Main content

Voyages of James Cook

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the science behind Capt James Cook's three voyages of discovery, from 1768 to 1779, one of over a thousand ideas suggested by listeners.

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the scientific advances made in the three voyages of Captain James Cook, from 1768 to 1779. Cook's voyages astonished Europeans, bringing back detailed knowledge of the Pacific and its people, from the Antarctic to the Bering Straits. This topic is one of more than a thousand different ideas suggested by listeners in October and came from Alysoun Hodges in the UK, Fiachra O'Brolchain in Ireland, Mhairi Mackay in New Zealand, Enzo Vozzo in Australia, Jeff Radford in British Columbia and Mark Green in Alaska.


Simon Schaffer
Professor of the History of Science at the University of Cambridge

Rebekah Higgitt
Lecturer in the History of Science at the University of Kent


Sophie Forgan
Retired Principle Lecturer at the University of Teesside
Chairman of Trustees of the Captain Cook Museum, Whitby

Producer: Simon Tillotson.

Available now

43 minutes

Last on

Thu 3 Dec 2015 21:30


Simon Schaffer at the University of Cambridge

Rebekah Higgitt at the University of Kent

Captain Cook Memorial Museum, Whitby

Board of Longitude - Cambridge Digital Library

James Cook - Wikipedia



J. C. Beaglehole, The Life of Captain James Cook (Stanford University Press, 1974)

Captain James Cook (ed. Philip Edwards), The Journals of Captain Cook (Penguin Classics, 1999)

Richard Dunn and Rebekah Higgitt, Finding Longitude: How clocks and stars helped solve the longitude problem (Collins, 2014)

Patricia Fara, Sex, Botany and Empire: The Story of Carl Linnaeus and Joseph Banks (Icon Books Ltd, 2003)

John Gascoigne, Captain Cook: Voyager Between Worlds (Hambledon Continuum, 2007)

Rebekah Higgitt, Maskelyne: Astronomer Royal (Robert Hale Ltd, 2014)

Anne Salmond, The Trial of the Cannibal Dog: Captain Cook in the South Seas (Allen Lane, 2003)

Nicholas Thomas, Discoveries: the Voyages of Captain Cook (Allen Lane, 2003)

Jenny Uglow, Lunar Men: The Friends Who Made the Future (Faber and Faber, 2002)

Glyn Williams (ed), Captain Cook: Explorations and Reassessments (Boydell Press, 2004)

Glyn Williams, Naturalists at Sea: From Dampier to Darwin (Yale University Press, 2013)

Andrea Wulf, Chasing Venus: The Race to Measure the Heavens (Knopf Publishing Group, 2012)


Role Contributor
Presenter Melvyn Bragg
Producer Simon Tillotson
Interviewed Guest Simon Schaffer
Interviewed Guest Rebekah Higgitt
Interviewed Guest Sophie Forgan


  • Thu 3 Dec 2015 09:00
  • Thu 3 Dec 2015 21:30

Featured in...

In Our Time podcasts

In Our Time podcasts

Every episode of In Our Time is available to download.

The In Our Time Listeners' Top 10

The In Our Time Listeners' Top 10

If you’re new to In Our Time, this is a good place to start.

Arts and Ideas podcast

Arts and Ideas podcast

Download the best of Radio 3's Free Thinking programme.