In Our Time Archive: Science

In Our Time Archive: Science

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the history of ideas and the evolution of the sciences - from ancient astronomy to particle physics.

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All episodes (150)

  • Origins of Infectious Disease

    Wed, 8 Jun 11

    Duration:
    42 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the origins of infectious disease. History is littered with deadly outbreaks of infection, some of which have come close to wiping out entire populations. Mass movement is a significant development in the spread of disease, as is modern agriculture and our proximity to animals. The last century has seen welcome breakthroughs in controlling and even eradicating some diseases – but could the end of infection be a realistic possibility? Melvyn is joined by Steve Jones, Professor of Genetics at University College London; Sir Roy Anderson, Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at Imperial College, London; and Mark Pallen, Professor of Microbial Genomics at the University of Birmingham.

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  • The Neutrino

    Thu, 14 Apr 11

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the neutrino. With Frank Close, Susan Cartwright and David Wark.

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  • The Age of the Universe

    Thu, 3 Mar 11

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvin Bragg dicusses the Age of the Universe, with Martin Rees, Carolin Crawford and Carlos Frenk.

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  • The Nervous System

    Thu, 10 Feb 11

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Nervous System, the body’s communication network. The discovery of the nervous system is a fascinating story which begins in ancient Greece and is still going on today. Melvyn is joined by Colin Blakemore, Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Oxford; Vivian Nutton, Emeritus Professor of the History of Medicine at University College, London; and Tilli Tansey, Professor of the History of Modern Medical Sciences at Queen Mary, University of London.

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  • Random and Pseudorandom

    Thu, 13 Jan 11

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss random and pseudorandom numbers. Randomness will be familiar to anybody who’s bought a lottery ticket or shuffled a pack of cards. But there’s also a phenomenon known as pseudo-randomness –numbers which look random but aren’t. So why are these numbers useful and how can they be generated? Melvyn is joined by Marcus du Sautoy, Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford; Colva Roney-Dougal, Senior Lecturer in Pure Mathematics at the University of St Andrews; and Timothy Gowers, Royal Society Research Professor in Mathematics at the University of Cambridge.

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  • Thomas Edison

    Thu, 9 Dec 10

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg examines the life of the great American inventor, Thomas Edison. Creator of the phonograph and the mass-produced electric lightbulb, not to mention his pivotal role in the development of motion pictures, Edison was a true technological pioneer. Melvyn Bragg is joined by Kathleen Burk, Professor of History at University College, London; Simon Schaffer, Professor of the History of Science and Fellow of Darwin College at the University of Cambridge; and Iwan Morus, Reader in History at the University of Aberystwyth.

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  • Women and Enlightenment Science

    Thu, 4 Nov 10

    Duration:
    43 mins

    In this week's In Our Time Melvyn Bragg considers the involvement of women in science during the Enlightenment period and how, despite the obstacles, women made significant contributions in a wide range of scientific discliplines. Melvyn is joined by Patricia Fara, Senior Tutor at Clare College, University of Cambridge; Judith Hawley, Professor of 18th Century Literature at Royal Holloway, University of London; and Karen O’Brien, Professor of English at the University of Warwick.

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  • Logic

    Thu, 21 Oct 10

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg tackles the philosophy of logic - first mapped out by Aristotle in the 4th century BC; disregarded by Descartes in the 17th century and revived and reworked by Gottlob Frege in the 19th century; logic is at the heart of computer science and is a mathematical as well as a philosophical disclipline. Melvyn is joined by A.C. Grayling, Professor of Philosophy at Birkbeck, University of London; Peter Millican, Gilbert Ryle Fellow in Philosophy at Hertford College at the University of Oxford; and Rosanna Keefe, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Sheffield.

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  • Imaginary Numbers

    Thu, 23 Sep 10

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg grapples with the concept of imaginary numbers. Perplexing digits that underpin the majority of technology we take for granted today, from radios to computers to MRI scans; not to mention quantum mechanics. Melvyn is joined by Marcus du Sautoy, Professor of Mathematics at Oxford University; Ian Stewart, Emeritus Professor of Mathematics at the University of Warwick; and Caroline Series, Professor of Mathematics, also at the University of Warwick.

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  • Pliny’s Natural History

    Thu, 8 Jul 10

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss Pliny's Natural History, an enormous reference work which attempted to bring together knowledge on every subject under the sun. With Serafina Cuomo, Aude Doody and Liba Taub.

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  • Antarctica

    Thu, 24 Jun 10

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the history of Antarctica, the most southerly of the continents is the bleakest and coldest place on Earth. With Jane Francis, Julian Dowdeswell and David Walton

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  • The Cavendish Family in Science

    Thu, 20 May 10

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests explore the scientific achievements of the Cavendish family. With Simon Schaffer, Patricia Fara and Jim Bennett.

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  • The Cool Universe

    Thu, 6 May 10

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Cool Universe. Guests include Carolin Crawford, Michael Rowan-Robinson and Paul Murdin.

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  • The Infant Brain

    Thu, 4 Mar 10

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss what new research reveals about the infant brain. With Denis Mareschal, Usha Goswami and Annette Karmiloff-Smith.

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  • Mathematics' Unintended Consequences

    Thu, 11 Feb 10

    Duration:
    42 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests explore the unintended consequences of mathematical discoveries. With Marcus du Sautoy, Colva Roney-Dougal and John Barrow.

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  • IOT: The Royal Society and British Science: Episode 4

    Thu, 7 Jan 10

    Duration:
    42 mins

    As part of the BBC's year of science programming, Melvyn Bragg looks at the history of the oldest scientific learned society of them all: the Royal Society. The horrors of the First World War were a shocking indictment of the power of science. Picking up the thread at this hiatus in scientific optimism, this programme, recorded in the current home of the Royal Society in Carlton House Terrace in London, looks at the more subtle, discreet role the Society played in the 20th century, such as secretly arranging for refugee scientists to flee Germany, co-ordinating international scientific missions during the Cold War and quietly distributing government grant money to fund the brightest young researchers in the land. As ever more important scientific issues face the world and Britain today, the programme asks how well placed the Royal Society is to take an important lead in the future.

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  • IOT: The Royal Society and British Science: Episode 3

    Wed, 6 Jan 10

    Duration:
    43 mins

    As part of the BBC's year of science programming, Melvyn Bragg looks at the history of the oldest scientific learned society of them all: the Royal Society. The 19th century blooms scientifically with numerous alternative, specialist learned societies and associations, all threatening the Royal Society's pre-eminence. Attempts to reform the membership criteria - marking scientific leadership's painful transition from patronage to expertise - are troubled, and organisations such as the British Association for the Advancement of Science (now the BSA) excite and enliven scientific discourse outside of London. Science becomes a realistic career and a path of improvement, and by the time HG Wells writes science fiction at the end of the 19th century, there are sufficient numbers of interested, informed readers to suggest that Edwardian society contained the beginnings of a scientific society.

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  • IOT: The Royal Society and British Science: Episode 2

    Tue, 5 Jan 10

    Duration:
    42 mins

    Melvyn Bragg looks at the history of the oldest scientific learned society of them all: the Royal Society. Programme two begins in the coffee house Isaac Newton and the fellows of the early 18th century frequented. At the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, we learn how Newton's feud with the Astronomer Royal John Flamsteed tested the lines between government-funded research and public access. In the age of exploration, senior fellows accompany naval expeditions, such as Cook's expedition to Tahiti and subsequent discovery of Australia. International relations are fostered between scientists such as Benjamin Franklin, whose house in London serves as live-in lab and de facto American embassy. By the end of the century the President, Sir Joseph Banks, successfully embeds the Royal Society in the imperial bureaucratic hub of the new Somerset House. But while senior fellows concentrated on foreign fields, a more radical science and manufacturing base wrought the Industrial Revolution.

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  • IOT: The Royal Society and British Science: Episode 1

    Mon, 4 Jan 10

    Duration:
    43 mins

    As part of the BBC's year of science programming, Melvyn Bragg looks at the history of the oldest scientific learned society of them all: the Royal Society. Melvyn travels to Wadham College, Oxford, where under the shadow of the English Civil War, the young Christopher Wren and friends experimented in the garden of their inspirational college warden, John Wilkins. Back in London, as Charles II is brought to the throne from exile, the new Society is formally founded one night in Gresham College. When London burns six years later, it is two of the key early Fellows of the Society who are charged with its rebuilding. And, as Melvyn finds out, in the secret observatory in The Monument to the fire, it is science which flavours their plans.

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  • Pythagoras

    Thu, 10 Dec 09

    Duration:
    42 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the ideas of Pythagoras and the Pythagoreans. With Ian Stewart, Serafina Cuomo and John O’Connor.

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  • Radiation

    Thu, 12 Nov 09

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the discovery of radiation, from radio waves to gamma rays. With Jim Al-Khalili, Frank James and Frank Close.

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  • The Geological Formation of Britain

    Thu, 22 Oct 09

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the geological formation of Britain. With Richard Corfield, Jane Francis and Sanjeev Gupta.

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  • Calculus

    Thu, 24 Sep 09

    Duration:
    43 mins

    The dispute between Sir Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz over who invented calculus. With guests Simon Schaffer, Patricia Fara and Jackie Stedall.

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  • Ediacara Biota

    Thu, 9 Jul 09

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Ediacara Biota. Guests include Richard Corfield, Martin Brasier and Rachel Wood.

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  • Logical Positivism

    Thu, 2 Jul 09

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the radical philosophy of the Vienna Circle. With Barry Smith, Nancy Cartwright and Thomas Uebel.

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  • The Vacuum of Space

    Thu, 30 Apr 09

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Vacuum of Space. Guests include Frank Close, Jocelyn Bell Burnell and Ruth Gregory.

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  • Baconian Science

    Thu, 2 Apr 09

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Jacobean thinker Francis Bacon and Baconian Science. Guests include Stephen Pumfrey, Patricia Fara and Rhodri Lewis.

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  • The Measurement Problem in Physics

    Thu, 5 Mar 09

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the measurement problem in physics. With Basil Hiley, Simon Saunders and Roger Penrose.

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  • The Observatory at Jaipur

    Thu, 19 Feb 09

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the observatory at Jaipur. Guests include Chandrika Kaul, David Arnold and Chris Minkowski.

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  • The Physics of Time

    Thu, 18 Dec 08

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the physics of time. With Jim Al-Khalili, Ian Stewart and Monica Grady.

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  • Heat

    Thu, 4 Dec 08

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the history of scientific ideas about Heat. Guests include Simon Schaffer, Hasok Chang and Joanna Haigh.

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  • Neuroscience

    Thu, 13 Nov 08

    Duration:
    42 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the 18th and 19th century quest for the spark of life. Guests include Patricia Fara, Andrew Mendelsohn and Pietro Corsi.

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  • Vitalism

    Thu, 16 Oct 08

    Duration:
    42 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the 18th and 19th century quest for the spark of life. Guests include Patricia Fara, Andrew Mendelsohn and Pietro Corsi.

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  • Godel’s Incompleteness Theorems

    Thu, 9 Oct 08

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the mathematician Kurt Godel and his work. With guests Marcus du Sautoy, Philip Welch and John Barrow.

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  • Lysenkoism

    Thu, 5 Jun 08

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg examines the destructive career of the Soviet geneticist Trofim Lysenko. With Steve Jones, Robert Service and Catherine Merridale.

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  • Probability

    Thu, 29 May 08

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the strange mathematics of probability. Guests include Colva Roney Dougal, Marcus du Sautoy and Ian Stewart.

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  • The Brain

    Thu, 8 May 08

    Duration:
    43 mins

    The history of cultural, medical, artistic and philosophical ideas about the human brain. With guests Vivian Nutton, Jonathan Sawday and Marina Wallace.

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  • The Laws of Motion

    Thu, 3 Apr 08

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Isaac Newton’s Laws of Motion. With Simon Schaffer, Rob Iliffe and Raymond Flood.

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  • Lovelace

    Thu, 6 Mar 08

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Victorian ‘enchantress of numbers’ Ada Lovelace. With Patricia Fara, Doron Swade and John Fuegi.

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  • The Multiverse

    Thu, 21 Feb 08

    Duration:
    42 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests explore the Multiverse. Guests include Martin Rees, Bernard Carr and Fay Dowker.

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  • Plate Tectonics

    Thu, 24 Jan 08

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg examines plate tectonics, a theory that transformed our idea of the earth. With guests Richard Corfield, Joe Cann and Lynn Frostick.

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  • The Four Humours

    Thu, 20 Dec 07

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg discusses the four humours in medical history. With David Wootton, Vivian Nutton and Noga Arikha.

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  • Genetic Mutation

    Thu, 6 Dec 07

    Duration:
    42 mins

    Melvyn Bragg discusses mutation in genetics and evolution. With guests Steve Jones, Linda Partridge and Adrian Woolfson.

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  • The Fibonacci Sequence

    Thu, 29 Nov 07

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg discusses the mathematical and cultural mysteries of the Fibonacci Sequence. With Marcus du Sautoy, Jackie Stedall and Ron Knott.

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  • Oxygen

    Thu, 15 Nov 07

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg discusses the discovery of Oxygen by Joseph Priestley and Antoine Lavoisier. With Simon Schaffer, Jenny Uglow and Hasok Chang.

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  • Antimatter

    Thu, 4 Oct 07

    Duration:
    29 mins

    Melvyn Bragg discusses Antimatter in particle physics and cosmology. With Ruth Gregory, Frank Close and Val Gibson.

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  • Permian Triassic Boundary

    Thu, 28 Jun 07

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg discusses the Permian-Triassic boundary in evolutionary history. With guests Richard Corfield, Mike Benton and Jane Francis.

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  • Renaissance Astrology

    Thu, 14 Jun 07

    Duration:
    29 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Renaissance Astrology. With Jonathan Sawday, Peter Forshaw and Lauren Kassell.

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  • Gravitational Waves

    Thu, 17 May 07

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the physics of Gravitational Waves. Guests include Carolin Crawford, Jim Al-Khalili and Sheila Rowan.

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  • Symmetry

    Thu, 19 Apr 07

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg discusses the idea of symmetry in art and nature. With guests Marcus du Sautoy, Ian Stewart and Fay Dowker.

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  • Anaesthetics

    Thu, 29 Mar 07

    Duration:
    42 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the history of anaesthetics. Guests include Stephanie Snow, David Wilkinson and Anne Hardy.

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  • Microbiology

    Thu, 8 Mar 07

    Duration:
    42 mins

    Melvyn Bragg discusses the history of microbiology, the study of microscopic life. With guests John Dupré, Anne Glover and Andrew Mendelsohn.

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  • Optics

    Thu, 1 Mar 07

    Duration:
    29 mins

    Melvyn Bragg discusses the history of the science of optics. With Simon Schaffer, Jim Bennett and Emily Winterburn.

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  • Archimedes

    Thu, 25 Jan 07

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg discusses the Greek mathematician Archimedes and his famous cry of “eureka!” Guests include Jackie Stedall, George Phillips and Serafina Cuomo.

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  • Mars

    Thu, 11 Jan 07

    Duration:
    42 mins

    Melvyn Bragg discusses the planet Mars, a source of endless fascination in human history. With Monica Grady, Colin Pillinger and John Zarnecki.

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  • Indian Mathematics

    Thu, 14 Dec 06

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the 5000 year long story of Indian Maths. Guests include George Ghevergese Joseph, Dennis Almeida and Colva Roney-Dougal.

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  • The Speed of Light

    Thu, 30 Nov 06

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the speed of light, lynchpin of Einstein’s universe. Guests include John Barrow, Iwan Morus and Jocelyn Bell Burnell.

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  • The Poincaré Conjecture

    Thu, 2 Nov 06

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss a puzzle that may explain the shape of the universe. With Marcus du Sautoy, Ian Stewart and June Barrow Green.

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  • Humboldt

    Thu, 28 Sep 06

    Duration:
    42 mins

    Melvyn Bragg examines the Prussian naturalist and explorer, Alexander Von Humboldt. With guests Jim Secord, Patricia Fara and Jason Wilson.

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  • Galaxies

    Thu, 29 Jun 06

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the creation and destruction of galaxies. Guests include John Gribbin, Carolin Crawford and Robert Kennicutt.

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  • Carbon

    Thu, 15 Jun 06

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss carbon, which forms the basis of all organic life. With Harry Kroto, Monica Grady and Ken Teo.

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  • The Heart

    Thu, 1 Jun 06

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the history of ideas about the heart. Guests include David Wootton, Jonathan Sawday and Fay Bound Alberti.

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  • Immunisation

    Thu, 20 Apr 06

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the search for immunisation and its impact on society. Guests include Chris Dye, Sanjoy Bhattacharya and Nadja Durbach.

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  • The Royal Society

    Thu, 23 Mar 06

    Duration:
    43 mins

    The history of the formation of the Royal Society, the oldest scientific academy. With guests Lisa Jardine, Stephen Pumfrey and Michael Hunter.

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  • Negative Numbers

    Thu, 9 Mar 06

    Duration:
    42 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss negative numbers, a history of mystery and suspicion. Guests include Ian Stewart, Colva Roney-Dougal and Raymond Flood.

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  • Human Evolution

    Thu, 16 Feb 06

    Duration:
    29 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the six million year old story of human evolution. With Steve Jones, Fred Spoor and Margaret Clegg.

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  • Relativism

    Thu, 19 Jan 06

    Duration:
    29 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss relativism; a philosophy with no absolute truths. With Barry Smith, Kathleen Lennon and Jonathan Rée.

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  • Prime Numbers

    Thu, 12 Jan 06

    Duration:
    29 mins

    Melvyn Bragg examines prime numbers and their mysterious role in the universe of numbers. With guests Jackie Stedall, Marcus Du Sautoy and Robin Wilson.

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  • Artificial Intelligence

    Thu, 8 Dec 05

    Duration:
    41 mins

    Melvyn Bragg investigates artificial intelligence; can a computer imitate the human mind? Guests include Alison Adam, Jon Agar and Igor Aleksander.

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  • The Graviton

    Thu, 24 Nov 05

    Duration:
    42 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the search for the Graviton particle in physics. With Jim Al-Khalili, Roger Cashmore and Sheila Rowan.

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  • Asteroids

    Thu, 3 Nov 05

    Duration:
    29 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the unique properties of asteroids. Guests include Carolin Crawford, John Zarnecki and Monica Grady.

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  • Mammals

    Thu, 13 Oct 05

    Duration:
    42 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the rise of the mammals which began 65 million years ago. Guests include Steve Jones, Richard Corfield and Jane Francis.

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  • Magnetism

    Thu, 29 Sep 05

    Duration:
    42 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the history and mysterious force of magnetism. Guests include Stephen Pumfrey, John Heilbron and Lisa Jardine.

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  • The KT Boundary

    Thu, 23 Jun 05

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the KT Boundary and the extinction of the dinosaurs. With Simon Kelley, Mike Benton and Jane Francis.

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  • Renaissance Maths

    Thu, 2 Jun 05

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg explores Renaissance Mathematics, when maths moved from an art to a science. With Jackie Stedall, Jim Bennett and Robert Kaplan.

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  • Perception and the Senses

    Thu, 28 Apr 05

    Duration:
    29 mins

    Melvyn Bragg examines perception: how the brain reacts to the mass of data crowding it. With guests Richard Gregory, Gemma Calvert and David Moores.

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  • Dark Energy

    Thu, 17 Mar 05

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg examines recently discovered 'dark energy' and its effect on the universe. With Carolyn Crawford, Roger Penrose and Martin Rees.

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  • Alchemy

    Thu, 24 Feb 05

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Alchemy, the ancient science of transformations. Guests include Stephen Pumfrey, Simon Forshaw and Lauren Kassell.

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  • The Cambrian Explosion

    Thu, 17 Feb 05

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg examines the Cambrian period, when there was an explosion of life on Earth. With Simon Conway Morris, Richard Corfield and Jane Francis.

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  • The Mind Body Problem

    Thu, 13 Jan 05

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg examines the history of thought about the mind/body problem in philosophy. With guests Julian Baggini, Sue James and AC Grayling.

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  • The Second Law of Thermodynamics

    Thu, 16 Dec 04

    Duration:
    28 mins

    Melvyn Bragg examines the Second Law of Thermodynamics from steam to the Big Bang. With guests Monica Grady, Peter Atkins and John Gribbin.

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  • Higgs Boson

    Thu, 18 Nov 04

    Duration:
    43 mins

    The history of the quest to find the Higgs Boson, also known as the 'God Particle'. With Jim Al-Khalili, David Wark and Roger Cashmore.

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  • Electrickery

    Thu, 4 Nov 04

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the dawn of the age of electricity. With guests Patricia Fara, Simon Schaffer and Iwan Morus.

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  • The Origins of Life

    Thu, 23 Sep 04

    Duration:
    29 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss when and how life on earth originated. Guests include Richard Dawkins, Linda Partridge and Richard Corfield.

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  • Pi

    Thu, 2 Sep 04

    Duration:
    29 mins

    Melvyn Bragg examines the history of the longest and most detailed number in nature. With Ian Stewart, Robert Kaplan and Sarah Rees.

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  • Renaissance Magic

    Thu, 17 Jun 04

    Duration:
    29 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Renaissance obsession with Magic. Guests include Peter Forshaw, Valery Rees and Jonathan Sawday.

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  • The Planets

    Thu, 27 May 04

    Duration:
    29 mins

    Melvyn Bragg examines our knowledge of the planets in both our and other solar systems. With Hugh Jones, Carolyn Crawford and Paul Murdin.

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  • Zero

    Thu, 13 May 04

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg examines the number between 1 and -1, once denounced as the devil's work. With Ian Stewart, Lisa Jardine and Robert Kaplan.

    Download 20MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Hysteria

    Thu, 22 Apr 04

    Duration:
    29 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss how emotional experiences can become physical symptoms. Guests include Juliet Mitchel, Rachel Bowlby and Brett Kahr.

    Download 13MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Theories of Everything

    Thu, 25 Mar 04

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg explores the 30 year search to solve all the biggest questions in physics. With Brian Greene, Val Gibson and John Barrow.

    Download 20MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Dreams

    Thu, 4 Mar 04

    Duration:
    29 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the function and interpretation of dreams. Guests include VS Ramachandran, Mark Solms and Martin Conway.

    Download 14MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Rutherford

    Thu, 19 Feb 04

    Duration:
    29 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Ernest Rutherford, the father of nuclear science. Guests include Jim Al-Kahlili, Simon Schaffer and Patricia Fara.

    Download 14MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Cryptography

    Thu, 29 Jan 04

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the origins and history of codes. Guests include Simon Singh, Lisa Jardine and Fred Piper.

    Download 20MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Lamarck and Natural Selection

    Wed, 24 Dec 03

    Duration:
    58 mins

    Melvyn Bragg discusses Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, the 18th century French precursor to Darwin. With guests Steve Jones, Sandy Knapp and Simon Conway Morris.

    Download 27MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Ageing the Earth

    Thu, 20 Nov 03

    Duration:
    29 mins

    Melvyn Bragg examines the age of the Earth and its division into four great Eons. With guests Hazel Rymer, Richard Corfield and Henry Gee.

    Download 13MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Infinity

    Thu, 23 Oct 03

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the nature and existence of mathematical infinity. Guests include Ian Stewart, Robert Kaplan and Sarah Rees.

    Download 20MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Maxwell

    Thu, 2 Oct 03

    Duration:
    43 mins

    The work and legacy of the often overlooked 19th century scientist James Clerk Maxwell. With Simon Schaffer, Joanna Haigh and Peter Harman.

    Download 20MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Nature

    Thu, 10 Jul 03

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg examines the attempt to define humanity’s part in the natural world. With Roger Scruton, Angie Hobbs and Karen Edwards.

    Download 20MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Vulcanology

    Thu, 3 Jul 03

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the formation and eruption of volcanoes. Guests include Steve Self, Hillary Downes and Bill Muguire.

    Download 20MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • The Lunar Society

    Thu, 5 Jun 03

    Duration:
    29 mins

    Melvyn Bragg examines an 18th century group of pioneering scientists and engineers. With Jenny Uglow, Peter Jones and Simon Schaffer.

    Download 14MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Memory

    Thu, 29 May 03

    Duration:
    28 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the function and significance of memory. With Martin Conway, Mike Kopelman and Kim Graham.

    Download 13MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Blood

    Thu, 22 May 03

    Duration:
    42 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss blood, from medical progress to the link to the divine. Guests include Miri Rubin, Jonathan Sawday and Anne Hardy.

    Download 20MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • The Life of Stars

    Thu, 27 Mar 03

    Duration:
    29 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the life cycle of stars. Guests include Paul Murdin, Janna Levin and Phil Charles.

    Download 14MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Meterology

    Thu, 6 Mar 03

    Duration:
    29 mins

    Melvyn Bragg explores the fascinating and mystifying science of meteorology. With guests Richard Hamblyn, Liba Taub and Vladimir Jankovic .

    Download 13MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Chance and Design

    Thu, 13 Feb 03

    Duration:
    29 mins

    Melvyn Bragg explores the question and theories of a grand design in the universe. With guests Simon Conway-Morris, Sandy Knapp and John Brooke.

    Download 13MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • The Calendar

    Thu, 19 Dec 02

    Duration:
    42 mins

    Melvyn Bragg explores the ancient origins of our Gregorian calendar. With Peter Watson, Robert Poole and Kristen Lippencott.

    Download 20MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Man and Disease

    Thu, 12 Dec 02

    Duration:
    29 mins

    Melvyn Bragg examines how humans have understood and fought disease throughout history. Guests include Anne Hardy, Chris Dye and David Bradley.

    Download 13MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Imagination

    Thu, 28 Nov 02

    Duration:
    29 mins

    Melvyn Bragg investigates the creatives forces of the imagination. With guests Susan Stuart, Steven Mithen and Semir Zeki.

    Download 13MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Human Nature

    Thu, 7 Nov 02

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg examines whether our natures are innate or defined by unbringing. With Steven Pinker, John Gray and Janet Radcliffe Richards.

    Download 20MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • The Scientist

    Thu, 24 Oct 02

    Duration:
    29 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the origin of the concept and historical role of the scientist. With Patricia Fara, John Gribbin and Hugh Pennington.

    Download 13MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Drugs

    Thu, 23 May 02

    Duration:
    29 mins

    Melvyn Bragg examines the role of narcotics and stimulants in the history of medicine. Including guests Sadie Plant, Mike Jay and Richard Davenport-Hines.

    Download 13MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Chaos Theory

    Thu, 16 May 02

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg examines how Chaos Theory has affected our understanding of the universe. With Susan Greenfield, Neil Johnson and David Papineau.

    Download 20MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • The Physics of Reality

    Thu, 2 May 02

    Duration:
    29 mins

    Melvyn Bragg examines the attempt to reconcile Quantum Theory and classical physics. With Roger Penrose, Fay Dowker and Tony Sudbery.

    Download 13MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Extra Terrestrials

    Thu, 4 Apr 02

    Duration:
    29 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss our chances of ever discovering life on another planet. Guests include Simon Goodwin, Heather Couper and Ian Stewart.

    Download 14MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Anatomy

    Thu, 14 Feb 02

    Duration:
    29 mins

    The 2000 year old history of mankind's quest to understand the human body. With Ruth Richardson, Andrew Cunningham and Harold Ellis.

    Download 14MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • The Universe's Shape

    Thu, 7 Feb 02

    Duration:
    29 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the shape, size and topology of the universe. With Janna Levin, Martin Rees and Julian Barbour.

    Download 13MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Nuclear Physics

    Thu, 10 Jan 02

    Duration:
    29 mins

    Melvyn Bragg examines the 20th century development of nuclear physics as a science. With guests John Gribbin, Christine Sutton and Jim Al-Khalili.

    Download 13MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Genetics

    Thu, 13 Dec 01

    Duration:
    28 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests explore the development of the science of genetics. With Richard Dawkins, Linda Partridge and Steve Jones.

    Download 13MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Oceanography

    Thu, 22 Nov 01

    Duration:
    29 mins

    Melvyn Bragg explores what science has revealed, and we still don't know, about the sea. With Simon Schaffer, Tony Rice and Margaret Deacon.

    Download 13MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • The Earth's Origins

    Thu, 5 Jul 01

    Duration:
    29 mins

    Melvyn Bragg discusses the origins of the Earth. Guests include Simon Winchester, Cherry Lewis and John Cosgrove.

    Download 13MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Black Holes

    Thu, 12 Apr 01

    Duration:
    29 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Black Holes, the ghosts of massive stars. With Martin Rees, Jocelyn Bell Burnell and Martin Ward.

    Download 13MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Fossils

    Thu, 22 Mar 01

    Duration:
    43 mins

    The significance of fossils in history and the impact of techniques in understanding them. With Diane Edwards, Richard Corfield and Richard Fortey.

    Download 20MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Quantum Gravity

    Thu, 22 Feb 01

    Duration:
    29 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the 20th century attempts to understand the Quantum world. With guests Lee Smolin, John Gribbin and Janna Levin.

    Download 14MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Imperial Science

    Thu, 1 Feb 01

    Duration:
    29 mins

    Melvyn Bragg examines whether agriculture or trade drove 19th century British imperialism. Including guests Richard Drayton, Ziauddin Sardar and Maria Misra.

    Download 14MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Mathematics and Platonism

    Thu, 11 Jan 01

    Duration:
    29 mins

    Melvyn Bragg examines whether mathematics is a process of invention or of discovery. With guests Ian Stewart, Margaret Wertheim and John Barrow.

    Download 14MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Evolutionary Psychology

    Thu, 2 Nov 00

    Duration:
    29 mins

    Melvyn Bragg explores the basis and context for the ideas of Evolutionary Psychology. With Steven Rose, Nicholas Humphrey and Janet Radcliffe Richards.

    Download 14MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Laws of Nature

    Thu, 19 Oct 00

    Duration:
    29 mins

    Melvyn Bragg considers whether what is true in physics is true in all areas of existence. With Nancy Cartwright, Mark Buchanan and Frank Close.

    Download 13MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Imagination and Consciousness

    Thu, 29 Jun 00

    Duration:
    43 mins

    Melvyn Bragg investigates how neuroscience can explain the enigmas of consciousness. With Gerald Edelman, Igor Aleksander and Margaret Boden.

    Download 20MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Chemical Elements

    Thu, 25 May 00

    Duration:
    29 mins

    Melvyn Bragg explores chemistry's ongoing mission to understand irreducible substances. Including Paul Strathern, Mary Archer and John Murrell.

    Download 13MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Human Origins

    Thu, 27 Apr 00

    Duration:
    29 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the evolution of the human species. With Lesley Aiello, Robert Foley and Mark Roberts.

    Download 13MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • The Natural Order

    Thu, 6 Apr 00

    Duration:
    29 mins

    Melvyn Bragg examines the science of taxonomy; the classification of the natural world. Henry Gee, Colin Tudge and Sandy Knapp.

    Download 14MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Grand Unified Theory

    Thu, 24 Feb 00

    Duration:
    29 mins

    The 20th century pursuit in physics for the ultimate theory of everything. Brian Greene and Martin Rees join Melvyn Bragg.

    Download 13MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Goethe and the Science of the Enlightenment

    Thu, 10 Feb 00

    Duration:
    29 mins

    Melvyn Bragg assesses the scientific legacy of the 18th century German poet Goethe. With guests Nicholas Boyle and Simon Schaffer.

    Download 13MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Information Technology

    Thu, 13 Jan 00

    Duration:
    28 mins

    Melvyn Bragg explores the social and economic consequences of the information revolution. With Charles Leadbeater and Ian Angell.

    Download 13MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Climate Change

    Thu, 6 Jan 00

    Duration:
    28 mins

    Melvyn Bragg examines predictions and solutions for global warming and rising sea levels. Guest speakers include John Houghton and George Monbiot.

    Download 13MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Time

    Thu, 30 Dec 99

    Duration:
    29 mins

    Melvyn Bragg examines the history of mankind’s attempt to understand the nature of time. With Neil F. Johnson and Lee Smolin.

    Download 14MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Medical Ethics

    Thu, 16 Dec 99

    Duration:
    28 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the technological advances and ethics of modern medicine. With Sheila McLean and Barry Jackson.

    Download 13MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Genetic Determinism

    Thu, 23 Sep 99

    Duration:
    29 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests explores the part genes play in our personalities. With Steve Jones and Matt Ridley.

    Download 13MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Pain

    Thu, 22 Jul 99

    Duration:
    29 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the causes and our mechanisms of coping with pain. With Semir Zeki and Patrick Wall.

    Download 13MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Intelligence

    Thu, 1 Jul 99

    Duration:
    29 mins

    Melvyn Bragg explores the origins, manifestations and possibilities of intelligence with Ken Richardson and Michael Ruse.

    Download 13MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • The Universe's Origins

    Thu, 20 May 99

    Duration:
    29 mins

    Melvyn Bragg examines the history of what we know about the origins of the universe. With Martin Rees and Paul Davies.

    Download 14MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Mathematics

    Thu, 6 May 99

    Duration:
    29 mins

    Melvyn Bragg examines the importance of mathematics in relation to other sciences.

    Download 13MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Artificial Intelligence

    Thu, 29 Apr 99

    Duration:
    29 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss whether we are near to achieving the thinking, feeling computer. With Igor Aleksander and John Searle.

    Download 14MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Evolution

    Thu, 15 Apr 99

    Duration:
    29 mins

    Melvyn Bragg examines the future of gene therapy and advances in evolutionary biology, with Colin Tudge and John Maynard Smith.

    Download 14MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Animal Experiments and Rights

    Thu, 18 Mar 99

    Duration:
    29 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the role of animals in humankind’s search for knowledge. With Colin Blakemore and Linda Birke.

    Download 13MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Space in Religion and Science

    Thu, 18 Feb 99

    Duration:
    29 mins

    Melvyn Bragg looks at how cyberspace has introduced a new concept of space in our world. With Margaret Wertheim and John Polkinghorne.

    Download 13MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Psychoanalysis and its legacy

    Thu, 4 Feb 99

    Duration:
    29 mins

    Melvyn Bragg examines the relevance of psychoanalysis at the end of the 20th century. With Adam Phillips and Juliet Mitchell.

    Download 14MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Ageing

    Thu, 28 Jan 99

    Duration:
    28 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests look at the ethical, economic and biological implications of living longer. With Tom Kirkwood and Alan Walker.

    Download 13MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Genetic Engineering

    Thu, 14 Jan 99

    Duration:
    28 mins

    Melvyn Bragg looks at the implications of the developments in genetic engineering, with Bryan Appleyard and Grahame Bulfield.

    Download 13MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Neuroscience in the 20th Century

    Thu, 24 Dec 98

    Duration:
    29 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests examine the little we know and what we don’t yet know about the brain. With Vilayanur Ramachandran and Susan Greenfield.

    Download 13MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • The Brain and Consciousness

    Thu, 19 Nov 98

    Duration:
    28 mins

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss our knowledge of memory and the functioning of the brain. With Steven Rose and Dan Robinson.

    Download 13MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Science in the 20th Century

    Thu, 5 Nov 98

    Duration:
    29 mins

    Melvyn Bragg examines how perceptions of science have changed in the 20th century. With Mary Midgely and John Gribbin

    Download 13MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

  • Science's Revelations

    Thu, 29 Oct 98

    Duration:
    28 mins

    Melvyn Bragg examines whether science has ruined our sense of poetic wonder at the world. With Ian McEwan and Richard Dawkins.

    Download 13MB (right click & "save target as / link as")

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