In Our Time
In Our Time: The Curies03/26/15
Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the scientific achievements of the Curie family.
IOT: The Curies 26 Mar 15
The scientific achievements of the Curie family were numerous. In 1903 Marie and Pierre Curie shared a Nobel Prize in Physics with Henri Becquerel for their work on radioactivity, a term which Marie coined. Marie went on to win a Nobel in Chemistry...
IOT: Al-Ghazali 19 Mar 15
Al-Ghazali was a major philosopher and theologian of the late 11th century. Born in Persia, he was one of the most prominent intellectuals of his age, working in such centres of learning as Baghdad, Damascus and Jerusalem. He is now seen as a key...
IOT: Dark Matter 12 Mar 15
Dark matter is the mysterious and invisible substance which is believed to make up most of the Universe. In the 1930s scientists noticed that the speed at which galaxies moved was at odds with the amount of material they appeared to contain. They...
IOT: Beowulf 05 Mar 15
Beowulf is one of the masterpieces of Anglo-Saxon literature. Composed in the early Middle Ages by an anonymous poet, the work tells the story of a Scandinavian hero whose feats include battles with the fearsome monster Grendel and a fire-breathing...
IOT: The Eunuch 26 Feb 15
Eunuchs, castrated men, were a common feature of many civilisations for at least three thousand years, often employed as servants in royal households in the ancient Middle East, China and classical antiquity. In some civilisations they were used as...
IOT: The Wealth of Nations 19 Feb 15
Adam Smith was one of Scotland's greatest thinkers, a moral philosopher and pioneer of economic theory whose 1776 masterpiece The Wealth of Nations has come to define classical economics. With Richard Whatmore, Professor of Modern History and Director...
IOT: The Photon 12 Feb 15
The photon is one of the most enigmatic objects in the Universe. In the late nineteenth century it seemed clear that light was an electromagnetic wave. But today scientists accept that light can behave both as a wave and a particle, the latter known...
IOT: Ashoka the Great 05 Feb 15
Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the Indian Emperor Ashoka. Active in the 3rd century BC, Ashoka conquered almost all of the landmass covered by modern-day India, creating the largest empire South Asia had ever known. With Jessica Frazier, Naomi...
IOT: Thucydides 29 Jan 15
Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the ancient Greek historian Thucydides, author of The History of the Peloponnesian War. With Paul Cartledge, Emeritus Professor of Greek Culture and AG Leventis Senior Research Fellow at Clare College, Cambridge;...
IOT: Phenomenology 22 Jan 15
Phenomenology is a style of philosophy developed by the German thinker Edmund Husserl in the first decades of the 20th century. Husserl's initial insights underwent a radical transformation in the work of Martin Heidegger, and played a key role in the...
IOT: Bruegel 15 Jan 15
Pieter Bruegel the Elder's painting of 1559, 'The Fight Between Carnival and Lent', was created in Antwerp at a time of religious tension between Catholics and Protestants. It is rich in detail but Bruegel is notoriously difficult to interpret. His...
IOT: Truth 18 Dec 14
The question of what exactly truth is has exercised the best philosophical minds since antiquity. Pontius Pilate famously asked: what is truth? In the 20th century, the nature of truth became a subject of particular interest to philosophers, but they...
IOT: Behavioural Ecology 11 Dec 14
Behavioural ecology is the scientific study of animal behaviour. What factors influence where and what an animal eats? Why do some animals mate for life whilst others are promiscuous? Behavioural ecologists approach questions like these using Darwin's...
IOT: Zen 04 Dec 14
Zen is often thought of as a form of Buddhism that emphasises the practice of meditation over any particular set of beliefs. In fact, Zen belongs to a particular intellectual tradition within Buddhism that took root in China in the 6th century AD. It...
IOT: Kafka's The Trial 27 Nov 14
In Franz Kafka's novel 'The Trial', readers follow the protagonist Joseph K into a bizarre, nightmarish world in which he stands accused of an unknown crime and there seems to be no escape from a crushing, oppressive bureaucracy. Kafka was a...
IOT: Aesop 20 Nov 14
Aesop, according to some accounts, was a strikingly ugly slave in antiquity who was dumb until granted the power of speech by the goddess Isis. In stories of his life he's often depicted outwitting his masters using clever wordplay, but he's best...
IOT: Brunel 13 Nov 14
Isambard Kingdom Brunel was a prominent Victorian engineer responsible for bridges, tunnels and railways still in use today more than 150 years after they were built. He represented the cutting edge of technological innovation in 19th-century Britain,...
IOT: Hatshepsut 06 Nov 14
The female pharaoh Hatshepsut ruled Egypt in the early 15th century BC and some scholars argue that she was one of the most successful and influential pharaohs. Hatshepsut reasserted Egyptian power by building up international trade and commissioned...
IOT: Nuclear Fusion 30 Oct 14
Nuclear fusion is the process that powers stars. In the 1920s physicists predicted that it might be possible to generate huge amounts of energy by fusing atomic nuclei together, a reaction requiring enormous temperatures and pressures. Scientists have...
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