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Podcasts



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One to One

Architect Elsie Owusu meets Lord Chris Smith (42 days old [24/02/20])

audioElsie Owusu meets Lord Chris Smith, the former Secretary of State for Culture and chair of the Millennium Commission, to discuss what he feels is his architectural legacy: from the Eden project to the Dome and beyond. Across three editions of One to One, Elsie - an architect - has been exploring the connection between architecture, art and justice. In today's discussion Lord Smith mulls over his time in office and discusses what he's proudest of: the reintroduction of free museum entrance, and what he's perhaps less happy to recall: the Millennium Dome. Producer: Karen Gregor

Architect Elsie Owusu talks to artist Yinka Shonibare (48 days old [18/02/20])

audioThe artist, Yinka Shonibare CBE, talks to the architect Elsie Owusu about his ambitious and challenging project in Nigeria where he is building two residential centres for artists. One will be in Lagos, the other in the rural setting of Ijebu, which will be based on a working farm. Yinka is a wheelchair user, and he discusses his idea of "enabling architecture", as well as the importance of providing employment for local people, and spreading the word about Nigeria's vibrant cultural life. Producer: Karen Gregor

Lady Hale and Elsie Owusu on architecture & justice (55 days old [11/02/20])

audioArchitect Elsie Owusu discusses the refurbishment of the Supreme Court building with Lady Hale. The creation of the Supreme Court in 2009 was a defining moment in UK legal history. And in architectural history, too. It was decided to refurbish the century-old Middlesex Guildhall which stands in London's Parliament Square. At the time it housed seven Crown Courts and was, according to Lady Hale, 'cluttered and gloomy'. Lady Hale, who has recently retired as the first female President of the Supreme Court, was involved in the renovation process, and worked alongside Elsie Owusu who was one [...]

The Value of Idling – Verity Sharp meets Tim Parks (62 days old [04/02/20])

audioWhat happens when you become obsessed by words? What happens when this obsession becomes so severe that your life becomes a frenzied narrative filling your every waking moment ? How do you escape? Verity Sharp meets Tim Parks who shares his experiences of a painful chronic condition brought about by a constant mental and physical tension, related to his work as a writer. When doctors couldn’t explain his symptoms, he was forced to look elsewhere. He didn’t give up writing. He has learned to be idle. Producer Sarah Blunt.

The Value of Idling - Verity Sharp meets Josh Cohen (69 days old [28/01/20])

audioCould idling help free us from the treadmill of work and increase our creativity? Is boredom conducive to creativity? In the first of two programmes we hear from psychoanalyst, Professor of Modern Literary Theory at Goldsmiths University of London, author and practising idler Josh Cohen. He talks to Verity Sharp about the value of idling, how a much more relaxed attitude to life is not a hindrance but can encourage creativity and why being bored can be positive! Producer Sarah Blunt

Gerald Scarfe - bring back the news! (83 days old [14/01/20])

audioIn 2015 Arabella Dorman hung a boat upside down in a Piccadilly church. The boat had been carrying refugees in the eastern Mediterranean, but now it was a piece of art, a symbol of 'exile and desperation' as well as courage and hope. Cartoonist Gerald Scarfe, who reported from Vietnam and Northern Ireland, wants to know if there is a different way to report the news, so here he talks to Arabella about whether her boat worked. The producer in Bristol is Miles Warde

Gerald Scarfe - bring back the news! (90 days old [07/01/20])

audioWhen photographer Paul Conroy was injured during a Syrian rocket attack in 2012, his first thought was probably not how this might change reporting of the war. Two other journalists died in the same attack - Remi Ochlik and Marie Colvin. Paul survived, wrote a book which became the basis for a famous documentary, and then worked as consultant on a major film, A Private War. Does his story represent a more powerful way of understanding the war? Five decades ago Gerald Scarfe went to Asia for The Daily Mail to cover the Vietnam war. He drew it, and here he shares his experiences with Paul as t[...]

Jay Elwes meets artist Simon Periton (140 days old [18/11/19])

audioWhat does it mean to "look at" something? Do an artist and a scientist look at a sunset in the same way? Jay Elwes talks to the artist Simon Periton, whose work includes the installations in the new Farringdon Crossrail station. Simon explains how he looks for ideas in everyday objects, taking inspiration from windows, leaves and even empty tin cans. Producer: Chris Ledgard

Jay Elwes meets Nasa's John Mather (140 days old [18/11/19])

audioHow do different people look at the world around them? Do a scientist and an artist see a sunset the same way? In the first of two programmes, we meet the Nobel prize winning astrophysicist, John Mather. Dr Mather is the Senior Project Scientist on the James Webb Space Telescope, the successor to the Hubble. He talks to the journalist Jay Elwes about the "telescope of the imagination", and how technology can help us look back through space and time to picture our universe in its early days. Producer: Chris Ledgard

City or Country? Alys Fowler meets Gregory Leadbetter (146 days old [12/11/19])

audioAcclaimed gardening writer, Alys Fowler, tries to work out where she wants to live, in the city or the countryside, with the help of poet, Gregory Leadbetter. Alys grew up in deepest rural England but for years has found happiness in the city of Birmingham, her small garden and local allotment. But she's starting to feel the pull of the countryside again, and the access to the natural world it offers. However, Gregory - through the lens of poetry - discusses how paying close attention to nature wherever you are can have a profound effect. Producer: Karen Gregor

(C) BBC 2020

One to One

Architect Elsie Owusu meets Lord Chris Smith (42 days old [24/02/20])

audioElsie Owusu meets Lord Chris Smith, the former Secretary of State for Culture and chair of the Millennium Commission, to discuss what he feels is his architectural legacy: from the Eden project to the Dome and beyond. Across three editions of One to One, Elsie - an architect - has been exploring the connection between architecture, art and justice. In today's discussion Lord Smith mulls over his time in office and discusses what he's proudest of: the reintroduction of free museum entrance, and what he's perhaps less happy to recall: the Millennium Dome. Producer: Karen Gregor

Architect Elsie Owusu talks to artist Yinka Shonibare (48 days old [18/02/20])

audioThe artist, Yinka Shonibare CBE, talks to the architect Elsie Owusu about his ambitious and challenging project in Nigeria where he is building two residential centres for artists. One will be in Lagos, the other in the rural setting of Ijebu, which will be based on a working farm. Yinka is a wheelchair user, and he discusses his idea of "enabling architecture", as well as the importance of providing employment for local people, and spreading the word about Nigeria's vibrant cultural life. Producer: Karen Gregor

Lady Hale and Elsie Owusu on architecture & justice (55 days old [11/02/20])

audioArchitect Elsie Owusu discusses the refurbishment of the Supreme Court building with Lady Hale. The creation of the Supreme Court in 2009 was a defining moment in UK legal history. And in architectural history, too. It was decided to refurbish the century-old Middlesex Guildhall which stands in London's Parliament Square. At the time it housed seven Crown Courts and was, according to Lady Hale, 'cluttered and gloomy'. Lady Hale, who has recently retired as the first female President of the Supreme Court, was involved in the renovation process, and worked alongside Elsie Owusu who was one [...]

The Value of Idling – Verity Sharp meets Tim Parks (62 days old [04/02/20])

audioWhat happens when you become obsessed by words? What happens when this obsession becomes so severe that your life becomes a frenzied narrative filling your every waking moment ? How do you escape? Verity Sharp meets Tim Parks who shares his experiences of a painful chronic condition brought about by a constant mental and physical tension, related to his work as a writer. When doctors couldn’t explain his symptoms, he was forced to look elsewhere. He didn’t give up writing. He has learned to be idle. Producer Sarah Blunt.

The Value of Idling - Verity Sharp meets Josh Cohen (69 days old [28/01/20])

audioCould idling help free us from the treadmill of work and increase our creativity? Is boredom conducive to creativity? In the first of two programmes we hear from psychoanalyst, Professor of Modern Literary Theory at Goldsmiths University of London, author and practising idler Josh Cohen. He talks to Verity Sharp about the value of idling, how a much more relaxed attitude to life is not a hindrance but can encourage creativity and why being bored can be positive! Producer Sarah Blunt

Gerald Scarfe - bring back the news! (83 days old [14/01/20])

audioIn 2015 Arabella Dorman hung a boat upside down in a Piccadilly church. The boat had been carrying refugees in the eastern Mediterranean, but now it was a piece of art, a symbol of 'exile and desperation' as well as courage and hope. Cartoonist Gerald Scarfe, who reported from Vietnam and Northern Ireland, wants to know if there is a different way to report the news, so here he talks to Arabella about whether her boat worked. The producer in Bristol is Miles Warde

Gerald Scarfe - bring back the news! (90 days old [07/01/20])

audioWhen photographer Paul Conroy was injured during a Syrian rocket attack in 2012, his first thought was probably not how this might change reporting of the war. Two other journalists died in the same attack - Remi Ochlik and Marie Colvin. Paul survived, wrote a book which became the basis for a famous documentary, and then worked as consultant on a major film, A Private War. Does his story represent a more powerful way of understanding the war? Five decades ago Gerald Scarfe went to Asia for The Daily Mail to cover the Vietnam war. He drew it, and here he shares his experiences with Paul as t[...]

Jay Elwes meets artist Simon Periton (140 days old [18/11/19])

audioWhat does it mean to "look at" something? Do an artist and a scientist look at a sunset in the same way? Jay Elwes talks to the artist Simon Periton, whose work includes the installations in the new Farringdon Crossrail station. Simon explains how he looks for ideas in everyday objects, taking inspiration from windows, leaves and even empty tin cans. Producer: Chris Ledgard

Jay Elwes meets Nasa's John Mather (140 days old [18/11/19])

audioHow do different people look at the world around them? Do a scientist and an artist see a sunset the same way? In the first of two programmes, we meet the Nobel prize winning astrophysicist, John Mather. Dr Mather is the Senior Project Scientist on the James Webb Space Telescope, the successor to the Hubble. He talks to the journalist Jay Elwes about the "telescope of the imagination", and how technology can help us look back through space and time to picture our universe in its early days. Producer: Chris Ledgard

City or Country? Alys Fowler meets Gregory Leadbetter (146 days old [12/11/19])

audioAcclaimed gardening writer, Alys Fowler, tries to work out where she wants to live, in the city or the countryside, with the help of poet, Gregory Leadbetter. Alys grew up in deepest rural England but for years has found happiness in the city of Birmingham, her small garden and local allotment. But she's starting to feel the pull of the countryside again, and the access to the natural world it offers. However, Gregory - through the lens of poetry - discusses how paying close attention to nature wherever you are can have a profound effect. Producer: Karen Gregor

(C) BBC 2020

The Life Scientific

Myles Allen on understanding climate change (33 days old [04/03/20])

audioProfessor Myles Allen has spent thirty years studying global climate change, trying to working out what we can and can't predict. He was one of the first scientists to quantify the extent to which human actions are responsible for global warming. As a lead author on the 3rd Assessment by the International Panel on Climate Change in 2001, he concluded that ‘most of the observed global warming was due to human influence’. More recently, (having established that calculating a safe concentration of greenhouse gases was very difficult indeed), he worked out instead how many tonnes of carbon woul[...]

Matthew Cobb on how we detect smells (34 days old [03/03/20])

audioIt’s been estimated that humans are capable of detecting a trillion different smells. How is this possible when we have just 400 types of olfactory receptors located in the bridge of our nose? Matthew Cobb has spent many years studying maggots hoping to get to bottom of this problem. He spent several years studying the flirting rituals of fruit flies in Sheffield before moving to France to study at the world centre for fly research, not far from Paris. There are, of course, a lot of differences between maggots and humans but our olfactory systems have a lot in common. Producer: Anna Buckley

Anya Hurlbert on seeing colour (35 days old [02/03/20])

audioAs a professor of visual neuroscience at Newcastle University, Anya Hurlbert is one of our most respected researchers into the way we see colour. In a career as a physicist, physiologist, neuroscientist and physician at some of the great research institutes on both sides of the Atlantic, Anya’s investigations into how we perceive the colour of objects has transformed our view of how our predominantly visual brains function. She explains how the multidisciplinary approach to research in vision from physics to psychology, and encounters with some leading Nobel Prize winners, has fostered a lov[...]

Optical communications pioneer Polina Bayvel (55 days old [11/02/20])

audioWe’ve come to expect to be connected instantly to anywhere in the world and to have unlimited information at our fingertips. We shop online, stream music, download books and boxsets onto our electronic devices. We share videos of our pets just because we can. But how much time have you spent recently thinking about the remarkable feats of engineering that make all this possible? Polina Bayvel has been at the forefront of creating the optical fibre networks that are capable of transporting vast quantities of data from one place to another: linking continents via cables laid under oceans or e[...]

2019 Nobel Prize winner for Physiology or Medicine, Sir Peter Ratcliffe (62 days old [04/02/20])

audioSir Peter Ratcliffe, Director of Clinical Research at the Francis Crick Institute, as well as Director of Oxford University’s Target Discovery Institute – has dedicated his life to understanding the body’s molecular-level response to low oxygen levels, or ‘hypoxia’. He received the 2019 Nobel prize for Physiology or Medicine, along with two Americans, William Kaelin of Harvard and Gregg Semenza of Johns Hopkins, for successfully tackling one of physiology’s greatest puzzles - how our bodies sense and adapt so quickly to a lack of oxygen, at high altitude for example, or during sudden exercise.[...]

Peter Fonagy on a revolution in mental health care (69 days old [28/01/20])

audioPeter Fonagy arrived in the UK from Hungary aged 15, not speaking a word of English. His family was in Paris. He was bullied at school, failed every exam and thought of ending his life. Therapy saved him, he says. Years later, he trained to be a clinical psychologist and then a psychoanalyst. His research on attachment styles between a mother and her baby (which can be healthy, anxious or avoidant) was ground breaking. He went on to show that the human need to be understood runs very deep indeed. The ability to ‘mentalise’ (to say that we’re feeling angry rather than being angry, for example) [...]

Susannah Maidment on stegosaurs (83 days old [14/01/20])

audioSusie was dinosaur-mad as a child. But unlike most children, she never grew out of her obsession. She tells Jim about an exciting new stegosaur find in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco and describes the time she spent dinosaur hunting (with a toddler in tow) in the Morrison Formation in the American Mid-West: a place where there are thought to be enough dinosaur remains to keep a thousand paleontologists happy for a thousand years. She is at her happiest out in the field, with a hammer and a notebook, studying rocks and looking for dinosaur remains. We tend to lump dinosaurs together as thou[...]

Patricia Wiltshire on how pollen can solve crimes. (90 days old [07/01/20])

audioPatricia Wiltshire grew up in a mining village in South Wales, left home when she was 17 and worked for many years, first as a medical technician and then as a business secretary (a profession her first husband considered to be more ladylike). When she was studying botany A level at evening classes, her teacher encouraged her to apply for university as a mature student. (She would never have considered it otherwise). And so began her career as a palynologist (studying pollen). She worked for many years reconstructing ancient environments on archaeological sites. But a phone call from a police [...]

Elizabeth Fisher on chromosomes in mice and men (146 days old [12/11/19])

audioElizabeth Fisher, Professor of Neurogenetics at University College London, spent 13 years getting her idea – finding a new way of studying genetic disorders – to work. She began her research career at a time, in the 1980s, when there was an explosion of interest and effort in finding out what genes did what, and which of them were responsible for giving rise to the symptoms of various neurodegenerative conditions. Elizabeth has been particularly interested in those in which there are chromosomal abnormalities, like Down syndrome and Turner syndrome, as distinct from specific genetic disorders[...]

Demis Hassabis on artificial intelligence (153 days old [05/11/19])

audioIn the 200th episode of The Life Scientific, Jim Al-Khalili finds out why Demis Hassabis wants to create artificial intelligence and use it to help humanity. Thinking about how to win at chess when he was a boy got Demis thinking about the process of thinking itself. Being able to program his first computer (a Sinclair Spectrum) felt miraculous. In computer chess, his two passions were combined. And a lifelong ambition to create artificial intelligence was born. Demis studied computer science at Cambridge and then worked in the computer games industry for many years. Games, he says, are th[...]

(C) BBC 2020

Ipswich