The Spartans: Ancient Greece’s Fighting Machine

The Forum | 25 July 2019 | 0h 39m | Listen Later | iTunes
Backgrounds Spartan society and the peculiar utopia it tried to create. It was admired for its stability, frugality, and the unusual social and sexual freedom of its women. But Sparta was also famous for its brutality towards its huge slave population, its authoritarian rule, and its policy of racial purity and eugenics that would eventually prove its undoing.

Leeuwenhoek: the Fabric Seller Who Discovered Bacteria

The Forum | 18 July 2019 | 0h 39m | Listen Later | iTunes
Tells the story of Antonie van Leeuwenhoek who was the first to observe bacteria and other microscopic lifeforms that couldn’t be seen by the naked eye. He is now regarded as the father of microbiology and yet he had neither scientific training nor university education, and spent his life first as a linen merchant and then a civil servant in a small Dutch city.

James Watt: The Power of Steam

The Forum | 27 June 2019 | 0h 43m | Listen Later | iTunes
Discusses the life and work of James Watt, the Scottish innovator whose improved steam engine helped power the Industrial Revolution and lay the basis for much of the mechanised world we take for granted now.

Thoreau: The Writer Who Went to the Woods

The Forum | 9 May 2019 | 0h 39m | Listen Later | iTunes
Explores the life and legacy of the American thinker Henry David Thoreau and his famous work Walden, which describes the Thoreau’s experiment in living simply at Walden Pond in Massachusetts in the 1840s. Walden offers insights into work and leisure, nature, solitude, society, the good life and more. Discusses Walden and his essay Civil Disobedience, and reflects on the legacy of Thoreau’s work.

The Making of Modern Japan

The Forum | 8 September 2018 | 0h 39m | Listen Later  | iTunes
From the mid-19th century, Japan transformed itself from feudal state to economic powerhouse at breakneck speed. The rebel samurai who seized power in 1868 removed an entire ruling elite, introduced national conscription and compulsory education, building a brand new society. Unpacks the origins of this transformation, and examines how it led to imperial expansion and the subsequent atrocities of World War II.

Calm in the Chaos: The Story of the Stoics

The Forum | 1 November 2018 | 0h 39m | Listen Later  | iTunes
Exploration of the history, key ideas and evolution of Stoicism. The ancient Greco-Roman philosophy asks 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. Also discusses its influence on Christianity and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.