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Wonder S2 Ep 08 - The Voynich Manuscript

In 1912, a London bookseller, acquired a manuscript as part of a much larger collection of rare books. Nothing unusual there but this collection was different and so was this manuscript. At the time, he didn’t know what he had in his possession. This manuscript had not been seen for over 200 years. After he unearthed it, it became a text of enormous interest to scientists, historians, academics and the public alike because it is quite simply a mystery. Elements of its history have...

Duration: 00:18:12

Wonder S2 Ep 07 - The Last Supper

On a wall in Milan, Italy there sits a work of art that has survived, despite man and nature’s best efforts to destroy it, for over 600 years. It has been studied, analysed in microscopic detail, restored, bombed and marvelled at. Some say that with so many restorations over the years, what remains is now only 40% of the original work of the artist yet it still mesmerises us. This masterpiece has stood the test of time and reflects the true wonder of the artist, a polymath who had an...

Duration: 00:16:35

Wonder S2 Ep 06 - The Boiling River

There are few places on Earth that showcase the extraordinary beauty and diversity of life as in the Amazon. It is simply unique. The Amazon is the world’s largest rainforest and river system and spans across eight countries and one overseas territory, through Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana/ France. It contains one-tenth of the world’s known species; the latest estimates are 40,000 plant species, 1600 species of tree, 3,000...

Duration: 00:17:52

Wonder S2 Ep 05 - The Fossil Hunter

Our understanding of our world and how it came to be would be much less if it were not for the very many great scientists, historians and explorers who have endured much in the name of scientific and educational advancement over the centuries. One such person was a woman who lived in the 19th century on the South Coast of England. She was poorly educated, mostly self-taught and from a working-class background but her discoveries would help to create a new branch of science which would...

Duration: 00:16:41

Wonder S2 Ep 04 - Pieces of Eight

In Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island, Long John Silver's parrot, Captain Flint would say with great rapidity, as the novel tells us, "Pieces of eight! Pieces of eight! Pieces of eight!" till you wondered that it was not out of breath, or till John threw his handkerchief over the cage. " This classic story has captivated generations of adults and children alike. It has also linked the coins (and parrots) to fictional depictions of pirates, to this day. So, whilst great pirate...

Duration: 00:14:50

Wonder S2 Ep 03 - The Unknown Man

On the morning of December 1, 1948, a body was found on an Adelaide Beach in South Australia. The man was lying slumped forward with his head against the seawall. He was well dressed wearing a suit with immaculately shined shoes but he had no identification on him of any kind. In the almost 70 years since that December day when he was found, no one has been able to discover the man’s identity, where he came from, what he was doing on the beach that day or how he died. What can this...

Duration: 00:22:10

Wonder S2 Ep 02 - Phineas Gage

In 1848, a young man called Phineas Gage was carrying out a dangerous job on the railroad in central Vermont, USA. He was the foreman of a team of men who respected him greatly. On this day, 13 September 1848, this man was doing something he had done hundreds of times before but that day his attention was diverted for just a few seconds. These few seconds, would change his life forever and his experience would become one of the keystones of our understanding of neuroscience and of human...

Duration: 00:19:15

Wonder S2 Ep 01 - Kitty

Catherine “Kitty” Genovese, died in the early hours of the morning of 13 March 1964 in the rear hallway of her apartment block, from stab wounds inflicted by a man whom she had never met and for no other reason that he had been intent “on killing a woman” that night. This is the story that devastated a family, shocked a neighbourhood and a city and sent shockwaves around the world. 50 years on the effects are still felt strongly because the events of that night changed America. This...

Duration: 00:21:13

Wonder Season 1 Finale

This is just a very quick episode to say that Episode 8 of Season 1 last week marked the end of this season. Season 2 is in production as we speak and I will be back on the airwaves on Wednesday 1 November with more Tales of Wonder and Curiosity. I also wanted to take the opportunity to say Thank You! When I started this podcast a few weeks ago I had no idea how it would be received. For more information visit Until Next Time Have a Great Day!

Duration: 00:01:58

Wonder S1 Ep 08 - Royal Project

Today, high in the hills of Northern Thailand you will find acres upon acres of beautiful agricultural and environmental projects that have brought prosperity, education and health to a nation that less than half a century ago was in the grip of the worst opium crisis the world has known. This change was brought about by a man who was raised in the West but at a young age was thrust into a life of duty much earlier than he had expected. He was a quiet man, with a love for science and the...

Duration: 00:16:34

Wonder S1 Ep 07 - The Keepers

On 7 December 1900, Superintendent Robert Muirhead, of the Northern Lighthouse Board said farewell to his 3 lighthouse keepers, James Ducat, Thomas Marshall and Donald McArthur. They waved him goodbye as he stepped off the East landing at Eilean Mor onto his waiting boat to take him back to the mainland. The 3 lighthouse men were starting their next shift for 3 weeks on the island, taking care of the lighthouse and ensuring safe passage for the ships that passed by the Islands on the...

Duration: 00:17:17

Wonder S1 Ep 06 - On Time, Every Time

Every Day in one of the busiest cities of the world, an army of men start their daily work; nothing unusual there but these men are unique. For over 125 years, they have provided a service to the people of Bombay, now Mumbai that is the envy of the world. They are the Dabbawalas, the tiffin carriers who have a system of delivery that is unsurpassed and with it they ensure that the workers of Mumbai receive their home cooked food in perfect condition and on time every day. Let's find...

Duration: 00:17:12

Wonder S1 Ep 05 - A Scientific Life

In our world of over 7.5 billion people there is more that connects us than divides us but as individuals we are all unique. Sir David Attenborough and Charles Darwin – two great men who lived and worked about 150 years apart but both have made an enormous impact on our understanding of who we are and where we fit in to this great world of ours. My starting point is Charles Darwin, who was he, what influenced him and how did he become the father of natural selection? Let’s Find out.

Duration: 00:15:58

Wonder S1 Ep 04 - Leather Suitcase

Today, we live in a world of 24-hour media where images are beamed across the globe within seconds of an event, enabling us to see, hear and connect with people and their lives. Over 75 years ago though this was entirely different, news from other parts of the world was limited, edited and much slower to reach us. During World War II there was a refugee crisis like never before but out of this crisis shone a short but lasting beacon of light in one of the worst periods of our...

Duration: 00:16:17

S1 Ep 03 - For Everyone

Of all the inventions of the 20th century the one that has impacted our lives most could be said to be the World Wide Web. It was invented by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, a scientist, an academic and a visionary. The World Wide Web had one very important mission at its heart; it was created for and continues to be built by everyone. For more information visit

Duration: 00:13:59

S1 Ep 02 - The Boy Wonder

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was released to the world on 26 June 1997. In the twenty years since the first Harry Potter book in the series hit the shelves, the world of children’s literature has been turned upside down. The series of seven books, published by Bloomsbury in the UK and Scholastic in the US have delighted children and adults alike. They are now in 75 languages and have sold over 450 million copies. On today's show I look the story behind the creation of...

Duration: 00:14:21

S1 Ep 01 - July20

Almost 50 years 3 astronauts achieved the seemingly impossible by being part of the team that first set foot on the Earth's moon some 384,000 km away. In doing this they fulfilled what was thought by many as the greatest achievement of the 20th century. The idea was one thing, achieving it was another but achieve it they did. For more information visit

Duration: 00:15:43