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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 19 June
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QUENTIN COOPER
Quentin Cooper
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Thursday 19 June 2008
Tom Kilburn and Freddie Williams with
Tom Kilburn and Freddie Williams with "their" baby ...

The Baby

Sixty years ago the chair of IBM thought there would one day be a world market for about 5 computers.
In this week’s Material World, Quentin Cooper celebrates the 60th anniversary of the first ever task performed by a computer.

On the 21st June 1948 Manchester University’s Small-Scale Experimental Machine, or Baby, the world’s first stored programme electronic digital computer ran its first ever program.

With a mere 128 bytes of memory and only seven possible instructions, Baby’s capabilities may sound primitive by today’s standards, but the principles behind it survive to this day in all computers.

Sixty years on Quentin explores the incredible legacy of Baby and its progeny in the decades since with Steve Furber from Manchester University and Simon Moore from Cambridge University.

Wonderland

Also in the programme why a collaboration between artist Helen Storey and chemist Tony Ryan from Sheffield University are making bottles that could recycle themselves and why their work could revolutionize packaging.

Next week: Designing buildings to help tame the flame ...
 
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