In Our Time With Melvyn Bragg

              In Our Time With Melvyn Bragg

              Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the history of ideas - including topics drawn from philosophy, science, history, religion and culture.

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              Recent episodes (10)

              • Science of Glass 28 May 15

                Thu, 28 May 15

                Duration:
                46 mins

                While glass items have been made for at least 5,000 years, scientists have 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. Despite the complexity and mystery of the science of glass, glass technology has continued to advance from sheet glass to fibre optics and metal glasses. Melvyn Bragg is joined by Dame Athene Donald, Professor of Experimental Physics at the University of Cambridge and Master of Churchill College, Cambridge; Jim Bennett, Former Director of the Museum of the History of Science at the University of Oxford and Keeper Emeritus at the Science Museum and Paul McMillan, Professor of Chemistry at University College London.

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              • Podcast Migration Alert

                Mon, 25 May 15

                Duration:
                1 min

                We are migrating BBC podcasts to a new database. This may result in you being asked to download some archive episodes. To prevent this from happening we recommend you change your downloads manager to temporarily prevent automatic downloads. This work on this series will be completed within the next two weeks.

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              • Josephus 21 May 15

                Thu, 21 May 15

                Duration:
                46 mins

                Josephus was a 1st-century AD Jewish historian who was born in Roman Judea. It is said that, in Britain from the 18th century, copies of Josephus' works were as well read as The Bible. Christians valued "The Antiquities of the Jews" in particular, for apparently corroborating the historical existence of Jesus. Born in Jerusalem in 37AD, he fought the Romans in Galilee in the First Jewish-Roman War. He was captured by the Emperor Vespasian's troops and became a Roman citizen, later describing the fall of Jerusalem. His actions and writings made him a controversial figure, from his lifetime to the present day. Melvyn Bragg is joined by Tessa Rajak, Professor Emeritus of Ancient History, University of Reading; Philip Alexander, Professor Emeritus of Jewish Studies, University of Manchester and Martin Goodman, Professor of Jewish Studies, University of Oxford and President of the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies.

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              • The Lancashire Cotton Famine 14 May 15

                Thu, 14 May 15

                Duration:
                46 mins

                The Cotton Famine in Lancashire from 1861-65 followed the blockade of Confederate Southern ports during the American Civil War which stopped the flow of cotton into mills in Britain. Reports at the time told of starvation, mass unemployment and migration. While the full cause and extent of the Famine in Lancashire are disputed, the consequences of this and the cotton blockade were far reaching. Melvyn Bragg is joined by Lawrence Goldman, Director of the Institute of Historical Research at the University of London; Emma Griffin, Professor of History at the University of East Anglia and David Brown, Senior Lecturer in American Studies at University of Manchester.

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              • Tagore 07 May 15

                Thu, 7 May 15

                Duration:
                47 mins

                Rabindranath Tagore was the first non-European to win a Nobel Prize for Literature. He has been called one of the outstanding thinkers of the 20th century and the greatest poet India has ever produced. A key figure in Indian nationalism, Tagore became a friend of Gandhi, offering criticism as well as support. A polymath and progressive, Tagore wrote plays, novels, short stories and many songs. The national anthems of India and Bangladesh are based on his poems. Melvyn Bragg is joined by Chandrika Kaul, Lecturer in Modern History at the University of St Andrews; Bashabi Fraser, Professor of English Literature and Creative Writing at Edinburgh Napier University and John Stevens, Leverhulme Postdoctoral Fellow at SOAS, University of London.

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              • The Earth's Core 30 Apr 15

                Thu, 30 Apr 15

                Duration:
                47 mins

                The Earth's inner core is an extremely dense, solid ball of iron and nickel, while the outer core is a flowing liquid. Life on Earth is possible thanks to the magnetic fields produced by the core which protect the Earth from dangerous cosmic rays from space. The precise structure of the core and its properties have fascinated scientists since the Renaissance. Recent research shows the picture is even more complex than we might have imagined, with suggestions that the core is spinning at a different speed from the surface. Melvyn Bragg is joined by Stephen Blundell, Professor of Physics and Fellow of Mansfield College at the University of Oxford; Arwen Deuss, Associate Professor in Seismology at Utrecht University and Simon Redfern, Professor of Mineral Physics at the University of Cambridge.

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              • Fanny Burney 23 Apr 15

                Thu, 23 Apr 15

                Duration:
                45 mins

                Fanny Burney, who was also known as Madame D'Arblay and Frances Burney, was one of the leading novelists, playwrights and diarists of the 18th-century. Her first novel, Evelina, was published anonymously and caused a sensation, attracting the admiration of many eminent contemporaries. In an era when very few women published their work she achieved extraordinary success, and her admirers included Dr Johnson and Edmund Burke. Later Virginia Woolf called her 'the mother of English fiction'. Melvyn Bragg is joined by Nicole Pohl, Reader in English Literature at Oxford Brookes University; Judith Hawley, Professor of Eighteenth-Century Literature at Royal Holloway, University of London and John Mullan, Professor of English at University College London.

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              • Matteo Ricci and the Ming Dynasty 16 Apr 15

                Thu, 16 Apr 15

                Duration:
                46 mins

                Matteo Ricci was a Jesuit priest who led a Christian mission to China in the 16th century. An accomplished scholar, Ricci travelled extensively and came into contact with senior officials of the Ming Dynasty administration. His story is one of the most important encounters between Renaissance Europe and a China which was still virtually closed to outsiders. Melvyn Bragg is joined by Mary Laven, Reader in Early Modern History at the University of Cambridge; Craig Clunas, Professor of the History of Art at the University of Oxford and Anne Gerritsen, Reader in History at the University of Warwick.

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              • Sappho 09 Apr 15

                Thu, 9 Apr 15

                Duration:
                47 mins

                The Greek poet Sappho was born in the late 7th century BC and spent much of her life on the island of Lesbos. In antiquity she was famed as one of the greatest lyric poets, but the bulk of her work was lost to posterity. The fragments that do survive, however, give a tantalising glimpse of a unique voice of Greek literature. Her work has lived on in other languages, translated by such major poets as Ovid, Christina Rossetti and Baudelaire. Melvyn Bragg is joined by Edith Hall, Professor of Classics at King's College, London; Margaret Reynolds, Professor of English at Queen Mary, University of London and Dirk Obbink, Professor of Papyrology and Greek Literature at the University of Oxford and fellow and tutor at Christ Church, Oxford.

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              • The California Gold Rush 02 Apr 15

                Thu, 2 Apr 15

                Duration:
                46 mins

                The California Gold Rush began after the discovery of gold in 1848 at Coloma, near Sacramento. The following year there was a massive influx of prospectors seeking to make their fortunes. By 1851 the tiny settlement of San Francisco had become a major city, with tens of thousands of immigrants, the so-called Forty-Niners, arriving by boat and over land. The gold rush transformed the west coast of America and its economy, but also uprooted local populations of Native Americans and made irreversible changes to natural habitats. Melvyn Bragg is joined by Kathleen Burk, Professor of Modern and Contemporary History at University College London; Jacqueline Fear-Segal, Reader in American History and Culture at the University of East Anglia and Frank Cogliano, Professor of American History at the University of Edinburgh.

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