BBC HomeExplore the BBC


Accessibility help
Text only
BBC Homepage
BBC Radio
BBC Radio 4 - 92 to 94 FM and 198 Long WaveListen to Digital Radio, Digital TV and OnlineListen on Digital Radio, Digital TV and Online

PROGRAMME FINDER:
Programmes
Podcasts
Schedule
Presenters
PROGRAMME GENRES:
News
Drama
Comedy
Science
Religion|Ethics
History
Factual
Messageboards
Radio 4 Tickets
Radio 4 Help

Contact Us

Like this page?
Send it to a friend!

 

Science
THE MATERIAL WORLD
MISSED A PROGRAMME?
Go to the Listen Again page
PROGRAMME INFO
Thursday 16:30-17:00
Quentin Cooper reports on developments across the sciences. Each week scientists describe their work, conveying the excitement they feel for their research projects.
Contact Material World
LISTEN AGAINListen 30 min
Listen to 6 April
PRESENTER
QUENTIN COOPER
Quentin Cooper
PROGRAMME DETAILS
Thursday 6 April 2006
Title page from a Medical Textbook by Paracelsus
The title page of Paracelsus's Vita Longa

Paracelsus

In this episode of Material World, Quentin Cooper is joined by science writer Philip Ball and Peter Forshaw, British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at Birkbeck College, University of London, to discuss the myth, life and legacy of Philip Theophrastus Aureolus Bombastus von Hohenheim, or Paracelsus, the 16th Century medic on the border between the medieval and modern.

He was both army surgeon and alchemist, and was rumoured to have made a Faustian bargain with the devil to regain his youth. It was said that he travelled with a magical white horse and stored the elixir of life in the pommel of his sword.

But who was Paracelsus and what did he really believe and practice? Quentin unravels the story of a man who wrote influential books on medicine, surgery, alchemy and theology, while living a drunken, combative, vagabond life.

Quantum Computing

20 years ago David Deutsche drew up the first ever blueprint for a quantum computer: a machine that, powered by the properties of quantum mechanics, would perform millions of times faster than any household computer, or even today's most powerful supercomputer.

Until now scientists have only been able to develop a model that can perform simple mathematics problems but a recent quantum leap has suggested that major problems of quantum computing may be solved with the application of cluster states within the next ten years.

Pieter Kok and Simon Benjamin, both from the Department of Materials at Oxford University, tell Quentin what these developments could mean for the humble PC.
Listen Live
Audio Help
DON'T MISS
Leading Edge
The Material World
Current Programmes
Previous Programmes
Science, Nature & Environment Programmes
Current Programmes
Archived Programmes

News & Current Affairs | Arts & Drama | Comedy & Quizzes | Science | Religion & Ethics | History | Factual

Back to top


About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy