In Our Time
In Our Time: Aesop11/20/14
Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Aesop, legendary author of the famous collection of fables
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...
IOT: The Haitian Revolution 23 Oct 14
The Haitian Revolution was an uprising in the French colony of St Domingue in 1791. Partly a consequence of the French Revolution and partly a backlash against the brutality of slave owners, it turned into a complex struggle involving not just the...
IOT: Rudyard Kipling 16 Oct 14
Rudyard Kipling was born in Bombay in 1865 and has been described as the poet of Empire, celebrated for fictional works including Kim and The Jungle Book. Today his poem 'If' remains one of the best known in the English language. He was the first...
IOT: The Battle of Talas 09 Oct 14
The Battle of Talas was a significant encounter between Arab and Chinese forces in central Asia in 751 AD. It brought together two mighty empires, the Abbasid Caliphate and the Tang Dynasty, and although not well known today, the battle had profound...
IOT: Julius Caesar 02 Oct 14
Julius Caesar was famously assassinated as he entered the Roman senate on the Ides of March, 44 BC. He was an inspirational general who conquered much of Europe, and a ruthless and canny politician who became dictator of Rome. He also wrote The Gallic...
IOT: e 25 Sep 14
Euler's number, also known as e, was first discovered in the 17th century by the Swiss mathematician Jacob Bernoulli when he was studying compound interest. e is now recognised as one of the most important and interesting numbers in mathematics....
IOT: The Sun 10 Jul 14
How was the Sun formed, and what do we know about its structure and the processes going on inside our nearest star? With Carolin Crawford, Gresham Professor of Astronomy and Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge; Yvonne Elsworth, Professor of...
IOT: Mrs Dalloway 03 Jul 14
Virginia Woolf's novel Mrs Dalloway, first published in 1925, charts a single day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway, a prosperous member of London society, as she prepares to throw a party. Woolf explained in her diary what she had set out to do: 'I...
IOT: Hildegard of Bingen 26 Jun 14
Hildegard of Bingen was one of the most remarkable figures of the Middle Ages. The abbess of a Benedictine convent, she experienced a series of mystical visions which she documented in her writings. She was celebrated for her wide-ranging scholarship,...
IOT: Philosophy of Solitude 19 Jun 14
The state of being alone can arise for many different reasons: imprisonment, exile or personal choice. It can be prompted by religious belief, personal necessity or a philosophical need for solitary contemplation. Many thinkers have dealt with the...
IOT: Robert Boyle 12 Jun 14
Robert Boyle was a pioneering scientist and a founder member of the Royal Society. Born in Ireland in 1627, Boyle was one of the first natural philosophers to conduct rigorous experiments, laid the foundations of modern chemistry and derived Boyle's...
IOT: Bluestockings 05 Jun 14
The Bluestockings were a small group of intellectual women in the 18th century who met regularly to discuss literature and other matters. They invited some of the leading thinkers of the day to take part in their informal salons. In an age when women...
IOT: The Talmud 29 May 14
The Talmud is one of the most important texts of Judaism. It was probably written down over a period of several hundred years, beginning in the 2nd century. It contains the authoritative text of the traditional Jewish oral law, and also an account of...
IOT: The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam 22 May 14
The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, published in 1859, was a poem by Edward FitzGerald that was based on the verses of the 11th-century Persian scholar Omar Khayyam. Not a single copy was sold in the first few months after the work's publication, but after...
IOT: Photosynthesis 15 May 14
Photosynthesis is the process by which plants and many other organisms use sunlight to produce organic molecules. Photosynthesis arose early in evolutionary history and has been a crucial driver of life on Earth. In addition to providing most of the...
IOT: The Sino-Japanese War 08 May 14
The Sino-Japanese War of 1937-45 broke out after several years of rising tension between China and Japan. When the Japanese invaded China they met with fierce resistance, despite internal Chinese political divisions. Once the USA had entered the war...
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