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Play now 45 mins

Real versus virtual

Duration:
45 minutes
First broadcast:
Saturday 06 October 2012

The line between what’s real and what’s virtual is blurrier than ever. How does the fusion of these two worlds change the way we think? Bridget Kendall is joined by three guests who live close to the border between the physical and the intangible. Celebrated British ceramicist Edmund de Waal is fascinated by the tactile experience of hand-sculpting pots, but also the virtual spaces his creations leave inside them; Israeli digital innovator Eyal Gever uses 3D imaging software to create stunning virtual simulations of dramatic catastrophes; and American Professor Robert Kaplan explores a paradox at the heart mathematics: numbers which can be both real and virtual at the same time.


Illustration by Emily Kasriel: the blurred line between the real and the virtual.

  • Edmund de Waal

    Edmund de Waal
    Edmund de Waal is one of the world’s leading ceramicists and a Senior Fellow at the Royal College of Art in London. He is best known for his large-scale installations of porcelain vessels, and is also the acclaimed author of a number of books including The Hare with Amber Eyes (2010), which won several literary prizes and became an international bestseller. His solo exhibition ‘a thousand hours’ is at the Alan Cristea Gallery in London.
  • Eyal Gever

    Eyal Gever

    Eyal Gever is an Israeli digital artist with 18 years’ experience in 3D imaging technology. He started using his extensive knowledge of software and code to write computer simulations of natural catastrophes such as oil spills and tsunamis, and soon began using 3D printers to transform them into cutting-edge sculptures.

  • Robert Kaplan

    Robert Kaplan

    Professor Robert Kaplan is the co-founder of the Math Circle at Harvard University in the USA. In the course of his long teaching career, he has worked with students from six to sixty, and has taught philosophy, Greek, German, Sanskrit and Inspired Guessing, besides mathematics. He has published many books on mathematical ideas including ‘The Nothing that is: A Natural History of Zero’ (1999) and ‘The Art of the Infinite’ (2003).

  • Porcelain Pot by Edmund de Waal

    A porcelain pot made by Edmund de Waal
    A Porcelain pot created by Edmund de Waal
  • Eyal Gever: Sublime Moments exhibition 2012 A

    Eyal Gever Sublime Moments exhibition June 2012 A
    Eyal Gever: Sublime Moments exhibition 2012: used with kind permission
  • Eyal Gever: Sublime Moments exhibition 2012 B

    Eyal Gever: Sublime Moments exhibition June 2012 B
    Eyal Gever: Sublime Moments exhibition 2012: used with kind permission
  • Eyal Gever: Sublime Moments exhibition 2012 C

    Eyal Gever: Sublime Moments exhibition June 2012 C
    Eyal Gever: Sublime Moments exhibition 2012: used with kind permission
  • 60 Second idea to Change the World

    Eyal Gever proposes a Crystal Ball App which would calculate the world’s future at the press of a button. He says that if we compiled a database of world events, and the political decisions that led to them, we could produce algorithms to work out the likely consequences of our choices. The app could advise politicians on their strategic options, and warn us when history was about to repeat itself.

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