11, 2016 | 00:00 am

    CHRIS SMITH with the latest breakthroughs in science. Is the snooper's charter making us safer or endangering our liberty?

  • Dr Karl: Not Dr Karl. It's all gone a bit Quantum

    5 live Science Podcast Dec 7, 2016 | 22:46 pm

    Jessica Bloom and Bianca Nogrady stand in for Dr Karl. They discuss astrophysics, quantum effects, the Higgs Field and ancient calendars.

  • 5 Live Science

    5 live Science Podcast Dec 3, 2016 | 23:01 pm

    The hottest science news, stories and analysis

  • Dr Karl

    5 live Science Podcast Nov 30, 2016 | 22:32 pm

    Rhod is joined by Dr Karl, Michael Marshall and author Ruben Meerman to discuss big science myths and critical thinking.

  • 5 live science

    5 live Science Podcast Nov 26, 2016 | 23:38 pm

    The hottest science news, stories and analysis

  • 5 live Science

    5 live Science Podcast Nov 19, 2016 | 23:27 pm

    Navigation through space, tracking trousers and are we ready for driverless cars?

  • 5 live Science

    5 live Science Podcast Nov 12, 2016 | 23:34 pm

    The Naked Scientists detail the hottest science news stories

  • Dr Karl

    5 live Science Podcast Nov 10, 2016 | 00:55 am

    Rhod is joined by Dr Karl to talk about "earworms" and the world's oldest vertebrate.

  • Dr Karl

    5 live Science Podcast Nov 2, 2016 | 23:43 pm

    Rhod is joined by Dr Karl and Professor Michael Biercuk to discuss all things quantum

  • 5 live Science

    5 live Science Podcast Oct 30, 2016 | 01:00 am

    Chris Smith & Cat Arney with the latest science news

  • Dr Karl

    5 live Science Podcast Oct 26, 2016 | 22:37 pm

    Rhod is joined by Dr Karl to talk jet lag, cats and The Breakthrough Listen project

  • John Dalton

    In Our Time: Science Oct 26, 2016 | 19:00 pm

    The scientist John Dalton was born in North England in 1766. Although he came from a relatively poor Quaker family, he managed to become one of the most celebrated scientists of his age. Through his work, he helped to establish Manchester as a place where not only products were made but ideas were born. His reputation during his lifetime was so high that unusually a statue was erected to him before he died. Among his interests were meteorology, gasses and colour blindness. However, he is most remembered today for his pioneering thinking in the field of atomic theory.With:Jim BennettFormer Director of the Museum of the History of Science at the University of Oxford and Keeper Emeritus at the Science MuseumAileen FyfeReader in British History at the University of St AndrewsJames SumnerLecturer in the History of Technology at the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine at the University of ManchesterProducer: Victoria Brignell.

  • 5 Live Science

    5 live Science Podcast Oct 23, 2016 | 00:00 am

    Scientists create mouse eggs from stem cells. Plus the week's science news.

  • Plasma

    In Our Time: Science Oct 12, 2016 | 19:00 pm

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss plasma, the fourth state of matter after solid, liquid and gas. As over ninety-nine percent of all observable matter in the Universe is plasma, planets like ours, with so little plasma and so much solid, liquid and gas, appear all the more remarkable. On the grand scale, plasma is what the Sun is made from and, when we look into the night sky, almost everything we can see with the naked eye is made of plasma. On the smallest scale, here on Earth, scientists make plasma to etch the microchips on which we rely for so much. Plasma is in the fluorescent light bulbs above our heads and, in laboratories around the world, it is the subject of tests to create, one day, an inexhaustible and clean source of energy from nuclear fusion.WithJustin WarkProfessor of Physics and Fellow of Trinity College at the University of OxfordKate LancasterResearch Fellow for Innovation and Impact at the York Plasma Institute at the University of YorkandBill GrahamProfessor of Physics at Queens University, BelfastProducer: Simon Tillotson.

  • Zeno's Paradoxes

    In Our Time: Science Sep 21, 2016 | 19:00 pm

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Zeno of Elea, a pre-Socratic philosopher from c490-430 BC whose paradoxes were described by Bertrand Russell as "immeasurably subtle and profound." The best known argue against motion, such as that of an arrow in flight which is at a series of different points but moving at none of them, or that of Achilles who, despite being the faster runner, will never catch up with a tortoise with a head start. Aristotle and Aquinas engaged with these, as did Russell, yet it is still debatable whether Zeno's Paradoxes have been resolved.WithMarcus du SautoyProfessor of Mathematics and Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at the University of OxfordBarbara SattlerLecturer in Philosophy at the University of St AndrewsandJames WarrenReader in Ancient Philosophy at the University of CambridgeProducer: Simon Tillotson.

  • The Global Philosopher: Should the Rich World Pay for Climate Change?

    The Public Philosopher Jul 28, 2016 | 08:53 am

    Sixty people from thirty countries join Michael Sandel in a digital studio at Harvard to discuss the philosophical issues underlying the world's response to climate change.The developed world has caused climate change, belting out greenhouse gases as it became rich (at least, most people think so). But the developing world – huge and growing economies like India and China – is increasingly a big part of the problem.So who should pay to fix the mess? Is it fair to penalise the developing world as it strives to catch up? Is it acceptable that rich countries be allowed to buy credits, giving them permission to pollute? And is it time to re-think our material aspirations?Audience producer: Louise ColettaProducer: David EdmondsExecutive Producer: Richard Knight

  • The Invention of Photography

    In Our Time: Science Jul 6, 2016 | 19:00 pm

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the development of photography in the 1830s, when techniques for 'drawing with light' evolved to the stage where, in 1839, both Louis Daguerre and William Henry Fox Talbot made claims for its invention. These followed the development of the camera obscura, and experiments by such as Thomas Wedgwood and Nicéphore Niépce, and led to rapid changes in the 1840s as more people captured images with the daguerreotype and calotype. These new techniques changed the aesthetics of the age and, before long, inspired claims that painting was now dead.WithSimon SchafferProfessor of the History of Science at the University of CambridgeElizabeth EdwardsEmeritus Professor of Photographic History at De Montfort UniversityAndAlison Morrison-Low,Research Associate at National Museums ScotlandProducer: Simon Tillotson.

  • Penicillin

    In Our Time: Science Jun 8, 2016 | 19:00 pm

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss penicillin, discovered by Alexander Fleming in 1928. It is said he noticed some blue-green penicillium mould on an uncovered petri dish at his hospital laboratory, and that this mould had inhibited bacterial growth around it. After further work, Fleming filtered a broth of the mould and called that penicillin, hoping it would be useful as a disinfectant. Howard Florey and Ernst Chain later shared a Nobel Prize in Medicine with Fleming, for their role in developing a way of mass-producing the life-saving drug. Evolutionary theory predicted the risk of resistance from the start and, almost from the beginning of this 'golden age' of antibacterials, scientists have been looking for ways to extend the lifespan of antibiotics.WithLaura PiddockProfessor of Microbiology at the University of BirminghamChristoph TangProfessor of Cellular Pathology and Professorial Fellow at Exeter College at the University of OxfordAndSteve JonesEmeritus Professor of Genetics at University College, LondonProducer: Simon Tillotson.

  • Euclid's Elements

    In Our Time: Science Apr 27, 2016 | 19:00 pm

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Euclid's Elements, a mathematical text book attributed to Euclid and in use from its appearance in Alexandria, Egypt around 300 BC until modern times, dealing with geometry and number theory. It has been described as the most influential text book ever written. Einstein had a copy as a child, which he treasured, later saying "If Euclid failed to kindle your youthful enthusiasm, then you were not born to be a scientific thinker."WithMarcus du SautoyProfessor of Mathematics and Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at the University of OxfordSerafina CuomoReader in Roman History at Birkbeck University of LondonAndJune Barrow-GreenProfessor of the History of Mathematics at the Open UniversityProducer: Simon Tillotson.

  • 1816, the Year Without a Summer

    In Our Time: Science Apr 20, 2016 | 19:00 pm

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the impact of the eruption of Mt Tambora, in 1815, on the Indonesian island of Sambawa. This was the largest volcanic eruption in recorded history and it had the highest death toll, devastating people living in the immediate area. Tambora has been linked with drastic weather changes in North America and Europe the following year, with frosts in June and heavy rains throughout the summer in many areas. This led to food shortages, which may have prompted westward migration in America and, in a Europe barely recovered from the Napoleonic Wars, led to widespread famine.WithClive OppenheimerProfessor of Volcanology at the University of CambridgeJane StablerProfessor in Romantic Literature at the University of St AndrewsAndLawrence GoldmanDirector of the Institute of Historical Research at the University of LondonProducer: Simon Tillotson.

  • The Neutron

    In Our Time: Science Apr 13, 2016 | 19:00 pm

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the neutron, one of the particles found in an atom's nucleus. Building on the work of Ernest Rutherford, the British physicist James Chadwick won the Nobel Prize for Physics for his discovery of the neutron in 1932. Neutrons play a fundamental role in the universe and their discovery was at the heart of developments in nuclear physics in the first half of the 20th century.WithVal GibsonProfessor of High Energy Physics at the University of Cambridge and fellow of Trinity CollegeAndrew HarrisonChief Executive Officer of Diamond Light Source and Professor in Chemistry at the University of EdinburghAndFrank CloseProfessor Emeritus of Physics at the University of Oxford.

  • The Global Philosopher: Should Borders Matter?

    The Public Philosopher Mar 29, 2016 | 07:31 am

    Michael Sandel explores the philosophical justifications made for national borders. Using a pioneering state-of-the-art studio at the Harvard Business School, Professor Sandel is joined by 60 participants from over 30 countries in a truly global digital space.Is there any moral distinction between a political refugee and an economic migrant? If people have the right to exit a country, why not a right to enter? Do nations have the right to protect the affluence of their citizens? And is there such a thing as a 'national identity'?These are just some of the questions addressed by Professor Sandel in this first edition of The Global Philosopher.Audience producer: Louise ColettaProducer: David EdmondsEditor: Richard Knight(Image taken by Rose Lincoln)

  • Robert Hooke

    In Our Time: Science Feb 17, 2016 | 18:00 pm

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the life and work of Robert Hooke (1635-1703) who worked for Robert Boyle and was curator of experiments at the Royal Society. The engraving of a flea, above, is taken from his Micrographia which caused a sensation when published in 1665. Sometimes remembered for his disputes with Newton, he studied the planets with telescopes and snowflakes with microscopes. He was an early proposer of a theory of evolution, discovered light diffraction with a wave theory to explain it and felt he was rarely given due credit for his discoveries.WithDavid WoottonAnniversary Professor of History at the University of YorkPatricia FaraPresident Elect of the British Society for the History of ScienceAndRob IliffeProfessor of History of Science at Oxford UniversityProducer: Simon Tillotson.

  • Chromatography

    In Our Time: Science Feb 3, 2016 | 18:00 pm

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the origins, development and uses of chromatography. In its basic form, it is familiar to generations of schoolchildren who put a spot of ink at the bottom of a strip of paper, dip it in water and then watch the pigments spread upwards, revealing their separate colours. Chemists in the 19th Century started to find new ways to separate mixtures and their work was taken further by Mikhail Tsvet, a Russian-Italian scientist who is often credited with inventing chromatography in 1900. The technique has become so widely used, it is now an integral part of testing the quality of air and water, the levels of drugs in athletes, in forensics and in the preparation of pharmaceuticals.WithAndrea SellaProfessor of Chemistry at University College LondonApryll StalcupProfessor of Chemical Sciences at Dublin City UniversityAndLeon BarronSenior Lecturer in Forensic Science at King's College London.

  • Saturn

    In Our Time: Science Jan 13, 2016 | 18:00 pm

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the planet Saturn with its rings of ice and rock and over 60 moons. In 1610, Galileo used an early telescope to observe Saturn, one of the brightest points in the night sky, but could not make sense of what he saw: perhaps two large moons on either side. When he looked a few years later, those supposed moons had disappeared. It was another forty years before Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens solved the mystery, realizing the moons were really a system of rings. Successive astronomers added more detail, with the greatest leaps forward in the last forty years. The Pioneer 11 spacecraft and two Voyager missions have flown by, sending back the first close-up images, and Cassini is still there, in orbit, confirming Saturn, with its rings and many moons, as one of the most intriguing and beautiful planets in our Solar System.WithCarolin CrawfordPublic Astronomer at the Institute of Astronomy and Fellow of Emmanuel College, University of CambridgeMichele DoughertyProfessor of Space Physics at Imperial College LondonAndAndrew CoatesDeputy Director in charge of the Solar System at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory at UCL.

  • Future People

    The Philosopher's Arms Dec 27, 2015 | 18:00 pm

    The Philosopher's Arms, presented by Matthew Sweet, asks what sort of people should we bring into the world. In the pub this week are, among others, Oxford University professor Jeff McMahan and disability studies expert Tom Shakespeare.Producer: David Edmonds.

  • Michael Faraday

    In Our Time: Science Dec 23, 2015 | 18:00 pm

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the eminent 19th-century scientist Michael Faraday. Born into a poor working-class family, he received little formal schooling but became interested in science while working as a bookbinder's apprentice. He is celebrated today for carrying out pioneering research into the relationship between electricity and magnetism. Faraday showed that if a wire was turned in the presence of a magnet or a magnet was turned in relation to a wire, an electric current was generated. This ground-breaking discovery led to the development of the electric generator and ultimately to modern power stations. During his life he became the most famous scientist in Britain and he played a key role in founding the Royal Institution's Christmas lectures which continue today.With:Geoffrey CantorProfessor Emeritus of the History of Science at the University of LeedsLaura HerzProfessor of Physics at the University of OxfordFrank JamesProfessor of the History of Science at the Royal InstitutionProducer: Victoria Brignell.

  • Hate Speech

    The Philosopher's Arms Dec 20, 2015 | 18:00 pm

    The Philosopher's Arms, presented by Matthew Sweet, asks whether speech can harm. Helping us come to an answer, we have a philosopher, cartoonist and a man who was arrested for hate speech.

  • Circadian Rhythms

    In Our Time: Science Dec 16, 2015 | 18:00 pm

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the evolution and role of Circadian Rhythms, the so-called body clock that influences an organism's daily cycle of physical, behavioural and mental changes. The rhythms are generated within organisms and also in response to external stimuli, mainly light and darkness. They are found throughout the living world, from bacteria to plants, fungi to animals and, in humans, are noticed most clearly in sleep patterns.WithRussell FosterProfessor of Circadian Neuroscience at the University of OxfordDebra SkeneProfessor of Neuroendocrinology at the University of SurreyAndSteve JonesEmeritus Professor of Genetics at University College London.

  • Weakness of Will

    The Philosopher's Arms Dec 13, 2015 | 18:00 pm

    The Philosopher's Arms asks how we can, at the same time, both want and not want a cream cake. In the pub we have a philosopher, neuroscientists and champion dieter. And a lot of sugar.

  • Lying and Misleading

    The Philosopher's Arms Dec 6, 2015 | 18:00 pm

    The Philosopher's Arms, presented by Matthew Sweet, asks whether there's a moral difference between lying and misleading. In the pub, to help us reach an answer, we have a philosopher, psychologist and political spin-doctor.

  • P v NP

    In Our Time: Science Nov 4, 2015 | 18:00 pm

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the problem of P versus NP, which has a bearing on online security. There is a $1,000,000 prize on offer from the Clay Mathematical Institute for the first person to come up with a complete solution. At its heart is the question "are there problems for which the answers can be checked by computers, but not found in a reasonable time?" If the answer to that is yes, then P does not equal NP. However, if all answers can be found easily as well as checked, if only we knew how, then P equals NP. The area has intrigued mathematicians and computer scientists since Alan Turing, in 1936, found that it's impossible to decide in general whether an algorithm will run forever on some problems. Resting on P versus NP is the security of all online transactions which are currently encrypted: if it transpires that P=NP, if answers could be found as easily as checked, computers could crack passwords in moments.WithColva Roney-DougalReader in Pure Mathematics at the University of St AndrewsTimothy GowersRoyal Society Research Professor in Mathematics at the University of CambridgeAndLeslie Ann GoldbergProfessor of Computer Science and Fellow of St Edmund Hall, University of OxfordProducer: Simon Tillotson.

  • Perpetual Motion

    In Our Time: Science Sep 23, 2015 | 19:00 pm

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the rise of the idea of perpetual motion and its decline, in the 19th Century, with the Laws of Thermodynamics. For hundreds of years, some of the greatest names in science thought there might be machines that could power themselves endlessly. Leonardo Da Vinci tested the idea of a constantly-spinning wheel and Robert Boyle tried to recirculate water from a draining flask. Gottfried Leibniz supported a friend, Orffyreus, who claimed he had built an ever-rotating wheel. An increasing number of scientists voiced their doubts about perpetual motion, from the time of Galileo, but none could prove it was impossible. For scientists, the designs were a way of exploring the laws of nature. Others claimed their inventions actually worked, and promised a limitless supply of energy. It was not until the 19th Century that the picture became clearer, with the experiments of James Joule and Robert Mayer on the links between heat and work, and the establishment of the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics.WithRuth GregoryProfessor of Mathematics and Physics at Durham UniversityFrank CloseProfessor Emeritus of Physics at the University of OxfordandSteven BramwellProfessor of Physics and former Professor of Chemistry at University College LondonProducer: Simon Tillotson.

  • Extremophiles

    In Our Time: Science Jun 24, 2015 | 19:00 pm

    In 1977, scientists in the submersible "Alvin" were exploring the deep ocean bed off the Galapagos Islands. In the dark, they discovered hydrothermal vents, like chimneys, from which superheated water flowed. Around the vents there was an extraordinary variety of life, feeding on microbes which were thriving in the acidity and extreme temperature of the vents. While it was already known that some microbes are extremophiles, thriving in extreme conditions, such as the springs and geysers of Yellowstone Park (pictured), that had not prepared scientists for what they now found. Since the "Alvin" discovery, the increased study of extremophile microbes has revealed much about what is and is not needed to sustain life on Earth and given rise to new theories about how and where life began. It has also suggested forms and places in which life might be found elsewhere in the Universe.WithMonica GradyProfessor of Planetary and Space Sciences at the Open UniversityIan CrawfordProfessor of Planetary Science and Astrobiology at Birkbeck University of LondonAndNick LaneReader in Evolutionary Biochemistry at University College LondonProducer: Simon Tillotson.

  • The Science of Glass

    In Our Time: Science May 27, 2015 | 19:00 pm

    While glass items have been made for at least 5,000 years, scientists are yet to explain, conclusively, what happens when the substance it's made from moves from a molten state to its hard, transparent phase. It is said to be one of the great unsolved problems in physics. While apparently solid, the glass retains certain properties of a liquid. At times, ways of making glass have been highly confidential; in Venice in the Middle Ages, disclosure of manufacturing techniques was a capital offence. Despite the complexity and mystery of the science of glass, glass technology has continued to advance from sheet glass to crystal glass, optical glass and prisms, to float glasses, chemical glassware, fibre optics and metal glasses.With:Dame Athene DonaldProfessor of Experimental Physics at the University of Cambridge and Master of Churchill College, CambridgeJim BennettFormer Director of the Museum of the History of Science at the University of Oxford and Keeper Emeritus at the Science MuseumPaul McMillanProfessor of Chemistry at University College LondonProducer: Simon Tillotson.

  • The Earth's Core

    In Our Time: Science Apr 29, 2015 | 19:00 pm

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the Earth's Core. The inner core is an extremely dense, solid ball of iron and nickel, the size of the Moon, while the outer core is a flowing liquid, the size of Mars. Thanks to the magnetic fields produced within the core, life on Earth is possible. The magnetosphere protects the Earth from much of the Sun's radiation and the flow of particles which would otherwise strip away the atmosphere. The precise structure of the core and its properties have been fascinating scientists from the Renaissance. Recent seismographs show the picture is even more complex than we might have imagined, with suggestions that the core is spinning at a different speed and on a different axis from the surface.WithStephen BlundellProfessor of Physics and Fellow of Mansfield College at the University of OxfordArwen DeussAssociate Professor in Seismology at Utrecht UniversityandSimon RedfernProfessor of Mineral Physics at the University of CambridgeProducer: Simon Tillotson.

  • The Curies

    In Our Time: Science Mar 25, 2015 | 19:00 pm

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the scientific achievements of the Curie family. In 1903 Marie and Pierre Curie shared a Nobel Prize in Physics with Henri Becquerel for their work on radioactivity, a term which Marie coined. Marie went on to win a Nobel in Chemistry eight years later; remarkably, her daughter Irène Joliot-Curie would later share a Nobel with her husband Frédéric Joliot-Curie for their discovery that it was possible to create radioactive materials in the laboratory. The work of the Curies added immensely to our knowledge of fundamental physics and paved the way for modern treatments for cancer and other illnesses.With:Patricia FaraSenior Tutor of Clare College, University of CambridgeRobert FoxEmeritus Professor of the History of Science at the University of OxfordSteven T BramwellProfessor of Physics and former Professor of Chemistry at University College LondonProducer: Simon Tillotson.

  • Why Democracy?

    The Public Philosopher Mar 13, 2015 | 19:00 pm

    Harvard professor Michael Sandel is Radio 4's 'Public Philosopher', guiding audiences through complex moral philosophical dilemmas. For the BBC's Democracy Day, Professor Sandel recorded this special edition of The Public Philosopher inside the Palace of Westminster, challenging his audience of MPs, Peers and the public to think deeply about the true nature of democracy.Producer: Ian Muir-CochraneEditor: Richard Knight.

  • Dark Matter

    In Our Time: Science Mar 11, 2015 | 19:00 pm

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss dark matter, the mysterious and invisible substance which is believed to make up most of the Universe. In 1932 the Dutch astronomer Jan Oort noticed that the speed at which galaxies moved was at odds with the amount of material they appeared to contain. He hypothesized that much of this 'missing' matter was simply invisible to telescopes. Today astronomers and particle physicists are still fascinated by the search for dark matter and the question of what it is.WithCarolin CrawfordPublic Astronomer at the Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge and Gresham Professor of AstronomyCarlos FrenkOgden Professor of Fundamental Physics and Director of the Institute for Computational Cosmology at the University of DurhamAnne GreenReader in Physics at the University of NottinghamProducer: Simon Tillotson.

  • The Photon

    In Our Time: Science Feb 11, 2015 | 18:00 pm

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the photon, one of the most enigmatic objects in the Universe. Generations of scientists have struggled to understand the nature of light. In the late nineteenth century it seemed clear that light was an electromagnetic wave. But the work of physicists including Planck and Einstein shed doubt on this theory. Today scientists accept that light can behave both as a wave and a particle, the latter known as the photon. Understanding light in terms of photons has enabled the development of some of the most important technology of the last fifty years.With:Frank CloseProfessor Emeritus of Physics at the University of OxfordWendy FlavellProfessor of Surface Physics at the University of ManchesterSusan CartwrightSenior Lecturer in Physics and Astronomy at the University of Sheffield.Producer: Thomas Morris.

  • Behavioural Ecology

    In Our Time: Science Dec 10, 2014 | 18:00 pm

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Behavioural Ecology, the scientific study of animal behaviour.What factors influence where and what an animal chooses to eat? Why do some animals mate for life whilst others are promiscuous? Behavioural ecologists approach questions like these using Darwin's theory of natural selection, along with ideas drawn from game theory and the economics of consumer choice.Scientists had always been interested in why animals behave as they do, but before behavioural ecology this area of zoology never got much beyond a collection of interesting anecdotes. Behavioural ecology gave researchers techniques for constructing rigorous mathematical models of how animals act under different circumstances, and for predicting how they will react if circumstances change. Behavioural ecology emerged as a branch of zoology in the second half of the 20th century and proponents say it revolutionized our understanding of animals in their environments.GUESTSSteve Jones, Emeritus Professor of Genetics at University College LondonRebecca Kilner, Professor of Evolutionary Biology at the University of CambridgeJohn Krebs, Principal of Jesus College at the University of OxfordProducer: Luke Mulhall.

  • Brunel

    In Our Time: Science Nov 12, 2014 | 18:00 pm

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the Victorian engineer responsible for bridges, tunnels and railways still in use today more than 150 years after they were built. Brunel represented the cutting edge of technological innovation in Victorian Britain, and his life gives us a window onto the social changes that accompanied the Industrial Revolution. Yet his work was not always successful, and his innovative approach to engineering projects was often greeted with suspicion from investors.Guests:Julia Elton, former President of the Newcomen Society for the History of Engineering and TechnologyBen Marsden, Senior Lecturer in the School of Divinity, History and Philosophy at the University of AberdeenCrosbie Smith, Professor of the History of Science at the University of KentProducer: Luke Mulhall.

  • Nuclear Fusion

    In Our Time: Science Oct 29, 2014 | 19:00 pm

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss nuclear fusion, the process that powers stars. In the 1920s physicists predicted that it might be possible to generate huge amounts of energy by fusing atomic nuclei together, a reaction requiring enormous temperatures and pressures. Today we know that this complex reaction is what keeps the Sun shining. Scientists have achieved fusion in the laboratory and in nuclear weapons; today it is seen as a likely future source of limitless and clean energy.Guests:Philippa Browning, Professor of Astrophysics at the University of ManchesterSteve Cowley, Chief Executive of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy AuthorityJustin Wark, Professor of Physics and fellow of Trinity College at the University of OxfordProducer: Thomas Morris.

  • Sex Equality

    The Philosopher's Arms Sep 28, 2014 | 19:00 pm

    Pints and philosophical problems with Matthew Sweet. Each week the programme examines a knotty philosophical issue: this week, sex equality and pay. Should we expect women to make up 50% of senior positions and, if they do not, is that evidence of discrimination? In the pub for this episode is the philosopher Janet Radcliffe Richards.Producer: David Edmonds.

  • e

    In Our Time: Science Sep 24, 2014 | 19:00 pm

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss Euler's number, also known as e. First discovered in the seventeenth century by the Swiss mathematician Jacob Bernoulli when he was studying compound interest, e is now recognised as one of the most important and interesting numbers in mathematics. Roughly equal to 2.718, e is useful in studying many everyday situations, from personal savings to epidemics. It also features in Euler's Identity, sometimes described as the most beautiful equation ever written.With:Colva Roney-DougalReader in Pure Mathematics at the University of St AndrewsJune Barrow-GreenSenior Lecturer in the History of Maths at the Open UniversityVicky NealeWhitehead Lecturer at the Mathematical Institute and Balliol College at the University of OxfordProducer: Thomas Morris.

  • Induction

    The Philosopher's Arms Sep 21, 2014 | 19:00 pm

    Pints and Philosophical Problems with Matthew Sweet. This week, the problem of induction: are we justified in predicting the future on the basis of what's happened in the past? How do we know that the sun will rise tomorrow? In the snug with Matthew is philosopher Helen Beebee, discussing a conundrum which faces all of us in our daily life - and which raises profound questions about the nature of science.Producer: Luke Mulhall.

  • Trolleyology

    The Philosopher's Arms Sep 14, 2014 | 19:00 pm

    Pints and Philosophical Problems with Matthew Sweet. This week, trolleyology: how should you decide between two morally troubling courses of action? This is a question which affects both soldiers in the heat of action and decision-makers in the NHS. Matthew is joined in the snug by philosopher David Edmonds.Producer: Luke Mulhall.

  • Enhancement

    The Philosopher's Arms Sep 7, 2014 | 19:00 pm

    Pints and Philosophical Problems with Matthew Sweet. In this series, Matthew asks whether the sun will rise tomorrow, whether one person should be poisoned to save five others and whether a female tennis champion deserves the same prize money as her male counterpart. This week, should we take a pill that would make us less racist and less aggressive? In the snug with Matthew is philosopher Julian Savulescu.

  • The Sun

    In Our Time: Science Jul 9, 2014 | 19:00 pm

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the Sun. The object that gives the Earth its light and heat is a massive ball of gas and plasma 93 million miles away. Thanks to the nuclear fusion reactions taking place at its core, the Sun has been shining for four and a half billion years. Its structure, and the processes that keep it burning, have fascinated astronomers for centuries. After the invention of the telescope it became apparent that the Sun is not a placid, steadily shining body but is subject to periodic changes in its appearance and eruptions of dramatic violence, some of which can affect us here on Earth. Recent space missions have revealed fascinating new insights into our nearest star.With:Carolin CrawfordGresham Professor of Astronomy and Fellow of Emmanuel College, CambridgeYvonne ElsworthPoynting Professor of Physics at the University of BirminghamLouise HarraProfessor of Solar Physics at UCL Mullard Space Science LaboratoryProducer: Thomas Morris.

  • Robert Boyle

    In Our Time: Science Jun 11, 2014 | 19:00 pm

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the life and work of Robert Boyle, a pioneering scientist and a founder member of the Royal Society. Born in Ireland in 1627, Boyle was one of the first natural philosophers to conduct rigorous experiments, laid the foundations of modern chemistry and derived Boyle's Law, describing the physical properties of gases. In addition to his experimental work he left a substantial body of writings about philosophy and religion; his piety was one of the most important factors in his intellectual activities, prompting a celebrated dispute with his contemporary Thomas Hobbes.With:Simon SchafferProfessor of the History of Science at the University of CambridgeMichael HunterEmeritus Professor of History at Birkbeck College, University of LondonAnna Marie RoosSenior Lecturer in the History of Science and Medicine at the University of LincolnProducer: Thomas Morris.

  • National Guilt

    The Public Philosopher May 26, 2014 | 19:00 pm

    Imagine a country guilty of past crimes. What obligations do its current citizens have to make amends? In this edition of The Public Philosopher, Michael Sandel poses that question to an audience in Japan. The discussion involves students from Japan and from China and South Korea - countries which were victims of Japanese aggression during the Second World War.

  • Why Vote?

    The Public Philosopher May 19, 2014 | 19:00 pm

    Should it be compulsory to vote? Should we fine people who don't vote? Should we pay people to vote? This is the week that the UK goes to the polls - amid ongoing concerns about the level of democratic participation. In this edition of The Public Philosopher, Harvard professor Michael Sandel hosts a discussion about voting, with an audience at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

  • Photosynthesis

    In Our Time: Science May 14, 2014 | 19:00 pm

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss photosynthesis, the process by which green plants and many other organisms use sunlight to synthesise organic molecules. Photosynthesis arose very early in evolutionary history and has been a crucial driver of life on Earth. In addition to providing most of the food consumed by organisms on the planet, it is also responsible for maintaining atmospheric oxygen levels, and is thus almost certainly the most important chemical process ever discovered.With:Nick LaneReader in Evolutionary Biochemistry at University College LondonSandra KnappBotanist at the Natural History MuseumJohn AllenProfessor of Biochemistry at Queen Mary, University of London.Producer: Thomas Morris.

  • Morality and the State

    The Public Philosopher May 12, 2014 | 19:00 pm

    Should governments try to influence private morality? Michael Sandel, The Public Philosopher, is back with a new series. In this first programme he is at the University of Utrecht in The Netherlands, one of the world's most permissive countries. It has liberal laws on prostitution, cannabis and euthanasia. Professor Sandel leads a discussion about the role of the state in shaping and policing our moral values.

  • States of Matter

    In Our Time: Science Apr 2, 2014 | 19:00 pm

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the science of matter and the states in which it can exist. Most people are familiar with the idea that a substance like water can exist in solid, liquid and gaseous forms. But as much as 99% of the matter in the universe is now believed to exist in a fourth state, plasma. Today scientists recognise a number of other exotic states or phases, such as glasses, gels and liquid crystals - many of them with useful properties that can be exploited.With:Andrea SellaProfessor of Chemistry at University College LondonAthene DonaldProfessor of Experimental Physics at the University of CambridgeJustin WarkProfessor of Physics and Fellow of Trinity College at the University of OxfordProducer: Thomas Morris.

  • The Eye

    In Our Time: Science Feb 26, 2014 | 18:00 pm

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the eye. Humans have been attempting to understand the workings and significance of the organ for at least 2500 years. Some ancient philosophers believed that the eye enabled creatures to see by emitting its own light. The function and structures of the eye became an area of particular interest to doctors in the Islamic Golden Age. In Renaissance Europe the work of thinkers including Kepler and Descartes revolutionised thinking about how the organ worked, but it took several hundred years for the eye to be thoroughly understood. Eyes have long attracted more than purely scientific interest, known even today as the 'windows on the soul'.With:Patricia FaraSenior Tutor of Clare College, University of CambridgeWilliam AyliffeGresham Professor of Physic at Gresham CollegeRobert IliffeProfessor of Intellectual History and History of Science at the University of SussexProducer: Thomas Morris.

  • Social Darwinism

    In Our Time: Science Feb 19, 2014 | 18:00 pm

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss Social Darwinism. After the publication of Charles Darwin's masterpiece On the Origin of Species in 1859, some thinkers argued that Darwin's ideas about evolution could also be applied to human society. One thinker particularly associated with this movement was Darwin's near-contemporary Herbert Spencer, who coined the phrase 'survival of the fittest'. He argued that competition among humans was beneficial, because it ensured that only the healthiest and most intelligent individuals would succeed. Social Darwinism remained influential for several generations, although its association with eugenics and later adoption as an ideological position by Fascist regimes ensured its eventual downfall from intellectual respectability.With:Adam KuperCentennial Professor of Anthropology at the LSE, University of LondonGregory RadickProfessor of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of LeedsCharlotte SleighReader in the History of Science at the University of Kent.Producer: Thomas Morris.

  • Catastrophism

    In Our Time: Science Jan 29, 2014 | 18:00 pm

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss Catastrophism, the idea that natural disasters have had a significant influence in moulding the Earth's geological features. In 1822 William Buckland, the first reader of Geology at the University of Oxford, published his famous Reliquae Diluvianae, in which he ascribed most of the fossil record to the effects of Noah's flood. Charles Lyell in his Principles of Geology challenged these writings, arguing that geological change was slow and gradual, and that the processes responsible could still be seen at work today - a school of thought known as Uniformitarianism. But in the 1970s the idea that natural catastrophes were a major factor in the Earth's geology was revived and given new respectability by the discovery of evidence of a gigantic asteroid impact 65 million years ago, believed by many to have resulted in the extinction of the dinosaurs.With:Andrew ScottLeverhulme Emeritus Fellow in the Department of Earth Sciences at Royal Holloway, University of LondonJan ZalasiewiczSenior Lecturer in Geology at the University of LeicesterLeucha VeneerVisiting Scholar at the Faculty of Life Sciences at the University of ManchesterProducer: Thomas Morris.

  • Complexity

    In Our Time: Science Dec 18, 2013 | 18:00 pm

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss complexity and how it can help us understand the world around us. When living beings come together and act in a group, they do so in complicated and unpredictable ways: societies often behave very differently from the individuals within them. Complexity was a phenomenon little understood a generation ago, but research into complex systems now has important applications in many different fields, from biology to political science. Today it is being used to explain how birds flock, to predict traffic flow in cities and to study the spread of diseases.With:Ian StewartEmeritus Professor of Mathematics at the University of WarwickJeff JohnsonProfessor of Complexity Science and Design at the Open UniversityProfessor Eve Mitleton-KellyDirector of the Complexity Research Group at the London School of Economics.Producer: Thomas Morris.

  • The Microscope

    In Our Time: Science Nov 27, 2013 | 18:00 pm

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the development of the microscope, an instrument which has revolutionised our knowledge of the world and the organisms that inhabit it. In the seventeenth century the pioneering work of two scientists, the Dutchman Antonie van Leeuwenhoek and Robert Hooke in England, revealed the teeming microscopic world that exists at scales beyond the capabilities of the naked eye.The microscope became an essential component of scientific enquiry by the nineteenth century, but in the 1930s a German physicist, Ernst Ruska, discovered that by using a beam of electrons he could view structures much tinier than was possible using visible light. Today light and electron microscopy are among the most powerful tools at the disposal of modern science, and new techniques are still being developed.With:Jim BennettVisiting Keeper at the Science Museum in LondonSir Colin HumphreysProfessor of Materials Science and Director of Research at the University of CambridgeMichelle PeckhamProfessor of Cell Biology at the University of LeedsProducer: Thomas Morris.

  • Galen

    In Our Time: Science Oct 9, 2013 | 19:00 pm

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the Roman physician and medical theorist Galen. The most celebrated doctor in the ancient world, Galen was Greek by birth but spent most of his career in Rome, where he was personal physician to three Emperors. He was one of the most prolific authors of his age, and a sixth of all surviving ancient literature in Greek was written by him. Celebrated in his own lifetime, he was regarded as the preeminent medical authority for centuries after his death, both in the Arab world and in medieval Europe. It was only the discoveries of Renaissance science which removed Galen from his dominant position in the pantheon of medicine.With:Vivian NuttonEmeritus Professor of the History of Medicine at University College LondonHelen KingProfessor of Classical Studies at the Open UniversityCaroline PetitWellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow in Classics at the University of WarwickProducer: Thomas Morris.

  • Exoplanets

    In Our Time: Science Oct 2, 2013 | 19:00 pm

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss exoplanets. Astronomers have speculated about the existence of planets beyond our solar system for centuries. Although strenuous efforts were made to find such planets orbiting distant stars, it was not until the 1990s that instruments became sophisticated enough to detect such remote objects. In 1992 Dale Frail and Aleksander Wolszczan discovered the first confirmed exoplanets: two planets orbiting the pulsar PSR B1257+12. Since then, astronomers have discovered more than 900 exoplanets, and are able to reach increasingly sophisticated conclusions about what they look like - and whether they might be able to support life. Recent data from experiments such as NASA's space telescope Kepler indicates that such planets may be far more common than previously suspected.With:Carolin CrawfordGresham Professor of Astronomy and a member of the Institute of Astronomy at the University of CambridgeDon PollaccoProfessor of Astronomy at the University of WarwickSuzanne AigrainLecturer in Astrophysics at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of All Souls College.Producer: Thomas Morris.

  • Pascal

    In Our Time: Science Sep 18, 2013 | 19:00 pm

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests begin a new series of the programme with a discussion of the French polymath Blaise Pascal. Born in 1623, Pascal was a brilliant mathematician and scientist, inventing one of the first mechanical calculators and making important discoveries about fluids and vacuums while still a young man. In his thirties he experienced a religious conversion, after which he devoted most of his attention to philosophy and theology. Although he died in his late thirties, Pascal left a formidable legacy as a scientist and pioneer of probability theory, and as one of seventeenth century Europe's greatest writers.With:David WoottonAnniversary Professor of History at the University of YorkMichael MoriartyDrapers Professor of French at the University of CambridgeMichela MassimiSenior Lecturer in the Philosophy of Science at the University of Edinburgh.Producer: Thomas Morris.

  • Moral Blame

    The Philosopher's Arms Aug 19, 2013 | 19:00 pm

    Pints and philosophical puzzles with Matthew Sweet. Each week Matthew goes to the pub to discuss a knotty conundrum with an audience and a panel of experts. Free will, exploitation, sex, sexism, blame and shame are just some of the topics to be mulled over in this series of The Philosopher's Arms.Tonight we look at historic wrongs. Can we blame people in the past who held views that we now regard as abhorrent, but which were then widely accepted? The programme features philosopher Miranda Fricker.Producer: David Edmonds.

  • Free Will

    The Philosopher's Arms Aug 12, 2013 | 19:00 pm

    Matthew Sweet is in the pub, discussing a knotty conundrum with an invited audience and a panel of experts. Today it's whether or not we have free will, with philosopher Wayne Martin of the University of Essex and neuroscientist Gemma Calvert, Managing Director of Neurosense. Also featuring Peter Mabbutt and Jo Russell.Producer: Marya Burgess.

  • Exploitation

    The Philosopher's Arms Aug 5, 2013 | 19:00 pm

    Pints and philosophical puzzles with Matthew Sweet. Each week Matthew goes to the pub to discuss a knotty conundrum with an audience and a panel of experts. Free will, sex, sexism, blame and shame are just some of the topics to be mulled over in this series of The Philosopher's Arms.What is 'exploitation' - with philosopher Alex Voorhoeve.Producer: David Edmonds.

  • Free Riders

    The Philosopher's Arms Jul 29, 2013 | 19:00 pm

    Pints and philosophical puzzles with Matthew Sweet. Each week Matthew goes to the pub to discuss a knotty conundrum with an audience and a panel of experts. Free will, exploitation, sex, sexism, blame and shame are just some of the topics to be mulled over in this series of The Philosopher's Arms.We look at the issue of 'free-riding', with Oxford philosopher Roger Crisp.Producer: Estelle Doyle.

  • The Invention of Radio

    In Our Time: Science Jul 3, 2013 | 19:00 pm

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the invention of radio. In the early 1860s the Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell derived four equations which together describe the behaviour of electricity and magnetism. They predicted the existence of a previously unknown phenomenon: electromagnetic waves. These waves were first observed in the early 1880s, and over the next two decades a succession of scientists and engineers built increasingly elaborate devices to produce and detect them. Eventually this gave birth to a new technology: radio. The Italian Guglielmo Marconi is commonly described as the father of radio - but many other figures were involved in its development, and it was not him but a Canadian, Reginald Fessenden, who first succeeded in transmitting speech over the airwaves.With:Simon SchafferProfessor of the History of Science at the University of CambridgeElizabeth BrutonPostdoctoral Researcher at the University of LeedsJohn LiffenCurator of Communications at the Science Museum, LondonProducer: Thomas Morris.

  • Relativity

    In Our Time: Science Jun 5, 2013 | 19:00 pm

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss Einstein's theories of relativity. Between 1905 and 1917 Albert Einstein formulated a theoretical framework which transformed our understanding of the Universe. The twin theories of Special and General Relativity offered insights into the nature of space, time and gravitation which changed the face of modern science. Relativity resolved apparent contradictions in physics and also predicted several new phenomena, including black holes. It's regarded today as one of the greatest intellectual achievements of the twentieth century, and had an impact far beyond the world of science.With:Ruth GregoryProfessor of Mathematics and Physics at Durham UniversityMartin ReesAstronomer Royal and Emeritus Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics at the University of CambridgeRoger PenroseEmeritus Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford.Producer: Thomas Morris.

  • Cosmic Rays

    In Our Time: Science May 15, 2013 | 19:00 pm

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss cosmic rays. In 1912 the physicist Victor Hess discovered that the Earth is under constant bombardment from radiation coming from outside our atmosphere. These so-called cosmic rays have been known to cause damage to satellites and electronic devices on Earth, but most are absorbed by our atmosphere. The study of cosmic rays and their effects has led to major breakthroughs in particle physics. But today physicists are still trying to establish where these highly energetic subatomic particles come from.With:Carolin CrawfordGresham Professor of Astronomy and a member of the Institute of Astronomy at the University of CambridgeAlan WatsonEmeritus Professor of Physics at the University of LeedsTim GreenshawProfessor of Physics at the University of Liverpool.Producer: Thomas Morris.

  • Water

    In Our Time: Science Mar 27, 2013 | 19:00 pm

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss one of the simplest and most remarkable of all molecules: water.Water is among the most abundant substances on Earth, covering more than two-thirds of the planet.Consisting of just three atoms, the water molecule is superficially simple in its structure but extraordinary in its properties.It is a rare example of a substance that can be found on Earth in gaseous, liquid and solid forms, and thanks to its unique chemical behaviour is the basis of all known life.Scientists are still discovering new things about it, such as the fact that there are at least fifteen different forms of ice.Hasok ChangHans Rausing Professor of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of CambridgeAndrea SellaProfessor of Chemistry at University College LondonPatricia HuntSenior Lecturer in Chemistry at Imperial College London.Producer: Thomas Morris.

  • Is rape worse than other violent crime?

    The Public Philosopher Mar 25, 2013 | 19:00 pm

    Is rape a worse crime than other forms of violent assault? Should verbal sexual harassment be banned? These are two questions put by Harvard's Michael Sandel - BBC Radio 4's 'Public Philosopher' - who takes the programme to an audience at the Jaipur Literature Festival. The discussion follows the brutal rape and murder of a young woman in Delhi at the end of last year, a crime that provoked a national outcry in India.

  • Absolute Zero

    In Our Time: Science Mar 6, 2013 | 18:00 pm

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss absolute zero, the lowest conceivable temperature.In the early eighteenth century the French physicist Guillaume Amontons suggested that temperature had a lower limit.The subject of low temperature became a fertile field of research in the nineteenth century, and today we know that this limit - known as absolute zero - is approximately minus 273 degrees Celsius.It is impossible to produce a temperature exactly equal to absolute zero, but today scientists have come to within a billionth of a degree.At such low temperatures physicists have discovered a number of strange new phenomena including superfluids, liquids capable of climbing a vertical surface.With:Simon SchafferProfessor of the History of Science at the University of CambridgeStephen BlundellProfessor of Physics at the University of OxfordNicola WilkinLecturer in Theoretical Physics at the University of BirminghamProducer: Thomas Morris.

  • Pitt-Rivers

    In Our Time: Science Feb 27, 2013 | 18:00 pm

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the life and work of the Victorian anthropologist and archaeologist Augustus Pitt-Rivers.Over many years he amassed thousands of ethnographic and archaeological objects, some of which formed the founding collection of the Pitt Rivers Museum at Oxford University.Inspired by the work of Charles Darwin, Pitt-Rivers believed that human technology evolved in the same way as living organisms, and devoted much of his life to exploring this theory.He was also a pioneering archaeologist whose meticulous records of major excavations provided a model for later scholars.With:Adam KuperVisiting Professor of Anthropology at Boston UniversityRichard BradleyProfessor in Archaeology at the University of ReadingDan HicksUniversity Lecturer & Curator of Archaeology at the Pitt Rivers Museum at the University of Oxford.Producer: Thomas Morris.

  • Welfare

    The Public Philosopher Oct 29, 2012 | 19:00 pm

    The eminent American political philosopher Michael Sandel is Radio 4's "Public Philosopher." Now, as America prepares for its Presidential elections, he is going on the road in America with a unique mission to challenge ordinary voters and lay bare the deeper moral questions bound up in the noisy Romney and Obama campaigns.In this week's programme, Professor Sandel is at Harvard, his home university in the intellectual heartland of New England. Much of the debate between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama has been about welfare policy, social security and healthcare. Underlying this, Professor Sandel believes, is a moral and philosophical disagreement about the nature of the American dream itself.Earlier this year, Obama was attacked for his remarks about the role of government. "Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive," the President said. "If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen." Republicans saw this as an attack on business and accused Obama of stifling the idea of individual success at the core of the American dream. The right's policies are more focussed on individual choice -- lowering taxes and opposing, for example, the type of universal health care policy which Obama has enacted.Against this backdrop, our public audience will be asked: "Who Built It? Is the American vision of individual responsibility for one's own success a myth?" Michael Sandel weaves through these issues with the help of philosophers past and present.Producer: Mukul Devichand.

  • Immigration

    The Public Philosopher Oct 22, 2012 | 19:00 pm

    The eminent Harvard political philosopher Michael Sandel is Radio 4's "Public Philosopher." Now, as America prepares for its Presidential elections, he and Radio 4 are going on the road in America with a unique mission to lay bare the deeper moral questions bound up in the noisy Romney and Obama campaigns.In this week's programme, Professor Sandel visits the heartland of America's deep south, hosting a public discussion at the University of Dallas in Texas. He challenges ordinary Texans to consider the moral issues raised when it comes to controlling immigration and deciding who should be entitled to citizenship.Texas has a long frontier with Mexico and the issue of immigration divides people sharply. A million people in Texas are "undocumented" living without immigration papers. Many Hispanic voters want immigration to be reformed and President Obama recently outlined initiatives aimed at this base. Mitt Romney, too, is reaching out to Hispanic voters but many in the Tea Party movement pull the Republicans in the other direction. They insist that the border must be closed and deportations must be stepped up.Against this backdrop, our public audience will be asked: "how far should an open society go on accepting outsiders?" Michael Sandel weaves through these issues with the help of philosophers past and present.Producer: Mukul Devichand.

  • Morality and the Law

    The Philosopher's Arms Aug 27, 2012 | 19:00 pm

    Welcome to the Philosopher's Arms - a place where philosophical ideas, logical dilemmas and the real world meet for a chat and a drink.Each week presenter Matthew Sweet takes a puzzle with philosophical pedigree and asks why it matters in the everyday world. En route we'll learn about the thinking of such luminaries as Aristotle, Hobbes, Hume, Kant, John Stuart Mill and Wittgenstein. All recorded in a pub with an audience, who'll have their own contributions to make - but whose assumptions and intuitions will be challenged and, perhaps, undermined.Propping up the bar this year will be philosophers such as Julian Baggini and Nigel Warburton, and academic experts on memory, the law, art and computers. We'll be meeting bald men, a woman who used to be a man, and a woman who can't remember being a girl. Plus music from The Drifters - a far more philosophical group than you'd ever imagine.This programme is a repeatProducer: David EdmondsEditor: Jeremy Skeet.

  • Sorites' Heap

    The Philosopher's Arms Aug 20, 2012 | 19:00 pm

    Welcome to the Philosopher's Arms - a place where philosophical ideas, logical dilemmas and the real world meet for a chat and a drink.Each week presenter Matthew Sweet takes a puzzle with philosophical pedigree and asks why it matters in the everyday world. En route we'll learn about the thinking of such luminaries as Aristotle, Hobbes, Hume, Kant, John Stuart Mill and Wittgenstein. All recorded in a pub with an audience, who'll have their own contributions to make - but whose assumptions and intuitions will be challenged and, perhaps, undermined.Propping up the bar this year will be philosophers such as Julian Baggini and Nigel Warburton, and academic experts on memory, the law, art and computers. We'll be meeting bald men, a woman who used to be a man, and a woman who can't remember being a girl. Plus music from The Drifters - a far more philosophical group than you'd ever imagine.This programme is a repeatProducer: David EdmondsEditor: Jeremy Skeet.

  • What Makes a Fake a Fake?

    The Philosopher's Arms Aug 13, 2012 | 19:00 pm

    Welcome to the Philosopher's Arms - a place where philosophical ideas, logical dilemmas and the real world meet for a chat and a drink.Each week presenter Matthew Sweet takes a puzzle with philosophical pedigree and asks why it matters in the everyday world. En route we'll learn about the thinking of such luminaries as Aristotle, Hobbes, Hume, Kant, John Stuart Mill and Wittgenstein. All recorded in a pub with an audience, who'll have their own contributions to make - but whose assumptions and intuitions will be challenged and, perhaps, undermined.Propping up the bar this year will be philosophers such as Julian Baggini and Nigel Warburton, and academic experts on memory, the law, art and computers. We'll be meeting bald men, a woman who used to be a man, and a woman who can't remember being a girl. Plus music from The Drifters - a far more philosophical group than you'd ever imagine.This programme is a repeat.The producer was Estelle Doyle.

  • Theseus' Ship

    The Philosopher's Arms Aug 6, 2012 | 19:00 pm

    Welcome to the Philosopher's Arms - a place where philosophical ideas, logical dilemmas and the real world meet for a chat and a drink.Each week presenter Matthew Sweet takes a puzzle with philosophical pedigree and asks why it matters in the everyday world. En route we'll learn about the thinking of such luminaries as Aristotle, Hobbes, Hume, Kant, John Stuart Mill and Wittgenstein. All recorded in a pub with an audience, who'll have their own contributions to make - but whose assumptions and intuitions will be challenged and, perhaps, undermined.Propping up the bar this year will be philosophers such as Julian Baggini and Nigel Warburton, and academic experts on memory, the law, art and computers. We'll be meeting bald men, a woman who used to be a man, and a woman who can't remember being a girl. Plus music from The Drifters - a far more philosophical group than you'd ever imagine.This programme is a repeatThe producer was David Edmonds.

  • Should we bribe people to be healthy?

    The Public Philosopher Apr 16, 2012 | 19:00 pm

    The eminent Harvard political philosopher Michael Sandel brings his trademark style to a discussion on a current issue, questioning the thinking underlying a current controversy This week, he takes a provocative look at the controversial subject of incentivising good health.Michael Sandel has been enthralling students at Harvard for years. These discussions - recorded in front of an audience at the London School of Economics - bring his trademark style to Radio 4. They're challenging, outspoken and interactive.Sandel turns his attention to health and ponders whether the present constraints on the NHS leave us with no choice but to bribe people to be healthy. Profound moral questions lie behind paying people to lose weight, quit smoking or abandon alcohol. Michael Sandel weaves through these issues with the help of philosophers past and present.Producer: Adele Armstrong.

  • Should a banker be paid more than a nurse?

    The Public Philosopher Apr 9, 2012 | 19:00 pm

    The eminent Harvard political philosopher Michael Sandel brings his trademark style to a discussion on a topical issue, questioning the thinking underlying a current controversy. This week, he digs deep into the morality of high pay and bankers' bonuses."My image of a banker is an overweight man behind a desk" says Alice. The audience bursts into laughter. "My image of a nurse," she goes on, "is an overworked woman who works night shifts and is constantly on her feet".Michael Sandel asks "So by that logic, Alice, maybe there's a case for paying nurses more than bankers. Am I right?"Alice agrees and so begins Michael Sandel's journey through the morality of fair pay.He explores whether fair pay is a question of the importance of the contribution one makes, whether it is a reward for effort ...and whether it's the market that should define how much people should get paid.He questions whether Wayne Rooney gets the pay he deserves for "kicking a pigskin around a field for a certain period of time".In this series of public events, recorded at the London School of Economics, he challenges his audience to apply critical thinking and philosophical reasoning to a host of ethical dilemmas most people rely on gut instinct to resolve.Producer: Adele Armstrong.

  • Should universities give preference to applicants from poor backgrounds?

    The Public Philosopher Apr 2, 2012 | 19:00 pm

    "We're going to engage in an experiment ....an experiment in public philosophy. We sometimes think that philosophy is remote, abstract and distant from the world we actually inhabit. I think otherwise". So says the eminent Harvard political philosopher Michael Sandel as he challenges an audience to examine the big ideas, the big philosophical questions that lie behind our views.In a series of public events, recorded at the London School of Economics, he brings his trademark style to a discussion on a current issue. This week, he delves into the thorny issue of access to universities. "Should students from poor backgrounds be given priority in admissions?" he asks. He demands a show of hands. The brave ones volunteer to explain the thinking behind their views.The audience is swept along. "Who decides if you're from a poor background...what does that mean to come from a poor background? The way our system works right now is fair because we're just numbers" says Georgia, arguing that academic results are all that matter.Fazal's view, reflecting his experience of American universities, is very different. "On one piece of paper you're writing down your experiences, your grades. On the other you're writing down your financial background...how much money you can potentially pay".Throughout, Michael Sandel acts as referee, thinker and devil's advocate.His lectures to Harvard undergraduates have been described as "spellbinding...an exhilarating journey". They are popular, provocative and interactive. Now he brings that approach to Radio 4.Producer: Adele Armstrong.

  • Moral Disgust

    The Philosopher's Arms Sep 26, 2011 | 19:00 pm

    Welcome to the Philosopher's Arms. A place where moral dilemmas, philosophical ideas and the real world meet for a chat and a drink. Matthew Sweet presents with a live audience.

  • The Ultimatum Game

    The Philosopher's Arms Sep 19, 2011 | 19:00 pm

    Where do we get our sense of justice and fairness from? Is it hardwired in us? Are we nakedly self-interested creatures, or are we, at least partially, altruistic? These are questions philosophers - from Plato to Hobbes, from Rousseau to David Hume - have pondered for hundreds of years. And a famous game invented by economists- called The Ultimatum Game - may help provide some of the answers. All this is up for discussion and debate this week in The Philosopher's Arms.Welcome to the Philosopher's Arms - a place where philosophical ideas, logical dilemmas and the real world meet for a chat and a drink. Each week Matthew Sweet takes a thought experiment with philosophical pedigree and asks why it matters in the everyday world. En route we'll learn about the thinking of such luminaries as Aristotle, Hume, Kant and John Stuart Mill. And all recorded in a pub in front of a live audience, ready to tap their glasses and demand clarity.Questions we might confront along the way include: should the government put Prozac in the water supply? How should I treat my daughter if it turns out she's a robot? And is there anything morally wrong with having sex with a supermarket chicken? These will lead us into discussions about the treatment of mental illness, the structure of financial markets, and subjects as varied as happiness, infidelity and homosexuality. Our assumptions and intuitions will be challenged and, perhaps, undermined.Producer: David Edmonds.

  • A Robot Daughter

    The Philosopher's Arms Sep 12, 2011 | 19:00 pm

    Welcome to the Philosopher's Arms - a place where moral dilemmas, philosophical ideas and the real world meet for a chat and a drink. Each week Matthew Sweet takes a dilemma with real philosophical pedigree and sees how it matters in the everyday world.This week Matthew discovers that his adopted daughter is a robot. Should he treat her any differently from before? She's indistinguishable from a human so should she have the same status as a human? Philosopher Barry Smith, Autism mentor Robyn Steward; Artificial Intelligence creator Murray Shanahan and all join Matthew for a drink and a bit of advice.Each week in the Philosphers Arms Matthew is joined joined by a cast of philosophers and attendant experts to show how the dilemma's we face in real life connect us to some of the trickiest philosophical problems ever thought up. En route we'll learn about the thinking of such luminaries as Kant, Hume, Aristotle and Wittgenstein. All recorded in a pub in front of a live audience ready to tap their glasses and demand clarity and ask - what's this all got to do with me?So questions such as should the government put prozac in the water supply? And my daughter is a robot, how should I treat her? Lead us into dilemmas, problems and issues from the treatment of mental illness to the structure of financial markets, from animal rights to homosexuality. And they will challenge a few of the assumptions and intuitions about life that we carry round with us.Producer James Cook.

  • The Experience Machine

    The Philosopher's Arms Sep 5, 2011 | 19:00 pm

    Welcome to the Philosopher's Arms - a very special pub where moral dilemmas, philosophical ideas and the real world meet for a chat and a drink. Each week Matthew Sweet takes a dilemma with real philosophical pedigree and sees how it matters in the everyday world.This week he's been offered an Experience Machine. It's a device that guarantees the sensation of a happy and fulfilled life. But it's not real. Should Matthew plug in? David Willets, Jo Wolf and David Geaney join him for a drink to explain the big thinkers behind this idea and debate the nature of happiness, drugs, reality and the role of government.Each week in the Philosphers Arms Matthew is joined by a cast of philosophers and attendant experts to show how the dilemmas we face in real life connect us to some of the trickiest philosophical problems ever thought up. En route we'll learn about the thinking of such luminaries as Kant, Hume, Aristotle and Wittgenstein. All recorded in a pub in front of a live audience ready to tap their glasses and demand clarity and ask - what's this all got to do with me?So questions such as should the government put prozac in the water supply? And my daughter is a robot, how should I treat her? Lead us into dilemmas, problems and issues from the treatment of mental illness to the structure of financial markets, from animal rights to homosexuality. And they will challenge a few of the assumptions and intuitions about life that we carry round with us.Producer David Edmonds.

  • Nicolas Bourbaki

    A Brief History of Mathematics Jun 24, 2010 | 19:00 pm

    This ten part history of mathematics from Newton to the present day, reveals the personalities behind the calculations: the passions and rivalries of mathematicians struggling to get their ideas heard. Professor Marcus du Sautoy shows how these masters of abstraction find a role in the real world and proves that mathematics is the driving force behind modern science.Today, the mathematician that never was, Nicolas Bourbaki. A group of French mathematicians, working between the two world wars and writing under the pseudonym Nicolas Bourbaki transformed their discipline and paved the way for several mathematical breakthroughs in the 21st century.Producer: Anna Buckley.

  • Hardy and Ramanujan

    A Brief History of Mathematics Jun 23, 2010 | 19:00 pm

    This ten part history of mathematics from Newton to the present day, reveals the personalities behind the calculations: the passions and rivalries of mathematicians struggling to get their ideas heard. Professor Marcus du Sautoy shows how these masters of abstraction find a role in the real world and proves that mathematics is the driving force behind modern science.Today, G.H.Hardy, the mathematician who insisted he had never done anything useful. And yet his work on the "diabolical malice" inherent in prime numbers inspired the millions of codes that now help to keep the internet safe.Producer: Anna Buckley.

  • Henri Poincare

    A Brief History of Mathematics Jun 22, 2010 | 19:00 pm

    This ten part history of mathematics from Newton to the present day, reveals the personalities behind the calculations: the passions and rivalries of mathematicians struggling to get their ideas heard. Professor Marcus du Sautoy shows how these masters of abstraction find a role in the real world and proves that mathematics is the driving force behind modern science.Today Henri Poincare, the man who proved there are certain problems that mathematics will never be able to answer: a mathematical insight that gave rise to chaos theory.Producer: Anna Buckley.

  • Georg Cantor

    A Brief History of Mathematics Jun 21, 2010 | 19:00 pm

    This ten part history of mathematics from Newton to the present day, reveals the personalities behind the calculations: the passions and rivalries of mathematicians struggling to get their ideas heard. Professor Marcus du Sautoy shows how these masters of abstraction find a role in the real world and proves that mathematics is the driving force behind modern science.Today, Georg Cantor, the mathematician who showed us how to carry on counting when the numbers run out. An insight into the nature of infinity that Roger Penrose believes helps to explain why the human brain will always be cleverer than artificial intelligence.Producer: Anna Buckley.

  • The Mathematicians Who Helped Einstein

    A Brief History of Mathematics Jun 20, 2010 | 19:00 pm

    This ten part history of mathematics from Newton to the present day, reveals the personalities behind the calculations: the passions and rivalries of mathematicians struggling to get their ideas heard. Professor Marcus du Sautoy shows how these masters of abstraction find a role in the real world and proves that mathematics is the driving force behind modern science.Today, the pioneering nineteenth century mathematicians who helped Albert Einstein with his maths: Jonas Bolyai, Nicolas Loachevski and Bernhard Riemann. Without the mathematics to describe curved space and multiple dimensions, the theory of relativity doesn't really work.Producer: Anna Buckley.

  • Carl Friedrich Gauss

    A Brief History of Mathematics Jun 17, 2010 | 19:00 pm

    This ten part history of mathematics from Newton to the present day, reveals the personalities behind the calculations: the passions and rivalries of mathematicians struggling to get their ideas heard. Professor Marcus du Sautoy shows how these masters of abstraction find a role in the real world and proves that mathematics is the driving force behind modern science.It was the German scientist and mathematician, Carl Friedrich Gauss, who said mathematics was the Queen of Science. One of his many mathematical breakthroughs, the Gaussian or normal distribution, is the lifeblood of statistics. It underpins modern medicine and is a valuable tool in the fight against prejudice.Producer: Anna Buckley.

  • Evariste Galois

    A Brief History of Mathematics Jun 16, 2010 | 19:00 pm

    This ten part history of mathematics from Newton to the present day, reveals the personalities behind the calculations: the passions and rivalries of mathematicians struggling to get their ideas heard. Professor Marcus du Sautoy shows how these masters of abstraction find a role in the real world and proves that mathematics is the driving force behind modern science.Today how the mathematics of the French revolutionary, Evariste Galois, has proved invaluable to particle physicists working today. The mathematics that Galois began, over two hundred years ago, now absolutely describes the fundamental particles that make up our universe.Producer: Anna Buckley.

  • Joseph Fourier

    A Brief History of Mathematics Jun 15, 2010 | 19:00 pm

    This ten part history of mathematics from Newton to the present day, reveals the personalities behind the calculations: the passions and rivalries of mathematicians struggling to get their ideas heard. Professor Marcus du Sautoy shows how these masters of abstraction find a role in the real world and proves that mathematics is the driving force behind modern science.Today, the mathematics of Joseph Fourier. It's thanks to his mathematical insight that you can hear Marcus on the radio and that Brian Eno can create sounds that have never been heard before.Producer: Anna Buckley.

  • Leonard Euler

    A Brief History of Mathematics Jun 14, 2010 | 19:00 pm

    This ten part history of mathematics reveals the personalities behind the calculations: the passions and rivalries of mathematicians struggling to get their ideas heard. Professor Marcus du Sautoy shows how these masters of abstraction find a role in the real world and proves that mathematics is the driving force behind modern science.Today, how the mathematics that Leonard Euler invented two hundred years ago has transformed the internet. Euler's solution to an eighteenth century conundrum paved the way for the search engines most of us use every day .Producer: Anna Buckley.

  • Newton and Leibniz

    A Brief History of Mathematics Jun 13, 2010 | 19:00 pm

    This ten part history of mathematics reveals the personalities behind the calculations: the passions and rivalries of mathematicians struggling to get their ideas heard. Marcus du Sautoy shows how these masters of abstraction find a role in the real world and proves that mathematics is the driving force behind modern science.Today, the story of two late 17th century mathematicians who worked on the same problem at the same time - the calculus - in which the great hero of British science, Newton, reveals himself to be a little less gentlemanly than his German rival, Leibniz. The calculus is one of the greatest achievements of mankind: an astronaut and an investment analyst pay homage to its enormous power.Producer: Anna Buckley.