From Skynet and the Terminator franchise, through Wargames and Ava in Ex Machina, artificial intelligences pervade our cinematic experiences. But AIs are already in the real world, answering our questions on our phones and making diagnoses about our health. Adam Rutherford asks if we are ready for AI, when fiction becomes reality, and we create thinking machines.
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Kevin Fong explores the success and failure of NASA’s missions to Mars
Brian Cox presents a tribute to Richard Feynman.
Widely regarded as the finest physicist of his generation and the most influential since Einstein, Feynman did much to popularise science, through lectures, books and television, not least his revelation at a press conference in which he demonstrated the exact cause of the Challenger Shuttle explosion in 1986.
Described as the ‘Mozart of physics’, Feynman’s amazing life and career seemingly had no end of highlights.
A student at MIT and then Princeton (where he obtained an unprecedented perfect score on the entrance exam for maths and physics), he was drafted onto the Manhattan Project as a junior scientist.
There his energy and talents made a significant mark on two of the project’s leaders, Robert Oppenheimer and Hans Bethe.
The latter would become Feynman’s lifelong mentor and friend.
Bethe called his student "a magician", setting him apart from other scientists as ‘no ordinary genius’.
In 1965, Feynman shared a Nobel Prize for his unique contribution to the field of Quantum Electrodynamics making him the most celebrated, influential and best known American Physicist of his generation
Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the scientific advances made in the three voyages of Captain James Cook, from 1768 to 1779. Cook’s voyages astonished Europeans, bringing back detailed knowledge of the Pacific and its people, from the Antarctic to the Bering Straits. This topic is one of more than a thousand different ideas suggested by listeners in October and came from Alysoun Hodges in the UK, Fiachra O’Brolchain in Ireland, Mhairi Mackay in New Zealand, Enzo Vozzo in Australia, Jeff Radford in British Columbia and Mark Green in Alaska.
Simon Schaffer Professor of the History of Science at the University of Cambridge
Rebekah Higgitt Lecturer in the History of Science at the University of Kent
Sophie Forgan Retired Principle Lecturer at the University of Teesside Chairman of Trustees of the Captain Cook Museum, Whitby
Jeffrey Zeldman’s guest is Abby Covert, Information Architect; curator of IA Summit; co-founder of World IA Day; president of IA Institute; teacher in the Products of Design MFA program at New York’s School of Visual Arts; and author of How To Make Sense
Simon is away, so Ben welcomes good friend of the show Mr Tom Coates back into the Secret Alley for a full David Bowie remembrance, tribute, celebration show. After a week to get used to the idea, we’ll be digging a little deeper into what made the man just that good. Defining tracks, deep cuts, incredible cover versions, and major inspirations abound.
A full show of Bowie, covers, collaborations, and chatter.
We’ve heard a lot of Bowie this week, hopefully we’ll play something you haven’t.— Eclectic Kettle (@BFFKettle) January 20, 2016
We’ve had a week to think it through so tonight at 8pm @benward & @tomcoates are going to have a good go and honoring the great David Bowie.— Eclectic Kettle (@BFFKettle) January 20, 2016
Maybe an asteroid hit Earth. Perhaps a nuclear war reduced our cities to radioactive rubble. Or avian flu killed most of the population. Whatever the cause, the world as we know it has ended and now the survivors must start again. But how do we set about rebuilding our world from scratch?
Once you’ve salvaged what you can from the debris, how do you grow food and make clothes? How do you generate energy and develop medicines? And once you’ve mastered the essentials, how do you smelt metals, make gunpowder, or build a primitive radio set?
The Knowledge is a guidebook for survivors. We have become disconnected not only from the beautiful fundamentals of science and technology but even from the basic skills and knowledge on which our lives and our world depend.
The Knowledge is a journey of discovery, a book which explains everything you need to know about everything. Here is the blueprint for rebooting civilisation.
It will transform your understanding of the world – and help you prepare for when it’s no longer here.
A few weeks ago, singer-songwriter Jonathan Coulton was surprised to learn that his arrangement of the Sir Mix-A-Lot song "Baby Got Back" was covered note for note by the cast of the Fox TV show Glee. Coulton talks with Bob about having his melody stolen with impunity and the legal gray area between copyright law and cover songs.
There are songs, and then there are anthems. Leonard Cohen’s "Hallelujah" is a popular power anthem now, but almost never saw light of day. In his new book, music journalist Alan Light charts the unlikely rise of the song through countless weddings, funerals and in film and television.
Bill Janovitz of Buffalo Tom covers You and Your Sister by Big Star …via the This Mortal Coil cover by The Breeders.
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