Forum, The [World Service]

World renowned thinkers and their ideas.

Episodes

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Synopsis

20090329 Carl Djerassi, Mary Beard and Harold Varmus challenge each other on their ideas.

Synopsis

CARL DJERASSI

  • austrian-born emeritus professor of chemistry at stanford university in the us, carl djerassi, was partly responsible for one of the biggest cultural shifts of the 20 century: the idea that sex didn't have to result in pregnancy, with the introduction of the contraceptive pill in the 1960s. his work was instrumental in bringing about a sexual revolution, but now he’s convinced more sophisticated in vitro fertilization procedures will bring about a new revolution in which the ties between sex and reproduction will be all but broken.

    mary beard

  • each week one guest presents an idea to enhance the world. this week classicist mary beard believes that we should let all non-violent criminals out of jail. it currently costs the taxpayer more than the rate of a 5-star hotel to pay for one inmate per night in prison. mary asks why our only response to crime is to impose longer and longer sentences and suggests errant bankers, fraudsters or shoplifters are better employed working their socks off to pay back what they robbed us of

  • harold varmus, a nobel prize winning scientist and one of the advisors to president obama, is leading a revolution to democratise science and change the way in which ideas are shared. he wants to free the flow of scientific discoveries to make the latest findings accessible to everyone via the internet, bypassing academic journals, so that scientists and non scientists the world over can access the information regardless of their ability to pay.

    60 second idea to change the world

  • one of britain’s best known classicists mary beard has written extensively on ancient greece and rome and is currently examining what laughter meant in ancient times. she tells some ancient roman jokes as she explores how laughter travels across time and culture, revealing the secret ingredients that had the romans rolling in the aisles, and how far people nowadays share their sense of humour.

  • 20090405
    20090412
    20090419
    20090426
    20090503 Biologist Robert May, doctor & novelist Abraham Verghese, financial analyst Gillian Tett.

    Scientist LORD ROBERT MAY unlocks chaos theory to trace the broader patterns of risk and change.

    Novelist and doctor ABRAHAM VERGHESE casts new light on the human body as text and a source of stories.

    Financial analyst GILLIAN TETT asks why money makes so many people throw caution to the wind.

    20090510 Novelist AS Byatt, conductor Semyon Bychkov, political scientist Dominique Moisi.

    THE FORUM, the ideas programme presented by BRIDGET KENDALL.

    British novelist AS BYATT reveals why she believes children’s writing to be a dangerous business.

    Russian conductor SEMYON BYCHKOV describes the unique social properties of musical harmony.

    French political scientist DOMINIQUE MOISI explains the geopolitics of emotion.

    2009051720090518Entrepreneur Iqbal Quadir, epidemics expert Stefan Kaufmann, classicist James O'Donnell

    Bangladeshi entrepreneur IQBAL QUADIR on the magical impact of tiny loans.

    German immunologist STEFAN KAUFMANN on why it's hard to keep pandemics at bay.

    American classicist JAMES O'DONNELL on the twilight years of the Roman Empire

    Entrepreneur Iqbal Quadir, epidemics expert Stefan Kaufmann, classicist James O’Donnell

    German immunologist STEFAN KAUFMANN on why it’s hard to keep pandemics at bay.

    American classicist JAMES O’DONNELL on the twilight years of the Roman Empire

    2009052420090525Political economist Deepak Lal, writer and comic AL Kennedy, Tatar poet Ravil Bukharaev.

    THE FORUM, the ideas programme presented by Bridget Kendall.

    Indian political economist DEEPAK LAL on the origins of capitalism.

    Scottish writer and stand-up comedian AL KENNEDY on the paramount importance of words.

    Historian and Tatar poet RAVIL BUKHARAEV on the unsung power of minority nations.

    Political economist Deepak Lal, writer & comic AL Kennedy, Tatar poet Ravil Bukharaev.

    Political economist Deepak Lal, writer & comic AL Kennedy, Tatar poet Ravil Bukharaev.

    THE FORUM, the ideas programme presented by BRIDGET KENDALL.

    2009053120090601
    20090607Environmentalist Sunita Narain, science historian Arthur I Miller, writer Paolo Giordano.

    THE FORUM, the ideas programme with Bridget Kendall.

    Indian environmentalist SUNITA NARAIN on our wasteful attitude to water.

    American-British physicist and historian of science ARTHUR I MILLER on the link between scientific genius and the visual arts.

    Italian physicist and writer PAOLO GIORDANO on using prime numbers to understand human nature.

    Environmentalist Sunita Narain, science historian Arthur I Miller, writer Paolo Giordano.

    THE FORUM, the ideas programme with BRIDGET KENDALL.

    2009061420090615
    20090621Writer and critic Clive James, mathematician Marcus Du Sautoy, philosopher Slavoj Zizek.

    THE FORUM, the ideas programme with Bridget Kendall.

    Recorded this week in front of an invited audience as part of a BBC festival held in West London

    British mathematician and trumpet player Marcus Du Sautoy on music and mathematics

    Australian writer and critic Clive James on what it means to be a screen icon

    Slovenian philosopher SLAVOJ ZIZEK on ‘interpassivity', the 21st century equivalent of interactivity.

    Writer and critic Clive James, mathematician Marcus du Sautoy, philosopher Slavoj Zizek.

    THE FORUM, the ideas programme with BRIDGET KENDALL.

    British mathematician and trumpet player MARCUS DU SAUTOY on music and mathematics

    Australian writer and critic CLIVE JAMES on what it means to be a screen icon

    Slovenian philosopher SLAVOJ ZIZEK on ‘interpassivity’, the 21st century equivalent of interactivity.

    20090628Environmentalist Wangari Maathai, geneticist Jane Peterson and novelist Dubravka Ugresic

    THE FORUM, the ideas programme with Bridget Kendall.

    Kenyan environmentalist WANGARI MAATHAI on the link between culture and environmental degradation.

    American geneticist JANE PETERSON on the bacteria living within us.

    Former Yugoslav novelist DUBRAVKA UGRESIC on the power of old ladies.

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    Environmentalist Wangari Maathai, geneticist Jane Peterson and novelist Dubravka Ugresic

    THE FORUM, the ideas programme with BRIDGET KENDALL.

    20090705Physicist Frank Wilczek, writer and activist Arundhati Roy and philosopher Susan Neiman.

    Listen to Part 2

    THE FORUM, the ideas programme with Bridget Kendall.

    Physicist FRANK WILCZEK on why space isn't really empty.

    Writer and activist ARUNDHATI ROY on why India's democracy doesn't help the masses.

    Philosopher SUSAN NEIMAN on a new Enlightenment.

    Listen here for Part 1

    Physicist Frank Wilczek, writer & activist Arundhati Roy and philosopher Susan Neiman.

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    Physicist Frank Wilczek, writer & activist Arundhati Roy and philosopher Susan Neiman.

    THE FORUM, the ideas programme with BRIDGET KENDALL.

    Physicist FRANK WILCZEK on why space isn’t really empty.

    Writer and activist ARUNDHATI ROY on why India’s democracy doesn’t help the masses.

    20090712Religious commentator Karen Armstrong, biologist Stephen Hopper and author Brian Chikwava.

    Listen here for Part 2

    THE FORUM, the ideas programme presented this week by philosopher and classicist ANGIE HOBBS.

    Religious commentator Karen Armstrong on what religion really means.

    Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in London, STEPHEN HOPPER, on the importance of the world's ancient infertile landscapes.

    Zimbabwean author BRIAN CHIKWAVA on the psychology of performance in sport and writing.

    Listen to Part 1

    Religious commentator Karen Armstrong, biologist Stephen Hopper and author Brian Chikwava.

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    Religious commentator KAREN ARMSTRONG on what religion really means.

    Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in London, STEPHEN HOPPER, on the importance of the world’s ancient infertile landscapes.

    2009080220090803Economist Amartya Sen, writer Henning Mankell and psychotherapist Camila Batmanghelidjh.

    Listen above to Part 2

    THE FORUM, the ideas programme with Bridget Kendall.

    Indian Nobel laureate and economist AMARTYA SEN on fighting injustice.

    Swedish crime writer HENNING MANKELL on imagination as a tool for survival.

    British Iranian psychotherapist CAMILA BATMANGHELIDJH on creating a soothing repertoire for children.

    Listen above to Part 1

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    Economist Amartya Sen, writer Henning Mankell and psychotherapist Camila Batmanghelidjh.

    THE FORUM, the ideas programme with BRIDGET KENDALL.

    20090830
    20090927Philosopher Sari Nusseibeh, radio-ecologist Brenda Howard, historian Giusto Traina

    THE FORUM - A World Of Ideas - presented by Bridget Kendall.

    This week: a fresh approach to the Middle-East crisis, the long term effects of radiation on plants and animals and a panoramic look at one year in the life of the Roman Empire...428 AD.

    Palestinian philosopher and peace-broker SARI NUSSEIBEH tell us why he thinks faith and imagination could be the vital ingredients for solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    British radio-ecologist BRENDA HOWARD explains why there's an urgent need for new standards to measure the ecological impact of radio active contaminants...not on humans, but on animals and plants.

    And Italian historian GIUSTO TRAINA explains why sometimes the most interesting historical events happen at the margins of empires rather than at the centre.

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    Philosopher Sari Nusseibeh, radio-ecologist Brenda Howard, historian Giusto Traina

    THE FORUM - A World Of Ideas - presented by Bridget Kendall.

    British radio-ecologist BRENDA HOWARD explains why there’s an urgent need for new standards to measure the ecological impact of radio active contaminants...not on humans, but on animals and plants.

    20091004THE FORUM - A World Of Ideas - presented this week by art historian Tim Marlow.

    In this week's programme: the interconnectedness of life on our earth, from the ancient past to the complexity of the global present.

    British paleontologist Simon Conway Morris suggests that the future of evolution may be more predictable than we think.

    He also believes that if extra-terrestrials exist, not only will they be as bright us but they may think like us too.

    Polish philosopher and writer Eva Hoffman reflects on time and the way we experience it in our modern world.

    She warns we could be misusing what time we have with potentially damaging psychological consequences.

    And founder of The Climate Parliament NICHOLAS DUNLOP outlines a radical new scheme of global political co-operation to save the planet – by creating regional ‘supergrids' of renewable energy.

    Simon Conway Morris, Eva Hoffman and Nicholas Dunlop

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    THE FORUM - A World Of Ideas - presented this week by art historian TIM MARLOW.

    In this week’s programme: the interconnectedness of life on our earth, from the ancient past to the complexity of the global present.

    British paleontologist SIMON CONWAY MORRIS suggests that the future of evolution may be more predictable than we think. He also believes that if extra-terrestrials exist, not only will they be as bright us but they may think like us too.

    Polish philosopher and writer EVA HOFFMAN reflects on time and the way we experience it in our modern world. She warns we could be misusing what time we have with potentially damaging psychological consequences.

    And founder of The Climate Parliament NICHOLAS DUNLOP outlines a radical new scheme of global political co-operation to save the planet – by creating regional ‘supergrids’ of renewable energy.

    Simon Conway Morris, Eva Hoffman and Nicholas Dunlop

    20091011THE FORUM - A World Of Ideas - presented by BRIDGET KENDALL.

    This week The Forum has an Australian accent.

    Recorded in association with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, before a lively audience in the Utzon Room of the Sydney Opera House, the programme challenges Australian stereotypes.

    Aboriginal lawyer and novelist LARISSA BEHRENDT claims it's time Australia woke up to the fact its legal rights system doesn't work for everyone.

    Singer, writer, director and public arts advocate ROBYN ARCHER challenges the way Australia sees itself and the world.

    Cultural thinker, Indonesian born IEN ANG, asks if Australia is becoming part of Asia, and does Asia want it to be?

    And the audience in the Utzon Room doesn't hold back in expressing its views either.

    A special programme recorded from the Sydney Opera House in Australia

    Aboriginal lawyer and novelist LARISSA BEHRENDT claims it’s time Australia woke up to the fact its legal rights system doesn’t work for everyone.

    And the audience in the Utzon Room doesn’t hold back in expressing its views either.

    A special programme recorded from the Sydney Opera House in Australia

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    20091012
    20091018THE FORUM - A World Of Ideas - presented by BRIDGET KENDALL.

    This week The Forum goes Kiwi...in partnership with Radio New Zealand.

    In front of an attentive audience at the Soundings Theatre, part of New Zealand's national treasure, the Te Papa Museum, the programme's host BRIDGET KENDALL and her guests explores some aspects of what makes us human.

    Writer and teacher BERNARD BECKETT, whose science-fiction novel Genesis probes the interface between people and machines, asks if there really is something so unique to mankind as a species that it is impossible to replicate us artificially.

    Director of the Bioengineering Research Institute at the University of Auckland PETER HUNTER reveals how the Physiome Project is about to transform our understanding of the human body and why applying the things that engineering has learned over the last century and a half to medicine could lead to much more personalised healthcare.

    And former New Zealand MP and Professor at the Institute of Public Policy MARILYN WARING challenges our notion of what we deem valuable.

    She argues that while trade in arms, people and drugs is often captured in national economic statistics, unpaid work, particularly that done by women, is conspicuously absent.

    Marilyn says that this isn't just an accounting exercise: while logging companies often get state subsidies for clear cutting forests, women in the same areas who produce food for everyone can't even afford pitchforks and wheelbarrows.

    The Forum goes to New Zealand for a discussion with three eminent Kiwis

    In front of an attentive audience at the Soundings Theatre, part of New Zealand’s national treasure, the Te Papa Museum, the programme’s host BRIDGET KENDALL and her guests explores some aspects of what makes us human.

    And former New Zealand MP and Professor at the Institute of Public Policy MARILYN WARING challenges our notion of what we deem valuable. She argues that while trade in arms, people and drugs is often captured in national economic statistics, unpaid work, particularly that done by women, is conspicuously absent. Marilyn says that this isn’t just an accounting exercise: while logging companies often get state subsidies for clear cutting forests, women in the same areas who produce food for everyone can’t even afford pitchforks and wheelbarrows.

    The Forum goes to New Zealand for a discussion with three eminent Kiwis

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    20091019
    20091025THE FORUM - A World Of Ideas - presented by BRIDGET KENDALL.

    British queen of crime fiction and global bestseller, PD JAMES, gives her own views on the abiding popularity of the detective mystery and suggests that the ordered and moral world it evokes is a great comfort to a world vexed by seemingly insoluble problems.

    We look at the problem of famine with Irish economic historian CORMAC O'GRADA, who offers guarded optimism about our ability to eradicate major famine in the near future as long as we remain vigilant to its causes.

    And taking us back two thousand years, Danish literary scholar KARIN SANDERS brings us face to face with the mummified corpses of ancient sacrifice and explores the stories they tell us and the ones we tell about them.

    PD James, Cormac O' Grada, Karin Sanders

    We look at the problem of famine with Irish economic historian CORMAC O’GRADA, who offers guarded optimism about our ability to eradicate major famine in the near future as long as we remain vigilant to its causes.

    PD James, Cormac O’ Grada, Karin Sanders

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    20091026
    20091101THE FORUM - A World Of Ideas - presented by Bridget Kendall.

    This week we look at three social ‘outlaws' – the guerrilla, the revolutionary and the human cannibal – and challenge our beliefs about them.

    Australian academic and counter terrorism advisor to the US government David Kilcullen asserts that the ‘accidental guerrilla' is the key to understanding the anti-Western insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Historian Robert Service devotes a new biography to Russian revolutionary leader Leon Trotsky, but claims it's time to strip him of his heroic status.

    And Romanian political scientist CATALIN AVRAMESCU believes we should reinstate the idea of the human cannibal, though in theory rather than in practice.

    David Kilcullen, Robert Service, Catalin Avramescu

    THE FORUM - A World Of Ideas - presented by BRIDGET KENDALL.

    This week we look at three social ‘outlaws’ – the guerrilla, the revolutionary and the human cannibal – and challenge our beliefs about them.

    Australian academic and counter terrorism advisor to the US government DAVID KILCULLEN asserts that the ‘accidental guerrilla’ is the key to understanding the anti-Western insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Historian ROBERT SERVICE devotes a new biography to Russian revolutionary leader Leon Trotsky, but claims it’s time to strip him of his heroic status.

    David Kilcullen, Robert Service, Catalin Avramescu

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    20091102
    20091108THE FORUM - A World Of Ideas - presented by Bridget Kendall.

    All we knew was we were against something, none of us ever thought about the future and what we were for"...1989 The Berlin Wall falls and many have a night to remember.

    By the end of the year the Soviet communist empire in Eastern Europe disappears.

    But as no-one foresees 1989's swift and largely bloodless revolutions, so no-one has a plan for what to do next.

    Meanwhile, even as the Cold War draws to a close the world is changing in ways few recognise.

    The outcome for all our futures and freedoms is far from inevitable and we may not be heading in the right direction.

    1989 and the fall of the Berlin Wall, both an ending and a beginning

    THE FORUM - A World Of Ideas - presented by BRIDGET KENDALL.

    "All we knew was we were against something, none of us ever thought about the future and what we were for"...1989 The Berlin Wall falls and many have a night to remember. By the end of the year the Soviet communist empire in Eastern Europe disappears.

    But as no-one foresees 1989’s swift and largely bloodless revolutions, so no-one has a plan for what to do next.

    Meanwhile, even as the Cold War draws to a close the world is changing in ways few recognise. The outcome for all our futures and freedoms is far from inevitable and we may not be heading in the right direction.

    1989 and the fall of the Berlin Wall, both an ending and a beginning

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    All we knew was we were against something, none of us ever thought about the future and what we were for""...1989 The Berlin Wall falls and many have a night to remember.

    1989 and the fall of the Berlin Wall, both an ending and a beginning"

    20091109
    20091115This week: the human brain.

    Antony Gormley asks BBC listeners to take part in a meditative experiment...and go barefoot.

    Plus the illusion of perception and the value of forgetting.

    Antony Gormley, Viktor Mayer-Schönberger and Beau Lotto on the body, forgetting and illusion

    Antony Gormley, Viktor Mayer-Schönberger and Beau Lotto on the body, forgetting & illusion

    This week: the human brain. Antony Gormley asks BBC listeners to take part in a meditative experiment...and go barefoot. Plus the illusion of perception and the value of forgetting.

    Antony Gormley, Viktor Mayer-Schönberger and Beau Lotto on the body, forgetting & illusion

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    20091116
    20091122THE FORUM - A World Of Ideas - presented by this week by mathematician Marcus Du Sautoy

    Frank Furedi, Sabrina Maniscalco and Tahmima Anam on education, entanglement and epiphany

    Frank Furedi, Sabrina Maniscalco & Tahmima Anam on education, entanglement and epiphany

    THE FORUM - A World Of Ideas - presented by this week by mathematician MARCUS DU SAUTOY

    Frank Furedi, Sabrina Maniscalco & Tahmima Anam on education, entanglement and epiphany

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    20091123
    20091129THE FORUM - A World Of Ideas - presented by this week by historian Rana Mitter

    How to find the world in a grain of sand or a human being

    THE FORUM - A World Of Ideas - presented by this week by historian RANA MITTER

    How to find the world in a grain of sand or a human being

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    20091130
    20091206
    20091207
    20091213THE FORUM - A World Of Ideas - presented by Bridget Kendall

    Fire, food and fun in the evolution of life

    THE FORUM - A World Of Ideas - presented by BRIDGET KENDALL

    Fire, food and fun in the evolution of life

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    20091214
    20091220
    20091221
    20091227THE FORUM - A World Of Ideas - presented by BRIDGET KENDALL

    Below: Translating and interpreting the cosmos across a wall, by Emily Kasriel

    This week's theme is translation: in poetry, science and in architecture

    This week's theme is translation: in poetry, science and in architecture

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    20091228
    20100103THE FORUM - A World Of Ideas - presented this week from the Melbourne International Arts Festival, Australia by BRIDGET KENDALL

    Produced in partnership with ABC Radio National

    We challenge assumptions about Australian heroes, history and humanity

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    We challenge assumptions about Australian heroes, history and humanity

    20100104Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    20100110THE FORUM - A World Of Ideas - presented this week by Chinese historian RANA MITTER

    Below: Curating unknown mirco-organisms as they cling to a plank for survival, by Emily Kasriel

    Why a vast array of unknown species is still out there waiting to be discovered

    Below: Curating unknown micro-organisms as they cling to a plank for survival, by Emily Kasriel

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    Why a vast array of unknown species is still out there waiting to be discovered

    20100111

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    20100117THE FORUM - A World Of Ideas - presented this week by philosopher Angie Hobbs

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    20100118

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    20100124This week's Forum comes from the British Museum where a panel of guests will try to unlock the messages hidden within a number of objects, ranging from a Roman statue to a vial of DNA.

    Bridget Kendall talks with Director of the British Museum, Neil MacGregor; Genetics professor Steve Jones and novelist Aleksandar Hemon.

    What gives an object meaning and value? The Forum this week comes from the British Museum.

    This week’s Forum comes from the British Museum where a panel of guests will try to unlock the messages hidden within a number of objects, ranging from a Roman statue to a vial of DNA.

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    This week’s Forum comes from the the British Museum where a panel of guests will try to unlock the messages hidden within a number of objects, ranging from a Roman statues to a vial of DNA.

    Bridget kendall talks with Director of the British Museum, Neil MacGregor; Genetics professor Steve Jones and novelist Aleksandar Hemon.

    This week’s Forum comes from the British Museum where a panel of guests will try to unlock the messages hidden within a number of objects, ranging from a Roman statue to a vial of DNA.

    20100125

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    2010013120100201 (WS)What triggers earthquakes and why do we know so little? Plus the Arctic and African cities

    THE FORUM - A World Of Ideas - presented by Bridget Kendall

    The power of earthquakes from African cities to the arctic.

    The power of earthquakes from African cities to the arctic.

    20100207THE FORUM - A World Of Ideas - presented by Bridget Kendall.

    Ribosome acting out of love or self interest.

    The true source of power: is it love, self interest or the cutting edge of biochemistry?

    THE FORUM - A World Of Ideas - presented by Bridget Kendall.

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    20100208
    20100214THE FORUM - A World Of Ideas - presented by Bridget Kendall.

    This week's Forum image: Snow White carries the mono-currency eagle as the robot of longevity smells a rose by any other name.

    Listen to the programme and all will be revealed.

    Radically changing the world's monetary systems…and why our nose knows best.

    THE FORUM - A World Of Ideas - presented by Bridget Kendall.

    Radically changing the world’s monetary systems…and why our nose knows best.

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    20100215
    20100221THE FORUM - A World Of Ideas - presented by Bridget Kendall

    Opposite: Playing 'Forum World' by Tim Jokl

    Why pointing's unique to humans, the financial meltdown that wasn't and serious video games

    Why pointing's unique to humans, the financial meltdown that wasn't & serious video games

    THE FORUM - A World Of Ideas - presented by Bridget Kendall

    Why pointing's unique to humans, the financial meltdown that wasn’t & serious video games

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    20100222
    20100228How do our ideas of home define us, and are there other planets we could inhabit?

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    20100301
    20100307THE FORUM - A World Of Ideas - a special programme presented by Bridget Kendall from the Names Not Numbers Symposium

    Opposite: Business leaders take a catastrophic risk in sharing responsibility with healing women.

    By Emily Kasriel

    In The Forum from Wales we ask how we can improve trust in an age of catastrophic risk?

    THE FORUM - A World Of Ideas - a special programme presented by Bridget Kendall from the Names Not Numbers Symposium

    Opposite: Business leaders take a catastrophic risk in sharing responsibility with healing women. By Emily Kasriel

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    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    20100308Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

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    20100314THE FORUM - A World Of Ideas - an edition which joins in the BBC's SuperPower internet season, presented by Bridget Kendall

    Illustration opposite: The internet creates shared meaning and a primordial soup of our origins but we must protect it and ensure our privacy.

    By Emily Kasriel

    The past and future of the internet: where is it heading? And what if it stopped working?

    THE FORUM - A World Of Ideas - an edition which joins in the BBC’s SuperPower internet season, presented by Bridget Kendall

    Illustration opposite: The internet creates shared meaning and a primordial soup of our origins but we must protect it and ensure our privacy. By Emily Kasriel

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    20100315
    20100321THE FORUM - A World Of Ideas - presented by Bridget Kendall

    Opposite: Our national spirit transformed as we move to invade new urban spaces and megacities.

    By Emily Kasriel.

    What makes an outsider become an insider?

    THE FORUM - A World Of Ideas - presented by Bridget Kendall

    Opposite: Our national spirit transformed as we move to invade new urban spaces and megacities. By Emily Kasriel.

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    20100322
    20100328THE FORUM - A World Of Ideas - presented by Bridget Kendall.

    This week with Swedish neuroscientist Anders Sandberg, British economist John Kay and Russian artist Irina Nakhova

    Illustration opposite: Erasing bad memories of tattooed skin hides as we take the scenic indirect route

    Is it a good idea to erase our painful memories?

    THE FORUM - A World Of Ideas - presented by Bridget Kendall. This week with Swedish neuroscientist Anders Sandberg, British economist John Kay and Russian artist Irina Nakhova

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    20100404THE FORUM - A World Of Ideas - presented this week by historian of China, Rana Mitter.

    With American novelist Lionel Shriver, the former Mayor of Bogota Enrique Penalosa and British historian Yasmin Khan.

    Illustration opposite by Rosie Pike.

    How much money is one life worth? Should we be putting a price tag on the terminally ill?

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    THE FORUM - A World Of Ideas - presented this week by historian of China, Rana Mitter. With American novelist Lionel Shriver, the former Mayor of Bogota Enrique Penalosa and British historian Yasmin Khan.

    20100405
    20100411THE FORUM - A World Of Ideas - presented this week by mathematician Marcus Du Sautoy.

    With novelist Philip Pullman, Japanese anthropologist Hiroko Kawanami and molecular biologist Stephan Schuster.

    Illustration opposite by Graeme Davis.

    Storytelling: through DNA, ancient texts and in Eastern wisdom

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    THE FORUM - A World Of Ideas - presented this week by mathematician Marcus du Sautoy. With novelist Philip Pullman, Japanese anthropologist Hiroko Kawanami and molecular biologist Stephan Schuster.

    20100412
    20100418Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    New Zealand Philosopher Denis Dutton on art and creativity as a universal human trait; American psychologist Daniel Goleman on creating an eco-intelligence for an industrialised age and author Wendy Law-Yone discusses the fiction of memory and how we create a myth of home.

    An artistic ape drawing on eco-intelligence to forget his idea of home by Emily Kasriel

    Is art and creativity universal and what evolutionary advantage has it given us?

    20100419
    20100425South African novelist Andre Brink on power-games with languages.

    Unwelcome guests inside our bodies, with American biologist Eugene Kaplan.

    And American-Iranian scholar Vali Nasr on the rise of the 'critical middle' in the Muslim world.

    Illustration by Emily Kasriel.

    Power-games, unwelcome parasites, and the rise of middle classes in the Muslim world.

    South African novelist Andre Brink on power-games with languages.

    Unwelcome guests inside our bodies, with American biologist Eugene Kaplan.

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    20100426
    20100502Innovation

    One of America's most prominent Nano scientists, Harvard Professor George Whitesides, explains how he believes nanotechnology could be about to revolutionize the world as we know it, eminent Marxist geographer David Harvey argues that capitalism is the primary driving force behind innovation.

    Award winning Indian author Radhika Jha weighs the options for one poor Indian village- trapped between tradition and the desire to leapfrog out of poverty.

    Capital driving innovation in the world of the nano cow by Emily Kasriel.

    Innovation: the mysterious realm of nanotechnology.

    One of America’s most prominent Nano scientists, Harvard Professor George Whitesides, explains how he believes nanotechnology could be about to revolutionize the world as we know it, eminent Marxist geographer David Harvey argues that capitalism is the primary driving force behind innovation. Award winning Indian author Radhika Jha weighs the options for one poor Indian village- trapped between tradition and the desire to leapfrog out of poverty.

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    20100503
    20100509Forging Links

    American political scientist Professor Charles Kupchan explains why no conflict need be eternal and lays out his recipe for peace making.

    Jordanian artist Samah Hijawi shares her experience of reaching out to the people of Amman, through sounds, pictures and speeches.

    And award winning author Joan Brady charts her artistic journey from ballet dancer to writer and what role the spectator and reader plays in all of this.

    Changing the tune to turn literary or balletic enemies into friends in a public place by Emily Kasriel

    Engaging your enemies: is democracy a precondition for peace?

    American political scientist Professor Charles Kupchan explains why no conflict need be eternal and lays out his recipe for peace making. Jordanian artist Samah Hijawi shares her experience of reaching out to the people of Amman, through sounds, pictures and speeches. And award winning author Joan Brady charts her artistic journey from ballet dancer to writer and what role the spectator and reader plays in all of this.

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    20100510
    20100516Connections and Rupture

    Harvard physician and social scientist, Professor Nicholas Christakis explains how our behaviour, health and even basic beliefs can be shaped by people we've never met.

    Israeli film director Amos Gitai gives his poignant memories of frontline military services, and how this affected his vision as a film maker.

    Pakistani novelist Daniyal Mueenuddin draws us into his fictional world of age- old connections built on a feudal society.

    He argues that the poorer and more desperate you are, the less likely you are to take risks and change your life.

    Below the surface, networks and connections between soldiers, servants and traders by Emily Kasriel

    Tracing the silvery threads of a spider's web… the power of connections.

    Harvard physician and social scientist, Professor Nicholas Christakis explains how our behaviour, health and even basic beliefs can be shaped by people we’ve never met. Israeli film director Amos Gitai gives his poignant memories of frontline military services, and how this affected his vision as a film maker.

    Pakistani novelist Daniyal Mueenuddin draws us into his fictional world of age- old connections built on a feudal society. He argues that the poorer and more desperate you are, the less likely you are to take risks and change your life.

    Tracing the silvery threads of a spider’s web… the power of connections.

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    20100517
    20100523Joseph Nye, who coined the term soft power, updates his ideas for the 21st Century.

    The world is neither unipolar, multipolar, nor chaotic – it is all three at the same time.

    Thus a smart grand strategy must be able to handle very different distributions of power in different domains and understand the trade-offs between them.

    Image opposite: What values are holding together military power, economic power and the power of the pen, on a 3D chess board by Emily Kasriel.

    Soft power or Smart power: will Joseph Nye's ideas work in the 21st Century?

    "The world is neither unipolar, multipolar, nor chaotic – it is all three at the same time. Thus a smart grand strategy must be able to handle very different distributions of power in different domains and understand the trade-offs between them."

    Thus a smart grand strategy must be able to handle very different distributions of power in different domains and understand the trade-offs between them."

    Soft power or Smart power: will Joseph Nye's ideas work in the 21st Century?"

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    20100524
    20100530Distinguished psychologist Dorothy Rowe wants us to think about why we lie.

    She argues that we lie in order to protect our sense of self.

    Neuroscientist and novelist, David Eagleman approaches the mind from another direction, probing neural processes in the brain.

    New research, he says, could affect how criminals are prosecuted.

    Iraqi academic Kanan Makiya calls for an end to self delusion on a wider scale – saying its time for Arab intellectuals to stop being silent, speak out and go beyond the Arab sense of victimhood.

    A tumour affects our brain, encouraging it to lie about a culture of violence, to protect our sense of self by Emily Kasriel.

    This week on The Forum we're going to discuss why we lie to protect our sense of self.

    Distinguished psychologist Dorothy Rowe wants us to think about why we lie. She argues that we lie in order to protect our sense of self. Neuroscientist and novelist, David Eagleman approaches the mind from another direction, probing neural processes in the brain. New research, he says, could affect how criminals are prosecuted. Iraqi academic Kanan Makiya calls for an end to self delusion on a wider scale – saying its time for Arab intellectuals to stop being silent, speak out and go beyond the Arab sense of victimhood.

    This week on The Forum we’re going to discuss why we lie to protect our sense of self.

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    20100531
    20100606Canadian writer Yann Martel is known all over the world for his novel Life of Pi.

    Now he brings us a new work which explores the masks we use to protect ourselves from our deepest horrors.

    British neuroscientist Dan Glaser probes the limits of visual perception: how much does what we see determine our physical movements? And avant-garde Austrian graphic designer, Stefan Sagmeister on new ways to draw upon individuality for design that will reach out and grab you.

    Poster of the emotions of a donkey and howler monkey conveyed through their facial expressions.

    Illustration by Emily Kasriel.

    This week on The Forum: Masks, Movement and Emotion.

    Canadian writer Yann Martel is known all over the world for his novel Life of Pi. Now he brings us a new work which explores the masks we use to protect ourselves from our deepest horrors. British neuroscientist Dan Glaser probes the limits of visual perception: how much does what we see determine our physical movements? And avant-garde Austrian graphic designer, Stefan Sagmeister on new ways to draw upon individuality for design that will reach out and grab you.

    Poster of the emotions of a donkey and howler monkey conveyed through their facial expressions. Illustration by Emily Kasriel.

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    20100607
    20100613One of last year’s winners of the Nobel Prize for medicine, Australian biologist Elizabeth Blackburn, discusses whether we are on the brink of learning how to reverse the ageing process.

    Is the 21st century really going to be dominated by the Asian giants of China and India? Dispelling a few myths about their economic success is the distinguished Indian economist, Pranab Bardhan.

    And a vision for an African renaissance, driven by a fresh generation of young African leaders: pioneering educator, Dr.

    Patrick Awuah joins us from Ghana, to explain why he believes a new style of college education can help open up Africa’s options.

    Educating Chinese and Indian telomeres.

    Illustration by Emily Kasriel.

    New Beginnings: cell renewal and telomeres, the rise of China and new African education.

    One of last year’s winners of the Nobel Prize for medicine, Australian biologist Elizabeth Blackburn, discusses whether we are on the brink of learning how to reverse the ageing process. Is the 21st century really going to be dominated by the Asian giants of China and India? Dispelling a few myths about their economic success is the distinguished Indian economist, Pranab Bardhan. And a vision for an African renaissance, driven by a fresh generation of young African leaders: pioneering educator, Dr. Patrick Awuah joins us from Ghana, to explain why he believes a new style of college education can help open up Africa’s options.

    Educating Chinese and Indian telomeres. Illustration by Emily Kasriel.

    20100614
    20100620Nobel Prize winning physicist Steven Weinberg explains why he is looking for a final theory of everything and outlines what it might look like.

    Britain’s former top co-ordinator of intelligence Sir David Omand, discusses what limits should be set on the way governments use intelligence and surveillance to protect our liberty and privacy? And is reality subjective, or is it objective fact? The theme of a new detective novel from one of Germany’s most exciting new writers, Juli Zeh.

    A detective tracking down the theory of everything to protect the state.

    Illustration by Emily Kasriel.

    Is the world hurtling towards a final theory of everything ? And what might it look like?

    Nobel Prize winning physicist Steven Weinberg explains why he is looking for a final theory of everything and outlines what it might look like. Britain’s former top co-ordinator of intelligence Sir David Omand, discusses what limits should be set on the way governments use intelligence and surveillance to protect our liberty and privacy? And is reality subjective, or is it objective fact? The theme of a new detective novel from one of Germany’s most exciting new writers, Juli Zeh.

    A detective tracking down the theory of everything to protect the state. Illustration by Emily Kasriel.

    20100621
    20100627Presented by Marcus Du Sautoy.

    Provost of Columbia University Claude Steele reveals how our brains can be hindered by the power of stereotype threats and shows us what we can do to avoid them.

    Linguist Guy Deutscher explores how different quirks of our mother tongues can cause very different habits of mind.

    Hungarian poet Agnes Lehoczky explores the effect of poetry on the mind and suggests that it’s time to rehabilitate the notion of eavesdropping.

    Overcoming stereotype threats by speaking new geographies of the mind.

    Illustration by Emily Kasriel.

    How our mind can behave very differently depending on who we are with.

    20100628
    20100704Danish neuroscientist Morten Kringlebach delves deep into the brain to understand what triggers pleasure - and pain - on a quest for new insights into human nature.

    Scottish writer and comedienne A L Kennedy probes the moments when we aren't sure who we are: the tortured uncertainties of adolescence.

    And what happens to us when we fall in love.

    And Australian bioethicist Julian Savulescu asks us to expand the frontiers of what it means to be human by embracing the brave new world of genetic enhancement.

    Who are we? Are we our brain? How can love and genetic enhancement affect us? Illustration by Emily Kasriel.

    Forum at Science Museum: Who am I? A combination of pleasure, pain and love?

    Scottish writer and comedienne A L Kennedy probes the moments when we aren't sure who we are: the tortured uncertainties of adolescence. And what happens to us when we fall in love.

    20100705
    20100711British Historian, Professor Niall Ferguson revives the era of gentlemanly capitalism, with a new biography of the high financier, Siegmund Warburg.

    A man, he says, current day bankers would do well to study.

    Serbian born physicist, Professor Vlatko Vedral argues that the idea of information holds the key to understanding our universe.

    German novelist Julia Franck explores how the effects of war are passed on from one generation to another, with lasting emotional impact.

    A moral banker abandoning a child, all reduced to ones and zeros.

    Illustration by Emily Kasriel.

    British Historian, Professor Niall Ferguson, revives the era of gentlemanly capitalism.

    British Historian, Professor Niall Ferguson revives the era of gentlemanly capitalism, with a new biography of the high financier, Siegmund Warburg. A man, he says, current day bankers would do well to study.

    Serbian born physicist, Professor Vlatko Vedral argues that the idea of information holds the key to understanding our universe.

    A moral banker abandoning a child, all reduced to ones and zeros. Illustration by Emily Kasriel.

    20100712
    20100718A special edition of the Forum this week:we move to the city of Oxford and mingle with some of the world's most fascinating thinkers and doers as we become part of a conference organised by TED, the international ideas organisation.

    In the company of three exceptional guests, we ask the thrilling question of how to bring about real change in the world - now - in attitudes, in politics and in the environment.

    One of the world's leading cyber activists, Ethan Zuckerman looks at how to harness the tremendous power of social media to create meaningful change, the renowned Swedish environmentalist and champion of resilience thinking, Johan Rockstrom delves into the surprisingly unpredictable nature of change and shows how understanding this can help save the world's ecosystems, and the Iranian-American comedy star Maz Jobrani shares with us his insights on how humour can change the world.

    Using social media and humour to create big changes and tackle global warming.

    Illustration by Emily Kasriel.

    We ask the vital question of how to bring about real change to the world.

    A special edition of the Forum this week:we move to the city of Oxford and mingle with some of the world's most fascinating thinkers and doers as we become part of a conference organised by TED, the international ideas organisation. In the company of three exceptional guests, we ask the thrilling question of how to bring about real change in the world - now - in attitudes, in politics and in the environment. One of the world's leading cyber activists, Ethan Zuckerman looks at how to harness the tremendous power of social media to create meaningful change, the renowned Swedish environmentalist and champion of resilience thinking, Johan Rockstrom delves into the surprisingly unpredictable nature of change and shows how understanding this can help save the world's ecosystems, and the Iranian-American comedy star Maz Jobrani shares with us his insights on how humour can change the world.

    Using social media and humour to create big changes and tackle global warming. Illustration by Emily Kasriel.

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    20100719
    20100725Today, there’s a curative feel to the programme as we explore how to heal old political scars, nurture the planet and imagine a positive future.

    One of the key negotiators of the Northern Ireland peace process, Lord John Alderdice, explains how to use psychotherapy to bring peace.

    Forget the rise of Asia: Columbian law lecturer and writer, Oscar Guardiola Rivera is here to tell us why he thinks it’s time for Latin America to assert itself.

    And the untapped chemical potential of trees with Irish “renegade scientist” and writer Diana Beresford-Kroeger.

    Using psychoanalysis, Latin power and trees to bring opposing sides to the table to establish peace.

    Illustration by Emily Kasriel.

    Lord John Alderdice explains how to use psychotherapy to bring peace.

    Using psychoanalysis, Latin power and trees to bring opposing sides to the table to establish peace. Illustration by Emily Kasriel.

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    20100726
    20100801It’s nearly two years since the abyss opened up and the world financial system looked as though it might fall in.

    One economist who famously predicted the crisis was Nouriel Roubini, who explains why he was so sure, and what he thinks will happen next to the world economy.

    Evolutionary psychologist Deirdre Barratt, who’s convinced this commercialised, technological age is playing havoc with our basic human instincts.

    The Sri Lankan-born writer Roma Tearne argues that novels are not just a window on our human souls, but a doorway into our subconscious.

    Learning from the boom and bust past and our memories and avoid high carb and cute temptations.

    Illustration by Emily Kasriel.

    Why human instincts are floundering in a modern world of fast food and cartoons.

    It’s nearly two years since the abyss opened up and the world financial system looked as though it might fall in. One economist who famously predicted the crisis was Nouriel Roubini, who explains why he was so sure, and what he thinks will happen next to the world economy.

    Learning from the boom and bust past and our memories and avoid high carb and cute temptations. Illustration by Emily Kasriel.

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    20100802
    20100808Eminent sociologist Amitai Etzioni, says if our modern consumer society is the problem, then the answer is a ‘communitarian’ approach.

    But can this really work?

    Getting beyond the individual is also what Nigerian novelist Teju Cole explores.

    In his case it’s not people around him, it’s communing with the past inhabitants of cities.

    And from individual to common ownership in music: should songs belong to everyone? German musicologist Dr Daniel Müllensiefen dissects musical plagiarism.

    Illustration by Graeme Davis.

    The community versus the individual.

    How do we get past greed and what’s the alternative?

    Eminent sociologist Amitai Etzioni, says if our modern consumer society is the problem, then the answer is a ‘communitarian’ approach. But can this really work?

    Getting beyond the individual is also what Nigerian novelist Teju Cole explores. In his case it’s not people around him, it’s communing with the past inhabitants of cities.

    The community versus the individual. How do we get past greed and what’s the alternative?

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    20100809
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    20100830
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    20100913
    20100919On this week's Forum, are we heading towards a brave new world?

    Are we on the verge of discovering ways to delay the ageing process and expand our life spans? Award winning British geneticist Dame Linda Partridge reveals some surprising new scientific discoveries.

    Who would have thought the number of ethnic conflicts around the world is steadily decreasing? German Professor of International Security, Stefan Wolff explores the reasons.

    And what's about to change, now that billions of people can pool information with the rest of the globe at a click of a button? The newest thoughts of American new media visionary Clay Shirky.

    Very old people celebrating the wane of ethnic conflict in a digitally legible world (1s and 0s).

    Illustration by Emily Kasriel.

    New Science of living longer plus Clay Shirky

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    20100920
    20100926Human beings have got impressively large brains - so why are we still irrational? Professor of Psychology, Laurie Santos, tells us why her work with monkeys can offer us some important pointers about ourselves.

    Pulitzer Prize winning writer Marilynne Robinson argues that human nature is fundamentally generous spirited.

    We’re not pre-programmed to be selfish, as some schools of science might have us think.

    Philosopher Roman Frigg wants scientists to allow him and his philosophical colleagues into their laboratories in order to get them to think differently.

    But what could scientists gain from this philosophical perspective?

    Is it irrational to introduce altruistic philosophers and Kapuchin monkeys into the laboratory? Illustration by Emily Kasriel.

    How monkeys can teach us more about human irrationality plus writer Marilynne Robinson.

    Pulitzer Prize winning writer Marilynne Robinson argues that human nature is fundamentally generous spirited. We’re not pre-programmed to be selfish, as some schools of science might have us think.

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    20100927
    20101003Former England cricket captain and now psychoanalyst, Mike Brearley offers an insight into the dynamic of teams and explains what makes the difference between a good and a great team.

    Drawing upon his own experience, he argues that the strongest leader can admit vulnerability.

    We hear the case for transforming the military from a threat to a resource for nation building: Africa specialist Lieutenant-Colonel Shannon Beebe explains how.

    And why Africa's roadside kiosks aren't makeshift structures blocking progress but the future of sustainable urban design.

    We hear from Ghanaian architect DK Osseo-Asare.

    A narcissistic leader inside a kiosk instructs soldiers to develop human security.

    Illustration by Emily Kasriel.

    Former England Cricket captain Mike Brearley explains what makes a good team, great.

    Former England cricket captain and now psychoanalyst, Mike Brearley offers an insight into the dynamic of teams and explains what makes the difference between a good and a great team. Drawing upon his own experience, he argues that the strongest leader can admit vulnerability.

    And why Africa's roadside kiosks aren't makeshift structures blocking progress but the future of sustainable urban design. We hear from Ghanaian architect DK Osseo-Asare.

    A narcissistic leader inside a kiosk instructs soldiers to develop human security. Illustration by Emily Kasriel.

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    20101004
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    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    20101018

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    20101024
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    20101031We often contemplate the human condition on the Forum, but this week we go way beyond the process that took us from slime to civilization to look at death on a truly astronomical bigger scale: the end of the universe and all that’s in it.

    How long will it take? And what’ll be the last thing to unravel? Our voyage to the stars is with American astronomer Chris Impey.

    Also joining us, one of the world’s most successful modern art curators, Lars Nittve, with his vision for the next generation of art museums.

    And Iraqi born activist Zainab Salbi charts a course for the future that will see the empowerment of poor women, but warns that it will only work if men are involved too.

    Coming to grips with the end of the universe through art.

    Illustration by Bridget Kendall.

    This week, The Forum trains its sights a long way beyond the horizon.

    We often contemplate the human condition on the Forum, but this week we go way beyond the process that took us from slime to civilization to look at death on a truly astronomical bigger scale: the end of the universe and all that’s in it. How long will it take? And what’ll be the last thing to unravel? Our voyage to the stars is with American astronomer Chris Impey.

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    20101101

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    20101106

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    20101107Is it in some way easier to live in a more polarised society? Do the people of Northern Ireland still harbour a soft spot for the hard men? At a time of increased tensions in the area, a panel of celebrated citizens of Northern Ireland debate this in front of an audience at the Northern Ireland National Assembly in Stormont.

    The discussion kicks off with a performance by the award-winning poet Paul Muldoon from his latest collection.

    Joining Paul on the panel is Baroness May Blood of Blackwatertown, MBE, a campaigner for integrated education and Dr Raman Kapur a consultant clinical psychologist in Belfast.

    Award winning poet, Paul Muldoon, has been described as the most significant English-language poet born since the second World War.

    Paul is currently a professor at Princeton University.

    Baroness May Blood of Blackwatertown, MBE, was born and raised in Belfast and worked in a linen mill from her teenage years.

    She has fought for equality for women at work and was the first woman in Northern Ireland to be given a life peerage.

    Dr Raman Kapur is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Chief Executive of Threshold, a mental health charity in Northern Ireland who written and researched on 'The Troubled Mind of Northern Ireland'.

    Illustration by Emily Kasriel.

    A Hummingbird and a Quail are educated together whilst still harbouring prejudice in their minds.

    Special recording from Belfast: Creating a post conflict society.

    The discussion kicks off with a performance by the award-winning poet Paul Muldoon from his latest collection. Joining Paul on the panel is Baroness May Blood of Blackwatertown, MBE, a campaigner for integrated education and Dr Raman Kapur a consultant clinical psychologist in Belfast.

    Award winning poet, Paul Muldoon, has been described as the most significant English-language poet born since the second World War. Paul is currently a professor at Princeton University.

    Baroness May Blood of Blackwatertown, MBE, was born and raised in Belfast and worked in a linen mill from her teenage years. She has fought for equality for women at work and was the first woman in Northern Ireland to be given a life peerage.

    Illustration by Emily Kasriel. A Hummingbird and a Quail are educated together whilst still harbouring prejudice in their minds.

    20101108

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    20101113

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    20101114When you’re ‘honour bound’ to do something – what actually is it that drives you? The desire to do the right thing, or the sneaking need for approval and respect from others? Philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah asks where morality ends and honour codes begin.

    How do you get past the temptation to typecast different nationalities? Writer and comedienne Anna Chen contemplates stereotypes of Asian women.

    And leaving human prejudices aside - what happens if we suddenly find out we aren’t alone in the universe? Harvard astronomer Dimitar Sasselov updates us on the discoveries of the Kepler mission, the observatory sent up into space to look for habitable exoplanets circling around other stars.

    (Above) A unique woman with breast enhancements and bound feet having a duel for her honour with a gravity challenged being on a super earth many light years away.

    Illustration by Emily Kasriel.

    Is there a place for honour in the modern world?

    When you’re ‘honour bound’ to do something – what actually is it that drives you? The desire to do the right thing, or the sneaking need for approval and respect from others? Philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah asks where morality ends and honour codes begin.

    (Above) A unique woman with breast enhancements and bound feet having a duel for her honour with a gravity challenged being on a super earth many light years away. Illustration by Emily Kasriel.

    20101115

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    20101120

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    20101121A voyage to the stars – or rather to a nearby planet or asteroid – accomplished in a matter of days, rather than months.

    It may sound like science fiction but astronaut and engineer Franklin Chang Diaz will try to persuade us all that his plasma rocket engine, now in prototype stage, will soon turn it into reality.

    We also delve into another world hovering between fiction and reality: Hong Kong writer Po Wah Lam leads us to a time and place when all that mattered were small insects, grasshoppers and locusts.

    And distinguished historian Bruce Cumings urges us to remove our blinkers when we look at the Pacific coast of United States and the countries it faces across the vast expanse of the ocean.

    The Pacific launches a more successful plasma-fuelled rocket than the Atlantic, better able to catch those crickets.

    Illustration by Emily Kasriel.

    The new plasma engine that will make your trip to Mars as easy as crossing the Atlantic.

    A voyage to the stars – or rather to a nearby planet or asteroid – accomplished in a matter of days, rather than months. It may sound like science fiction but astronaut and engineer Franklin Chang Diaz will try to persuade us all that his plasma rocket engine, now in prototype stage, will soon turn it into reality.

    The Pacific launches a more successful plasma-fuelled rocket than the Atlantic, better able to catch those crickets. Illustration by Emily Kasriel.

    20101122

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    20101127

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    20101128The theme of this week’s programme is exploring the boundary between manipulation and collaboration.

    How would our lives change if we could regrow bits of our bodies? We enter the pioneering world of nano technology, where scientists are learning how to send signals to our failing organs to regenerate themselves, with bio engineer, Sam Stupp.

    And when you peer deep into the human ear and the way our brains interpret music, what is exactly happening? According to physicist and musician Philip Ball, it’s all about detecting and expecting patterns.

    And a different sort of probing from America’s most quoted humorist: P.J.O’Rourke explains why politicians are a medicine we should only take in very small doses.

    Illustration by Emily Kasriel.

    Sending nano filaments to regenerate broken organs as we listen to patterns in music prompting us to demand a cut down in the number of politicians.

    Manipulation or collaboration: P.J.O'Rourke, nano technology and our music instinct.

    And when you peer deep into the human ear and the way our brains interpret music, what is exactly happening? According to physicist and musician Philip Ball, it’s all about detecting and expecting patterns.

    Illustration by Emily Kasriel. Sending nano filaments to regenerate broken organs as we listen to patterns in music prompting us to demand a cut down in the number of politicians.

    20101129

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    20101204Is it time to retell the story of India’s past? Should we challenge the historical idea of India as a single national entity? An alternative view from economist and British politician, Lord Meghnad Desai.

    Can we use nature as a window on our sex lives?

    German anthropologist Volker Sommer leads us through the natural world to find out what we can learn from the sexual behaviour of monkeys and apes.

    And in this nomadic modern world of multiple identities, Scottish-Ghanaian novelist Lesley Lokko shines a light on the strains of being more than one person at once.

    llustration by Emily Kasriel: Gay apes with a hybrid identity re imagine the notion of Indian unity

    Probing identities with British politican Lord Desai, through history,language and sex.

    20101211

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    20101218Pioneering biologist, Victoria Braithwaite, explains how she found clear-cut evidence in fish that they have the neural wiring which transmits a painful stimulus from their skin to the brain and proof that their behaviour is affected by pain.

    So if fish feel pain, what implications does this have for the way we farm and catch them?

    Sociologist Sami Zubaida wants us to discard the blanket term “Islamic” to reveal a more accurate vision of Middle Eastern societies, where capitalism and the mostly secular institutions have been instrumental in the development of modernity.

    And from philosopher Donald Favareau we find out how biology, linguistics and philosophy can interact to help overcome biology’s ‘blind spot’ and better define the essential processes of the living world, particularly as regards biological signs, signalling, messaging and codes.

    Illustration by Emily Kasriel: The meaning and significance of pain felt by a hibernating Islamic fish.

    How can you tell if fish feel pain and will the answer change the way we treat them?

    Pioneering biologist, Victoria Braithwaite, explains how she found clear-cut evidence in fish that they have the neural wiring which transmits a painful stimulus from their skin to the brain and proof that their behaviour is affected by pain. So if fish feel pain, what implications does this have for the way we farm and catch them?

    20101225How did the Ancient Romans celebrate the end of the year? Classicist Mary Beard comes bearing tales of the weird and the strikingly familiar as she describes some of the gifts that the Romans bequeathed to us.

    But it’s not just the Romans, but also the Egyptians who have left their mark on our society today.

    American historian Robert Tignor reveals how the lands of the pharaohs and pyramids have helped to shape religious ideas and communities that dominated Europe for at least a thousand years.

    And Ottoman thinker Philip Mansel explains how ports in the eastern Mediterranean created such free and flexible societies.

    llustration: A different understanding of time across Mediterranean ports in different epochs by Emily Kasriel

    Exchanging ideas on five thousand years of Mediterranean calendars, festivals and ports

    But it’s not just the Romans, but also the Egyptians who have left their mark on our society today. American historian Robert Tignor reveals how the lands of the pharaohs and pyramids have helped to shape religious ideas and communities that dominated Europe for at least a thousand years.

    201101013 very different approaches to the impact colour has on our lives.

    The Belgian Neuroscientist Guy Orban, reveals his latest findings on how the brain decodes colour and why colours are a construct of our brains.

    Paul Butler explains why race and colour matter when it comes to incarcerating law breakers and creating a fairer legal system.

    And a warning from Philospher Angie Hobbs on the importance of being precise when we translate colours into words and the wonder of the thousands of different shades of colour in the plainest objects.

    llustration by Emily Kasriel: Our brain, the law and the ancient world depicting and decoding colour.

    Exploring colour with 3 perspectives on how colour changes the way we see the world

    20110108Have you ever wondered what happens to your neural pathways when a beautiful sunset makes you catch your breath? Or when you marvel at a portrait by a grand master?

    Insights from one of the world’s leading pioneers in the new field of NeuroAesthetics.

    Professor Semir Zeki explains why he is convinced that art and aesthetic appreciation is a key function of the brain.

    How do Semir’s ideas apply to other creative fields? Former US poet Laureate Charles Simic, takes us through the tortuous and creative process of trying to translate poetry.

    And sound consultant, Julian Treasure, will be opening our ears to the noises that envelop us but which we’ve unlearnt how to hear.

    llustration by Emily Kasriel.

    Grasping the unobtainable as we create, translate and listen to noise.

    How artists can reveal the way our brain works.

    Insights from one of the world’s leading pioneers in the new field of NeuroAesthetics. Professor Semir Zeki explains why he is convinced that art and aesthetic appreciation is a key function of the brain.

    llustration by Emily Kasriel. Grasping the unobtainable as we create, translate and listen to noise.

    20110115Jon Kabat-Zinn is known throughout the world for his pioneering work in applying meditation or mindfulness to mainstream medical treatment.

    Hans Rosling, once a medical field officer in Mozambique, now designs new ways to visualise global statistics in order to get us all to shake up our outdated views of the world.

    And Vincent Lam has transformed his night shifts on emergency hospital wards into a gritty and sometimes gruesome best selling novel.

    llustration by Emily Kasriel: Mindfully inverting the mind body relationship as doctors use statistics to create and challenge the stories that they tell themselves and their patients to heal.

    Three distinguished medicine men who have all made their mark in different areas.

    20110122

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

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    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

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    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

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    The Forum special recording at a symposium in Portmeirion.

    The theme: How to tackle the unknowns in our world, from the ocean ecosystem, the unrest in the Arab World, to the mind of the other.

    Polymath, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of ‘The Black Swan’ and the man credited with helping us understand about how random events rule our world.

    Oceanographer Sylvia Earle, with first hand experience of a world unknown to most of us.

    And painter and poet Frieda Hughes, who uncovers insights into the unknown, from a perfect child she never had, to the mind of a suicide bomber.

    llustration by Emily Kasriel: Negotiating the values of an unknown world on the ocean floor.

    Meeting the challenges of the unknown

    The Forum special recording at a symposium in Portmeirion. The theme: How to tackle the unknowns in our world, from the ocean ecosystem, the unrest in the Arab World, to the mind of the other.

    20110319

    Why we’re able to kid ourselves into thinking two opposite things at once? Psychologist Robert Kurzban argues that it gives us an evolutionary advantage and has to do with the way our brains are constructed, their ‘modular design’.

    What if our whole universe is like a single slab in a set of infinite parallel universes? Possibly all very different, possibly near identical copies?

    It sounds fantastical, but theoretical physicist Professor Brian Greene says cutting edge research means it’s an option we need to be open to.

    Finnish-born artist Oron Catts wants us to contemplate a new world where jackets are grown from engineered leather, not made from an animal, but a semi-living biotechnology hide.

    Illustration by Emily Kasriel: Multiple selves competing inside our minds as we grow rabbits in parallel universes.

    Hypocrisy, multiverses and artificial leather: mind-stretching thoughts about life.

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

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    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    20110416
    2011042320110424Why we thrive on conflict

    Do we thrive on conflict? We bore deep into the human skull today to explore the extraordinary way the different units that make up our neural circuitry compete with each other like a team of rivals.

    Mysteries of another invisible world too: the conflicting theories regarding the very tiniest particles that inhabit the realm of quantum physics.

    We find out how their strange behaviour may be the key to a Theory of Everything.

    And the age old clash between the author and the state in modern day Russia.

    Bridget Kendall is joined by American neuroscientist David Eagleman, Dutch theoretical physicist and Nobel prize winner Gerard ‘ T Hooft and Russian novelist Mikhail Shishkin.

    Mysteries of another invisible world too: the conflicting theories regarding the very tiniest particles that inhabit the realm of quantum physics. We find out how their strange behaviour may be the key to a Theory of Everything.

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    20110604The impact of migration: in the realms of society, seeds and sound.

    It’s an issue high on the political agenda in many countries, but do we really understand how migration affects the countries the migrants leave behind? Is it brain drain or brain gain? And if globalisation is changing the world’s people, what about its plants and its music? This week’s focus is on movement across our shrinking world with economist Ian Goldin, world musician Susheela Raman, nature writer Richard Mabey and guest presenter Matthew Taylor.

    Illustration by Emily Kasriel: migrating sound, society and seeds.

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    20110820Design in art, fashion and nature.

    Is innovation or imitation the key to success?

    Design is all around us – not only in artificially created realm of art, architecture and fashion, but also in the world of nature.

    What lessons can we learn from leaves, lizards and penguins and is it possible to build a city on the principles of sustainability? In fashion, why is it that we cannot help ourselves from following the herd and how do you go about creating a design classic?

    This week’s Forum guests are celebrated designer and architect Ron Arad; historian of modern fashion and culture, Pamela Church Gibson and biologist and consultant in the new field of biomimicry, Janine Benyus.

    Illustration by Charlotte Kingston: the Galapagos shark counts his royalties (sitting on his Ron Arad chair).

    Design is all around us – not only in artificially created realm of art, architecture and fashion, but also in the world of nature. What lessons can we learn from leaves, lizards and penguins and is it possible to build a city on the principles of sustainability? In fashion, why is it that we cannot help ourselves from following the herd and how do you go about creating a design classic?

    Design in art, fashion and nature. Is innovation or imitation the key to success?

    20110827Human rights: How do you prove you have them? And how do you make sure you can enjoy them?

    Rights: Is it right to use an embryo for life-saving research? Can the free market really ensure rights for all? If you need to, should you bribe someone to get your driver’s licence?

    We feel entitled to many rights, and exercise them daily, but what cornerstone are they built on? As people in the Arab world fight for their rights, we debate on what grounds we are owed anything by anyone.

    This week’s Forum guests are India’s chief economic advisor, Kaushik Basu; British philosopher Mary Warnock; and cutting-edge stem cell biologist Tilo Kunath.

    Illustration by Charlotte Kingston: the world puzzles over which rights to write.

    20110903Oceans are the largest habitat on Earth but how much do we know about their history?

    The latest technology is allowing us to view ocean depths not just in real time but over long periods and gives us a detailed picture of the dramas unfolding down there.

    Paul Snelgrove from the Ocean Sciences Centre at Memorial University in Newfoundland is at the forefront of research which has been revolutionised by these new developments.

    For composer and sound artist Annea Lockwood the unique rhythm of water running in great rivers like the Danube and the Hudson has the power not only to enchant us but to connect us more deeply to nature.

    Back on the sea surface historian Andrew Lambert tells us about the forgotten war of 1812 and explains how this naval war shaped the national cultures of the US, Canada and Britain.

    Illustration by Emily Kasriel: listening to the flow and drama of the deep oceans.

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

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    20111015Centre and Periphery: growing apart?

    Have we got it wrong with the concept of the Clash of Civilisations? Distinguished Pakistani scholar and diplomat Akbar Ahmed says the real fault lines in today’s world are not between countries or religions but within them and that we should pay more attention to the often violent struggles between the centre and the periphery.

    British geographer Doreen Massey sees a growing geographical divide in British society and says that the way forward is to tackle the financial power of the City of London.

    And what might the future place of European culture be as emerging countries begin to offer new centres of gravity? Art curator Augustus Casely-Hayford says his recent tour across Africa made him think its high time we woke up to the new world of multi-polar culture.

    20111022Contemplating our own Death

    This week, the ominous shadowy wall that looms on the horizon for all of us… death.

    It's unavoidable and unknowable, and there's no way back.

    So what is the best way to prepare for it? And how can doctors help us best prepare for it, and mourn us when we die?

    Our guests: 93 year old Diana Athill has become famous for her frank and eloquent memoirs of her life and thoughts on impending death.

    Pauline Chen is a liver transplant and cancer surgeon who wants doctors to stop seeing death as an enemy they must fight, even when a patient is terminally ill.

    And award winning poet Paul Muldoon brings us his latest poem, inspired by the Old Testament Book of Lamentations: to remind us our lives are not only defined by the very big happenings.

    Illustration by Emily Kasriel: Should doctors help us contemplate our own death?

    This week, the ominous shadowy wall that looms on the horizon for all of us… death. It's unavoidable and unknowable, and there's no way back.

    20111029FEEDING THE EARTH’S RISING POPULATION

    As the world’s population is set to reach seven billion soon, we ask how we’re going to be able to feed everyone.

    We take an in depth look at food, from how it is produced, to how it is prepared and ingested.

    Our guests: leading environmentalist Dr Jason Clay unveils his radical and controversial plan to make food production all over the world more sustainable.

    Claudia Roden is an award winning cookery writer who believes that traditional home cooking is vital when it comes to feeding ourselves.

    And Harvard anthropologist Prof.

    Richard Wrangham on how we need to learn more about the physics of food so that we can make better nutritional decisions.

    Illustration by Emily Kasriel: with the population set to reach seven billion - how can we feed our growing world?

    As the world’s population is set to reach seven billion soon, we ask how we’re going to be able to feed everyone. We take an in depth look at food, from how it is produced, to how it is prepared and ingested.

    Our guests: leading environmentalist Dr Jason Clay unveils his radical and controversial plan to make food production all over the world more sustainable. Claudia Roden is an award winning cookery writer who believes that traditional home cooking is vital when it comes to feeding ourselves.

    And Harvard anthropologist Prof. Richard Wrangham on how we need to learn more about the physics of food so that we can make better nutritional decisions.

    20111105This week's Forum comes from the UK Parliament.

    Three distinguished guests and an audience probe the virtues and flaws of democracy in the Arab World and in Western parliamentary democracies.

    Baroness Helena Kennedy, a leading criminal and human rights lawyer, argues that the Rule of Law is fundamental to a healthy democracy.

    One of India’s best known modern historians, Ramachandra Guha, of the London School of Economics celebrates the role of pluralism in Indian Democracy.

    And Professor Madawi Al-Rasheed from King’s College London says that calls from democracy often come from unexpected places.

    Illustration by Emily Kasriel

    The virtues and flaws of democracy.

    This week's Forum comes from the UK Parliament. Three distinguished guests and an audience probe the virtues and flaws of democracy in the Arab World and in Western parliamentary democracies.

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    2012092220120923 (WS)Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.
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    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

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    2015101920151020 (WS)We live in an age when we are witnessing the end of globalisation and renewed calls to wall-off so many things, from national borders to the internet. In this programme we look at some of the new barriers springing up in the real and digital worlds.

    Photo: A country fence (BBC)

    Boundaries: real and imagined

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    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts
    20210304Discover world history, culture and ideas with today\u2019s leading experts
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    (in) Dependence20120805Where's the line between independence and dependency?

    This month the Caribbean island of Jamaica celebrates 50 years of independence from the United Kingdom, an anniversary that's got added spice to it, because of the debate in Jamaica about whether it's time to take the next step and also break ties with the British monarchy. So what does independence mean? How easy is it to sever ties? And what is its relationship with dependency, both for a nation, and for an individual?

    Some of the questions we'll be debating on The Forum this week with the award winning Jamaican poet Olive Senior; Scottish writer Dennis O'Donnell, who spent years working in a closed psychiatric ward as an orderly; and Dr Adam Winstock, a clinical psychiatrist who specialises in drug addiction.

    This month the Caribbean island of Jamaica celebrates 50 years of independence from the United Kingdom, an anniversary that's got added spice to it, because of the debate in Jamaica about whether it's time to take the next step and also break ties with the British monarchy. So what does independence mean? How easy is it to sever ties? And what is its relationship with dependency, both for a nation, and for an individual?

    @aspen Ideas: Can Artists Make The World A Better Place?2013071420130715 (WS)with Damian Woetzel, Dennis Scholl and Fred Dust.

    When you think about people trying to change the world for the better, should artists be near the top of the list? That’s what Bridget Kendall explores in this BBC Forum from the Aspen Festival of Ideas in Colorado, in front of a lively festival audience at the Jerome Hotel. Joining her on stage are Damian Woetzel, former Principal Dancer at the New York City Ballet, ground-breaking designer Fred Dust, and art collector and philanthropist Dennis Scholl.

    Photo credit © All rights reserved by aspeninstitute-internal

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    01/01/201120110102Exploring colour with 3 perspectives on how colour changes the way we see the world

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    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

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    02/08/200920090803 Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    Economist Amartya Sen, writer Henning Mankell and psychotherapist Camila Batmanghelidjh.

    03/03/201220120304
    03/05/200920090504 Biologist Robert May, doctor & novelist Abraham Verghese, financial analyst Gillian Tett.
    03/06/2017 Gmt20170603
    03/09/201120110904Oceans are the largest habitat on Earth but how much do we know about their history?

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    03/12/201120111204
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    04/02/2017 Gmt2017020620170207 (WS)Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    04/06/201120110605It’s an issue high on the political agenda in many countries, but do we really understand how migration affects the countries the migrants leave behind? Is it brain drain or brain gain? And if globalisation is changing the world’s people, what about its plants and its music? This week’s focus is on movement across our shrinking world with economist Ian Goldin, world musician Susheela Raman, nature writer Richard Mabey and guest presenter Matthew Taylor.

    Illustration by Emily Kasriel: migrating sound, society and seeds.

    The impact of migration: in the realms of society, seeds and sound.

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    04/08/20122012072920120805
    04/10/200920091005 Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.
    04/12/201020101205Probing identities with British politican Lord Desai, through history,language and sex.

    04/12/201020101206
    05/02/201120110206

    05/02/201120110207

    A second Forum programme recorded in the extraordinary atmosphere of the Jaipur Literature Festival with a lively audience and three prominent female creative thinkers talking about what rules Indian lives: the stars in the sky, the landscapes that fill their vision or the families that surround them?

    Illustration by Emily Kasriel:Guided by the stars we send postcards illuminated artificially.

    At the Jaipur Festival: Indian astrology, neon-lit nights and overbearing families

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    05/03/201120110306
    05/03/201120110307

    When protestors in Eastern Libya liberated their towns from Colonel Gaddafi's forces recently, it seems there was not mayhem on the streets.

    Instead locals organised themselves into street committees to prevent looting.

    Just one example, perhaps, of the way local communities can collaborate for long term gain, rather than each person grabbing what they can for themselves.

    Nobel Laureate Professor Elinor Ostrom explains why we're not always out for ourselves, if left to our own devices.

    Former Vice Chancellor of Cape Town University, Njabulo Ndebele – on the challenge of freeing South Africa from lingering guilt and resentment.

    And best selling novelist Manju Kapur juggles the conflicting demands of individual rights and family obligations in modern Indian marriages.

    Illustration by Emily Kasriel: A man and wife and South Africa sharing water from the common pond.

    This week on The Forum, managing the commons and establishing democracy after apartheid

    When protestors in Eastern Libya liberated their towns from Colonel Gaddafi's forces recently, it seems there was not mayhem on the streets. Instead locals organised themselves into street committees to prevent looting.

    Just one example, perhaps, of the way local communities can collaborate for long term gain, rather than each person grabbing what they can for themselves. Nobel Laureate Professor Elinor Ostrom explains why we're not always out for ourselves, if left to our own devices.

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    05/04/200920090406
    05/07/200920090706Physicist Frank Wilczek, writer and activist Arundhati Roy and philosopher Susan Neiman.

    Physicist Frank Wilczek, writer & activist Arundhati Roy and philosopher Susan Neiman.

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    Physicist Frank Wilczek, writer & activist Arundhati Roy and philosopher Susan Neiman.

    05/11/201120111106The virtues and flaws of democracy.
    06/05/2017 Gmt20170506
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    06/09/200920090907
    06/09/2009: Part 120090906China expert Martin Jacques, writer Hanif Kureishi, philosophy professor Arvind Sharma

    THE FORUM, the ideas programme presented by Bridget Kendall.

    Political thinker MARTIN JACQUES explores how China's growing dominance could shake the foundations of Western assumptions.

    He says we have underestimated the power China will have on the way we view culture, race and democracy in the future.

    Award winning writer Hanif Kureishi throws the spotlight on our unconscious world – our dreams, fantasies and inhibitions.

    He shows how exploring and expressing our unconscious side can be the key to unlocking new insights about ourselves.

    Comparative religions professor ARVIND SHARMA offers a new sort of philosophical challenge – a Hindu world view that sees time not as linear but a never ending cycle.

    He shows how this cyclical concept of time affects perceptions of the present both spiritually and politically.

    China expert Martin Jacques, writer Hanif Kureishi, philosophy professor Arvind Sharma

    THE FORUM, the ideas programme presented by BRIDGET KENDALL.

    Political thinker MARTIN JACQUES explores how China’s growing dominance could shake the foundations of Western assumptions. He says we have underestimated the power China will have on the way we view culture, race and democracy in the future.

    Award winning writer HANIF KUREISHI throws the spotlight on our unconscious world – our dreams, fantasies and inhibitions. He shows how exploring and expressing our unconscious side can be the key to unlocking new insights about ourselves.

    Comparative religions professor ARVIND SHARMA offers a new sort of philosophical challenge – a Hindu world view that sees time not as linear but a never ending cycle. He shows how this cyclical concept of time affects perceptions of the present both spiritually and politically.

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    06/09/2009: Part 120090907China expert Martin Jacques, writer Hanif Kureishi, philosophy professor Arvind Sharma

    China expert Martin Jacques, writer Hanif Kureishi, philosophy professor Arvind Sharma

    06/09/2009: Part 220090906 China expert Martin Jacques, writer Hanif Kureishi, philosophy professor Arvind Sharma

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    06/09/2009: Part 220090907
    07/01/201220120108
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    07/06/200920090608Environmentalist Sunita Narain, science historian Arthur I Miller, writer Paolo Giordano.

    Environmentalist Sunita Narain, science historian Arthur I Miller, writer Paolo Giordano.

    07/07/20132013070620130707 (WS)Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    08/01/201120110109How artists can reveal the way our brain works.

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    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

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    09/08/2009: Part 120090809 Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    09/08/2009: Part 120090810
    09/08/2009: Part 120090823Biologist Martin Chalfie, novelist Kachi A Ozumba, music historian Marina Frolova-Walker

    THE FORUM, the ideas programme with Bridget Kendall.

    American geneticist MARTIN CHALFIE explains how a green fluorescent jellyfish protein has been groomed to become the super-sleuth of 21st century science, spying on the work of the proteins that allow us to sense the world around us.

    Music historian MARINA FROLOVA-WALKER unravels the myths surrounding the culture and politics of Russian music, argued about for over a century and a half.

    Trawling through archives from the Stalinist era we eavesdrop on the bizarre discussions of an elite tasked with overseeing the production of soviet art, national in form, socialist in content.

    Nigerian writer KACHI A OZUMBA takes us on a tour of life on the ‘inside'…of a prison cell.

    Despite the inhumanities of life in prison and the stereotypes we have built around it, Kachi shows how the laws and rules prisoners make for themselves provide an uncanny mirror of life lived on the outside.

    Biologist Martin Chalfie, novelist Kachi A Ozumba, music historian Marina Frolova-Walker

    THE FORUM, the ideas programme with BRIDGET KENDALL.

    Music historian MARINA FROLOVA-WALKER unravels the myths surrounding the culture and politics of Russian music, argued about for over a century and a half. Trawling through archives from the Stalinist era we eavesdrop on the bizarre discussions of an elite tasked with overseeing the production of soviet art, national in form, socialist in content.

    Nigerian writer KACHI A OZUMBA takes us on a tour of life on the ‘inside’…of a prison cell. Despite the inhumanities of life in prison and the stereotypes we have built around it, Kachi shows how the laws and rules prisoners make for themselves provide an uncanny mirror of life lived on the outside.

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    09/08/2009: Part 120090824Biologist Martin Chalfie, novelist Kachi A Ozumba, music historian Marina Frolova-Walker

    Biologist Martin Chalfie, novelist Kachi A Ozumba, music historian Marina Frolova-Walker

    09/08/2009: Part 220090809
    09/08/2009: Part 220090810
    09/08/2009: Part 220090823 Biologist Martin Chalfie, novelist Kachi A Ozumba, music historian Marina Frolova-Walker

    THE FORUM, the ideas programme with BRIDGET KENDALL.

    American geneticist MARTIN CHALFIE explains how a green fluorescent jellyfish protein has been groomed to become the super-sleuth of 21st century science, spying on the work of the proteins that allow us to sense the world around us.

    Music historian MARINA FROLOVA-WALKER unravels the myths surrounding the culture and politics of Russian music, argued about for over a century and a half. Trawling through archives from the Stalinist era we eavesdrop on the bizarre discussions of an elite tasked with overseeing the production of soviet art, national in form, socialist in content.

    Nigerian writer KACHI A OZUMBA takes us on a tour of life on the ‘inside’…of a prison cell. Despite the inhumanities of life in prison and the stereotypes we have built around it, Kachi shows how the laws and rules prisoners make for themselves provide an uncanny mirror of life lived on the outside.

    09/08/2009: Part 220090824
    10/03/201220120311
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    10/05/200920090511 Novelist AS Byatt, conductor Semyon Bychkov, political scientist Dominique Moisi.
    10/09/201120110911
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    12/03/201120110313Meeting the challenges of the unknown

    12/03/201120110314

    Meeting the challenges of the unknown

    12/04/200920090413
    12/05/20122012051220120513
    12/05/201220120513
    12/07/200920090713Religious commentator Karen Armstrong, biologist Stephen Hopper and author Brian Chikwava.

    Religious commentator Karen Armstrong, biologist Stephen Hopper and author Brian Chikwava.

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    12/11/201120111113
    12/11/2016 Gmt20161114
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    13/09/200920090914
    13/09/2009: Part 12009091320090914Novelist Margaret Atwood; Baroness Pauline Neville-Jones; sociology Prof.

    Diego Gambetta

    THE FORUM, the ideas programme presented by Ritula Shah.

    This week we take a trip into real and imagined dystopian worlds…

    We travel to the future to meet the environmentally friendly humanoids from Canadian novelist Margaret Atwood's latest book, “The year of the Flood”.

    She asks whether an environmental religion can prevent the extinction of the human race as we know it, or whether it would accelerate our evolution into a new, unrecognisable species.

    The British opposition security minister Baroness Pauline Neville-Jones argues that the right balance needs to be struck between privacy and the efficiency of the state.

    And sociology Professor Diego Gambetta peers down into the underworld to crack the codes and signals of criminal communication.

    We discuss how we modify our bodies and our communication in order to protect our planet and evade the state, both today and in a possible dystopian future.

    Novelist Margaret Atwood; Baroness Pauline Neville-Jones; sociology Prof. Diego Gambetta

    THE FORUM, the ideas programme presented by RITULA SHAH.

    We travel to the future to meet the environmentally friendly humanoids from Canadian novelist Margaret Atwood’s latest book, “The year of the Flood”. She asks whether an environmental religion can prevent the extinction of the human race as we know it, or whether it would accelerate our evolution into a new, unrecognisable species.

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    13/09/2009: Part 120090914Novelist Margaret Atwood; Baroness Pauline Neville-Jones; sociology Prof.

    Diego Gambetta

    Novelist Margaret Atwood; Baroness Pauline Neville-Jones; sociology Prof. Diego Gambetta

    13/09/2009: Part 220090913
    13/09/2009: Part 220090914
    14/01/201220120115
    14/04/201220120415
    14/05/201120110515
    14/06/200920090615
    14/12/200820081215
    15/01/201120110116
    15/01/201120110117Three distinguished medicine men who have all made their mark in different areas.
    15/02/200920090216
    15/03/200920090316
    15/04/2017 Gmt20170415
    15/10/201120111016Centre and Periphery: growing apart?
    16/04/201120110417

    Where does the idea of royalty fit into our fast changing century?

    There is a festive air in London, as the city prepares for the spectacle of a Royal Wedding at the end of this month - we are devoting this week's Forum to a look at where Kings and Queens fit in to our modern era.

    Is there still such a thing as a bond between sovereign and subject? Do modern monarchies need to update themselves? Or is the link with history the key to staying popular?

    Bridget Kendall is joined by Bangladeshi writer Tahmima Anam, British historian Justin Champion and Australian psychologist Dorothy Rowe.

    Illustration by Emily Kasriel: The Prince ceremoniously marries a commoner, touching his subject and backed by generations of monarchs before him.

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    16/07/201120110717
    16/08/2009: Part 120090816
    16/08/2009: Part 120090817
    16/08/2009: Part 220090816
    16/08/2009: Part 220090817
    17/03/201220120318
    17/03/201820180320 ()Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.
    17/05/200920090518 Entrepreneur Iqbal Quadir, epidemics expert Stefan Kaufmann, classicist James O’Donnell
    17/09/201120110918Activism: how to make things happen

    Some say you can only do it by being unreasonable –that easygoing people do nothing for progress.

    Only those who refuse to put up with life as it’s lived push humanity forward.

    Our guests this week are all unreasonable.

    Poet and academic John Kinsella, uses his poetry to fight for his vegan, anarchist, pacifist beliefs.

    Architectural activist Marie Aquilino reminds us that it’s not earthquakes which kill, but buildings.

    She is passionate about giving victims of natural disasters long-life homes and infrastructure.

    And Cambridge University economist Ha-Joon Chang calls on all of us to be activist citizen-economists, and so confront the myths he says we’ve been peddled about the way the world economy works.

    Illustration by Emily Kasriel.

    17/12/201120111218
    18/01/200920090119
    18/02/201220120219
    18/03/2017 Gmt20170318
    18/06/201120110619
    18/12/201020101219How can you tell if fish feel pain and will the answer change the way we treat them?

    18/12/201020101220
    19/02/201120110220How our bodies stop protecting us from ageing once we’ve past the point of reproduction, images of cancerous tumours, and the growing global inequality.

    Cell biologist and octogenarian Lewis Wolpert asks what more we should be doing to embrace a world which will increasingly be populated by the old, the very old, and then the very, very old.

    His research into ageing shows that our bodies are not pre-programmed to age, but they do almost nothing to slow the process.

    The vital and perhaps shocking work of artist Wangechi Mutu.

    Her portraits of fantastical women, include anatomical drawings of cancerous tumours that transform the terrible into the beautiful.

    And World Bank Economist Branko Milanovic, says there’s been a huge shift in global inequality over the last 50 years, and the gaps are getting bigger every day.

    He argues that today, your life chances depend far more on where you are born in the world, than on how rich your family are.

    llustration by Emily Kasriel: Things we would rather ignore, global inequality, our ageing and cancer.

    Things we would rather avoid.

    Cell biologist and octogenarian Lewis Wolpert asks what more we should be doing to embrace a world which will increasingly be populated by the old, the very old, and then the very, very old. His research into ageing shows that our bodies are not pre-programmed to age, but they do almost nothing to slow the process.

    The vital and perhaps shocking work of artist Wangechi Mutu. Her portraits of fantastical women, include anatomical drawings of cancerous tumours that transform the terrible into the beautiful.

    And World Bank Economist Branko Milanovic, says there’s been a huge shift in global inequality over the last 50 years, and the gaps are getting bigger every day. He argues that today, your life chances depend far more on where you are born in the world, than on how rich your family are.

    19/02/201120110221

    Things we would rather avoid.

    19/03/201120110320Hypocrisy, multiverses and artificial leather: mind-stretching thoughts about life.

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    19/03/201120110321

    Hypocrisy, multiverses and artificial leather: mind-stretching thoughts about life.

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    19/04/200920090420
    19/07/200920090720
    19/07/2009: Part 120090719THE FORUM, the ideas programme with Bridget Kendall.

    Sociologist LORD ANTHONY GIDDENS on how to fight climate change.

    Nigerian novelist and poet Ben Okri on breaking free.

    American anthropologist SARAH HRDY on sharing parenting.

    Sociologist Lord Anthony Giddens, novelist Ben Okri and anthropologist Sarah Hrdy.

    Sociologist Lord Anthony Giddens, novelist Ben Okri and anthropologist Sarah Hrdy.

    THE FORUM, the ideas programme with BRIDGET KENDALL.

    Nigerian novelist and poet BEN OKRI on breaking free.

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    19/07/2009: Part 120090720Sociologist Lord Anthony Giddens, novelist Ben Okri and anthropologist Sarah Hrdy.

    Sociologist Lord Anthony Giddens, novelist Ben Okri and anthropologist Sarah Hrdy.

    19/07/2009: Part 220090719 Sociologist Lord Anthony Giddens, novelist Ben Okri and anthropologist Sarah Hrdy.

    THE FORUM, the ideas programme with BRIDGET KENDALL.

    Sociologist LORD ANTHONY GIDDENS on how to fight climate change.

    Nigerian novelist and poet BEN OKRI on breaking free.

    American anthropologist SARAH HRDY on sharing parenting.

    19/07/2009: Part 220090720
    19/11/201120111120
    19/11/2016 Gmt2016111920161121 (WS)Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    20/08/201120110821Design in art, fashion and nature.

    Is innovation or imitation the key to success?

    Design in art, fashion and nature. Is innovation or imitation the key to success?

    20/09/200920090921Defence Expert Dr.

    P W Singer; Economist George Ayittey; Renaissance scholar Lisa Jardine

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    Defence Expert Dr. P W Singer; Economist George Ayittey; Renaissance scholar Lisa Jardine.

    20/09/2009: Part 220090920Defence Expert Dr.

    P W Singer; Economist George Ayittey; Renaissance scholar Lisa Jardine

    On this week's programme we look to the robotic future of warfare, empowering business in Africa – and the ethical questions these debates raise.

    Defence expert and Obama adviser, Dr Peter W Singer offers his insights into how the use of robots in war is radically changing the meaning and implications of going to war.

    Ghanain-American economist George Ayittey discusses how best to develop community business in Africa.

    In response to the economic downturn he urges a move from micro-financing of individuals to what he calls ‘meso financing' - investing in community groups to maximise production and income.

    And the ethical problems raised on the cutting edge of science, with renaissance scholar and human embryo regulator Lisa Jardine

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    Defence Expert Dr. P W Singer; Economist George Ayittey; Renaissance scholar Lisa Jardine.

    On this week’s programme we look to the robotic future of warfare, empowering business in Africa – and the ethical questions these debates raise.

    Ghanain-American economist George Ayittey discusses how best to develop community business in Africa. In response to the economic downturn he urges a move from micro-financing of individuals to what he calls ‘meso financing’ - investing in community groups to maximise production and income.

    And the ethical problems raised on the cutting edge of science, with renaissance scholar and human embryo regulator Lisa Jardine.

    20/09/2009: Part 220090921
    21/01/201220120122
    21/04/201220120422
    21/05/201120110522
    21/06/200920090622Writer and critic Clive James, mathematician Marcus Du Sautoy, philosopher Slavoj Zizek.

    Writer and critic Clive James, mathematician Marcus du Sautoy, philosopher Slavoj Zizek.

    21/12/200820081222
    22/01/201120110123
    22/01/201120110124
    22/02/200920090223
    22/03/200920090323
    22/04/2017 Gmt20170422
    22/10/201120111023Contemplating our own Death
    22/10/2016 Gmt2016102420161026 (WS)Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    23/04/201120110424Why we thrive on conflict
    23/07/201120110724
    23/08/200920090824
    23/11/200820081124
    24/05/200920090525Political economist Deepak Lal, writer & comic AL Kennedy, Tatar poet Ravil Bukharaev.

    Political economist Deepak Lal, writer & comic AL Kennedy, Tatar poet Ravil Bukharaev.

    24/09/201120110925
    24/12/2016 Gmt2016122420161226 (WS)Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    25/01/200920090126
    25/02/2017 Gmt2017022520170227 (WS)Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    25/06/201120110626David Baddiel presents this week's edition of The Forum on the power of images

    Writer and comedian David Baddiel presents this week’s edition of The Forum.

    In a world that has become dominated by visual imagery – with pictures and movies on phones, screens and advertising hoardings all around us, have we become blas退 or desensitised? What's happening to the way that we digest pictures?

    James Gow, Professor of International Peace and Security at Kings College London, argues that images have become more crucial than battles in the outcome of conflicts.

    How are images being used in the Arab Spring?

    Margaret Livingstone, a Professor of Neurobiology at Harvard University, has discovered that the way we process images depends in part on whether we can see in stereo or mono.

    And the Dutch poet laureate, Ramsey Nasr, believes that, with poetry, even the words on the page need to be rearranged to cope with the modern demand for the eye to be constantly stimulated.

    Illustration by Emily Kasriel: how our minds translate what we see.

    James Gow, Professor of International Peace and Security at Kings College London, argues that images have become more crucial than battles in the outcome of conflicts. How are images being used in the Arab Spring?

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    25/12/201020101226Exchanging ideas on five thousand years of Mediterranean calendars, festivals and ports

    25/12/201020101227
    26/02/201120110227Sharya Scharenguivel is a prominent Professor of Law at Colombo University and leading figure in the drive to reform family law in Sri Lanka.

    She argues that it’s the British colonial legacy, that in legal terms, helps keep Sri Lankan women under their husband’s thumb.

    The novels of Karen Roberts draw on the taboos of forbidden love to expose tensions within Sri Lankan society.

    Her latest book, The Lament of the Dhobi Woman has at its core, a forbidden love affair between a servant woman and an upper class man.

    And Ranjini Obeyesekere, a scholar of Buddhist literature, traces a legendary relationship that has inspired both poets and monks for centuries.

    She has spent many years studying and translating writings about Yasodhara, the Buddha’s wife.

    llustration by Emily Kasriel.

    Special show from Sri Lanka literary festival about love

    Sharya Scharenguivel is a prominent Professor of Law at Colombo University and leading figure in the drive to reform family law in Sri Lanka. She argues that it’s the British colonial legacy, that in legal terms, helps keep Sri Lankan women under their husband’s thumb.

    The novels of Karen Roberts draw on the taboos of forbidden love to expose tensions within Sri Lankan society. Her latest book, The Lament of the Dhobi Woman has at its core, a forbidden love affair between a servant woman and an upper class man.

    And Ranjini Obeyesekere, a scholar of Buddhist literature, traces a legendary relationship that has inspired both poets and monks for centuries. She has spent many years studying and translating writings about Yasodhara, the Buddha’s wife.

    26/02/201120110228

    Special show from Sri Lanka literary festival about love

    Sharya Scharenguivel is a prominent Professor of Law at Colombo University and leading figure in the drive to reform family law in Sri Lanka.

    She argues that it’s the British colonial legacy, that in legal terms, helps keep Sri Lankan women under their husband’s thumb.

    The novels of Karen Roberts draw on the taboos of forbidden love to expose tensions within Sri Lankan society.

    Her latest book, The Lament of the Dhobi Woman has at its core, a forbidden love affair between a servant woman and an upper class man.

    And Ranjini Obeyesekere, a scholar of Buddhist literature, traces a legendary relationship that has inspired both poets and monks for centuries.

    She has spent many years studying and translating writings about Yasodhara, the Buddha’s wife.

    llustration by Emily Kasriel.

    Sharya Scharenguivel is a prominent Professor of Law at Colombo University and leading figure in the drive to reform family law in Sri Lanka. She argues that it’s the British colonial legacy, that in legal terms, helps keep Sri Lankan women under their husband’s thumb.

    The novels of Karen Roberts draw on the taboos of forbidden love to expose tensions within Sri Lankan society. Her latest book, The Lament of the Dhobi Woman has at its core, a forbidden love affair between a servant woman and an upper class man.

    And Ranjini Obeyesekere, a scholar of Buddhist literature, traces a legendary relationship that has inspired both poets and monks for centuries. She has spent many years studying and translating writings about Yasodhara, the Buddha’s wife.

    26/04/200920090427
    26/07/2009: Part 120090726Astronomer Andrea Ghez, economist Ian Goldin and cyberspace authority Evgeny Morozov

    Listen above to Part 2

    THE FORUM, the ideas programme with Bridget Kendall, recorded this week at Keble College, Oxford, UK in front of a live audience as part of a conference organised by the international ideas organization, TED.

    American astronomer ANDREA GHEZ on super massive black holes.

    African economist IAN GOLDIN on safe-guarding earth's future.

    Cyberspace authority EVGENY MOROZOV on the internet's darker side.

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    Astronomer Andrea Ghez, economist Ian Goldin and cyberspace authority Evgeny Morozov

    THE FORUM, the ideas programme with BRIDGET KENDALL, recorded this week at Keble College, Oxford, UK in front of a live audience as part of a conference organised by the international ideas organization, TED.

    African economist IAN GOLDIN on safe-guarding earth’s future.

    Cyberspace authority EVGENY MOROZOV on the internet’s darker side.

    26/07/2009: Part 120090727Astronomer Andrea Ghez, economist Ian Goldin and cyberspace authority Evgeny Morozov

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    Astronomer Andrea Ghez, economist Ian Goldin and cyberspace authority Evgeny Morozov

    26/07/2009: Part 220090726Astronomer Andrea Ghez, economist Ian Goldin and cyberspace authority Evgeny Morozov.

    Listen above to Part 2

    THE FORUM, the ideas programme with Bridget Kendall, recorded this week at Keble College, Oxford, UK in front of a live audience as part of a conference organised by the international ideas organization, TED.

    American astronomer ANDREA GHEZ on super massive black holes.

    African economist IAN GOLDIN on safe-guarding earth's future.

    Cyberspace authority EVGENY MOROZOV on the internet's darker side.

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    Astronomer Andrea Ghez, economist Ian Goldin and cyberspace authority Evgeny Morozov.

    THE FORUM, the ideas programme with BRIDGET KENDALL, recorded this week at Keble College, Oxford, UK in front of a live audience as part of a conference organised by the international ideas organization, TED.

    African economist IAN GOLDIN on safe-guarding earth’s future.

    Cyberspace authority EVGENY MOROZOV on the internet’s darker side.

    26/07/2009: Part 220090727Astronomer Andrea Ghez, economist Ian Goldin and cyberspace authority Evgeny Morozov.

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    Astronomer Andrea Ghez, economist Ian Goldin and cyberspace authority Evgeny Morozov.

    26/11/201120111127
    27/05/2017 Gmt20170527
    27/08/201120110828Human rights: How do you prove you have them? And how do you make sure you can enjoy them?
    27/09/200920090928Philosopher Sari Nusseibeh, radio-ecologist Brenda Howard, historian Giusto Traina

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    Philosopher Sari Nusseibeh, radio-ecologist Brenda Howard, historian Giusto Traina

    28/01/201220120129
    28/03/201020100329
    28/05/201120110529What are our obligations to others, on an international and individual level?

    It's a term that's been mentioned a lot recently but what exactly do we mean by ‘Responsibility to Protect’? Are we all legally or morally obligated to help citizens in other countries who are at risk? Or is this just a vague sense of our shared humanity? Canadian professor Jennifer Welsh explores the moral and legal conundrums.

    American scholar soldier Lt Col Shannon Beebe tells us that if we really are serious about protecting the vulnerable, we need to change the way we think about security: he says the way forward is what he calls sustainable security.

    And Somalia's Minister for Women's Development Maryan Qasim tells us why she feels responsible for the lives of Somali women and children and how she tries to change them.

    Illustration by Emily Kasriel: responsibility to protect - but how is that generosity received?

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    28/06/200920090629Environmentalist Wangari Maathai, geneticist Jane Peterson and novelist Dubravka Ugresic

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    Environmentalist Wangari Maathai, geneticist Jane Peterson and novelist Dubravka Ugresic

    28/06/20142014062920140630 (WS)Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    29/01/201120110130
    29/01/201120110131This week's Forum comes from the northern state of Rajasthan in India where we are guests of the Jaipur Literature Festival.

    We are on an open-air stage in front of over a thousand people, all listening intently and eager to chip in as we juggle the moral dilemmas of living in today's India.

    Illustration by Emily Kasriel: The Mahabharata connecting us so that we learn how to be good and heal the sick in Nepal.

    Forum at Jaipur Literature Festival: dharma, greed, envy, quacks and Nepali Buddhists

    29/04/2017 Gmt20170429
    29/10/201120111030FEEDING THE EARTH’S RISING POPULATION
    30/04/201120110501
    30/07/201120110731
    30/08/200920090831
    30/11/200820081201
    31/01/201020100201What triggers earthquakes and why do we know so little? Plus the Arctic and African cities
    31/03/201220120401
    31/05/200920090601
    A History Of Honey2020011620200117 (WS)
    20200119 (WS)
    20200120 (WS)
    It takes twelve honey bees their entire lifetimes to make one spoonful of honey. From sweetening and preserving food, to treating wounds and sore throats, this sweet, viscous substance has played an important role in nearly every society around the world. In the ancient world, it held religious significance while in the 21st century, scientists are researching how honey could combat lethal diseases and finding ways to identify so-called fake honey.

    Joining Rajan Datar to discuss the history of honey are Dr Lucy Long - author of Honey: A Global History and director of the nonprofit Center for Food and Culture in Ohio, USA; Sarah Wyndham-Lewis - writer, Honey Sommelier and co-founder of Bermondsey Street Bees in London, UK; and the Australian microbiologist Dr Shona Blair from Imperial College London who has conducted detailed research into the antimicrobial activity and wound healing properties of honey.

    Photo: A Yemeni beekeeper checks a honeycomb from a beehive at his apiary in the country's northern Hajjah province in 2019.
    Credit: ESSA AHMED / AFP

    Uncovering the rich cultural and medical history of the world's oldest sweet

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    A History Of The Restaurant2019122620191227 (WS)
    20191229 (WS)
    20191230 (WS)
    The practice of having your food prepared by strangers in a public place goes back millennia but what makes a restaurant different from the many other dining options is that you can choose from a list of dishes, you can eat at a time of your rather than the cook’s choosing and are usually served by a professional waiter in pleasant surroundings. There were fully-fledged restaurants in 12th-century China catering to a wide range of tastes and budgets. Six centuries later, the first European restaurants in Paris advertised themselves as places that offered good health, rather than just good food. The fashion for French-style dining quickly spread to other countries but it took over a century for the waiters, waitresses and kitchen staff – the very people who are crucial to the success of any restaurant - to be given half-decent working conditions and a modicum of recognition.

    Bridget Kendall discusses the development of the restaurant with historians Rebecca L. Spang, Patricia Van den Eeckhout, Luke Barr, Nawal Nasrallah and Christian de Pee.

    Photo: A waiter with a serving platter and dome. Credit: RTimages/Getty Images

    From dining in Song-dynasty China to the modern open kitchen

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    A Leap Of Faith: Finding Common Ground Between Science And Religion2015120720151208 (WS)Promoting a dialogue between science and religion has long been a challenging task- the two communities of thought often seem far apart. The Forum explores the challenge in a discussion recorded at CERN in Switzerland and asks not only why this dialogue is important but how it is working and where it might lead. CERN is the European Organization for Nuclear Research where physicists and engineers are probing the fundamental structure of the universe. Joining Bridget Kendall to discuss common ground between science and religion are: Professor Rolf-Dieter Heuer, a German particle physicist and the Director General of CERN; Marcelo Gleiser, professor of physics and astronomy at Dartmouth College; Dr. Kusum Jain, a renowned Indian scholar of Jain Philosophy and director of the Centre of Advanced Study in Philosophy at the University of Rajasthan, Jaipur; Monsignor Tomasz Trafny, Head of Science and Faith, Vatican City State.

    And there is poetry, especially written for the programme, by British poet Murray Lachlan Young.

    (Photo: illustration of first proton-lead ion collisions. © 2012 CERN, for the benefit of the ALICE Collaboration)

    Can there be a common ground between science and religion?

    A Single World, Many Identities?2016040920160411 (WS)
    20160412 (WS)
    Turkish novelist Elif Shafak, Nick Bostrom and Ann Phoenix from UCL discuss identity

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    A Single World, Many Identities?2016041120160412 (WS)
    20160413 (WS)
    Turkish novelist Elif Shafak, Nick Bostrom and Ann Phoenix from UCL discuss identity

    Bestselling Turkish novelist Elif Shafak, Nick Bostrom from Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute and Ann Phoenix from UCL's Institute of Education trace the evolution of 21st century identity with the BBC’s Jo Fidgen. Are technology and geopolitics conspiring to create a new type of human, unrecognisable to our forebears? Is ‘serial migration’ the new norm for transnational families and what effect is this having on the identity of the young? Or perhaps we should drop the concept of Identity altogether?

    (Photo: Left to right, Ann Phoenix, Elif Shafak and Nick Bostrom)

    A Very Long View2016010920160111 (WS)
    20160112 (WS)
    Tracking changes in our lives and bodies over decades, generations and even millennia

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    A Very Long View2016011120160112 (WS)Tracking changes in our lives and bodies over decades, generations and even millennia

    How good are we at making connections over time? Remembering our own pasts, or the way history has unfolded, or seeing the big patterns of development, invisible to the naked eye? This week on the Forum Bridget Kendall and guests focus on the long view: tracking the small changes which shape a person over a year, or a society over decades, or which alter the genetic make-up of humans over tens of thousands of years. With artist Tom Mosser, sociologist Alison Park and geneticist Eske Willerslew.

    Photo: Artist Tom Mosser and his portrait collection (credit: Tom Mosser)

    Abraham Maslow's Psychology Of Human Needs2021022520210226 (WS)
    20210228 (WS)
    20210301 (WS)
    Many students of psychology, business, nursing and other disciplines are taught about "Maslow's pyramid of human needs", a diagram that shows a progression from our basic needs, such as food and shelter, to higher, social needs and, eventually, to striving for often intangible life goals and fulfilment. The pyramid is an iconic image, yet Abraham Maslow, a leading humanistic psychologist of the 20th century, didn't actually create it. Moreover, his writings are much more sophisticated and perceptive than the diagram suggests. So where did this confusion come from and why didn't Maslow disown the pyramid? How should we understand Maslow's hierarchy of human needs? Why has it proved so useful in so many different disciplines? And in what way is it relevant to how we live today?

    These are some of the questions that Bridget Kendall explores with Jessica Grogan from University of Texas at Austin, author of Encountering America, a history of humanistic psychology; David Baker, emeritus professor of psychology and former director of the Cummings Center for the History of Psychology at the University of Akron; and Scott Barry Kaufman, former director of the Imagination Institute at the University of Pennsylvania and author of Transcend which updates Maslow for the 21st century.

    [Photo: Abraham Maslow, undated photograph. Credit: Bettmann/Getty Images]

    An influential 20th-century thinker who identified what motivates us

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    Activism: How To Make Things Happen20110917Some say you can only do it by being unreasonable –that easygoing people do nothing for progress.

    Only those who refuse to put up with life as it’s lived push humanity forward.

    Our guests this week are all unreasonable.

    Poet and academic John Kinsella, uses his poetry to fight for his vegan, anarchist, pacifist beliefs.

    Architectural activist Marie Aquilino reminds us that it’s not earthquakes which kill, but buildings.

    She is passionate about giving victims of natural disasters long-life homes and infrastructure.

    And Cambridge University economist Ha-Joon Chang calls on all of us to be activist citizen-economists, and so confront the myths he says we’ve been peddled about the way the world economy works.

    Illustration by Emily Kasriel.

    Activism: how to make things happen

    Only those who refuse to put up with life as it’s lived push humanity forward. Our guests this week are all unreasonable.

    Architectural activist Marie Aquilino reminds us that it’s not earthquakes which kill, but buildings. She is passionate about giving victims of natural disasters long-life homes and infrastructure.

    Adam Smith: Father Of Capitalism2017111820171121 (WS)Adam Smith, a moral philosopher and economist, was born in Scotland, the son of a customs officer. In 1776 he published a book called 'An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations’. Smith basically argued against the over regulation of commerce and said if people were set free to better themselves, it would produce economic prosperity for all. To discuss his work and legacy are Emeritus Professor of Philosophy and Intellectual History Vivienne Brown, the UK Labour Party peer and economist Lord Meghnad Jagdishchandra Desai, Professor of History Fania Oz-Salzberger and Emeritus Professor of Political Theory Christopher Berry.

    Photo: An illustration of Adam Smith, circa 1765. (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

    Exploring the work of the 18th century moral philosopher and economist Adam Smith

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    Advances In Bioengineering2016031220160314 (WS)
    20160315 (WS)
    Bridging the divide between living and inorganic matter

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    Advances In Bioengineering2016031420160315 (WS)Bridging the divide between living and inorganic matter

    Bridget Kendall talks to three pioneers who are pushing the boundaries of what is possible at the interface between engineering, biology and medicine: John Rogers makes electronics which dissolve when they have done their job, Magnus Berggren grows circuits inside plants and Hadyn Parry is using a harmless protein to wipe out dangerous disease carriers.

    Picture: A rose attached to an electronic apparatus. (Credit: Eliot Gomez)

    Advantage2013110920131111 (WS)What gives you an advantage in life?

    We explore what can confer advantage. Bridget Kendall talks to best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell about whether the power of the underdog has been under-estimated; psychologist Kathryn Asbury on why some kids start school with a biological advantage over their peers, and globalisation professor Ian Goldin on ensuring future generations’ advantage now. Photo by Fred Dufour/AFP/GettyImages

    We explore what can confer advantage. Bridget Kendall talks to best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell about whether the power of the underdog has been under-estimated; psychologist Kathryn Asbury on why some kids start school with a biological advantage over their peers, and globalisation professor Ian Goldin on ensuring future generations’ advantage now. Photo by Fred Dufour/AFP/GettyImages

    Aesop And The Fables2020052820200531 (WS)
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    A black slave wrote 700 animal tales in Ancient Greece. Why are they still best sellers?

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    Aesop, with his tales of tortoises and hares, foxes and grapes, and wolves in sheep's clothing has been a part of world literature for over two thousand years. Since the time of the Ancient Greeks successive generations have drawn moral lessons from his fables, and over history his animals' exploits have been used to support differing ideals. Malcolm X was a fan, as was Imperial Britain, the Nazis had their version and the Trade Union movement published the fables too. There are over 700 fables, and they are supposedly written by a black slave far clever than his philosopher master.

    Bridget Kendall traces the origin and meaning of Aesop's fables and explores what they can teach us about understanding our own extraordinary times with three world experts: Edith Hall, Professor of Classics at Kings College London; Vayos Liapis, Professor of Theatre at the Open University of Cyprus; Dan-el Padilla Peralta, Associate Professor of Classics at Princeton University.

    (Image: The fox telling Aesop about animals, decoration from a Greek vase, 5th century BC, Vatican Museums. Credit: De Agostini Picture Library/Getty Images)

    After Dark: How We Respond To Darkness2016052120160523 (WS)
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    Exploring how we operate at night and our attitude to the dark

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    After Dark: How We Respond To Darkness2016052320160524 (WS)
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    Exploring how we operate at night and our attitude to the dark

    Dr Janina Ramirez explores our relationship with, and attitudes to, darkness and the night. From the beginning of humanity when night was a time to sleep and hide from predators, over millennia the night and darkness has gathered a multitude of myths and cultural references all around the world and is something we can exploit, or something we might fear. Dr Janina Ramirez examines the human perspective of the dark, from night vision technology to Norwegian forest myths.

    Dr Ravindra Athale, of the Office of Naval Research in Arlington USA, an expert on night vision technology, who examines how nocturnal animals help high tech, and how our ability to see at night has affected the way we use the dark to conceal and surprise.

    Professor John Bowen from the University of York in the UK, an expert on Gothic literature and its roots.

    Erland Loe, the celebrated Norwegian author, who explores his own and fellow Norwegian’s response to long dark winter nights.

    Noam Elcott, Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art and Media at Columbia University in the USA who discusses the literal and metaphorical use of dark and night in film art and the dark room.

    (Photo: An artist's Illustration of a haunted forest. Credit: Shan Pillay)

    After Shock: The Lingering Legacy Of Civil War20110213The Forum has travelled from London to the Galle Literary Festival at the Galle Fort on the South Western tip of Sri Lanka.

    The Forum takes a closer look at Sri Lanka as it emerges from the devastating civil war that lasted a quarter of a century and ended less than two years ago.

    Joining Bridget Kendall are three guests who all deal in different ways with the challenges that emerge once the guns have been silenced.

    Sunila Abeysekera, a leading human rights campaigner in Sri Lanka, who has grass roots experiences of what happens to communities during and after the war.

    Anjali Watson, a wildlife conservation researcher whose work focuses on the way humans interacts with their environment and in particular on the Sri Lankan leopard.

    And providing insights about the long term traces of war on people’s internal landscapes is award winning Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

    Illustration by Emily Kasriel: The after effects of conflict - displaced people with psychological wounds in conflict or cooperating with the leopards of Sri Lanka.

    Sri Lanka after the war – special discussion from the Galle Literary Festival

    The Forum takes a closer look at Sri Lanka as it emerges from the devastating civil war that lasted a quarter of a century and ended less than two years ago. Joining Bridget Kendall are three guests who all deal in different ways with the challenges that emerge once the guns have been silenced.

    After Shock: The Lingering Legacy Of Civil War20110214

    Sri Lanka after the war – special discussion from the Galle Literary Festival

    Aftermath Of War And Marriage2012042820120429Aftermath: when everything falls apart, how do you cope? How do you put a country and a people back together again after a traumatic conflict? And how do individuals come to terms with the end of a marriage? We hear from Somali Archaeologist Sada Mire who argues food and shelter are not the only basic need for war victims: so is cultural heritage. Former Canadian diplomat Scott Gilmore warns that tackling social breakdown in the aftermath of war is failing because international aid programmes are too ambitious. And writer and novelist Rachel Cusk compares war zones to the aftermath of her own broken marriage.

    Illustration by Emily Kasriel: what is the best way to respond to the broken pieces of the world, a country and a marriage.

    The Aftermath of war and of marriage.

    Aftermath Of War And Marriage20120429The Aftermath of war and of marriage.
    Albert Camus: Embracing Life's Absurdity2019091920190922 (WS)
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    ‘There is no sun without shadows, and it is essential to know the night,’ the words of Albert Camus, a writer whose exploration of the absurd nature of the human condition made him a literary and intellectual icon. Camus was born in Algeria but is celebrated in France as one of its great twentieth-century novelists and philosophers. His first publishing success, The Stranger, focused on the absurdity of existence but in his later works, including The Plague and The Rebel, he developed his thoughts on the human instinct to revolt.

    But who was Albert Camus? How far were his ideas shaped by his Algerian upbringing and by the turbulent political times he lived through in the 1940s and '50s? Bridget Kendall explores these questions with three Camus experts: Nabil Boudraa, Algerian professor of French and Francophone Studies at Oregon State University, Eve Morisi, professor of French at Oxford University and Samantha Novello, research fellow in Political Philosophy at Verona University.

    (Photo: Albert Camus Credit: Kurt Hutton/Getty Images)

    The Stranger and other key works of Algeria's great humanist Albert Camus

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: Revealing The Gulag2018121320181214 (WS)
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    The Russian author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was a towering literary figure whose novels, chronicles and essays have lifted the lid on the horrors of the Soviet gulag network, which over several decades incarcerated millions of often innocent prisoners. Born a hundred years ago, Solzhenitsyn survived the brutal conditions of a gulag in Kazakhstan and it was this harrowing experience that provided the impetus for his best-known works, starting with his novella, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich and culminating in The Gulag Archipelago, a multi-volume history of the Soviet forced labour camps from 1918 to 1956.

    Bridget Kendall is joined by two Solzhenitsyn scholars: Professor Daniel Mahoney from Assumption College in the United States and Dr. Elisa Kriza from Bamberg University; and by Professor Leona Toker of Hebrew University in Jerusalem, an expert on labour camp literature.

    Photo: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in Gulag clothing. (Apic/Getty Images)

    The Russian writer who exposed the grim, nightmarish world of Soviet forced labour camps

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    Alexandre Dumas: The Man Behind The Musketeers2020120320201204 (WS)
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    The word 'swashbuckling' is often used to describe the novels of Alexandre Dumas the Elder, the creator of D’Artagnan and the Three Musketeers, the Count of Monte Cristo and the Man in the Iron Mask. But Dumas himself led a life as colourful as many of his gallery of rogues, villains and heroes. Having grown up in poverty, he found employment in the household of a future king of France. He was prolific on the page and pretty active away from it. At first with a series of highly successful plays and then with serialised novels, his production house churned out hundreds of thousands of pages of gripping narrative. He had pet projects like building a mansion and theatre, he had countless mistresses and he frequently found himself in legal disputes and on the run from debt collectors.

    In the 150th anniversary year of Dumas’ death Rajan Datar explores the writer's life and work with Claudie Bernard, professor of French Literature, Thought and Culture at New York University; Daniel Desormeaux, professor of Arts and Sciences at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore; Sylvain Ledda, professor of 19th Century Literature at Rouen University in France; and Anne O'Neil-Henry, associate professor of French and Francophone Studies at Georgetown University in Washington.

    [Image: Alexandre Dumas the Elder. Credit: The Print Collector/Getty Images]

    The adventurous life of the much-loved French novelist

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    Alexandre Yersin And The Race To Fight The Plague2021010720210108 (WS)
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    When Alexandre Yersin discovered one of the most lethal bacteria in human history, the tiny bacillus of the plague that over the centuries had killed tens of millions of people, he earned his place in the history books. Working in a straw hut in Hong Kong, armed with just a microscope, Yersin’s methodical mind worked out within just a few days where in human body to look for the plague bacteria. A much bigger and better-equipped Japanese team, competing with Yersin, came away empty-handed. So who was Alexandre Yersin? Why did this pioneering Swiss scientist spend most of his life in Vietnam? And why did it take decades fully to credit Yersin with the discovery of the microorganism that now bears his name, Yersinia pestis?

    These are some of the questions Bridget Kendall discusses with film director Stephane Kleeb, who made a documentary about Yersin; Professor Maxime Schwartz, medical historian and former director of the Pasteur Institute in France; and Dr. Mary Augusta Brazelton from Cambridge University whose research focuses on medical history of Asia.

    [Image: Alexandre Yersin in a sailor's uniform, c.1890. Credit: Pascal Deloche/Godong/Universal Images Group via Getty Images]

    The life and work of a pioneering Swiss microbiologist

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    When Alexandre Yersin discovered one of the most lethal bacteria in human history, the tiny bacillus of the plague that over the centuries had killed tens of millions of people, he earned his place in the history books. Working in a straw hut in Hong Kong, armed with just a microscope, Yersin’s methodical mind worked out within just a few days where in human body to look for the plague bacteria. A much bigger and better-equipped Japanese team who were competing with Yersin, came away empty-handed. So who was Alexandre Yersin? Why did this pioneering Swiss scientist spend most of his life in Vietnam? And why did it take decades fully to credit Yersin with the discovery of the microorganism that now bears his name, Yersinia pestis?

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    Aliens2014092720140928 (WS)
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    Why do some people believe in aliens and extra-terrestrials, and not others?

    What do you think about the possibility of extra- terrestrial life? Are we alone in the universe? And what do aliens reveal about us? Bridget Kendall asks ecologist Chris Thomas, science fiction writer Nnedi Okorafor, and psychologist Richard McNally to pool thoughts about what aliens mean to us.

    Illustration by Shan Pillay

    (Illustration: Artist impression of alien spaceship hovering over a city landscape. By Shan Pillay)

    Illustration by Shan Pillay

    Amelia Earhart €Ⓚ Trailblazer In The Skies20170508The inspirational life of the USA’s celebrated female aviator.
    Amelia Earhart: Trailblazer In The Skies2017050620170508 (WS)
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    This year is the 80th anniversary of the record-breaking attempt by the US aviator Amelia Earhart to circumnavigate the globe. It was a mission that cost her life, but helped to cement her place in history as one of the most inspirational and celebrated pilots of the 20th century.

    Bridget Kendall looks back at the life of a pioneering woman determined to break through barriers - with Susan Butler, author of ‘East to the Dawn: The Life of Amelia Earhart’; Dorothy Cochrane, Curator in the Aeronautics Division of the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum in Washington; and Susan Ware, author of ‘Still Missing: Amelia Earhart and the Search for Modern Feminism’.

    Photo: Amelia Earhart in June 1928 (Getty Images)

    The inspirational life of the celebrated American aviator

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    Anaesthesia: Unwrapping Oblivion2019030720190308 (WS)
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    Millions of us around the world have undergone an anaesthetic, putting our trust in specialists who keep us alive while surgeons carry out complex operations. Huge advances have been made in this field in the last 150 years, thanks to the work of pioneering doctors, dentists and scientists who often risked their own lives to advance the possibilities of surgery and make anaesthetics safe.

    And yet in this twilight world of artificial sleep, there are many things experts still don’t understand about what is really happening in the brain and how our consciousness is affected. And what of the reports of patients waking during surgery? How credible are these stories and what can they tell us about memory, consciousness and human experience?

    Photo: A patient going under general anaesthesia. (BSIP/UIG via Getty Images)

    Getting under the skin of the discovery which made pain-free operations possible

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    Andy Warhol: The Prince Of Pop Art2019081520190818 (WS)
    20190819 (WS)
    "In the future everybody will be world famous for fifteen minutes” is probably the best known quote attributed to Andy Warhol. Warhol was an American artist who became a superstar in the visual art movement known as Pop Art. He crossed the boundaries between art and celebrity becoming famous for what we now call branding, but the private Warhol was a deeply religious man and to his close relatives was known simply as ‘Uncle Andy’. In a world where some of what he predicted has come true, we look back at the life and work of this iconic figure.

    With Bridget Kendall to explore Andy Warhol are Eric Shiner the former Director of the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh USA and New York Director of London’s White Cube, Professor Jean Wainwright the British art historian and curator and a leading expert on Warhol and Andy Warhol’s nephew, the artist and illustrator James Warhola.

    (Photo: Andy Warhol. Credit: Ullstein Bild/Getty Images)

    Exploring the life and work of artist Andy Warhol

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    "In the future everybody will be world-famous for fifteen minutes” is probably the best known quote attributed to Andy Warhol. Warhol was an American artist who became a superstar in the visual art movement known as Pop Art. He crossed the boundaries between art and celebrity becoming famous for what we now call branding, but the private Warhol was a deeply religious man and to his close relatives was known simply as ‘Uncle Andy’. In a world where some of what he predicted has come true, we look back at the life and work of this iconic figure.

    (Photo: Andy Warhol. Credit: Ullstein Bild/Getty Images)

    Anger2016021320160215 (WS)
    20160216 (WS)
    Why do we get cross?

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    Anger2016021520160216 (WS)Why do we get cross?

    Feeling angry has always been an integral part of our nature, an instant response to being insulted, restrained or threatened. But is modern life making us angrier? And what goes on in our brain when we ‘snap’? Bridget Kendall talks to psychologist Raymond Chip Tafrate, historian of emotions Tiffany Watt Smith and neurobiologist R. Douglas Fields.

    Photo: Two angry people yell at each other (Credit: Corbis)

    Antigone: A Drama Of Defiance2019011020190111 (WS)
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    The play Antigone by the Greek playwright Sophocles was written almost 2,500 years ago, but to this day it is believed to be the most performed play- anywhere in the world. It tells the story of Antigone, a girl who ends up challenging the power of the ruler of Thebes, in a devastating battle of wills that pits family duty against the law of the state. So why does this story of civil disobedience still speak to people, and how was it originally received by its very first audience in Ancient Athens in the 5th century BCE? Joining Rajan Datar to discuss Antigone and its later modern interpretations are the acclaimed actor, director and former Greek Culture Minister Lydia Koniordou, the theatre director Olivier Py who staged Antigone with male prisoners at this year’s Avignon Theatre Festival in France, the Syrian playwright Mohammad Al Attar who’s the author of a new adaptation of Antigone about Syrian women refugees, and Dr Rosie Wyles, Lecturer in Classical History at the University of Kent, and author of “Costume in Greek Tragedy”.

    Image: Antiogne and the body of Polynices (Artist: Lachmann. Credit: Print Collector/Getty Images)

    The classic play from Ancient Greece about civil disobedience

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    Are We In Control?20111113The unintended consequences of what we do, in economics, geo-engineering and on stage.

    How far can we control the outcomes of our actions?

    Economist Robert Frank says that competition is not always benign and that if we want to understand some of its negative results we should look to Charles Darwin for explanation.

    Soprano Claron McFadden discusses how far she can control audience reaction when she is performing on stage.

    And environmental scientist Peter Liss says we need a lot more data before we can decide whether pumping chemicals into the skies and oceans can really help solve global warming or just creates a new host of environmental problems.

    Illustration by Emily Kasriel: the monied hand of the individual controlling the life of the planet, to the sound of music.

    Are We Losing The Ability To Focus?2015092120150922 (WS)In the age of perpetual distraction, are we losing the ability to focus?

    In the age of perpetual distraction, are we losing the ability to focus? Bridget Kendall is joined by three guests who have found a way to concentrate. David Hieatt is a Welsh denim jeans entrepreneur, his personal and professional maxim is “do one thing well ?

    Slovenian violinist Miha Pogacnik uses music to empower business leaders and Icelandic lawyer Ragnar Jonasson is also a writer, his latest novel “Snow Blind ? is a mystery set in a remote fishing village.

    Photo: A watchmaker examines a watch mechanism (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

    Are We Too Complacent About Social Mobility?2014032220140323 (WS)
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    Conventional wisdom has it that social mobility - ie how easy is it to move up or down the social ladder - has been accelerating in many countries. But in this week's Forum, Jo Fidgen hears some startling new research on how painfully slow that process really is, even in enlightened regions such as Scandinavia. Economic historian Gregory Clark has been finding out what your surname says about your chances of self-improvement. Sociologist Alan Bairner has been examining social mobility through sport: who gets to play at the top level, and what does that do to their social status? And economist Thomas Piketty has been analysing reams of data to find out why it's nearly always paid more to invest family money than to work. Photo of crown courtesy of Getty Images.

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    Artemisia Gentileschi: The Painter Who Took On The Men2020032620200327 (WS)
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    One of the most celebrated female painters of the 17th century, Artemisia Gentileschi was the first woman to become a member of the Academy of the Arts of Drawing in Florence. Through her talent and determination - and despite massive obstacles - she forged a 40-year career, and was collected by the likes of Charles I of England and Philip IV of Spain. But after her death, it wasn’t until the 20th century that people began to reinterpret her work in the light of her remarkable life story, including the well-documented fact that she was raped at the age of 17 by fellow painter, Agostino Tassi.

    Joining Bridget Kendall to discuss the life and work of Italian Baroque artist, Artemisia Gentileschi are four experts: Letizia Treves is curator of the 2020 Artemisia exhibition at London’s National Gallery; Mary Garrard is Professor Emerita of Art History at American University in Washington DC; Jesse Locker is Assistant Professor of Italian Renaissance & Baroque Art at Portland State University; and Patrizia Cavazzini is Research Fellow at the British School at Rome, Italy.

    Image: Self-Portrait as Saint Catherine of Alexandria by Artemisia Gentileschi
    Credit: National Gallery, London

    The Italian Baroque artist who's become a hero for modern-day feminists

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    Arthur Conan Doyle: The Man Behind Sherlock Holmes2017060320170605 (WS)
    20170606 (WS)
    Since appearing in print in the late nineteenth century, Sherlock Holmes has become one of the world’s most famous detectives, known for solving crime and mystery in London and beyond. But who was the man that made this fictional super-sleuth? And what inspired him to write?

    Bridget Kendall explores the life and work of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - the doctor and literary superstar who embraced both science and the spiritual world - and who changed crime fiction forever.

    She’s joined by biographer Andrew Lycett and the scholars Catherine Wynne and Stefan Lampadius.

    Photo: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Getty Images)

    The life of doctor and literary star Arthur Conan Doyle.

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    Arthur Conan Doyle: The Man Behind Sherlock Holmes20170605The life of doctor and literary star Arthur Conan Doyle.

    Since appearing in print in the late nineteenth century, Sherlock Holmes has become one of the world’s most famous detectives, known for solving crime and mystery in London and beyond. But who was the man that made this fictional super-sleuth? And what inspired him to write?

    Bridget Kendall explores the life and work of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - the doctor and literary superstar who embraced both science and the spiritual world - and who changed crime fiction forever.

    She’s joined by biographer Andrew Lycett and the scholars Catherine Wynne and Stefan Lampadius.

    Photo: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Getty Images)

    Babylon, City Of Wonders2020060420200607 (WS)
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    From The Tower of Babel and the Hanging Gardens to why there are 60 minutes in an hour

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    With its Hanging Gardens and huge walls, Babylon was celebrated as one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world; to the Israelites enslaved there under Nebuchadnezzar, it was a lasting emblem of oppression and depravity, where they wept as they remembered Zion. It is only in the last two hundred years that Babylon's fuller history has been unearthed, both the remains of its buildings and a huge number of clay tablets covered in writing, revealing a complex world that created epic stories, powerful people and an understanding of science and the stars, and it was their 60 based numbering system that led to our 60 seconds in a minute and 60 minutes in an hour. It has been called a cradle of civilisation.

    Bridget Kendall explores the reputation of Babylon and its contribution to the world with four experts: Frances Reynolds, Shillito Fellow in Assyriology at the Oriental Institute, University of Oxford; Grant Frame, Professor of Assyriology at the University of Pennsylvania and Curator of the Babylonian Section of Penn Museum; Daniel Schwemer, Chair of Ancient Oriental Studies at the University of Würzburg; and Jaafar Jotheri, Assistant Professor in Geoarchaeology at the University of Al-Qadisiyah, Iraq.

    (Image: Detail of the Ishtar gate, Babylon. Credit: Veronique Durruty/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

    Balance: How We Find Equilibrium2016042320160425 (WS)
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    Why balance in humans, machines and music are needed for effectiveness and safety

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    Balance: How We Find Equilibrium2016042520160426 (WS)
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    Why balance in humans, machines and music are needed for effectiveness and safety

    Balance is essential. It stops us falling over or getting too cross and it stops machines failing catastrophically. There are also very fine balances present, more generally in nature and across the universe. But much of the World is not in exact and perpetual balance - it needs constant fine tuning.

    To help explore our latest understanding of balance in human beings, machines and music, Bridget Kendall talks to Patricia Kopatchinskaja, the distinguished Moldovan-Austrian violinist, who explores the internal balance need to play world class music; Jade Kindar-Martin, high wire artist and member of the Flying Wallendas who examines the fine tuning of mind and body needed to keep in balance on a high wire; Professor Andrew Heyes, head of Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Strathclyde, in Scotland who looks at the very fine balances needed to ensure machines work effectively and safely.

    (Photo: Acrobats form a human pyramid as they rehearse with Le Grand Cirque at the Sydney Opera House, 2009. Credit: Getty Images)

    Balance is essential. It stops us falling over or getting too cross and it stops machines failing catastrophically. There are also very fine balances present, more generally in nature and across the universe. But much of the World is not in exact and perpetual balance - it needs constant fine tuning.

    Balloons And How They Changed The World2016080620160809 (WS)The extraordinary impact of balloons on the human race.

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    Balloons And How They Changed The World2016080820160809 (WS)
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    The extraordinary impact of balloons on the human race.

    A small toy balloon floating free into the sky. A giant hot air balloon filled with passengers peering down at the ground. Classic images, but what about the huge balloons now being developed to help us explore outer space? Or the tiny balloons which bio engineers inflate inside your body to help blood surge through your veins? Or the extraordinary balloonomania that spread across Northern Europe in the late 18th century? Bridget Kendall explores the colourful history of the balloon and its even more intriguing future with guests:

    Debbie Fairbrother, Chief of NASA’s Balloon Programme Office.

    Professor Claudio Capelli, cardiovascular engineer from the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London.

    Fiona Stafford, Professor of literature from Somerville College, University of Oxford.

    Photo: NASA’s super pressure balloon is designed for long-duration flights at mid-latitudes to provide scientists and engineers with a means to inexpensively access the ’near-space’ environment for conducting research and technology test missions. The balloon’s operational float altitude is 110,000 feet (33.5 kilometers) (Credit: NASA/Bill Rodman)

    Beethoven: The Genius Rule Breaker2017030420170306 (WS)
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    Beethoven revolutionised music - how we listen to it and how we play it.

    Bridget Kendall explores Beethoven’s universal appeal and the anguished genius himself with Emeritus Professor of music and Beethoven expert Professor John Deathridge, musician and lecturer Dr Natasha Loges, Artistic Director of the Musical Society of Nigeria, (MUSON) and the NOK Ensemble, Nigeria's first professional chamber orchestra, Tunde Jegede and writer and composer Neil Brand.

    Image: Beethoven
    Credit: Rischgitz/Stringer/Getty Images

    Why Beethoven is so universally popular

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    Beethoven: The Genius Rule Breaker2017030620170307 (WS)Why Beethoven is so universally popular

    Beethoven revolutionised music - how we listen to it and how we play it.

    Bridget Kendall explores Beethoven’s universal appeal and the anguished genius himself with Emeritus Professor of music and Beethoven expert Professor John Deathridge, musician and lecturer Dr Natasha Loges, Artistic Director of the Musical Society of Nigeria, (MUSON) and the NOK Ensemble, Nigeria's first professional chamber orchestra, Tunde Jegede and writer and composer Neil Brand.

    Image: Beethoven

    Credit: Rischgitz/Stringer/Getty Images

    Being Cold2015113020151201 (WS)How weather affects a nation’s character

    Does the experience of coping with bitter cold affect the way people think and feel? And what happens to culture and identity when climate begins to change? To explore these questions the Forum this week comes from Canada, one of the world’s most northern countries, with some 40 % of it in the Arctic. Joining Bridget Kendall are Nobel-nominated Inuit activist and former International Chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Council Sheila Watt-Cloutier, Arctic spatial ecologist David Atkinson and “Ice Huts ? architectural photographer Richard Johnson. Recorded in the auditorium of the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, as part of the Spur Festival of Ideas.

    (Photo: Ice Hut #530 by Richard Johnson. Joussard, Lesser Slave Lake, Alberta, 2011)

    How weather affects a nation’s character

    Bertha Von Suttner: A Champion Of Peace2020061820200621 (WS)
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    The writer who became the first woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    Bertha von Suttner’s path to becoming a leading 19th-century pacifist and the first woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize was far from straightforward. The product of the aristocratic and militaristic world of 19th century Bohemia, as a young woman von Suttner eloped to the Caucasus and turned her hand to writing for a living. On her return to Europe she published an acclaimed anti-war novel, Lay Down Your Arms, a work that marked the start of her quest for disarmament. Her long friendship with Alfred Nobel finally bore fruit in the Swedish industrialist’s last will which included the Peace Prize.

    Bridget Kendall is joined by Dr. Barbara Burns, Reader in German at Glasgow University, and the editor of a new English edition of Lay Down Your Arms; Dr. Peter van den Dungen, former Lecturer in Peace Studies at the University of Bradford and until recently General Coordinator of the International Network of Museums for Peace; and musician Stefan Frankenberger, the author of an audio book called The Unknown Soldier, In memory of Bertha von Suttner.

    [Photo: Bertha von Suttner (nee Kinsky),c.1870 Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images]

    Beyond Us And Them2013042820130429 (WS)with Aminatta Forna, Laura Nader and David Cannadine.

    with Aminatta Forna, Laura Nader and David Cannadine.

    Is it helpful to view the world as being divided along fault-lines of gender, class, race or religion? Matthew Taylor talks to anthropologist Laura Nader, who says we need to find new dialogues between the West and the Middle East that recognise our common humanity; historian David Cannadine who says that as well as studying conflict, we should explore our undivided past; and novelist Aminatta Forna, who examines the aftermath of civil war through her fiction; what about when ‘them’ also means ‘us’?

    Photo credit: JENS-ULRICH KOCH/AFP/Getty Images

    Is it helpful to view the world as being divided along fault-lines of gender, class, race or religion? Matthew Taylor talks to anthropologist Laura Nader, who says we need to find new dialogues between the West and the Middle East that recognise our common humanity; historian David Cannadine who says that as well as studying conflict, we should explore our undivided past; and novelist Aminatta Forna, who examines the aftermath of civil war through her fiction; what about when ‘them’ also means ‘us’?

    Photo credit: JENS-ULRICH KOCH/AFP/Getty Images

    Big Data And Us20141110Who can we trust in the world of Big Data and how is it changing our lives?

    From digital exahust to data-brokers, algorithms and data art, who and what can we believe in the world of Big Data? Bridget Kendall asks data researcher Adam Tanner, governance expert Sharath Srinivasan and designer Karin Von Ompteda to dive into the data lake.

    Photo: part of a honeycomb data-art installation: ‘Colony’ by David Hedberg and Gabriele Dini

    Blood2014082320140824 (WS)
    20140825 (WS)
    What do you see in a phial of blood? A life sustaining fluid teeming with millions of cells? Evidence to solve a terrible crime? Samira Ahmed explores blood in medicine, at crime scenes, and in our bodies and minds, with the help of Canadian writer Lawrence Hill who’s written a biography of the red stuff, Dr Gillian Leak, a forensic expert in crime scene blood pattern analysis, and Professor Kikkeri Naresh seeking to unlock the mysteries of blood cancer.

    Photo credit: Getty Images

    The life-giving fluid in science and in our culture

    What do you see in a phial of blood? A life sustaining fluid teeming with millions of cells? Evidence to solve a terrible crime? Samira Ahmed explores blood in medicine, at crime scenes, and in our bodies and minds, with the help of Canadian writer Lawrence Hill who’s written a biography of the red stuff, Dr Gillian Leak, a forensic expert in crime scene blood pattern analysis, and Professor Kikkeri Naresh seeking to unlock the mysteries of blood cancer.

    Photo credit: Getty Images

    Boudica: Warrior Queen2018012720180130 (WS)Boudica, also known as Boadicea, was a member of Iron Age aristocracy in Roman-occupied England, and her husband was the ruler of the Iceni people. When he died in around 60AD, Boudica, driven by Roman brutality, led a rebellion against the Roman army and marched on London. It was a ferocious attack that nearly drove the Romans out of Britain before Boudica was finally defeated. Today, she is an iconic and sometimes controversial figure.

    To explore Boudica, Bridget Kendall is joined by Professors Richard Hingley and Miranda Aldhouse-Green and Dr Jane Webster.

    Photo: Queen Boudica of the Iceni (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

    The Iron Age English warrior queen who led a rebellion against the Romans

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    Brain Drain: Can We Stem The Flow?2016051420160516 (WS)
    20160517 (WS)
    How can we stem the brain drain from countries who need their talented people?

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    Brain Drain: Can We Stem The Flow?2016051620160517 (WS)
    20160518 (WS)
    The Forum is in Cape Town, South Africa, as guests of The British Council at the Going Global Conference. As globalisation enables the transit and relocation of people ever more quickly and easily, what impact is there on countries who desperately need to keep their skilled labour and what are the issues that need addressing? With Quentin Cooper to discuss the Brain Drain is professor Olusola Oyewole from Nigeria, Dr Jo Beall, from the British Council, professor Tao Xie from Beijing and Carolyn Medel-Anonuevo, from Unesco.

    (Photo: a human brain in a glass box. Credit: Getty Images)

    How can we stem the brain drain from countries who need their talented people?

    Bram Stoker's Dracula2017091620170918 (WS)
    20170919 (WS)
    Few novels have had such a huge impact on modern popular culture as Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The story and its terrifying main character have fascinated readers, critics, writers and film-makers ever since it was first published in 1897.

    Across the world there are fan clubs devoted to the fictional Romanian aristocrat who brings terror to Victorian England. Bridget Kendall is joined by Dracula expert Dacre Stoker, gothic studies specialist Dr Sorcha Ní Fhlainn and Dr Sam George from the University of Hertfordshire in the UK.

    Photo: Actor Christopher Lee portraying Count Dracula. (Keystone/ Getty Images)

    Bridget Kendall and guests discuss the origins and the legacy of Bram Stoker's Dracula

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    Bubbles2014080920140810 (WS)
    20140811 (WS)
    The curious properties of bubbles in the oceans, in our bodies and in art.

    Fragile gas filled spheres, sparkling champagne globules that fill your nose with fizz, pipe dreams that pop when the illusion grows too big: the Forum explores the mysterious world of bubbles. Bridget Kendall is joined by bubble physicist Helen Czerski, biomedical engineer Constantin Coussios and artist Bradley Hart who makes giant paintings using bubble wrap.

    Photo credit: Associated Press

    Photo credit: Associated Press

    Cali-topia: A New Vision Of Thomas More's Utopia?2016122420161226 (WS)
    20161227 (WS)
    Is Silicon Valley a template for our utopian future?

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    Cali-topia: A New Vision Of Thomas More's Utopia?2016122620161227 (WS)Is Thomas More's vision of an ideal society becoming reality in modern-day California? The Forum travels to Singularity University at the heart of Silicon Valley to ask why California keeps attracting utopian thinkers who want to use advanced technology to solve humanity’s biggest challenges.

    Jack Stewart is joined by forecaster Paul Saffo, Chair of Future Studies at Singularity University, Ryan Mullenix, partner at NBBJ Architecture, Krista Donaldson, CEO of Silicon Valley healthcare start up D-Rev, and Colin Milburn, Chair in Science and the Humanities at University of California, Davis.

    Photo: NASA Hangar One at Moffett Field, California, Credit: Simon Dawson

    Is Silicon Valley a template for our utopian future?

    Photo: NASA Hangar One at Moffett Field, California, Credit: Simon Dawson

    Calm In The Chaos: The Story Of The Stoics2018110120181102 (WS)
    20181104 (WS)
    20181105 (WS)
    Stoicism is a school of thought over two thousand years old that asked how to live "a good life" in an unpredictable world, and how to make the best of what is in our power, while accepting the rest as it happens naturally. It trumpeted the value of reason as man's most valuable Virtue, and offered a practical guide to remaining steadfast, strong and in control.

    This ancient Graeco-Roman philosophy had a broad influence that reached across time and disciplines: its Virtues inspired some of the same from Christianity in the Middle Ages, its belief in Reason spoke to the works of 18th Century German philosopher Immanuel Kant, and the relationship it drew between judgement and emotion went on to inspire the modern Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Movement.

    Bridget Kendall discusses this philosophy's key ideas and evolution, and explores what it is to live like a Stoic in the modern world with guests Massimo Pigliucci, Nancy Sherman and Donald Robertson.

    Photo: Equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius, 161-180, a practitioner of Stoicism. (Credit: Getty Images)

    A philosophy for resilience and equanimity

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    Sharing knowledge

    This ancient Greco-Roman philosophy had a broad influence that reached across time and disciplines: its Virtues inspired some of the same from Christianity in the Middle Ages, its belief in Reason spoke to the works of 18th Century German philosopher Emmanuel Kant, and the relationship it drew between judgement and emotion went on to inspire the modern Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Movement.

    Photo: Equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius, 161-180, a practitioner of Stoicism. (Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images)

    Calouste Gulbenkian: The Architect Of Middle East Oil2019022820190301 (WS)
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    20190304 (WS)
    Today, the Istanbul-born Armenian financier Calouste Gulbenkian is mostly remembered as a great art collector and philanthropist; at his death in 1955 he was thought of as the world's richest man. But perhaps more than any of the above, he may have been the world's most tenacious negotiator: how else would he have held on - for decades - to the main source of his fabulous wealth, his minority share in major oil companies, despite their concerted effort to push him out? In the 150th year of Gulbenkian's birth, Rajan Datar follows Calouste's life and deal-making with his great grandson Martin Essayan; historian Dr. Jonathan Conlin, author of a new biography of Gulbenkian; and Professor of Business History Joost Jonker.

    Photo: Calouste Gulbenkian (credit: Arquivos Gulbenkian)

    The secretive Armenian financier who shaped petroleum production for decades

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    Cambodia's Ancient Khmer Empire2018102720181029 (WS)Around the twelfth and thirteenth century CE Angkor was thought to be one of the world's biggest cities. Its massive temple complex at Angkor Wat covered hundreds of acres adorned with majestic towers, terraces and waterways: symbols of the might of the Khmer kings who ruled the region. Angkor Wat attracts millions of tourists every year and has pride of place on the Cambodian national flag but there's much more to Angkor and the Khmer civilisation than its temples.
    Bridget Kendall talks about Khmer history with David Chandler, Emeritus Professor of history at Monash University in Melbourne; architectural historian Dr. Swati Chemburkar from the Jnanapravaha Arts Centre in Mumbai; anthropologist Dr. Kyle Latinis from the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore and former Dean of the University of Cambodia; and art historian Dr. Peter Sharrock from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.

    Photo: Angkor Wat temple complex. (SERENA/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

    Builders and sculptors of South East Asia's awe-inspiring monuments

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    Sharing knowledge

    Photo: Angkor Wat temple complex. (SERENA/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

    Carl Linnaeus: Naming Nature2017070820170710 (WS)
    20170711 (WS)
    Carl Linnaeus, today a largely unknown figure, is one of the giants of natural science. He devised the formal two-part naming system we use to classify all life forms. With Quentin Cooper is botanist Dr Sandra Knapp, from the Natural History Museum in London, life sciences expert Professor Staffan Müller-Wille from Exeter University in the UK, and science writer and biographer of Linnaeus, Dr Lisbet Rausing.

    Photo: Carl Linnaeus painted by Per Krafft the Elder (Permission of The Linnean Society of London)

    The botanist who created a classification system to understand the natural world

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    Carl Linnaeus: Naming Nature20170712Naming things in the natural world.

    Carl Linnaeus, today a largely unknown figure, is one of the giants of natural science. He devised the formal two-part naming system we use to classify all life forms. With Quentin Cooper is botanist Dr Sandra Knapp, from the Natural History Museum in London, life sciences expert Professor Staffan Müller-Wille from Exeter University in the UK and science writer and biographer of Linnaeus, Dr Lisbet Rausing.

    Photo: Carl Linnaeus painted by Per Krafft the Elder (Permission of The Linnean Society of London)

    Catherine The Great Of Russia2018051920180522 (WS)Famous for her lovers and satirised for her colourful personal life, Catherine the Great was in many ways one of Russia’s most progressive and moderate rulers, modernising 18th century Russia, improving educational standards and creating a flourishing arts and literature scene. But she also turned Russia into the biggest Empire on earth since the Roman Empire, which included the annexation of Crimea. So how far has her imperial mind set influenced Russia’s modern rulers, like President Putin?

    Joining Bridget Kendall to discuss the life and legacy of Catherine II of Russia, is Professor Andrei Zorin, cultural historian and Chair of Russian at the University of Oxford, Simon Dixon, Professor of Russian History at University College London and author of the biography “Catherine the Great”’ and Dr Viktoria Ivleva, who specialises in Catherine’s role as a woman ruler and her use of uniform and costume.

    Photo: Equestrian Portrait of Catherine II. Oil on canvas by Vigilius Eriksen, Denmark. After 1762 (The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg)

    A woman and a foreigner who usurped her way to the throne in 18th century Russia

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    Challenging Assumptions2014061420140615 (WS)
    20140616 (WS)
    How easy is it to disregard conventional wisdom, for instance why customers stop buying, or staff leave? What about the assumed fears about globalisation or the perception of Scandinavians as gloomy. Samira Ahmed discusses challenging assumptions with Freakonomics author Steven Levitt, futurist Anne Lise Kjaer and Oxford Martin School director Ian Goldin.

    (Photo: A chimpanzee uses a stick to try and open a box. Credit: AFP/ Getty Images)

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    Charlie Chaplin2018112220181123 (WS)
    20181125 (WS)
    20181126 (WS)
    For many people, Charlie Chaplin and the Tramp, a character he created at the start of his film career, are synonymous. This funny little man with a black moustache and a waddling gait, dressed in baggy trousers and a tight jacket, with oversized shoes and a small bowler hat, made millions of people laugh, turned Chaplin into a household name and - in his day - the highest paid entertainer in the world.
    But there was more to Chaplin than just a virtuoso physical comedian: he was a versatile actor, writer, musician and director. He carefully fine-tuned every aspect of his feature films, no matter how long it took or what the cost, making him - possibly - the only complete auteur in film history. He had an eye to posterity: even in the early days when films were thought of as disposable, he carefully preserved all his works. And he also had business acumen: with his brother Sydney he masterminded brilliant publicity campaigns, re-releases and lucrative deals.
    Bridget Kendall is joined by silent film historians Ellen Cheshire, Donna Kornhaber and Paul Duncan to explore Chaplin's world: the films that made him famous, the people who helped him become a star, and the hidden depths and contradictions behind the slapstick humour.

    Photo: Charlie Chaplin in the comedy film The Gold Rush (Bettmann/Getty Images)

    The life and work of early Hollywood's most successful comedian

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    Chaucer, Father Of English Poetry2020071620200719 (WS)
    20200720 (WS)
    Geoffrey Chaucer has been called the father of English poetry and the greatest poet in English before Shakespeare. He is best known for The Canterbury Tales, stories told by a band of pilgrims on their way from London to the shrine of Thomas Becket who was murdered in Canterbury Cathedral two centuries before. Chaucer’s was an age of plague, war and revolt and his pilgrims bring insight into the life and values of those tumultuous times, from the bawdy Miller and the earthy Wife of Bath to the corrupt Pardoner and the Knight whose chivalry was increasingly out of step with the times.

    Bridget Kendall explores the range of Chaucer’s world with Emily Steiner, Professor of English at University of Pennsylvania; Mary Flannery, Professor of Medieval English Studies at Bern University; and Anthony Bale, Professor of Medieval Studies at Birkbeck College, University of London.

    (Image: Portrait of Geoffrey Chaucer based on a 19th century engraving by James Thomson Credit: Stock Montage/Getty Images)

    The man who in the 14th Century made English a language fit for literature

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    Chess: A Chequered History2019041120190414 (WS)
    20190415 (WS)
    It’s been called the 'gymnasium of the mind', both mental exercise and a way to build self-esteem. Born some 1,500 years ago, the game of chess was one of the world’s first strategy board games, though little is still known about its origins. Was it first conceived to teach Indian army generals? Or devised to turn a tyrannical King into a virtuous ruler? Or was it a meditative diversion for Japanese monks? It’s easy to forget that the modern game of chess is only 500 years old – and that other ancient forms of Chess, like Xiangqi in China and Shogi in Japan, are much older, still evolving and still played today.

    Joining Bridget Kendall to explore the history of chess, are the chess historians Jean-Louis Cazaux and Rick Knowlton, the novelist Andrei Kurkov who’s followed the dramas of Russian chess through the ages, and the Grandmaster Jovanka Houska who’ll be challenging Bridget to a game of chess in the studio.

    Photo: Rick Knowlton's sculpted reproductions of the first confirmed chessmen ever discovered. The original pieces were found in Afrasiab, the ancient city of Samarkand (in present-day Uzbekistan) in 1977. They are dated at approximately AD 700. (Rick Knowlton)

    A war on the board - one of the oldest strategy games in the world

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    Childhood: From Toddlers To Teenagers2017061020170612 (WS)
    20170613 (WS)
    Why do humans have such a long period of immaturity? And how have our ideas about childhood changed through the ages and across the world?
    Bridget Kendall explores some of the key moments and figures in the history of childhood, including Confucian China, Victorian factories and the 'endless childhood' that some young people seem to be living today. Her guests are Alison Gopnik, Professor of Psychology and Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley; Ping-chen Hsiung Professor of History at the Chinese University of Hong Kong; and Hugh Cunningham Professor of Social History at the University of Kent.

    Photo: a young girl walks through an entrance to a walled garden (BBC)

    Through the ages and across the world, how have our ideas about childhood changed?

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    Childhood: From Toddlers To Teenagers20170614Through the ages and across the world, how have our ideas about childhood changed?

    Why do humans have such a long period of immaturity? And how have our ideas about childhood changed through the ages and across the world?
    Bridget Kendall explores some of the key moments and figures in the history of childhood, including Confucian China, Victorian factories and the 'endless childhood' that some young people seem to be living today. Her guests are Alison Gopnik, Professor of Psychology and Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley; Ping-chen Hsiung Professor of History at the Chinese University of Hong Kong; and Hugh Cunningham Professor of Social History at the University of Kent.

    Photo: a young girl walks through an entrance to a walled garden (BBC)

    Chinua Achebe: Rewriting The African Story2018020320180206 (WS)The Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe is regarded as a giant of world literature. Best known as the author of the ground-breaking novel Things Fall Apart, he was also acclaimed for his works of non-fiction, poetry and his books for children. Raised and educated when his country was still under British colonial rule, Achebe witnessed great change, experiencing both the dawn of an independent Nigeria and the devastation of civil war. He is a writer famed for depicting, in English, the traditions of Igbo society in south-eastern Nigeria, and for engaging with subjects such as conflict, corruption and colonialism.

    In this programme, Rajan Datar and guests reflect on the life and legacy of this academic, author and advocate of African fiction. Featuring scholars Louisa Egbunike, Ernest Emenyonu and Terri Ochiagha.

    Photo: Chinua Achebe (Getty Images)

    The life and work of the ground-breaking Nigerian author

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    Christina Of Sweden: Queen Of Surprises2018072820180731 (WS)An accomplished young horsewoman who loved fencing and male attire, the 17th-century Swedish Queen Christina was anything but a conventional princess. And she kept springing surprises on her court and country: after just a decade on the throne she abdicated, converted to Catholicism and moved to Rome. Once there, she put herself forward as a candidate for the post of queen of Naples, opened a public theatre and scandalised the Holy See by a liaison with a cardinal. Bridget Kendall follows Christina's adventures with biographer Veronica Buckley, and historians Stefano Fogelberg Rota and Therese Sjovoll.

    Photo: Christina of Sweden by Jacob Heinrich Elbfas, 1640s

    The rebellious monarch who scandalised 17th-century Europe

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    Cnut: England's Viking King2019061320190616 (WS)
    20190617 (WS)
    King Cnut the Great started life as a young Viking warrior, but quickly became one of the most successful kings in Anglo-Saxon history, reigning over a huge empire covering England, Denmark and Norway in the early 11th century. For some, he was the perfect Christian king; for others, he was a ruthless warlord. Today in popular culture his name is associated with the tale of King Cnut and the waves - the legend of an arrogant king who believed he could stop the tide.

    Joining Bridget Kendall to disentangle the facts from legends about King Cnut are Else Roesdahl, Professor Emerita of Medieval Archaeology at the University of Århus, Denmark; Eleanor Parker, Lecturer in Medieval English Literature at Brasenose College, Oxford University, UK; and historian Timothy Bolton, author of the biography Cnut the Great.

    Image: An illustration where Cnut criticises his courtiers for believing that he could command the tide of the river. (Bettmann/Getty Images)

    King Cnut the Great ruled much of northern Europe a millennium ago

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    King Cnut the Great started life as a young Viking warrior, but quickly became one of the most successful kings in Anglo-Saxon history, reigning over a huge empire covering England, Denmark and Norway in the early 11th Century. For some, he was the perfect Christian king; for others, he was a ruthless warlord. Today in popular culture his name is associated with the tale of King Cnut and the waves - the legend of an arrogant king who believed he could stop the tide.

    Joining Bridget Kendall to disentangle the facts from legends about King Cnut are Else Roesdahl, professor emerita of Medieval Archaeology at the University of Århus, Denmark; Eleanor Parker, lecturer in Medieval English Literature at Brasenose College, Oxford University, UK; and historian Timothy Bolton, author of the biography Cnut the Great.

    (Image: An illustration where Cnut criticises his courtiers for believing that he could command the tide of the river. Credit: Bettmann/Getty Images)

    Coal: A Burning Legacy2018111520181116 (WS)
    20181118 (WS)
    20181119 (WS)
    Coal is a commodity that’s often been considered dirty, old fashioned and cheap, a humble black stone that evokes images of soot covered workers. And yet this lump of energy became the essential fuel for industrialisation all over the world, transforming societies and launching empires. But this transformative power came at a cost, as well as bringing unprecedented wealth it also brought unprecedented pollution. So how are countries dealing with coal’s legacy, and will dependence on coal carry on into the future?

    Joining Rajan Datar is Dr Kenneth Mathu from Gibs, University of Pretoria in Johannesburg; Dr Shellen Xiao Wu, specialist on China and author of “Empires of Coal”; the American environmental lawyer Barbara Freese who’s written “Coal: A human history”, and Darran Cowd, the manager of Kent Mining museum in South East England.

    Photo: coal being loaded onto a truck at a mine in China. (MichelTroncy/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images)

    How coal created empires and wealth but also caused misery and unprecedented pollution

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    Coco Chanel: French Style Icon2019080820190811 (WS)
    20190812 (WS)
    “I didn’t like my life, so I created my life,” the French fashion designer, Coco Chanel declared. And what a life it was: from her humble beginnings in an orphanage, Chanel blazed a trail as a fiercely independent woman, rising to become the toast of French high society. She mixed with the artists who defined modernism in the 1920s and ‘30s, and created a fashion empire which today is a multi-billion dollar business that still dominates the luxury clothes and accessories market.

    The suit, the little black dress and the handbag are just some of the items Chanel shaped in a career which covered much of the 20th century. Luxurious and elegant, but also practical, her designs gave women freedom to move and pursue the kinds of activities which were now opening up as society’s barriers were being broken down.

    But the woman herself was a web of contradictions. While she contributed to the emancipation of rich women, she limited her workers’ rights. And controversially, she was involved with a Nazi officer in occupied France during World War II. She even tried to capitalise on Nazi laws to seize back her hugely profitable perfume business, having previously sold the majority shares to a Jewish family.

    Joining Bridget Kendall to discuss the complex life of Coco Chanel are dress historian Amy de la Haye, author of Chanel: Couture and Industry and professor at the London College of Fashion; fashion historian Emilie Hammen from the Institut Français de la Mode in Paris; and Madelief Hohé, curator of the fashion and costume department at the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague, and the author of Femmes Fatales: Strong Women in Fashion.

    Image: Coco Chanel
    Credit: Roger Viollet/Getty Images

    Exploring the rags to riches life story of the French fashion designer

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    Comenius, A Pioneer Of Lifelong Learning2020110520201106 (WS)
    20201108 (WS)
    20201109 (WS)
    Teaching not by rote but through play? That's credited to the 17th-century Czech pastor and thinker called Jan Amos Comenius. Splitting schoolchildren up into year groups? That's Comenius. Universal education for all, rich and poor? That's down to him too. Nearly four centuries ago, Comenius came up with principles of modern education but they were only implemented hundreds of years after his death. That these ideas are now so widely accepted obscures the fact that they were ground-breaking - indeed too radical - in his day.
    Comenius lived through turbulent times: the devastating Thirty Year served as the backdrop to much of his life. He was suffered personal tragedy during the bitter battles between Protestants and Catholics in Europe and spent most of his adult life in exile. Joining Rajan Datar to analyse the contribution to modern thinking made by Comenius in this, the 350th anniversary year of his death are Dr. Vladimir Urbanek, Head of the Department of Comenius' Studies and Early Modern Intellectual History at the Czech Academy of Sciences in Prague; Howard Hotson, Professor of Early Modern Intellectual History at Oxford University; and Dr. Yoanna Leek from the Faculty of Education Sciences at Lodz University in Poland.

    [Image: Portrait of Comenius by Jurgen Ovens, painted c. 1650 - 1670. Credit: Sepia Times/Universal Images Group via Getty Images]

    The life and work of the father of modern education

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    Concrete: Foundation Of The Modern World2016101520161017 (WS)
    20161018 (WS)
    How concrete underpins the modern world

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    Concrete: Foundation Of The Modern World2016101720161019 (WS)It has been around since before 6,000BC, the Ancient Egyptians used a version of it and so did the Romans. Nowadays it is the most common man-made building material in the world, used for some of the planets biggest engineering projects - and some of the smallest. It has not always been loved by the public but architects and designers see both practicality and beauty. There is also an environmental issue - the production of concrete has a major environmental impact. So what of its future? Bridget Kendall explores concrete with architect Anupama Kundoo, design critic and writer Stephen Bayley and engineer and scientist professor Paulo Monteiro.

    (Photo: The ceiling of the Pantheon in Rome is an example of Roman concrete construction. Credit: Getty Images)

    How concrete underpins the modern world.

    It has been around since before 6,000BC, the Ancient Egyptians used a version of it and so did the Romans. Nowadays it is the most common man-made building material in the world, used for some of the planets biggest engineering projects - and some of the smallest. It has not always been loved by the public but architects and designers see both practicality and beauty. There is also an environmental issue - the production of concrete has a major environmental impact. So what of its future? Bridget Kendall explores concrete with architect Anupama Kundoo, design critic and writer Stephen Bayley and engineer and scientist professor Paulo Monteiro.

    Connections With The Sea2013012620130127 (WS)Exploring our connections with the sea; the goods that arrive by ever larger ships; the ideas that ocean travellers bring, and the identities that are shaped by proximity to the water. Bridget Kendall is joined by Marco Pluijm, a leading port designer; Croatian novelist and coast-dweller Dasa Drndic, and historian of the sea David Abulafia.

    Photo shows Hong Kong harbour

    Photo by Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty)

    Are all linked to the sea, even if we live hundreds of miles from the coast?

    Photo by Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty)

    Consumption And Our Identity2016011620160118 (WS)
    20160119 (WS)
    How what we consume shapes and defines our identity

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    Consumption And Our Identity2016011820160119 (WS)What has been driving up the global levels of consumption – need? Government policies? Or, a hunger for social status? Bridget Kendall asks the historian of consumerism Frank Trentmann, the sociologist Lyla Mehta and the political scientist Eduardo Gómez to share their thoughts.

    (Photo: People consuming tapas)

    How what we consume shapes and defines our identity

    Controlling Our Health2012090820120909 (WS)Modern technology and medicine can treat conditions that were once thought to be incurable. In other ways though, are we any less vulnerable than in the past to disease and injury, both as individuals and societies?

    Bridget Kendall's guests this week bring personal as well as professional experience to the table: the award winning author MJ Hyland explains why she has gone public about her life with multiple sclerosis. Mark Harrison is a medical historian who has tracked the links between disease and commerce, and entrepreneur Frank Reynolds has devoted the last 20 years to developing treatments for his own spinal cord injury.

    Illustration by Emily Kasriel: the challenge of trying to control our own bodies.

    How much control do we really have over our bodies and health?

    Modern technology and medicine can treat conditions that were once thought to be incurable. In other ways though, are we any less vulnerable than in the past to disease and injury, both as individuals and societies?

    Bridget Kendall's guests this week bring personal as well as professional experience to the table: the award winning author MJ Hyland explains why she has gone public about her life with multiple sclerosis. Mark Harrison is a medical historian who has tracked the links between disease and commerce, and entrepreneur Frank Reynolds has devoted the last 20 years to developing treatments for his own spinal cord injury.

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    Cool: Sunglasses, Style And American Counter Culture2018100620181009 (WS)Exploring the elements of that seemingly effortless pose to which so many aspire

    Sharing knowledge

    We probably know ‘cool’ when we see it, but what lies behind it and where did it originate?

    Most scholars agree that cool is a mode of being, an attitude or aesthetic. Some argue it arose out of a West African mode of performance, and was later developed in jazz circles by African-American musicians. Cool served to hide one’s emotions and survive confrontation with any hostile external forces – namely racism. In post-World War Two America, cool took on a new meaning, especially when its ideas were translated to white popular culture. It symbolised an individual’s rebellion, and new icons of cool emerged (especially on the silver screen) onto which people projected their deepest desires and fears.

    Today cool is a commodity, taken up by global brands and in some ways divorced from its rebellious roots. Bridget Kendall is joined by three cultural historians to explore the multiple meanings and emergence of cool, including Joel Dinerstein from Tulane University in New Orleans, US, Claudia Springer from Framingham State University in Massachusetts, and Carol Tulloch from Chelsea College of Arts in London.

    (Photo: American jazz musician Miles Davis. Credit: Jack Vartoogian/Getty Images)

    Cool: Sunglasses, Style And American Counter-culture2018100620181009 (WS)We probably know ‘cool’ when we see it, but what lies behind it and where did it originate?

    Most scholars agree that cool is a mode of being, an attitude or aesthetic. Some argue it arose out of a West African mode of performance, and was later developed in jazz circles by African-American musicians. Cool served to hide one’s emotions and survive confrontation with any hostile external forces – namely racism. In post-World War Two America, cool took on a new meaning, especially when its ideas were translated to white popular culture. It symbolised an individual’s rebellion, and new icons of cool emerged (especially on the silver screen) onto which people projected their deepest desires and fears.

    Today cool is a commodity, taken up by global brands and in some ways divorced from its rebellious roots. Bridget Kendall is joined by three cultural historians to explore the multiple meanings and emergence of cool, including Joel Dinerstein from Tulane University in New Orleans, US, Claudia Springer from Framingham State University in Massachusetts, and Carol Tulloch from Chelsea College of Arts in London.

    (Photo: American jazz musician Miles Davis. Credit: Jack Vartoogian/Getty Images)

    Exploring the elements of that seemingly effortless pose to which so many aspire

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    Core: A Journey To The Centre Of The Earth2015110920151110 (WS)What lies at the heart of the universe and the core of the earth itself?

    How startling discoveries about the core of the earth and the oldest star yet known help us understand our place in the grand scheme of things. Tim Marlow and the astrophysicist Arif Babul, the astronomer Anna Frebel and the earth scientist Paul Savage go on a quest to find the core or centre.

    (Photo: a split Earth showing a molten core)

    How startling discoveries about the core of the earth and the oldest star yet known help us understand our place in the grand scheme of things. Tim Marlow and the astrophysicist Arif Babul, the astronomer Anna Frebel and the earth scientist Paul Savage go on a quest to find the core or centre.

    Cotton: A Yarn With A Twist2017121620171219 (WS)It is a fibre and a fabric that is part of many people's daily lives, it grows wild on at least three continents, it has been woven into cloth and traded all over the world for thousands of years. And when machines made possible the mass production of cotton, its story became entwined with the history of human slavery: making fortunes for a few, and condemning many to a life of misery. So what are the milestones in the history of cotton? And why has it always proved such a popular clothing material across the centuries and across the world?

    Bridget Kendall is joined by four textile historians to trace cotton's origins and its evolution into one of the world's most important global commodities: Sven Beckert, Professor of History at Harvard, Prasannan Parthasarathi, Professor of History at Boston College, Giorgio Riello, Professor of Global History and Culture at the University of Warwick and the President of the Textile Society Mary Schoeser.

    Photo: Cotton yarn (Getty Images)

    The chequered history of the original global fabric

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    Curiosity: How Important Is It To Science And To Society As A Whole?2013060220130603 (WS)with Lee Smolin, Philip Ball and Masooda Bano.

    Curiosity has always been with us but it's not always easy to say what is the optimum amount in any given situation. Have the cosmologists lost sight of it in a dogmatic theory of the universe? Are there lessons in the scientific spirit of the 17th century? And when it comes to human beings and curiosity, does curiosity carry dangers for young people in changing societies? Joining Carrie Gracie are theoretical physicist Lee Smolin, science historian Philip Ball and social scientist Masooda Bano. (Photo by Al Barry/Three Lions/Getty Images)

    Curiosity has always been with us but it's not always easy to say what is the optimum amount in any given situation. Have the cosmologists lost sight of it in a dogmatic theory of the universe? Are there lessons in the scientific spirit of the 17th century? And when it comes to human beings and curiosity, does curiosity carry dangers for young people in changing societies? Joining Carrie Gracie are theoretical physicist Lee Smolin, science historian Philip Ball and social scientist Masooda Bano. (Photo by Al Barry/Three Lions/Getty Images)

    Curves2015090720150908 (WS)in art, space and life

    An edition of The Forum dedicated to curves in art, in space and in life.

    Joining Quentin Cooper are social philosopher Charles Handy whose latest book The Second Curve suggests how some curved thinking could help point many of us in a new and better direction, artist Shirazeh Houshiary who uses curves extensively in her work and Carlo Rovelli, an expert on quantum loop gravity, author of Seven Brief Lessons in Physics, who tell us that space is curvy.

    Photo: The curves of a modern spiral staircase (Tim Allen)

    Curves in art, space and life

    An edition of The Forum dedicated to curves in art, in space and in life.

    Cyrano De Bergerac: Big-nosed Hero2019120520191206 (WS)
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    Although the name conjures up the image of a swashbuckling poet with an enormous nose, little is known about the life of the maverick 17th-century writer and philosopher Cyrano de Bergerac. Born four centuries ago, he left behind a play, love letters and a handful of strange travelogues that imagine a journey to the moon.

    The sketchy details of his past were a blank canvas for the late 19th-century French playwright Edmond Rostand, who mythologised aspects of Cyrano’s life for his own ends. Immortalising Cyrano on stage, Rostand created a character whose heroism and generosity have resonated with audiences since the play’s premiere in 1897. Cyrano believes himself to be ugly and ridiculous on account of his large nose, and fears that in spite of his talent for romantic poetry he will never be able to win the heart of the woman he loves. Enter the good-looking but inarticulate Christian de Neuvillette, and together they devise the perfect hero whose identity is only revealed at the end of the play.

    Bridget Kendall explores the intersection between the real Cyrano and his fictional counterpart with Dr Clémence Caritté, who’s written extensively on Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac; Professor Isabelle Moreau from the University of Lyon, co-editor of Seventeenth Century Fiction: Text and Transmission; and Professor John Rodden who lectures in European history at the University of Texas at Austin, USA.

    (Main Image: Cyrano de Bergerac by the Comédie-Française, featuring Michel Vuillermoz as Cyrano, Paris, May, 2006. Photo credit: Raphael Gaillarde / Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images.

    The swashbuckling poet of a late 19th-century French play and his real-life inspiration

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    Dante's Inferno: The Poetry Of Hell2018022420180227 (WS)Inferno is the 14th century epic that tells the story of Dante Alighieri’s imaginary journey through the underworld. It is the first part of Dante’s The Divine Comedy, and is widely considered to be one of the world’s greatest poems. “Abandon all hope you who enter here” is the famous phrase inscribed on the gates of Dante’s Inferno, and Hell is divided into nine circles, with cruel and unusual punishments afflicting the sinners, who range from the lustful and cowardly in the upper circles to the malicious at the bottom of Hell. Joining Rajan Datar to explore Dante’s Inferno is Dr Vittorio Montemaggi, author of Reading Dante’s Commedia as Theology; Claire Honess, Professor of Italian studies at the University of Leeds, and Sangjin Park, Professor of Italian at Busan University of Foreign studies in South Korea, who will be speaking about the role Inferno played in shaping Korea’s national identity.

    Photo: A visual interpretation of red hell-fire (Getty Images)

    The imagined poetic voyage through Hell that explores the meaning of human existence

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    The imagined poetic voyage through Hell that explores the meaning of human existence

    Inferno is the 14th century epic that tells the story of Dante Alighieri’s imaginary journey through the underworld. It is the first part of Dante’s The Divine Comedy, and is widely considered to be one of the world’s greatest poems. “Abandon all hope you who enter here” is the famous phrase inscribed on the gates of Dante’s Inferno, and Hell is divided into nine circles, with cruel and unusual punishments afflicting the sinners, who range from the lustful and cowardly in the upper circles to the malicious at the bottom of Hell. Joining Rajan Datar to explore Dante’s Inferno is Dr Vittorio Montemaggi, author of Reading Dante’s Commedia as Theology; Claire Honess, Professor of Italian studies at the University of Leeds, and Sangjin Park, Professor of Italian at Busan University of Foreign studies in South Korea, who will be speaking about the role Inferno played in shaping Korea’s national identity.

    Photo: A visual interpretation of red hell-fire (Getty Images)

    Inferno is the 14th century epic that tells the story of Dante Alighieri’s imaginary journey through the underworld. It is the first part of Dante’s The Divine Comedy, and is widely considered to be one of the world’s greatest poems. “Abandon all hope you who enter here ? is the famous phrase inscribed on the gates of Dante’s Inferno, and Hell is divided into nine circles, with cruel and unusual punishments afflicting the sinners, who range from the lustful and cowardly in the upper circles to the malicious at the bottom of Hell. Joining Rajan Datar to explore Dante’s Inferno is Dr Vittorio Montemaggi, author of Reading Dante’s Commedia as Theology; Claire Honess, Professor of Italian studies at the University of Leeds, and Sangjin Park, Professor of Italian at Busan University of Foreign studies in South Korea, who will be speaking about the role Inferno played in shaping Korea’s national identity.

    Defiance: Why Are Some People More Defiant Than Others?2016070220160704 (WS)
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    When is defiance a resistance to authority, and when is it a sign of disregard to others?

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    Acts of defiance small or large have proved to be incredibly powerful throughout history, but when does defiance spill into aggression? Bridget Kendall asks the employment lawyer Lewis Maltby, the theatre director Olivier Py and the psychopathologist Dr Luna Muñoz Centifanti.

    (Photo: Historic Marker at the bus stop in Alabama, USA, where Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat. Credit: Getty Images)

    Acts of defiance small or large have proved to be incredibly powerful throughout history, but when does defiance spill into aggression? Bridget Kendall asks the employment lawyer Lewis Maltby, the theatre director Olivier Py and the psychopathologist Dr Luna Muñoz Centifanti.

    Democracy And The Arts In South Africa2014080220140803 (WS)
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    Twenty years on from the end of apartheid, what role can the arts play now in helping South African society develop? Recorded with an audience at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, Bridget Kendall talks to playwright Mike Van Graan, poet Phillippa Yaa de Villiers, arts journalist Percy Mabandu, and jazz singer Nomfundo Xaluva who performs live for us.

    (Photo: From left, Mike Van Graan, Phillippa Yaa de Villiers, Percy Mabandu and Nomfundo Xaluva. BBC copyright)

    The Forum at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown.

    (Photo: From left, Mike Van Graan, Phillippa Yaa de Villiers, Percy Mabandu and Nomfundo Xaluva. BBC copyright)

    Detroit: Migration, Motors And Music2017102120171023 (WS)
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    Bridget Kendall and guests examine the story of Detroit. Founded in 1701 by a French man named Cadillac, this American city became famous in the 20th Century for its automobile industry, the music of Motown, and the great unrest seen on the city’s streets in the summer of 1967. Bridget Kendall and guests discuss the city’s changing fortunes and its fascinating history, from the role played by some residents in the 'Underground Railroad’ of the 19th Century, to its recent experience of bankruptcy.

    Bridget is joined by Herb Boyd, Stephen Henderson, Thomas Sugrue and Anna Clark. Also featuring Tiya Miles and Carleton Gholz.

    (Photo: City of Detroit. Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

    The changing fortunes of the American city of Detroit

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    Detroit: Migration, Motors And Music20171023The changing fortunes of the American city of Detroit

    Bridget Kendall and guests examine the story of Detroit. Founded in 1701 by a French man named Cadillac, this American city became famous in the 20th Century for its automobile industry, the music of Motown, and the great unrest seen on the city’s streets in the summer of 1967. Bridget Kendall and guests discuss the city’s changing fortunes and its fascinating history, from the role played by some residents in the 'Underground Railroad’ of the 19th Century, to its recent experience of bankruptcy.

    Bridget is joined by Herb Boyd, Stephen Henderson, Thomas Sugrue and Anna Clark. Also featuring Tiya Miles and Carleton Gholz.

    (Photo: City of Detroit. Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

    Diaghilev And The Ballet Revolution2018112920181130 (WS)
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    The Russian dance impresario Sergei Diaghilev transformed not only ballet, but all the arts in the 20th century. His ground-breaking Ballets Russes burst onto the scene in Paris in 1909 and replaced stuffy set pieces with shockingly vibrant performances that brought together scenery by artists Picasso and Matisse, costumes by Coco Chanel, avant-garde music by Stravinsky and Prokofiev, and a new style of movement from innovative dancers such as Nijinsky. The Ballet Russes became the world’s leading dance company for nearly quarter of a century, and its creative impulse still influences dance, music and art today.

    Bridget Kendall explores Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes with Lynn Garafola, Professor of Dance at Barnard College, Columbia University in the US; Jane Pritchard, Curator of Dance at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London; and the French dance writer Laura Cappelle.

    Photo: Portrait Of Sergei Dyagilev (Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images)

    The Russian impresario whose Ballet Russes company transformed 20th century dance

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    Dido Of Carthage: A Love Story Gone Wrong2020102920201030 (WS)
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    A Phoenician princess, who fled into exile to escape the cruel king of Tyre, sailed across the Mediterranean Sea to North Africa, where she founded the great city of Carthage in the ninth century BC. Well that is one story about Dido, or Elissa, as she is known in Lebanon and today's Tunisia.
    Another, from the Roman poet Virgil, puts her at the centre of a tragic love story: first entranced, then abandoned by the wandering Trojan hero Aeneas, Dido curses him and takes her own life.

    So who was the real Dido? Was she a powerful independent queen, or a victim - a spurned lover? And did she ever exist at all?

    Bridget Kendall is joined by Josephine Quinn, professor of Ancient History at Oxford University, and the author of the book In Search of the Phoenicians;
    Helene Sader, professor of Archaeology at the American University of Beirut, and the author of The History and Archaeology of Phoenicia;
    Roald Docter, professor of Archaeology at Ghent University and the editor of Carthage Studies;
    and Boutheina Maraoui Telmini, professor of Punic History and Archaeology at the University of Tunis.

    (Photo: A drawing of Dido and Aeneas hunting deer. Credit: Bettmann/Getty Images)

    What makes the legend of Dido so appealing to the arts and beyond?

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    Digital Shadows.2012032420120325
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    How much privacy is possible in a world which is increasingly digital?

    When you search the internet or pay with a credit card, do you ever wonder who might be snooping over your shoulder, mining the data about you that leaks out? Increasingly, computers and algorithms don’t need human intervention while monitoring and piecing together the secrets of our lives from the scraps of information which we unwittingly leave behind in cyberspace. So does this mean that privacy has become obsolete? Or are there either technological fixes or policy initiatives that can at least halt, if not reverse, the tide? Joining Bridget Kendall to discuss digital privacy are IBM Chief Scientist Jeff Jonas, Professor Nigel Shadbolt, UK government’s adviser on digital data, and ground-breaking electronic artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer.

    Illustration by Emily Kasriel: Can we expect privacy in the digital age?

    When you search the internet or pay with a credit card, do you ever wonder who might be snooping over your shoulder, mining the data about you that leaks out? Increasingly, computers and algorithms don’t need human intervention while monitoring and piecing together the secrets of our lives from the scraps of information which we unwittingly leave behind in cyberspace. So does this mean that privacy has become obsolete? Or are there either technological fixes or policy initiatives that can at least halt, if not reverse, the tide? Joining Bridget Kendall to discuss digital privacy are IBM Chief Scientist Jeff Jonas, Professor Nigel Shadbolt, UK government’s adviser on digital data, and ground-breaking electronic artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer.

    How much privacy is possible in a world which is increasingly digital?

    Dna: The Code For Making Life2016110520161107 (WS)A close look at the remarkable set of building blocks which all cellular life shares

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    Dna: The Code For Making Life20161107Bridget Kendall and guests explore the current understanding of how DNA works, why it needs constant repair in every living organism and how new DNA-altering techniques can help cure some medical conditions. Joining Bridget are Swedish Nobel Laureate and Francis Crick Institute Emeritus Group Leader Tomas Lindahl who pioneered DNA repair studies, medical researcher Niels Geijsen from the Hubrecht Institute who works on curing diseases caused by faulty inherited genes, evolutionary biologist T Ryan Gregory from Guelph University who asks why an onion has 5 times as much DNA as a human, and Oxford University’s bio-archaeologist Greger Larson whose research suggests that dogs were independently domesticated twice, on different continents.

    Photo Credit: Thinkstock Photos

    A close look at the remarkable set of building blocks which all cellular life shares

    Do We Need Artificial Intelligence?2016102220161024 (WS)
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    How the relentless advance of computer logic is changing our world and the way we think

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    Do You Know What You’re Eating?2016071820160719 (WS)
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    If you think of your favourite foods – chocolate, maybe, or samosas, or pizza – do you really know where all the ingredients came from? Bridget Kendall asks the food scientist Chris Elliott, the software designer Jérôme Malavoy and the food labelling expert Monique Raats.

    Photo: The food label on a box of brownies (Getty Images)

    How to ensure better food transparency: to track what we eat from farm to fork.

    If you think of your favourite foods – chocolate, maybe, or samosas, or pizza – do you really know where all the ingredients came from? Bridget Kendall asks the food scientist Chris Elliott, the software designer Jérôme Malavoy and the food labelling expert Monique Raats.

    Do You Know What You're Eating?2016071620160718 (WS)
    20160719 (WS)
    How to ensure better food transparency: to track what we eat from farm to fork.

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    Does Finance Have To Be Invisible?2013051920130520 (WS)with Anat Admati, Zachary Formwalt and Felix Martin

    What would it take to fix, rather than just patch up, the underlying flaws in our banking system? Perhaps it’s time for some unorthodox approaches, viewing the problem through the lens of an artist, or re-thinking basic questions, for instance, what money actually is. Joining Bridget Kendall are artist and film-maker Zachary Formwalt, bond trader and economic historian Felix Martin, and Stanford University’s professor of Finance and Economics, Anat Admati. Photo: In Place of Capital, 2009, production still © Zachary Formwalt

    What would it take to fix, rather than just patch up, the underlying flaws in our banking system? Perhaps it’s time for some unorthodox approaches, viewing the problem through the lens of an artist, or re-thinking basic questions, for instance, what money actually is. Joining Bridget Kendall are artist and film-maker Zachary Formwalt, bond trader and economic historian Felix Martin, and Stanford University’s professor of Finance and Economics, Anat Admati. Photo: In Place of Capital, 2009, production still © Zachary Formwalt

    Drones And Their Impact On The World2016111220161114 (WS)
    20161115 (WS)
    The history, present and future of drones.

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    Drones And Their Impact On The World2016111420161115 (WS)The history, present and future of drones.

    Drones have been hailed as the most important technological development in aviation since the invention of the jet engine. They have changed the nature of modern warfare and they are also catalysing developments in fields as diverse as law enforcement, film production, disaster management, newsgathering and agriculture. The availability and prevalence of drones in everyday life is increasing and creating enormous challenges in the fields of ethics, law and regulation – not least managing the flight paths of a potentially enormous number of small planes.

    With Bridget Kendall to explore the history, present and future of drones are:

    Marke "Hoot" Gibson, the Federal Aviation Administration’s Senior Advisor on Unmanned Aerial Systems Integration.

    Sarah Kreps, Associate Professor of Government at Cornell University in the USA and an expert on the ethical, legal and political dimensions of drones.

    Michael Nautu who designs and builds drones for purposes ranging from agriculture and aerial mapping to “next-generation conservation ? in Namibia.

    Photo: A drone flying above the New York City skyline. (Getty Images)

    Marke ""Hoot"" Gibson, the Federal Aviation Administration’s Senior Advisor on Unmanned Aerial Systems Integration.

    Photo: A drone flying above the New York City skyline. (Getty Images)

    Dust And Ash2013062320130624 (WS)In this week’s Forum Bridget Kendall and her guests discuss a substance which is everywhere. We can see it moving around, but we cannot stop its track. It’s in our houses and places of work as well as in the atmosphere. And although we try to avoid it, it can keep the planet a little cooler. We discuss dust and ash.

    Joining Bridget Kendall are: Japanese-American writer Katie Kitamura, whose latest novel was inspired by volcanic ash traveling across boundaries; Xenia Nikolskaya, a Russian photographer who has captured images of deserted palaces and mansions in Egypt that are covered in dust; and Professor Charlie Bristow, a sedimentologist from Birkbeck College at the University of London, who has worked in the dustiest place on earth - the Bodélé basin in the Sahara - and has been examining why dust travels the Atlantic to nourish the Amazon rainforest.

    Photo: Serageldin Palace, Cairo 2006 © Xenia Nikolskaya

    How dust helps to keep the planet cooler and nourishes the Amazon rainforest

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    Edgar Allan Poe - Master Of Horror20180915The dark, tumultuous life of America's great gothic writer

    Sharing knowledge

    Edgar Allan Poe is a 19th century American writer whose spine-chilling gothic tales have inspired generations of horror and mystery fiction writers. His poem ‘The Raven’, and short stories such as ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’ and ‘The Pit and the Pendulum’ brought him international fame, and he is also thought to have invented the detective fiction genre with ‘The Murders in the Rue Morgue’. But his tumultuous life was beset by personal tragedy, poverty and artistic struggle which seemed to echo many of the dark themes in his work.

    Bridget Kendall explores Poe’s life and extraordinary work with J. Gerald Kennedy, Boyd Professor of English at Louisiana State University; Diane Roberts, Professor of English and Creative Writing at Florida State University; and Paul Collins, Professor of English at Portland State University.

    Photo: Edgar Allan Poe (Corbis/Getty Images)

    Edgar Allan Poe: Master Of Horror2018091520180918 (WS)Edgar Allan Poe is a 19th century American writer whose spine-chilling gothic tales have inspired generations of horror and mystery fiction writers. His poem ‘The Raven’, and short stories such as ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’ and ‘The Pit and the Pendulum’ brought him international fame, and he is also thought to have invented the detective fiction genre with ‘The Murders in the Rue Morgue’. But his tumultuous life was beset by personal tragedy, poverty and artistic struggle which seemed to echo many of the dark themes in his work.

    Bridget Kendall explores Poe’s life and extraordinary work with J. Gerald Kennedy, Boyd Professor of English at Louisiana State University; Diane Roberts, Professor of English and Creative Writing at Florida State University; and Paul Collins, Professor of English at Portland State University.

    Photo: Edgar Allan Poe (Corbis/Getty Images)

    The dark, tumultuous life of America's great gothic writer

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    Einstein: Revolution In Time And Space2019082920190901 (WS)
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    Albert Einstein’s inability to get a job on graduating has given hope to generations of students. Knowing what we know now about the genius scientist, it’s hard to avoid smiling on reading his father’s pleas to physics professors to give his son an academic post.

    Perhaps it was just as well that these attempts failed, as the job Einstein eventually secured gave him the opportunity to daydream. Assessing new inventions at the Swiss capital’s patent office, Einstein allowed his imagination to run riot, creating ‘thought experiments’ that questioned centuries of knowledge about time, space and motion. In 1905 he published a series of papers that scientists today still use as a reference point.
    While Einstein himself didn’t foresee the technological application of his work, his research has since been used as the basis of modern inventions such as the atomic bomb, lasers, solar panels and GPS. Neither did he realise immediately the potential of his theories to help us understand the beginning of the universe.

    Rajan Datar explores the complexity of Einstein’s theories as well as what made him tick, with expert guests Janna Levin, professor of physics and astronomy at Barnard College, Columbia University, USA; science historian Jimena Canales, author of The Physicist and the Philosopher: Einstein, Bergson and the Debate that changed our understanding of Time; and Matthew Stanley, professor of the history of science at New York University whose book Einstein’s War: How Relativity Conquered Nationalism and Shook the World was published in 2019.

    (Image: Portrait of German-born physicist Albert Einstein on his 75th birthday.
    Photo by American Stock/Getty Images)

    How one man defined the role of science and scientists in the modern age

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    Eleanor Roosevelt: Redefining The First Lady2019121920191220 (WS)
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    A First Lady who broke the mould: Eleanor Roosevelt was not just a hostess at her husband’s side, but a spokeswoman for the disadvantaged, a journalist, and an early civil rights campaigner, who placed herself at the heart of American politics, acting as a prominent adviser and representative for her husband, Franklin Roosevelt, the longest-serving president of the United States. But she was also in office in ‘no ordinary time’ as she put it – a period which encompassed the challenges of the Great Depression and World War Two. So who was Eleanor Roosevelt? What shaped her? How transformative was she? And how should we assess her legacy?

    Joining Bridget Kendall to discuss how Eleanor Roosevelt transformed the office of First Lady are Blanche Wiesen Cook, Professor of History at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York and author of a seminal three-volume biography of Eleanor Roosevelt; Maurine Beasley, former Professor of Journalism History at the University of Maryland; and Amy Bloom, Professor of Creative Writing at Wesleyan University and author of White Houses, a novel which explores a secret love affair in the Roosevelt White House.

    (Photo: Eleanor Roosevelt Credit: BBC)

    How the wife of US President Franklin Roosevelt became a powerful political operator

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    A First Lady who broke the mould: Eleanor Roosevelt was not just a hostess at her husband’s side, but a spokeswoman for the disadvantaged, a journalist, and an early civil rights campaigner, who placed herself at the heart of American politics, acting as a prominent adviser and representative for her husband, Franklin Roosevelt, the longest-serving president of the United States. But she was also in office in ‘no ordinary time’ as she put it – a period which encompassed the challenges of the Great Depression and the Second World War. So who was Eleanor Roosevelt? What shaped her? How transformative was she? And how should we assess her legacy?

    Joining Bridget Kendall to discuss how Eleanor Roosevelt transformed the office of First Lady are Blanche Wiesen Cook, Professor of History at City University of New York and author of a seminal three-volume biography of Eleanor Roosevelt; Maurine Beasley, former Professor of Journalism History at the University of Maryland; and Amy Bloom, Professor of Creative Writing at Wesleyan University and author of White Houses, a novel which explores a secret love affair in the Roosevelt White House.

    How the wife of an American President became a powerful political operator

    Electric Telegraph: The First Worldwide Web2019100320191006 (WS)
    20191007 (WS)
    The invention of the electric telegraph in the mid-19th century brought about a revolution in human communication that some argue rivals the printing press and the internet. Suddenly the ‘tyranny of distance’ could be overcome – messages that once might have taken days or even weeks to arrive could be sent almost instantly using Morse code signals. Soon wires reached across continents and under oceans, connecting the world as never before, and radically changing areas such as commerce, diplomacy, journalism and warfare forever.

    Bridget Kendall discusses the telegraph’s extraordinary impact with Roland Wenzlhuemer, Professor of Modern History at the University of Munich; Bruce J Hunt, Professor of History at the University of Texas; and Gillian Cookson, Historian of Engineering and Research Fellow at the University of Leeds.

    Photo: Old-fashioned telegraph pole in Rhineland, Germany
    Credit: bibi57/GettyImages

    The Morse code messaging network that changed the world forever

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    Electricity2012081820120819 (WS)We explore how electricity and our bodies make the world go round.

    The recent power cuts in India were a reminder of how dependent the world has become on electricity. But electricity flows not just through our machines but round our bodies and in our music. On the Forum this week we are exploring electricity through all its shapes. How can the world make sure it keeps the lights on? What are the implications of seeing our own bodies as individual power grids? And how can electricity allow us to make completely new kinds of music? Some of the questions we will be debating with Dan Yergin one of the world’s leading authorities on energy; pioneering physiologist Francis Ashcroft; and cutting edge sound artist Miha Ciglar.

    Illustration by Emily Kasriel: the power of musical electricity.

    The recent power cuts in India were a reminder of how dependent the world has become on electricity. But electricity flows not just through our machines but round our bodies and in our music. On the Forum this week we are exploring electricity through all its shapes. How can the world make sure it keeps the lights on? What are the implications of seeing our own bodies as individual power grids? And how can electricity allow us to make completely new kinds of music? Some of the questions we will be debating with Dan Yergin one of the world’s leading authorities on energy; pioneering physiologist Francis Ashcroft; and cutting edge sound artist Miha Ciglar.

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    Eleusinian Mysteries: Secret Ceremonies And The Promise Of Happiness2021012820210129 (WS)
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    In ancient Greece, thousands of people flocked each year to join the religious rites, known as the Eleusinian Mysteries. Based on the cult of the Greek goddess of fertility Demeter and her daughter Persephone, the Mysteries were for many a profoundly moving and life-changing experience. These rites went on for at least eight hundred years and remained a highlight of the Athenian calendar throughout that time. But what really went on in the great hall of the sanctuary at Eleusis? Why did the organisers deem it necessary to issue a strict injunction against divulging what actually took place - and what happened to some of those who broke that rule?

    These are some of the questions Bridget Kendall discusses with Christy Constantakopoulou, professor in ancient history and classics at Birkbeck College, London; Esther Eidinow, professor of ancient history at Bristol University; Dr. Philippe Michel Matthey who lectures about ancient religions at Geneva University; and Dr. Julietta Steinhauer, a lecturer in Hellenistic history at University College, London.

    [Image: Detail from a vessel showing a scene of the Eleusis cult with Triptolemus in a winged chariot and Demeter, c.460 BC. Credit DeAgostini/Getty Images]

    The enigma at the centre of religion in ancient Greece

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    Eleusinian Mysteries: Secret Ceremonies Promising Happiness2021012820210129 (WS)
    20210131 (WS)
    20210201 (WS)
    In ancient Greece, thousands of people flocked each year to join the religious rites known as the Eleusinian Mysteries. Based on the cult of the goddess of fertility Demeter and her daughter Persephone, the Mysteries were for many a profoundly moving and life-changing experience. People from all over the Greek world and beyond travelled to Eleusis for at least 800 years and the ceremonies remained a highlight of the Athenian calendar throughout that time. But what really went on in the great hall of the sanctuary at Eleusis? Why did the organisers deem it necessary to issue a strict injunction against divulging what actually took place - and what happened to some of those who broke that rule?

    These are some of the questions Bridget Kendall discusses with Christy Constantakopoulou, professor in ancient history and classics at Birkbeck College, London; Esther Eidinow, professor of ancient history at Bristol University; Dr. Philippe Michel Matthey who lectures about ancient religions at Geneva University; and Dr. Julietta Steinhauer, a lecturer in Hellenistic history at University College, London.

    [Image: Detail from a vessel showing a scene of the Eleusis cult with Triptolemus in a winged chariot and Demeter, c.460 BC. Credit DeAgostini/Getty Images]

    The enigma at the centre of ancient Greek religion

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    Elizabeth Fry: 'the Angel Of Prisons'2020100120201004 (WS)
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    Life behind bars in English prisons in the early nineteenth century was, to put it mildly, grim. Prisons at the time were often damp, dirty and over-crowded. Common punishments included shipping convicts to colonies like Australia - and many crimes carried the death penalty. And the poor suffered most of all, because they couldn’t buy privileges like extra food rations. Into all this walked a woman known as the "angel of prisons", Elizabeth Fry. She was one of the major driving forces behind a new way of thinking about prisons – one that stressed that improving conditions for prisoners and treating them with humanity would lead to better outcomes and lower re-offending rates. A Christian philanthropist from a large Quaker family, her ideas were taken up across much of Europe, and she became something of a celebrity in Victorian England.

    Joining Rajan Datar to discuss her work and legacy are:

    Averil Douglas Opperman, author of a biography of Elizabeth Fry called 'While It Is Yet Day'; Criminal barrister, Harry Potter, author of 'Shades of the Prison House – A History of Incarceration in the British Isles'; And Rosalind Crone, historian and author of 'The Guide to the Criminal Prisons of Nineteenth-Century England'.

    Produced by Jo Impey for the World Service.

    Image: Painting by Jerry Barrett depicting Elizabeth Fry reading to prisoners at Newgate, 1816
    Image credit: Henry Guttmann / Hulton Archive / Getty Images

    How a nineteenth century Quaker philanthropist shook up the prison system

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    Emilie Du Chatelet: A Free-spirited Physicist2020022720200228 (WS)
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    Emilie du Chatelet was esteemed in 18th-century France as a brilliant physicist, mathematician, thinker and linguist whose pioneering ideas and formidable translations were known all across Europe. And yet, after her death in childbirth in her mid-40s she was nearly forgotten, and if she was remembered at all, then as a companion and collaborator of the famous writer Voltaire.

    Du Chatelet’s insights into kinetic energy foreshadowed Einstein’s famous equation and her suggestions for experiments with the different colours of light would only be carried out half-a-century after she’d written about them. Plus she was a remarkable personality, determined to live a life of an independent woman, often pushing the boundaries of what was acceptable even in the liberal social circles of her day.

    Bridget Kendall discusses du Chatelet’s life and work with history professor Judith Zinsser, Chatelet’s biographer David Bodanis and philosophy professor Ruth Hagengruber.

    Painting: Gabrielle Emilie de Breteuil (1706 -1749), marchioness of Le Chatelet by Marianne Loir. (Photo by Raphael Gaillarde/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images)

    The life and work of a remarkable 18th-century polymath

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    Empress Nur Jahan: Leader Of The Mughals2018081120180814 (WS)Empress Nur Jahan was the most powerful woman in 17th century India, wielding an unparalleled control over the Mughal Empire. Born as Mehr-un-Nissa, she came from a wealthy Iranian family who came to India and made their way up the imperial court. After the death of her first husband, a Persian soldier, she became the twentieth and final wife of Mughal Emperor Jahangir and her rise to the top really began. Often sitting beside her husband in court, she controlled trade routes, designed gardens and mausoleums, was said to be a skilled hunter and was the only Mughal Empress to have coins minted in her own name.

    Joining Rajan Datar to explore the life of Empress Nur Jahan is Ruby Lal, professor of South Asian Studies at Emory University and author of 'Empress: The Astonishing Reign of Nur Jahan'; Mehreen Chida-Razvi, Research Associate in the Department of Art History at SOAS, University of London; and Shivangini Tandon, Assistant Professor at the Department of Women's Studies, Aligarh Muslim University, India.

    Photo: a detail from the painting Jahangir and Prince Khurram with Nur Jahan, c1624-1625 (Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images)

    The woman who wielded unparalleled power over the Mughal Empire in 17th century India

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    Endurance2012072120120722
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    Why some athletes, plants and stars keep going for much longer than others.

    Why is it that so many long distance runners are from Kenya? Is it genetics that leads to the high performance we can expect to see in the London Olympics? Or maybe the stamina of the world's best athletes is above all about their mental attitude, the ability to deliver excellence, no matter what?

    Just some of the aspects of endurance we are exploring on the Forum this week with high-performance anthropologist Rasmus Ankersen. Also on the programme, award winning photographer Rachel Sussman takes us hunting for the longest living organisms on Earth. And endurance that dwarfs anything found on our planet: the mind boggling staying power of the stars in the sky. The UK's Public Astronomer Marek Kukula is our cosmic guide.

    Illustration by Emily Kasriel: the race to endure for sports people, stars and other forms of life.

    Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.

    Enemies, Or Rivals? Why The Distinction Matters.2012110320121104 (WS)Prominent international thinkers debating big ideas.
    Expansion And Growth2015111620151117 (WS)How expansion and growth affects us in geopolitics, using China as an example, in space, as we increasingly understand how the universe is expanding and in our own bodies, as we discover more about how our cells replicate and change and how we can manufacture them for ourselves. Rajan Datar is joined by Professor Carlos Frenk from Durham University in the UK, a World renowned computational cosmologist who shares his thinking on the latest research about the infinite expansion of the universe. By Jeanne- Marie Gescher, an expert on China, who explores why she thinks the West’s focus on the economy is missing the point. China is indeed embarked on some ambitious economic reform - but it is underpinned by something even more ambitious: that the state will be able to choreograph the market. The top-down state is at the heart of everything, as it has been for thousands of years. And by Dr Robert Lanza, the Chief Scientific Officer at Ocata Therapeutics in the USA and Adjunct Professor at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. Robert’s current research focuses on stem cells and regenerative medicine and their potential to provide therapies for some of the world’s most deadly and debilitating conditions.

    Photo: an artist's impression of cells expanding (illustration by Shan Pillay)

    Exploring ideas about expansion and growth

    Extrapolation2014051720140518 (WS)
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    The dangers and advantages of using what we know to explain what we don’t know

    Extrapolation in mathematics means extending the implications of a model beyond the range in which it was derived. In other words, using what we know to make educated guesses about what we don’t. But does extrapolation works so well when applied to the real world? Can mathematical models really indicate when the next ice age might come? Does genetic testing reliably tell us who our ancestors were? And when we sieve through fragments of history, can we ever escape the assumptions which colour what we will think? Joining Bridget Kendall to explore extrapolation are anthropologist Kim Tallbear who is a member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate from South Dakota in the US; Ian Stewart Emeritus Professor of Mathematics at Warwick University in the UK and Joan Breton Connelly, classical archaeologist and Professor of Classics and Art History at New York University in the US. Image by Roger Harris/ Science Photo Library.

    Extrapolation in mathematics means extending the implications of a model beyond the range in which it was derived. In other words, using what we know to make educated guesses about what we don’t. But does extrapolation works so well when applied to the real world? Can mathematical models really indicate when the next ice age might come? Does genetic testing reliably tell us who our ancestors were? And when we sieve through fragments of history, can we ever escape the assumptions which colour what we will think? Joining Bridget Kendall to explore extrapolation are anthropologist Kim Tallbear who is a member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate from South Dakota in the US; Ian Stewart Emeritus Professor of Mathematics at Warwick University in the UK and Joan Breton Connelly, classical archaeologist and Professor of Classics and Art History at New York University in the US. Image by Roger Harris/ Science Photo Library.

    Fado: Portuguese Soul Music2019050220190505 (WS)
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    In its 200-year lifetime the Portuguese song known as fado has been intertwined with the country's politics. At first it was an expression of the woes of Lisbon's underclass, which perhaps explains its predominantly melancholy character. In the early 20th century when a military coup brought the fascist regime of António Salazar to power, fado was accused of being degenerate music and government officials censored its lyrics. However, as the dictatorship's grip on the country tightened over a 50-year period, fado flourished, and the regime saw its potential as a tourism marketing tool.

    When democracy was restored in the 1970s, fado began a decline because of its perceived links to the former far-right regime. As those associations have faded with time, fado is now enjoying a renaissance. The music's found favour with a new generation of singers who are taking this nostalgic, yearning song to a global audience.

    Rajan Datar investigates the ups and downs of fado, its history, legends and mystique, with guests historian Rui Vieira Nery, ethnomusicologist Lila Ellen Gray and editor-in-chief of Songlines magazine, Simon Broughton.

    Photo: Portuguese singer Amalia Rodrigues on stage in 1987 (Jacques Demarthon/Getty Images)

    Nostalgic song from Portugal, a small country with a big heart

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    Famous Hats In History2020123120210103 (WS)
    20210104 (WS)
    There have been so many, probably hundreds, different styles and types of hat in history that a question inevitably arises: why? Why did something that began as a simple protection against inclement weather take on such varied forms and social meanings? Bridget Kendall and guests explore not just how hats were made, and by whom, but also how their function has evolved over centuries and across cultures. By focusing on just five distinct hat types, they sketch out a brief social history of headwear.

    Bridget is joined by Dr. Drake Stutesman, an adjunct professor at New York University, and the author of the book Hat: Origins, Language, Style; Dr. Ulinka Rublack, professor of Early Modern European History at Cambridge University with a particular interest in Renaissance fashion; and Dr. Kirill Babaev, a cultural anthropologist and writer from the Russian Academy of Sciences and founder of the World of Hat museum in Riga, Latvia.

    [Image: Model Carre Otis wearing a wide-brimmed black straw hat with a print of lemons on the underside. Credit: Arthur Elgort/Conde Nast via Getty Images]

    The uses and meanings of headwear from prehistory to today

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    There have been so many, probably hundreds, different styles and types of hat in history that a question inevitably arises: why? Why did something that began as a simple protection against inclement weather take on such varied forms and social meanings? Bridget Kendall and guests explore not just how hats were made, and by whom, but also how their function has evolved over centuries and across cultures. By focusing on just five distinct hat types, they sketch out a brief social history of headwear.

    There have been so many, probably hundreds, different styles and types of hat in history that a question inevitably arises: why? Why did something that began as a simple protection against inclement weather take on such varied forms and social meanings? Bridget Kendall and guests explore not just how hats were made, and by whom, but also how their function has evolved over centuries and across cultures. By focusing on just five distinct hat types, they sketch out a brief social history of headwear.

    Fear2013102020131021 (WS)How do humans and animals cope with one of the strongest emotions: fear

    Heart racing, palms sweating, skin prickling are some of the things we experience when we feel frightened. So how do humans cope with one of our strongest emotions - fear? Carrie Gracie takes an unflinching examination of fear with René Hurlemann, Lucy Bolton and Liana Zanette.

    Canadian biologist Liana Zanette explains breakthrough research on how intimidation changes the ecosystem. German neuroscientist René Hurlemann tells the story of very rare individuals who go through life without feeling fear. And horror film expert Lucy Bolton asks what scares us in the cinema, and why we deliberately seek to be made afraid.

    Photo: A man holding a child's hand in a dark tunnel, Credit: Jay Directo/AFP/Getty Images

    Canadian biologist Liana Zanette explains breakthrough research on how intimidation changes the ecosystem. German neuroscientist René Hurlemann tells the story of very rare individuals who go through life without feeling fear. And horror film expert Lucy Bolton asks what scares us in the cinema, and why we deliberately seek to be made afraid.

    Photo: A man holding a child's hand in a dark tunnel, Credit: Jay Directo/AFP/Getty Images

    Fela Kuti: King Of Afrobeat2016123120170102 (WS)
    20170103 (WS)
    The life and legacy of Fela Kuti, Nigeria's maverick musical pioneer

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    Nigerian Afrobeat musician Fela Kuti was a maverick performer, a musical pioneer, and is a continuing inspiration across the world. But he was also a thorn in the side of the Nigeria’s successive military governments and a fearless activist for social justice.

    Twenty years after his death, Peter Okwoche is joined by three people who all had personal experience of Fela Kuti, to discuss his complex and extraordinary life, musical legacy, and revolutionary political ideals - Dele Sosimi is a former member of Fela Kuti's band and now an acclaimed Afrobeat musician; Carlos Moore wrote the only authorised biography of Fela Kuti, Fela: This Bitch of a Life; and Jahman Anikulapo is a Nigerian arts journalist who followed Fela's career closely.

    Photo: Fela Kuti, 1986, Credit: Associated Press

    Fela Kuti: King Of Afrobeat2017010220170103 (WS)The life and legacy of Fela Kuti, Nigeria’s maverick musical pioneer

    Nigerian Afrobeat musician Fela Kuti was a maverick performer, a musical pioneer, and is a continuing inspiration across the world. But he was also a thorn in the side of the Nigeria’s successive military governments and a fearless activist for social justice.

    Twenty years after his death, Peter Okwoche is joined by three people who all had personal experience of Fela Kuti, to discuss his complex and extraordinary life, musical legacy, and revolutionary political ideals - Dele Sosimi is a former member of Fela Kuti's band and now an acclaimed Afrobeat musician; Carlos Moore wrote the only authorised biography of Fela Kuti, Fela: This Bitch of a Life; and Jahman Anikulapo is a Nigerian arts journalist who followed Fela's career closely.

    Photo: Fela Kuti, 1986, Credit: Associated Press

    Fermentation: Ancient Food Alchemy2018122720181228 (WS)
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    Whether it’s kimchi, kombucha, kefir or kraut, fermented foods are today all the rage. And yet people have been fermenting food and beverages for thousands of years – to preserve food stuffs, to break down toxins, to mark rituals and to enhance flavour.

    Without knowledge of the science, local communities practised fermentation instinctively, through trial and error and by careful observation. In the 18th and 19th centuries, scientists argued over why foods fermented as they did. Many believed in the theory of ‘spontaneous generation’. But it was not until the discoveries of Louis Pasteur that the micro-organisms at work in food which bring about fermentation began to be understood. Ironically, Pasteur’s research led to a widespread preoccupation with killing the very bacteria that aid fermentation – combined with the growth of food production on an industrial scale.

    More recently, fermented food and drink has been marketed for its health benefits, with claims it can enhance the bacteria in our intestinal tracts, boost our immune systems and even lower the risk of contracting some serious diseases.

    Rajan Datar attempts to separate fact from fiction, with the help of three experts: the American fermentation revivalist Sandor Katz, Danish microbiologist Dennis Sandris Nielsen and the chef and food writer Olia Hercules, who’ll be demonstrating how to make a simple fermented recipe.

    Photo: Sauerkraut being made in a jar (Lane Turner/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

    What's your brew? Friendly microbes making our fare tastier

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    What's your brew? Friendly microbes making our fare tasty (and wholesome)

    What's your brew? Friendly microbes making our fare tastier

    Fernando Pessoa: The Man Who Multiplied Himself2019090520190908 (WS)
    20190909 (WS)
    Fernando Pessoa is Portugal’s national poet and a giant of 20th Century literature but he’s also a writer who multiplied himself, who wrote under dozens of alter egos, ranging from an engineer trained in Glasgow in Scotland, to a hunchback who is helplessly lovesick, to a doctor and Latin scholar who’s a fervent Royalist. His masterpiece The Book of Disquiet, considered to be one of the defining works of modernist literature, is equally fragmented - written on scraps of paper and consisting of hundreds of virtually unordered manuscripts. So what makes Fernando Pessoa such a great writer and so relevant today? Joining Rajan Datar to discuss Fernando Pessoa and his many selves are his translator and biographer Richard Zenith, and the literary scholars and Pessoa experts Dr Mariana Gray de Castro and professor Bernard McGuirk.

    (Photo: Statue of Portuguese poet and writer Fernando Pessoa outside Café Brasilera, Lisbon, Portugal. Credit: Anne Khazam/BBC)

    The great Portuguese writer Fernando Pessoa who invented dozens of alter egos

    Discover world history, culture and ideas with today's leading experts

    Fire: How Climate Change Is Altering Our Attitudes To Wildfires2016082720160829 (WS)
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    How do we deal with fire to protect health without compromising the environment?

    Discover w