Press Office

Thursday 27 Nov 2014

Press Release

Radio 4 presents season of programmes on the brain

Starting on 7 November, BBC Radio 4 presents a new season of programmes about the brain.

The season includes: a major 10-part series about the history of the brain; an exploration of what the latest discoveries in neuroscience might mean for the way we live our lives; an interview with one of Britain's leading brain experts and the slaying of common myths about the brain and its workings; and a new radio science website.

The season starts with Dr Geoff Bunn's 10-part A History Of The Brain series which takes listeners on a journey through 5,000 years of our understanding of the most complex thing in the known universe. Moving from Neolithic times to the present day, Geoff journeys through the many and varied ideas about what the brain is for and how it fulfils its functions. This ground-breaking series, written and presented by Dr Geoff Bunn, can be heard on weekdays at 1.45pm starting on Monday 7 November, with an omnibus on Fridays at 9pm.

In a three-part series, Brain Culture: Neuroscience And Society, starting on Tuesday 15 November at 4pm, Matthew Taylor explores how new imaging techniques have produced some remarkable insights into the functioning of the brain. And he looks at how the findings of neuroscience might radically transform our understanding of the classroom, the courtroom and the cabinet office. With a potentially new understanding of how the mind works will we seek to teach, punish and rule people differently? The series continues on Tuesday 22 and 29 November, 4pm.

On Monday 7 November at 8pm, Hugh Levinson tells the story of the lobotomy procedure in The Lobotomists. Hugh asks what the procedure's popularity said about society's idea of mental health and about the nature of the scientific method itself.

On Tuesday 8 November at 9pm, Radio 4's psychologist Claudia Hammond makes it her mission to slay common myths about the brain and its workings in Mind Myths; everything from the fallacy that we use only 10 per cent of our brains to the idea that listening to Mozart makes children smarter.

This season follows Radio 4's bold commitment to science with a new science strand – The Life Scientific With Jim Al-Khalili – starting on Tuesday 11 October at 9am, and which gets inside the mind of leading neuroscientist, Colin Blakemore, on 8 November 2011.

A new website, The Science Explorer will offer a rich archive of Radio 4 programmes that explore the lives, the work and the inspiration of scientists featured in this autumn's science programming and the new science strand The Life Scientific. The archive will include episodes from series such as In Our Time, Material World, Desert Island Discs and The Reith Lectures.

Scientists to be featured include Sir Paul Nurse, Steven Pinker and Prof Jocelyn Bell Burnell, Prof John Sulston, Dr Geoff Bunn, Matthew Taylor and Prof Robert Winston.

Programmes from the brain season and The Life Scientific will be available via the Science Explorer site to listen again or to download as podcasts. Listeners will also be able find out more about the scientists, their big ideas and their work, starting with Prof Jim Al-Khalili on Monday, 3 October. The Science Explorer can be found at

BBC Radio 4 Publicity

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