• Moby Dick MP3

    Melvyn Bragg and guests Herman Melville's (1819-1891) epic novel, published in London in 1851, the story of Captain Ahab's pursuit of a great white sperm whale that had bitten off his leg. He risks his own life and that of his crew on the Pequod, single-mindedly seeking his revenge, his story narrated by Ishmael who was taking part in a whaling expedition for the first time. This is one of the c1000 ideas which liste...

    07.12.2017

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    07.12.2017

  • IOT: The Microscope 28 Nov 13 MP3

    The microscope has revolutionised our knowledge of the world and the organisms that inhabit it. Invented in the seventeenth century, the microscope became an essential component of scientific enquiry by the nineteenth century, but in the 1930s a German physicist, Ernst Ruska, discovered that by using a beam of electrons he could view structures much tinier than was possible using visible light. Today light and electr...

    28.11.2013

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    28.11.2013

  • IOT: Physiocrats 20 Jun 13 MP3

    The Physiocrats were an important group of economic thinkers in 18th-century France. They believed that the land was the ultimate source of all wealth and that markets should not be constrained by governments. Their ideas were important not just to economists but to the course of politics in France. Later they influenced the work of Adam Smith. Melvyn Bragg is joined by Richard Whatmore, Professor of Intellectual His...

    20.06.2013

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    20.06.2013

  • IOT: Prophecy 13 Jun 13 MP3

    Prophecy has great meaning and significance in the Abrahamic religions. Prophets, those with the ability to convey divinely-inspired revelation, are significant figures in the Hebrew Bible and later became important not just to Judaism but also to Christianity and Islam. Although these three religions share many of the same prophets, their interpretation of the nature of prophecy often differs. Melvyn Bragg is joined...

    13.06.2013

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    13.06.2013

  • IOT: Relativity 06 Jun 13 MP3

    Einstein's theories of relativity transformed our understanding of the Universe. The twin theories of Special and General Relativity offered insights into the nature of space, time and gravitation which changed the face of modern science. It's regarded today as one of the greatest intellectual achievements of the 20th century, and had an impact far beyond the world of science. Melvyn Bragg is joined by Ruth Gregory, ...

    06.06.2013

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    06.06.2013

  • IOT: Queen Zenobia 30 May 13 MP3

    Queen Zenobia was a distinguished military leader of the ancient world. Born in about 240 AD, Zenobia became Empress of the Palmyrene Empire in the Middle East. She is renowned for launching a rebellion against the Roman Empire and conquering Egypt before being finally defeated by the Emperor Aurelian. Melvyn Bragg is joined by Edith Hall, Professor of Classics at King's College, London; Kate Cooper, Professor of Anc...

    30.05.2013

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    30.05.2013

  • IOT: Lévi-Strauss 23 May 13 MP3

    Anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss was one of 20th-century France's most celebrated intellectuals. He set out to show in his work that human thought processes were universal, whether people lived in tribal rainforest societies or in the rich intellectual life of Paris. He was the leading exponent of structuralism, and his books about the nature of myth, thought and kinship are now seen as some of the most importan...

    23.05.2013

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    23.05.2013

  • IOT: Cosmic Rays 16 May 13 MP3

    Cosmic rays were discovered in 1912 by the physicist Victor Hess. The Earth is under constant bombardment from this radiation coming from beyond our atmosphere. Cosmic rays can cause damage to satellites and electronic devices on Earth, but the study of cosmic rays has led to major breakthroughs in particle physics. Today physicists are still trying to establish where these highly energetic particles come from. Melvy...

    16.05.2013

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    16.05.2013

  • IOT: Icelandic Sagas 09 May 13 MP3

    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, ...

    09.05.2013

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    09.05.2013

  • IOT: Gnosticism 02 May 13 MP3

    Gnosticism was a belief system associated with early Christianity. Gnostics believed that a special hidden knowledge, or gnosis, would enable them to escape the evils of the physical world and reach the higher spiritual realm. The Gnostics were regarded as heretics by most of the early Church Fathers, but their influence was important in defining the course of Christianity. Melvyn Bragg is joined by Martin Palmer, Di...

    02.05.2013

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    02.05.2013

  • IOT: Montaigne 25 Apr 13 MP3

    Montaigne's Essays deal with an eclectic range of subjects, from the dauntingly weighty to the apparently trivial. Born in France in 1533, Montaigne is often seen as one of the most outstanding Sceptical thinkers of his time. His approachable style, intelligence and subtle thought have made him one of the most widely admired writers of the Renaissance. Melvyn Bragg is joined by David Wootton, Anniversary Professor of...

    25.04.2013

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    25.04.2013

  • IOT: Putney Debates 18 Apr 13 MP3

    The Putney Debates took place in late 1647, after the defeat of King Charles I in the first English Civil War. Representatives of the New Model Army and the radical Levellers met in a Putney church to debate the future of England, who should be allowed to vote, civil liberties and religious freedom. Their debates had much influence on centuries of political thought. Melvyn Bragg is joined by Justin Champion, Professo...

    18.04.2013

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    18.04.2013

  • IOT: The Amazons 11 Apr 13 MP3

    The Amazons were a mythical tribe of female warriors who first appeared in Greek culture. In later centuries, particularly in the Renaissance, the Amazons became a popular theme of literature and art. After the discovery of the New World, the Amazon River was named after them. Melvyn Bragg is joined by Paul Cartledge,A.G. Leventis Professor of Greek Culture at Cambridge University; Chiara Franceschini, Teaching Fell...

    11.04.2013

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    11.04.2013

  • IOT: Japan's Sakoku Period 04 Apr 13 MP3

    Japan's Sakoku period was a time when the country isolated itself from the Western world. It began with a series of edicts in the 1630s which restricted the rights of Japanese to leave their country and expelled most of the Europeans living there. Although historians used to think of Japan as completely isolated from external influence for the next 200 years, recent scholarship suggests that Japanese society was far ...

    04.04.2013

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    04.04.2013

  • IOT: Water 28 Mar 13 MP3

    The chemistry of the water molecule - Andrea Sella, Hasok Chang and Patricia Hunt join Melvyn Bragg to discuss one of the most fascinating substances on Earth.

    28.03.2013

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    28.03.2013

  • IOT: Alfred Russel Wallace 21 Mar 13 MP3

    The biologist Alfred Russel Wallace was a pioneer of evolutionary theory. Born in 1823, he travelled extensively, charting the distribution of animal species throughout the world. In 1858 he sent his paper on the theory of evolution by natural selection to Charles Darwin, who was spurred into the publication of his own masterpiece On the Origin of Species. But despite his visionary work, Wallace has been overshadowed...

    21.03.2013

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    21.03.2013

  • IOT: Chekhov 14 Mar 13 MP3

    Anton Chekhov, the 19th-century Russian writer, is perhaps best known for his plays including The Cherry Orchard and Three Sisters. He is also celebrated today as one of the greatest of short story writers. His works are often powerful character studies and chronicle the changing nature of Russian society. Melvyn Bragg is joined by Catriona Kelly, Professor of Russian at the University of Oxford; Cynthia Marsh, Emeri...

    14.03.2013

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    14.03.2013

  • IOT: Absolute Zero 7 Mar 13 MP3

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss absolute zero, the lowest conceivable temperature, about minus 273 degrees Celsius. At temperatures close to absolute zero, physicists have discovered a number of strange new phenomena including superfluids, liquids capable of climbing a vertical surface. Melvyn Bragg is joined by Simon Schaffer, Professor of the History of Science at the University of Cambridge; Stephen Blundell, ...

    07.03.2013

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    07.03.2013

  • IOT: Pitt-Rivers 28 Feb 13 MP3

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the life and work of the Victorian anthropologist and archaeologist Augustus Pitt-Rivers. He amassed thousands of ethnographic and archaeological objects, some of which formed the founding collection of the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford. Inspired by Charles Darwin, Pitt-Rivers believed that human technology evolved in the same way as living organisms. He was also a pioneering archae...

    28.02.2013

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    28.02.2013

  • IOT: Decline and Fall 21 Feb 13 MP3

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss Evelyn Waugh's comic novel Decline and Fall. Set partly in a substandard boys' public school, the novel is a vivid, often riotous portrait of 1920s Britain. Its themes, including modernity, religion and fashionable society, came to dominate Waugh's later fiction, and it was immediately celebrated for its vicious satire and biting humour. Melvyn Bragg is joined by David Bradshaw, Pr...

    21.02.2013

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    21.02.2013

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