Hugh Aldersey-Williams: The Making of Science in Europe

The Book Club | 7 October 2020 | 0h 33m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Hugh Aldersey-Williams about his book Dutch Light: Christaan Huygens and the Making of Science in Europe. Discusses the life and work of Christiaan Huygens. Argues that this half-forgotten figure was the most important scientist between Galileo and Newton. Describes his advances in optics, geometry, probability, mathematics, astronomy – as well as the invention of the pendulum clock and the discovery of the rings of Saturn – against the backdrop of a turbulent post-Reformation Europe and the beginnings of an international scientific community.

Sam Harris on the Value of Conversation

The Book Club | 12 August 2020 | 1h 05m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Sam Harris about his book Making Sense: Conversations on Consciousness, Morality, and the Future of Humanity. Discusses why civilised conversation is what the world needs now more than ever, why ‘cancel culture’ is real and J.K. Rowling’s trans-rights-activist opponents are ‘insane’, how ‘bad philosophy’ has ruined the social sciences, the circumstances under which totalitarianism might be okay – and why, as a liberal, he thinks the left is in danger of destroying America.

Robin Hanbury-Tenison: Taming The Four Horsemen

The Book Club | 15 July 2020 | 0h 32m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Robin Hanbury-Tenison about his book Taming The Four Horsemen: Radical Solutions to Defeat Pandemics, War, Famine and the Death of the Planet. Discusses what the collapse of ancient civilisations can teach us about our own, and his suggestions for applying science and technology to improve agriculture and medicine.

Christina Lamb: Our Bodies Their Battlefield

The Book Club | 4 March 2020 | 0h 37m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Christina Lamb about her book Our Bodies Their Battlefield: What War Does To Women. Describes the past and present of rape as a weapon of war, from the fates of Yazidi and Rohingya woman at the hands of IS and the Burmese military to the German victims of the Red Army and the Disappeared of the Argentinian Junta. Discusses why rape as a weapon of war is so little reported or discussed, let alone prosecuted, how it happens, what it means – and why it’s seemingly on the increase even as wealthy western liberals congratulate themselves on the success of the #metoo movement.

Why 42 is the Answer to Life, the Universe and Everything

The Book Club | 26 February 2020 | 0h 30m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Adam Roberts and John Lloyd discussing the genesis, genius and legacy of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy radio show. The BBC has released features, interviews and archive programmes to celebrate the 42nd anniversary of the show.

Olivia Fane: Why Sex Doesn’t Matter

The Book Club | 12 February 2020 | 0h 29m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Olivia Fane about her book Why Sex Doesn’t Matter. Explains that the idea that sex and love are related is a damaging twentieth-century invention and that if we could just recognise that sex was no more significant than scratching an itch we’d all be wiser and happier. Discusses how she reaches that conclusion — and what, if she’s right, we ought to do about it.

Daniel Markovits – The Meritocracy Trap

The Book Club | 6 November 2019 | 0h 31m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Daniel Markovits about his book The Meritocracy Trap. Argues that meritocracy isn’t the solution to our social and political discontents, but the central part of the problem. Suggests that the notion of hard work and proven ability leading to wealth and success has created a miserable underclass and a comparably miserable overclass — and is responsible for a damaging and eventually unsustainable reorganisation of Western economies.

Jon Day on Homing

The Book Club | 24 July 2019 | 0h 34m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Jon Day, author of Homing: On Pigeons, Dwellings and Why We Return. A fascinating look into the world of racing pigeons. Reflects on what pigeons tell us about the relationship between humans and animals and about the idea of home.