Related Links: The Forum programme pageThe Forum 60 second ideas  
The Forum
21 Feb
Listen to the programme

A conceptual meeting point for this week's three ideas, by Emily Kasriel
The Forum, the BBC World Service programme which boldly crosses boundaries: scientific, creative and geographic, presented by Bridget Kendall.


Ruth Padel, acclaimed writer, poet and great, great grand-daughter of Charles Darwin, on the idea that the direction of his scientific enquiries was massively bound up with his experience of his own personal relationships - as much as Galapagos finches, Darwin's close studies of his own children, gave rise to his ideas on variation, inheritance and survival of the fittest.

Manil Suri, Professor of Mathematics at the University of Maryland Baltimore County and novelist, on how the discovery of basis functions have allowed mathematicians to deal with the infinite and by putting a wiggle in your linear basis function there's nothing much you can't build, be it a bridge, a story or a space shuttle.

Andrea Sabbadini, psychoanalyst and chair of the European Psychoanalytic Film Festival, on how the open-ended nature of our closest family relationships can be both liberating and threatening and how the way cinema uses time helps us understand this.

Listen to the 60 Second Idea To Change The World

Each week one guest presents an idea to enhance the world. Each week one guest presents an idea to enhance the world. This week it's the turn of mathematician Manil Suri.


I very much agree with Manil's idea and find Bridget's need for something more than just logic and science to guide children's development, completely valid. As Manil spoke I felt inclined to add the word 'feeling', while he was speaking of reasoning from their own experiences and observations. I was surprised that none of your guests was able to grasp the need for feelings to be authentic and in tune with objective reality in order to protect us from religious dogmatism and stereotyped horde reactions. Charles Darwin wrote of the 'expression' of feelings (in humans and other animals) which led on in your discussion about 'animation' (virtual). I consider that both thoughts and feelings are important elements to be considered in a theory of education.

P. Lorien

Darwin understood that the world of strife, competition and suffering in which we live is not the final destination of mankind. All religions speak of the need to re-establish a union with God. The longing for such a re-union lives in the hearts of many and drives us to seek paths back to the divine order. If we were completely at one and at ease with our environment, we would not bother to engage in arts and sciences or attempt to reach for the impossible.


I am currently without home, job, sense of direction, motivation. I am surrounded by a very loving, very critical family. I am deeply confused about who I am and terrified of making a decision...I am just conscious of being very self-indulgent. It was very helpful to listen to a podcast of your programme with Ruth Padel, Andrea Sabbadini and Manil Suri. The need for a system to protect ourselves against loss, for a sense of closure and openness, "finity" and infinity. Thank you so much...

V. Watterson

So pleased I woke & switched on The Forum just in time for Manil Suri's 1 min proposal. Truly inspirational! Encouraging my work as a freelance education consultant. Would love to pick up on 'who's going to be training the children.' I have been listening to teachers & discovering 'what makes maths hard' & am currently writing at request of teachers, a creative innovative approach; where children 'wonder' & think for themselves. Fantastic fun - links creativity & maths.

Elisabeth, Newcastle-Under-Lyme

As a fellow mathematician (and human), I love the idea of teaching my children - when I have them - how to learn for themselves through logic. But I have a query. Should I force the dogmatic notion of LOVE onto my children? Am I allowed to tell my children that their daddy loves them, or should I simply give them the intellectual tools they need and let them work out whether or not I love them? Can love neatly fit into a logical form, or does love transcend the barriers of logic? Is love necessary at all? Yours sincerely (and in contemplation)

^^ Back to top Back to Index >>