Gerard Mercator: The Man Who Revolutionised Mapmaking

The Forum | 23 April 2020 | 0h 39m | Listen Later | iTunes
Discusses the life and work of Gerard Mercator who in 1569 came up with an elegant solution for how to project the earth’s three-dimensional sphere onto a flat map.

In Search of the Good Life: Epicurus and his Philosophy

The Forum | 2 April 2020 | 0h 39m | Listen Later | iTunes
Discusses the Ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus, who advocated a simple lifestyle, withdrawn from society, where we are content with little. Also describes how Epicurean writings on physics foreshadowed some of the most significant developments in early modern science – including Darwin’s theory of evolution and Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle.

Emilie du Chatelet: a Free-Spirited Physicist

The Forum | 27 February 2020 | 0h 39m | Listen Later | iTunes
Discusses the life and work of Emilie du Chatelet, the 18th-century French physicist, mathematician, and thinker. 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.

A History of Honey

The Forum | 16 January 2020 | 0h 39m | Listen Later | iTunes
Discusses the history of honey. From sweetening and preserving food, to treating wounds and sore throats, honey 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.

The Amazing Dr Darwin

The Forum | 23 January 2020 | 0h 39m | Listen Later | iTunes
Erasmus Darwin was a man of many talents: not only was he a successful physician, a popular poet, an ardent abolitionist and a pioneering botanist, he also worked out how organisms evolve, some 70 years before his grandson Charles’s theories about this revolutionised science. He is credited with many inventions and discoveries including the steering mechanism used in modern cars, the gas laws of clouds and a document copying machine.

The Cat: In from the Wild

The Forum | 17 October 2019 | 0h 39m | Listen Later | iTunes
Discusses the history of domesticated cats, which are thought to have started living alongside humans more than 9000 years ago. Cats probably domesticated themselves, entering the homes of early arable farmers in the Fertile Crescent to control the rodent population. Since then, they’ve been worshipped, vilified and revered by various societies around the world.

The History of Opium

The Forum | 26 September 2019 | 0h 39m | Listen Later | iTunes
Made from the simple juice of the poppy, opium is arguably the oldest and most widely used drug in the world. Since prehistoric times it has been used to relieve physical pain and quieten troubled minds. It has enabled medical breakthroughs and inspired some of the greatest Romantic poets and composers. But opium, and its later derivatives morphine and heroin, has also brought addiction and untold misery and death, destroyed families, and corrupted entire countries. Its trade has provoked wars, and is still making global headlines today, from its production in Afghanistan to the opioid crisis in the United States.

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.