Exchanges At The Frontier 2010 [World Service]

Episodes

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Episode 1 - Cynthia Kenyon - Exchanges At The Frontier20101027

AC Grayling discussed the genetics of ageing with experimental scientist Cynthia Kenyon.

A public audience test the world's leading scientists over their work.

At 80, would you want the body of a 40 year old?

Cynthia Kenyon is professor of biochemistry and biophysics at the University of California at San Francisco.

She is a leading specialist in the genetics of ageing.

Compare the life spans of similarly-sized animals, living in similar environments and their life expectancies can be very different; for mice it's two years; for canaries it's 15 years; and for bats it can be 50 years.

Her work has revealed a latent ability in organisms to live longer - and with a younger body - than they currently do.

Kenyon has been able to extend the life of her experimental subjects - a species of worm - by up to a factor of six.

Now she is exploring whether any such a thing is possible for humans. If it is, is this something that we would want to experience?

The philosopher AC Grayling and an audience of the public at Wellcome Collection in London test Cynthia Kenyon on the science of her research and the possible implications of her findings.

Episode 1 - Cynthia Kenyon - Exchanges At The Frontier20101028
Episode 1 - Cynthia Kenyon - Exchanges At The Frontier20101030
Episode 2 - Kevin Marsh - Exchanges At The Frontier20101103

AC Grayling discusses malaria with expert Kevin Marsh on how to beat the disease.

A public audience test the world's leading scientists over their work.

There are an estimated 800,000 malaria fatalities every year, nearly 90% of which are the deaths of children under five in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Kevin Marsh is director of the Kenyan Medical Research Institute in Kilifi, Kenya, where he leads a research team of 100 scientists almost entirely recruited from East Africa.

He has been looking at the transmission and control of malaria for over 20 years.

Much of his research focuses on how the disease manifests itself in children and how immunity is developed.

He is also testing a vaccine which could have 50% effectiveness within five years.

Is there cause for optimism?

Why is it that children in Africa are so vulnerable?

A live audience at Wellcome Collection auditorium join AC Grayling to test him on the social and medical aspects of the fight against the disease.

(Image: Mosquito in flight. Credit: Press Association)

Episode 2 - Kevin Marsh - Exchanges At The Frontier20101104
Episode 2 - Kevin Marsh - Exchanges At The Frontier20101106
Episode 3 - Brian Greene - Exchanges At The Frontier20101110

AC Grayling discusses String Theory with physicist Brian Greene.

A public audience test the world's leading scientists over their work.

There is an enigma which haunts modern physics: Einstein described how gravity works on the scale of stars, galaxies, and the universe itself and Schroedinger gave us the equation that explains the mechanics of the tiny quantum realm.

Both theories work to wonderful effect in their own world but if they are laws of nature why is it that planets behave nothing like particles and that gravity is so strangely absent from the quantum realm?

In order to make sense of reality the great purpose of 21st Century physics is to find a way to unite them with a Theory of Everything.

The leading contender in what has become the holy grail of modern physics is String Theory.

Once an eccentric pursuit by an artful and impassioned minority it has become the leading contender to unite the forces of nature into one elegant, imaginative and multidimensional suggestion.

It is now absorbing some of the greatest minds of this generation.

What are its claims?

When will it be finished and how - if ever - can it be proved correct?

The most famous of String Theory’s proponents is the best-selling author and Co-Director of Columbia University’s Institute for Strings, Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics, Professor Brian Greene.

He talks to AC Grayling and an audience at the Wellcome Collection.

Episode 3 - Brian Greene - Exchanges At The Frontier20101111
Episode 3 - Brian Greene - Exchanges At The Frontier20101113
Episode 4 - Gwen Adshead - Exchanges At The Frontier20101117

AC Grayling discusses mental illness and violence with Psychotherapist Gwen Adshead.

A public audience test the world's leading scientists over their work.

It is a hospital to which the patients are sentenced, and though enormous effort is made to cure them it is somewhere from which many people hope the patients will never be discharged.

In this edition of Exchanges At The Frontier AC Grayling and an audience of the public go to Broadmoor High Security Psychiatric Hospital to speak to the Clinical Psychiatrist and Forensic Psychotherapist Dr Gwen Adshead.

Where do you belong when everyone and everything has rejected you?

How should we treat the people who are beyond the pale?

When does a duty to protect the public interfere with the medical imperative to help your patient.

Gwen Adshead gives a vivid picture of the complex issues at play in the highly specialised world of Broadmoor Hospital.

(Image: A depressed young boy. Credit: Science Photo Library)

Episode 4 - Gwen Adshead - Exchanges At The Frontier20101118
Episode 4 - Gwen Adshead - Exchanges At The Frontier20101120
Episode 5 - Morten Kringelbach - Exchanges At The Frontier20101124

AC Grayling discusses the neuroscience of pleasure with psychologist Morten Kringelbach.

A public audience test the world's leading scientists over their work.

Morten L Kringelbach is Professor of Neuroscience at Aarhus University in Denmark and a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Oxford, specialising in the neuroscience of pleasure.

Pleasure he believes, is central to our lives and intimately linked to emotional, cognitive and reward processing in the brain.

It is crucial in making us human and keeping us healthy.

Understanding exactly how pleasure leads to happiness could revolutionise the experience of life for all of us.

He is leading research into the fundamental neural mechanisms underlying human sensory and social pleasures in order to develop new ways to treat affective disorders.

His collaborations with neurosurgeons and explorations of the underlying brain mechanisms involved in pleasure have lead to his involvement in complex interventions such as Deep Brain Stimulation and he believes his research can help us treat the serious problems of mood disorders such as depression and personality disorder.

(Image: A couple in bed. Credit: Science Photo Library)

Episode 5 - Morten Kringelbach - Exchanges At The Frontier20101125
Episode 5 - Morten Kringelbach - Exchanges At The Frontier20101127