Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss how birds navigate and the risks and benefits of migration
Tagged with “in our time” (9)
Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the history of the idea of Sovereignty, the authority of a state to govern itself and the relationship between the sovereign and the people. These ideas of external and internal sovereignty were imagined in various ways in ancient Greece and Rome, and given a name in 16th Century France by the philosopher and jurist Jean Bodin in his Six Books of the Commonwealth, where he said (in an early English translation) ‘Maiestie or Soveraigntie is the most high, absolute, and perpetuall power over the citisens and subiects in a Commonweale: which the Latins cal Maiestatem, the Greeks akra exousia, kurion arche, and kurion politeuma; the Italians Segnoria, and the Hebrewes tomech shévet, that is to say, The greatest power to command.’ Shakespeare also explored the concept through Richard II and the king’s two bodies, Hobbes developed it in the 17th Century, and the idea of popular sovereignty was tested in the Revolutionary era in America and France.
Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Zeno of Elea, a pre-Socratic philosopher from c490-430 BC whose paradoxes were described by Bertrand Russell as "immeasurably subtle and profound." The best known argue against motion, such as that of an arrow in flight which is at a series of different points but moving at none of them, or that of Achilles who, despite being the faster runner, will never catch up with a tortoise with a head start. Aristotle and Aquinas engaged with these, as did Russell, yet it is still debatable whether Zeno’s Paradoxes have been resolved.
Marcus du Sautoy Professor of Mathematics and Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at the University of Oxford
Barbara Sattler Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of St Andrews
James Warren Reader in Ancient Philosophy at the University of Cambridge
Producer: Simon Tillotson.
Melvyn Bragg explore Stoicism, the most influential philosophy in the Ancient World.
Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the origins, development and uses of chromatography. In its basic form, it is familiar to generations of schoolchildren who put a spot of ink at the bottom of a strip of paper, dip it in water and then watch the pigments spread upwards, revealing their separate colours. Chemists in the 19th Century started to find new ways to separate mixtures and their work was taken further by Mikhail Tsvet, a Russian-Italian scientist who is often credited with inventing chromatography in 1900. The technique has become so widely used, it is now an integral part of testing the quality of air and water, the levels of drugs in athletes, in forensics and in the preparation of pharmaceuticals.
Andrea Sella Professor of Chemistry at University College London
Apryll Stalcup Professor of Chemical Sciences at Dublin City University
Leon Barron Senior Lecturer in Forensic Science at King’s College London.
The Icelandic Sagas were first written down in the 13th century and tell the stories of the Norse settlers who began to arrive in Iceland 400 years before. They contain some of the richest and most extraordinary writing of the Middle Ages. Full of heroes, feuds, ghosts and outlaws, the sagas inspired later writers including Sir Walter Scott, William Morris and WH Auden. Melvyn Bragg is joined by Carolyne Larrington, Fellow and Tutor in Medieval English Literature at St John’s College, Oxford; Elizabeth Ashman Rowe, University Lecturer in Scandinavian History at the University of Cambridge and Emily Lethbridge, Post-Doctoral Researcher at the Árni Magnússon Manuscripts Institute in Reykjavík.
Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the influential British philosopher Bertrand Russell. Born in 1872, Russell is widely regarded as one of the founders of Analytic philosophy, today the dominant philosophical tradition in the English-speaking world. His theory of descriptions had profound consequences for the discipline. Russell also played an active role in many social and political campaigns. He supported women’s suffrage, was imprisoned for his pacifism during World War I and was a founder of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. Melvyn Bragg is joined by AC Grayling, Master of the New College of the Humanities and a Supernumerary Fellow of St Anne’s College, Oxford; Mike Beaney, Professor of Philosophy at the University of York and Hilary Greaves, Lecturer in Philosophy and Fellow of Somerville College, Oxford.
Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the Ontological Argument. In the 11th century Anselm of Canterbury proposed that it was possible to prove the existence of God using reason alone. His argument was taken further by later thinkers including Descartes, Spinoza and Leibniz but other philosophers have rejected it. It remains one of the most discussed problems in philosophy. Melvyn Bragg is joined by John Haldane, Professor of Philosophy at the University of St Andrews; Peter Millican, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Oxford and Clare Carlisle, Lecturer in Philosophy of Religion at King’s College London.
Melvyn Bragg and guests Usha Goswami, Annette Karmiloff-Smith and Denis Mareschal discuss what new research reveals about the infant brain.
Over the last ten to twenty years, new research has shed fresh light on important aspects of the infant brain which have long been shrouded in mystery or mired in dispute, from the way we start to learn to speak to the earliest understanding that other people have their own minds.