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A Brief History of the End of Everything - 04 The universe is expanding - we're all doomed

Brother Guy Consolmagno
The universe will die. The sun and other stars like it will throw out heat until they have no more energy to burn. The big bang threw everything outwards at a massive rate. As it gets bigger, so the gaps between matter get bigger and are filled with "dark energy". Instead of gravity pulling everything back down to a "big crunch" the dark energy accelerates the expansion process, pushing everything further apart faster and faster. In the end everything will be a cold, sad, blackness as the stars all go out, or are too far apart for us to see anything - but "us" will be long gone.
Radio-Recordings%%%History%%%Physics

A Brief History of the End of Everything - 05 Oops, I've dropped an exotic particle

Brother Guy Consolmagno
A strange subatomic particle produced in an atom-smashing experiment here on earth could, theoretically, tumble to the centre of the planet and start eating the planet from the inside out - death by industrial accident. Or a random quantum fluctuation in distant space could switch off the machinery that makes matter big, and this would send a bubble of destruction moving at the speed of light and shutting down all creation in its path. All of the ideas explored in this series suggest that the future is not rosy - that the universe is going to end and that we will end along with it...or can we escape?
Radio-Recordings%%%History%%%Physics

A Brief History of the End of Everything - 01 It's OK, the universe is eternal

Brother Guy Consolmagno
A series exploring how our ideas about the end of the universe have been shaped by religion, belief, and the contemporary state of scientific thinking and observation. The series is presented by Vatican Astronomer, Brother Guy Consolmagno. He is a Jesuit astro-physicist who came to religion via science and his wonder at the universe. At the Vatican Observatory in Castel Gandolfo, Italy, he compares cutting edge cosmology with Chinese, Ancient Greek, Buddhist, Medieval and Victorian ideas about the end of everything.
Radio-Recordings%%%History%%%Physics

A Brief History of the End of Everything - 02 The universe will crash - we're all doomed

Brother Guy Consolmagno
It will die. Like a ball thrown into the air, no matter how fast the acceleration to begin with, gravity always wins. The universe will reach a critical mass, then start to fall back in on itself. This is the big crunch theory. The power of gravity wins out over the accelerating power throwing everything outwards. Microseconds from the end, black holes begin to merge with each other, little different from the collapsing state of the surrounding universe. The implosion becomes increasingly powerful, crushing all matter and every physical thing out of existence. Space and time end - there is eternal nothingness beyond this point, unless...
Radio-Recordings%%%History%%%Physics

A Brief History of the End of Everything - 03 Lets go round again

Brother Guy Consolmagno
Yes the universe will end, but at the crunch the process starts all over again, and could go on forever (cf. Hindu and Buddhist ideas of re-birth). Another possibility is "multiverses" - there are lots of different universes, all in different states of existence, some at moment of big bang, but will never become a universe as we know it, so grow to the size of a grape and shrink back, or expand outwards and never turn into frothy, lumpy matter - just a thin soup with no life in them. Our universe is perfect…not too fast to become a soup and not too slow so it falls back in on itself to destruct - just lumpy enough for galaxies to form and the whole thing hold together - a balancing act between gravity and acceleration, for the time being.
Radio-Recordings%%%History%%%Physics


Amongst the Medici - Episode 2: Renaissance, what Renaissance?

Bettany Hughes
Classicist Bettany Hughes continues her journey through the beauty and the blood-letting of Renaissance Florence. Could it be that the Renaissance as we know it wasn't a renaissance at all? Could Donatello's David really be a political statement for the Medici? And what has Liverpool got to do with it? Bettany finds that the Renaissance is more than it's cracked up to be.
History


An Earth Made for Life - Programme 3: Sex, Death and War

Gabrielle Walker
In the second series of An Earth Made for Life Gabrielle Walker continues her quest to understand why complex life is found on our planet, but not on any of our celestial neighbours. From the outback of Australia to the walls of the Grand Canyon Gabrielle unearths evidence of the dramatic changes that took place on our planet billions of years ago which may have triggered the rise of animals.
History

Aping Evolution - 1

Professor Steve Jones
Professor of Genetics Steve Jones challenges evolutionary psychology, the controversial new science of how our brains and minds developed. Girls like pink better because in Stone Age times they needed to be good at picking berries and women have better sex with rich men - or so some evolutionary psychologists would have us believe. Critics say this isn't science, but conjecture. Evolutionary psychology seeks to explain human behaviour from the hunter-gatherers or our nearest relatives, the chimpanzee, and has some seductively simple theories. One argument is that we have Stone Age brains in 21st-century skulls, from which we can account for everything from the violence that men show to their stepchildren to why racism exists. Is evolutionary psychology a truly useful addition to the canon of ideas to come out of Darwinian evolution or a just-so science that can be adjusted to suit the researchers' prejudices? Steve Jones examines the history of the new science, the methods used and asks if it can explain the human drive to language, religion and culture.
Radio-Recordings%%%Biology%%%History

Aping Evolution - 2

Professor Steve Jones
Professor of Genetics Steve Jones challenges the controversial science of evolutionary psychology. Evolutionary psychologists say human behaviour, such as who we marry, when we have children and even the quality of our sex lives, can be explained by having a Stone Age brain in a 21st century body. Professor Jones examines the scientific evidence for such claims and asks if we should be worried if contentious theories escape the world of science and enter the arena of social policy.
History

Battle for Birth

Penny Marshall
Penny Marshall tells the story of how the battle for birth has been waged between women, doctors and midwives over the last two centuries. This war has shaped the maternity services in the UK today. Penny talks to midwives, obstetricians, mothers and policy makers about the battles that have been fought to give women the maternity care they want.
History

Book of the Week - A Commonwealth of Thieves

Thomas Keneally
With drama and flair, novelist Keneally illuminates the birth of New South Wales in 1788, richly evoking the social conditions in London, miserable sea voyage and the desperate conditions of the new colony. His tale revolves around Arthur Phillips, the ambitious captain in the Royal Navy who would become the first governor of New South Wales
History

Book of the Week - A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier

Ishamel Beah
A gripping story of a child’s journey through hell and back. There may be as many as 300,000 child soldiers, hopped-up on drugs and wielding AK-47s, in more than fifty conflicts around the world. Ishmael Beah used to be one of them. He is one of the first to tell his story in his own words. In this book, Beah, tells a riveting story. At the age of twelve, he fled attacking rebels and wandered a land rendered unrecognizable by violence. By thirteen, he’d been picked up by the government army, and Beah, at heart a gentle boy, found that he was capable of truly terrible acts. Eventually released by the army and sent to a UNICEF rehabilitation center, he struggled to regain his humanity and to reenter the world of civilians, who viewed him with fear and suspicion. This is, at last, a story of redemption and hope
History

Book of the Week - A Room Full of Mirrors

Charles R. Cross
Published to coincide with the thirty-fifth anniversary of Jimi Hendrix's death, Room Full of Mirrors gives full voice to the music that continues to enthrall each successive generation of rock fans. Hendrix's colorful, tumultuous life is brilliantly detailed in Charles Cross's latest rock bio
History

Book of the Week - Beatrix Potter - A Life in Nature

Linda Lear
Beatrix Potter, the twentieth century's most beloved children's writer and illustrator, created books that will forever conjure nature for millions. Yet though she is a household name around the world, her personal life and her other significant achievements remain largely unknown. This remarkable new biography is a voyage of discovery into the story of an extraordinary woman. At a time when plunder was more popular than preservation, she brought nature back into the English imagination. "Beatrix Potter: A Life In Nature" reveals a strong, humorous and independent woman, whose art was timeless, and whose generosity left an indelible imprint on the countryside.
History

Book of the Week - Bringing the House Down

David Profumo
David Profumo was just seven when his father, who had been Secretary of State for War, resigned from the Macmillan government. Despite the furore and humiliation that followed, his parents famously stayed together -- and now, forty years on, their son has written this long-awaited account of their family life before, during and after the sensational events of 1963.
History

Book of the Week - Coconut Chaos

Diana Souhami
This singular tale by Whitbread Prize-winning writer Diana Souhami ('Selkirk's Island') connects the famous mutiny on the Bounty in the Pacific Ocean in 1789 to the plight of the islanders of Pitcairn now. Its conceptual core is how a small chance thing, the taking of a coconut by Fletcher Christian from William Bligh's stores on the ship, had dramatic ramifications that continue today.
History

Book of the Week - Diaries 1969-1979: The Python Years

Michael Palin
Michael Palin has kept a diary since newly married in the late 1960s, when he was beginning to make a name for himself as a TV scriptwriter (for the Two Ronnies, David Frost etc). Monty Python was just around the corner. This first volume of his diaries reveals how Python emerged and triumphed, how he, John Cleese, Graham Chapman, the two Terrys - Jones and Gilliam - and Eric Idle, came together and changed the face of British comedy.
History