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Controlling experiments: in medicine, poverty relief and music.

45 minutes
First broadcast:
Saturday 28 January 2012

The triumphs and pitfalls of experimenting with life: surgeon and leading exponent of regenerative medicine, Professor Chris Mason, reports on new advances in cell therapy that are revolutionising medicine.

The staple of medical research, the randomised controlled trial, has inspired French economist Esther Duflo’s new approach to evaluating aid programmes.

And science has also seeped into the work of Brazilian composer Eduardo Miranda who coaxes computers to turn biological data into song.

Illustration by Emily Kasriel: experimenting to improve life through immunization and music.


4 items
  • Chris Mason

    Chris Mason

    Professor Chris Mason is a former surgeon who currently heads the emerging field of cell therapy and regenerative medicine at University College London. He focuses his efforts on speeding up the transition of cutting edge medical treatments from the lab to the hospital.

  • Eduardo Miranda

    Eduardo Miranda

    Brazilian composer Eduardo Miranda works at the crossroads of music and science. As Professor in Computer Music at Plymouth University he conducts research into the use of artificial intelligence in music and uses the patterns of our neural networks as raw material for some of his compositions.

    Watch a performance of an excerpt from Eduardo's symphonic composition "Mind Pieces" for prepared piano, orchestra and percussion which was premiered by the Ten Tors Orchestra with Simon Ible conducing. (This is a QuickTime movie which may take a few minutes to load.)

    Eduardo Miranda: Mind Pieces
  • Esther Duflo

    Esther Duflo

    French economist Esther Duflo is Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She says it’s high time we took the guesswork out of poverty relief and started properly testing their efficacy.

  • Sixty Second Idea to Change the World

    Professor Chris Mason wants a Human Memory Chip, a low-cost device, either silicon or cell based, which would provide everyone with a complete collection of all their experiences with instant recall and without loss of detail or the distortions of time. This would record not just the visual but also the sensory and emotional aspects of our memories which could then be re-lived at leisure, discarded or passed on to future generations.

  • In Next Week’s Programme

    What to do about that global and seemingly endemic problem: corruption. With the head of Transparency International, Peter Eigen, Pakistani author Mohammed Hanif, and Russian specialist, Professor Alena Ledeneva.


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