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Science
THE MATERIAL WORLD
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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.
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LISTEN AGAINListen 30 min
Listen to 14 December
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QUENTIN COOPER
Quentin Cooper
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Thursday 14 December 2006
William Shakespeare

Shakespeare and the Brain

When Shakespeare shifts words around and turns verbs into nouns and adjectives into nouns such as "Curses, not loud but deep, mouth-honour, breath. Which the poor heart would fain deny and are not". He did it for dramatic effect.

But why does it work? What's happening in our brains? How come we understand what he's trying to say, yet it has more resonance?

Professor Philip Davis, a literature expert at the University of Liverpool expert with the help of Prof. Neil Roberts, physicist in the Magnetic Resonance and Brain Image Analysis Research Centre at the University of Liverpool decided to see what was happening in the brain of people coping with these Shakespearean 'functional shifts'.

They join Quentin to discuss the startling results which could mean that we process verbs and nouns in different parts of our brain.

Complexity Science

Complexity Science is a broad and multi-disciplinary subject covering biology, mathematics, chemistry and physics.

Complexity Scientists study large and complex systems, often turning to the natural world for inspiration on how these systems operate.

They apply this knowledge to business problems, for example finding the best route for postal delivery; do you zig-zag across the street, or deliver to one side of the street and then the other?

Quentin is joined by Professor Dave Cliff, of Southampton University's new research group SENSe (Science and Engineering of Natural Systems) and Head of the newly formed Large-Scale Complex IT Systems, and Vince Darley, who runs a Complexity Science consultancy. They discuss why complexity science is so important and how studying the subject will create a new breed of scientist.

Q&A Special

Quentin will be presenting a special edition of Material World on Thursday 11th January where he'll be attempting to find answers to your burning scientific questions. If there is something you've always wanted to know about the world of science, please send us your question by following this link.
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