In Our Time - Trofim Lysenko
Melvyn BraggIn 1928, as America heads towards the Wall Street Crash, Joseph Stalin reveals his master plan - nature is to be conquered by science, Russia to be made brutally, glitteringly modern and the world transformed by communist endeavour. Into the heart of this vision stepped Trofim Lysenko, a self-taught geneticist who promised to turn Russian wasteland into a grain-laden Garden of Eden.
In Our Time - Victorian Realism
Melvyn BraggA reaction against Romanticism, the realist novel presented life as it was in urbanized, industrial Britain. Attacked as ordinary, mundane, overly democratic and lacking the imaginative demands of poetry, its defendants argued that the ordinariness of life contained a complexity and depth previously unseen and unconsidered. At its best the realist novel was like life itself - complex in appearance, rich in character, diverse in outlook, teeming with ideas and operating on several levels. It was a forum for the confusions of the Victorian age over Christianity and Darwinism, economics, morality and psychology, yet it was also a domestic novel concerned with the individuality of human relationships. From the provincialism of George Eliot’s Middlemarch to Hardy’s bleak and brutal Wessex, Victorian Realism touched all the great Victorian authors, but can it truly be the touchstone of an age which produced the fantasy of Alice in Wonderland, the escapism of The Waterbabies and the abundant grotesquerie of Dickensian London?
In Our Time - Vitalism
Melvyn BraggFrankenstein may seem an outlandish tale, but Mary Shelley wrote it when science was alive with ideas about what differentiated the living from the dead. This was Vitalism, a belief that living things possessed some spark of life, some vital principle that lifted them above dull matter. Electricity was a very real candidate.
In Our Time - War in the 20th Century
Melvyn BraggWith Michael Ignatieff, writer, broadcaster and biographer of Isaiah Berlin; Sir Michael Howard, formerly Regius Professor of History, Oxford University and joint editor of the new Oxford History of the Twentieth
In Our Time -The Royal Society and British Science: Episode 1
Melvyn BraggAs part of the BBC's year of science programming, Melvyn Bragg looks at the history of the oldest scientific learned society of them all: the Royal Society.Episode one travels to Oxford, where the young Christopher Wren and friends experimented.
In Our Time -The School of Athens
Melvyn BraggMelvyn Bragg and guests discuss The School of Athens – the fresco painted by the Italian Renaissance painter, Raphael, for Pope Julius II’s private library in the Vatican. The fresco depicts some of the most famous philosophers of ancient times, including Aristotle and Plato, engaged in discussion amidst the splendour of a classical Renaissance chamber. It is considered to be one of the greatest images in Western art not only because of Raphael’s skill as a painter, but also his ability to have created an enduring image that continues to inspire philosophical debate today. Raphael captured something essential about the philosophies of these two men, but he also revealed much about his own time. That such a pagan pair could be found beside a Pope in private tells of the complexity of intellectual life at the time when classical learning was reborn in what we now call the Renaissance. With Angie Hobbs, Associate Professor in Philosophy at the University of Warwick; Valery Rees, Renaissance scholar and senior member of the Language Department at the School of Economic Science; Jill Kraye, Professor of the History of Renaissance Philosophy and Librarian at the Warburg Institute at the University of London
Losing the Past 1
Richard HollinghamWhat is being done to stop more data being lost in the future, now that we've all gone digital: from an Internet Archive, to the preservation of government emails, and from concrete bunkers for nitrate films to a unique newspaper repository. For example, the US national archives have to make sure they keep all federal government emails. The Clinton White House alone produced 32 million emails, while those of his administration as a whole run into billions. President Clinton himself only ever wrote one email while in office. Who to? Richard Hollingham can reveal all....
Losing the Past 2
Richard HollinghamA timely investigation into the loss of cultural, public and historical records, both analogue and digital, as a result of deterioration or advances in technology. Richard Hollingham investigates specific examples of what is now unplayable or unreadable. For example, he can reveal for the first time, that the UK population census data from 1951 are lost, as are significant parts of the 1961 and 1971 census data. And he hears from the long-term percussionist of The Grateful Dead, Mickey Hart, why the Grateful Dead, unlike other leading touring bands, still have all their master tapes intact. He also finds out about successful efforts on both sides of the Atlantic for preserving and recuperating sound and music.
Power Failure at the Central Bank
Robert PestonBusiness editor Robert Peston examines the crisis in the international banking system. For the last six decades, central bankers from the most developed countries have managed the global economy, manipulating international finances with the aid of a powerful set of economic levers handed to them after the Second World War. Last year the levers became disconnected from the machinery and the central banking system has suffered a severe loss of power
Professor Steve Jones : The House I Grew Up In
Wendy RobbinsWendy Robbins presents a series revisiting the childhood neighbourhoods of influential Britons. Biologist and author Professor Steve Jones takes Wendy back to his childhood in west Wales in the 1950s to uncover the passions that led to his life of scientific discovery. Biologist and author Professor Steve Jones takes Wendy back to his childhood in west Wales in the 1950s to uncover the passions that led to his life of scientific discovery.
Rebel Without A Cause – The James Dean Story
Johnny DeppJames Dean is the eternal youthful rebel - the movie idol blessed with the looks, style, talent and attitude that captivated a generation. To mark the 50th anniversary of his death at the wheel of his Porsche on September 30 1955, Johnny Depp presents this profile of one of Hollywood's most popular icons.
Relatively Einstein - 01 Uncertain History
Radio 4A hundred years on from Albert Einstein's 'miracle year' of 1905, Radio 4 talks to writers and artists who have wrestled with the scientific legacy of modern physics in their work. Michael Frayn's acclaimed stage play, Copenhagen, opened at the National Theatre in 1998. The story of a meeting between two theoretical physicists during the early years of Second World War, it's been hailed as the most successful use of science on the stage.
Scars of Evolution 1
David AttenboroughThe hypothesis proposes that the physical characteristics that distinguish us from our nearest cousin apes - standing and moving bipedally, being naked and sweaty, our swimming and diving abilities, fat babies, big brains and language - all of these and others are best explained as adaptations to a prolonged period of our evolutionary history being spent in and around the seashore and lake margins, not on the hot dry savannah or in the forest with the other apes. The programmes explore the varieties of response to the theory, from when it was first proposed to the present day.
Scars of Evolution 2
David AttenboroughThe second programme looks at the evidence that has accumulated in the last 5 - 10 years which seems to be driving the anthropological herd inexorably down to the water's edge. It includes reports on brain evolution, highlighting the essential fatty acids and nutrients that can only be sourced in the marine food chain; the global coastal migrations of early hominids, including major water crossings 1 million years ago; diving response and voluntary breath-control as semi-aquatic pre-adaptation for speech and some new and intriguing research findings that seem to indicate that water-births may be a very ancient human adaptation indeed.
Self Made Things 1
Jonathan MillerIn this five-part series, Jonathan Miller returns to his roots in medicine and tells the story of how we came to understand reproduction & heredity. Disposing with the idea of an external, perhaps even supernatural, vitalising force, he describes how we have arrived at the picture of ourselves and all organisms as Self-Made Things. Darwinism in the second half of the 19th century gave us a theoretical framework that captured in one stroke the seemingly limitless variety that zoologists, botanists and paleontologists were finding in every dimension in nature.
Self Made Things 2
Jonathan MillerThis week Jonathan Miller looks at the birth of ideas about reproduction and heredity. Starting with the ideas of Aristotle and the early Greeks, he argues that because knowledge of underlying structures such as cells and genes are comparatively recent, it was necessary for thinkers addressing the problem, right through the renaissance, to resort to immaterial agents acting upon the raw substances of fertilization.
Self Made Things 5
Jonathan MillerIn the final programme in the series, Jonathan Miller brings the story of reproduction and generation up to the present. He hears first from Nobel prize-winner Sir Aaron Klug who describes the work done by Crick and Watson in 1953 to identify the chemical structure of deoxyribonucleic acid, better know as DNA, which they represented as a double helix.
The Chambers - 1
Radio 4First of two programmes which go behind the elegant facades of legal London to meet the barristers, clerks and staff of Outer Temple Chambers, one of London's leading law chambers, as they prepare for the biggest upheaval in their history: the full implementation of the 2007 Legal Services Act. Due to be fully implemented in 2012, the Act will produce greater competition in who can provide legal services. Many of the cosy arrangements of the past will be swept away, and barristers will need to show that they can provide the service and value for money that the public wants.
The Lopsided Universe - Life Through the Looking Glass
Frank CloseThere's an ass in mythology that stood equidistant between two bunches of carrots. One on its left, the other on its right side. The ass, unable to choose between left and right, starved to death. Luckily for us, life made a decision and didn't perish like Buridan's ass. The molecules that make living things are all handed. What's more they all have the same handedness - but why? Frank Close finds out how a French chemist found the clue to this conundrum at the bottom of a glass of wine a hundred and fifty years ago.
The Reith Lectures 2005 - 01 Collaboration
Lord BroersWhen I returned to this Engineering Department from the USA in 1984 my wife and I bought an historic and wonderful house some ten miles south of Cambridge. It was built around 1520, a date that could be substantiated to within a decade by the form of the oak beams that comprised its floors and ceilings. These had been shaped by iron blades that only lasted about ten years. Being someone of the present rather than the past I had not previously been much preoccupied with history but living in the splendid oak structure - like a fine sailing vessel that had gone aground - inspired me to wonder what had preoccupied the technologists and scientists of that age...
The Reith Lectures 2008 - 1 - Confucian Ways
Johnathon SpenceChinese Vistas: Jonathan Spence delivers a series of lectures about China. Spence reflects on China's most enduring thinker, Confucius
The Reith Lectures 2008 - 2 - English Lessons
Johnathon SpenceSpence examines China's relations with the United Kingdom through three centuries.
The Reith Lectures 2008 - 3 - American Dreams
Johnathon SpenceSpence explores the relationship between China and the US over two centuries.
The Reith Lectures 2008 - 4 - The Body Beautiful
Johnathon SpenceSpence discusses how Chinese ideas of sport and athleticism have slowly evolved.
Voices from the Old Bailey. Episode 1: Highwaymen
Amanda VickeryProfessor Amanda Vickery presents dramatised extracts from gripping Old Bailey court cases from the 18th century and discusses with fellow historians what they reveal about the period. In episode 1, Amanda Vickery listens to the voices of 18th-century highwaymen.
Voices from the Old Bailey. Episode 2: Wicked Women
Amanda VickeryProfessor Amanda Vickery presents dramatised extracts from gripping Old Bailey court cases from the 18th century and discusses with fellow historians what they reveal about the period. In episode 2, Amanda Vickery listens to the voices of criminal women in the Old Bailey.
Voices from the Old Bailey. Episode 3: Children
Amanda VickeryProfessor Amanda Vickery presents dramatised extracts from gripping Old Bailey court cases from the 18th century and discusses with fellow historians what they reveal about the period. In episode 3, Amanda Vickery listens to the voices of young children who found themselves in court.
Voices from the Old Bailey. Episode 4: Conmen and a Brawl in the Streets
Amanda VickeryProfessor Amanda Vickery presents dramatised extracts from gripping Old Bailey court cases from the 18th century and discusses with fellow historians what they reveal about the period. In episode 4, Amanda Vickery listens to the voices of conmen and street fighters in the 18th century.