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Uta Frith

Michael Berkeley’s guest is autism researcher Uta Frith. Music includes works by Smetana, Beethoven and Clara Schumann.

For forty years, Uta Frith has dedicated her life to understanding the enigma of autism; she was one of the first neuroscientists to recognise autism as a condition of the brain, rather than the result of cold parenting. She works at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London, alongside her husband, Chris Frith, who’s a specialist in mapping the brain through neuro-imaging. Elected to the Royal Society in 2005, she’s passionate about encouraging more women into careers in science.

When Professor Frith first published her influential research into autism in the 1980s, she says it evoked “strong emotional reactions”, and autism remains controversial today, as it is increasingly viewed not as a disability, but as simply a different way of seeing the world. In conversation with Michael Berkeley, Uta Frith talks about the little boy she met very early on in her research who inspired her, and about why autism is so fascinating – because of what it reveals about the mystery of human communication.

Music choices include works by Smetana, Hildegard von Bingen and Beethoven, a Berlin cabaret song from the 1920s, and a work by Professor Frith's great female role model, Clara Schumann.

Produced by Elizabeth Burke
A Loftus production for BBC Radio 3

Available now

35 minutes

Last on

Sun 29 Mar 2020 12:00

Music Played

  • Bedrich Smetana

    The Moldau (Ma Vlast)

    Orchestra: Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Antoni Wit.
  • Jacques Offenbach

    Les Oiseaux dans la Charmille (Les Contes d'Hoffmann)

    Singer: Joan Sutherland.
  • Fred Frith

    From the Backstretch

    Performer: Fred Frith.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Overture: Fidelio

    Orchestra: Gewandhausorchester Leipzig. Conductor: Riccardo Chailly.
  • Hildegard von Bingen

    O Jerusalem

    Choir: Gothic Voices. Conductor: Christopher Page.
  • Clara Schumann

    Piano Trio in G minor, Op.17 (1st mvt: Andante)

    Performer: Antje Weithaas. Performer: Tanja Tetzlaff. Performer: Gunilla Süssmann.
  • Friedrich Hollaender

    Raus mit den Mannern!

    Singer: Ute Lemper.


  • Sun 31 Mar 2019 12:00
  • Sun 29 Mar 2020 12:00

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