Podcasts

Podcast Archive

Find all of our Podcasts from 2007 onwards

Imaginary Barcelona

Imaginary is an interactive mathematics exhibition that inspires the imagination with beautiful images. And what is more exciting it allows anyone to step into the world of maths and play with beautiful mathematical surfaces, symmetry and much more. We went along to the Imaginary Barcelona conference, which brought together people involved in the original exhibition in Germany and its recent successful run throughout Spain.

Probing the dark webNetworks loomed large at the AAAS annual meeting in Vancouver, in particular the one you're looking at right now: the Internet. Plus went along to a session on web surveillance. It sounds sinister at first, but as we found out, it's not all about Big Brother breaching your privacy. Information on the web can help us catch terrorists and criminals and it can also identify a widespread practice called astroturfing.
AAAS meeting in Vancouver, Day 2 - What happens in the Arctic doesn't stay in the Arctic

In this, our second podcast from the AAA Meeting in Vancouver, Canada, we speak to Marcel Babin about using satellite images to measure the amount of organisms, such as phytoplankton, in the Arctic ocean and studies how this changing biological diversity can both indicate, and impact on, climate change.

AAAS meeting in Vancouver - Day 1

From flattening the Earth to dining with the jellyfish, Plus chats about our first day at the AAAS meeting in Vancouver, Canada.

Bang, crunch, freeze and the multiverse

What's a multiverse? What's the future for intelligent life? And what happened 380,000 after the Big Bang. Find out in these interviews with the physicists David Spergel and Raphael Bousso, who we spoke to during Stephen Hawking's 70th birthday conference.

Supergravity to the rescue?

This is one of our podcasts from Stephen Hawking's 70th birthday conference, which took place in January 2012 in Cambridge. Rachel Thomas talks to Renata Kallosh from Stanford University about a theory that promises to unite the physics of the very small — quantum physics — and the physics of the very large — Einstein's theory of gravity.

Happy 70th birthday Stephen Hawking!

"Astronomers are used to large numbers, but few are as large as the odds I'd have given this celebration today," is how Astronomer Royal Martin Rees started his presentation at Stephen Hawking's birthday symposium yesterday. He was talking about the 1960s when he first met Hawking who was then already suffering motor neurone disease. But Rees' prediction has been proved wrong. Hawking turned 70 yesterday and since the time of their first meeting he has made enormous contributions to cosmology and physics.

What is time: The podcast

This podcast featuring Paul Davies, a theoretical physicist and cosmologist at Arizona State University and Director of BEYOND: Centre for Fundamental Concepts in Science, explores this difficult question and accompanies our What is time article.

How the velodrome found its form

The Velodrome, with its striking curved shape, was the first venue to be completed in the London Olympic Park. Plus talks to structural engineers Andrew Weir and Pete Winslow from Expedition Engineering, who were part of the design team for the Velodrome, about how mathematics helped create its iconic shape.

Making gold for 2012: The podcast

Last month leading researchers in sports technology met at the Royal Academy of Engineering in London to demonstrate just how far their field has come over recent years. The changes they make to athletes' equipment and clothes may only make a tiny difference to their performance, but once they're added up they can mean the difference between gold and silver. In this podcast we talk to some leading sport engineers.

Facing the climate challenge

Some have suggested that the changes that are needed to meet the climate challenge are similar in scale to the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century. And since the built environment is responsible for over half of our energy consumption, most of the changes will need to be made here. For this podcast we talked to engineer Alison Cooke, who manages a project called Energy Efficiency in the Built Environment, and two PhD students at the Centre for sustainable Development in Cambridge, and find out how engineers work with Government, business and other groups to help ensure a sustainable future.

Flying home with quantum physics

The words quantum physics are usually associated with the weirder end of physics, including strange phenomena like superposition or quantum entanglement, the "spooky action at a distance" as Einstein called it. But it turns out that quantum mechanical processes occur in living systems too. Some species of birds use quantum mechanics to navigate and studying how they do it might actually help us with building quantum computers.

Does quantum physics really describe reality?

Quantum physics is a funny thing. With counterintuitive ideas such as superposition and entanglement, it doesn't seem to resemble reality as we know it, yet quantum physics is an incredibly successful theory of how the physical world operates. Plus attended the conference Quantum Physics and the Nature of Realtiy at the University of Oxford in September 2010. We spoke to Andrew Briggs, John Polkinghorne, Nicolas Gisin, David Wallace, Roger Penrose and Andrea Morello about how we can resolve the mysteries of quantum physics with our experience of reality. And we find out why quantum physics is just like riding a bike...

What's it like being a mathematician?

Why do people become mathematicians? What's it like being one and what are the perks of a job in academia? We talk to young mathematicians at the International Congress of Mathematicians, as well as to established research mathematician Larry Guth, to find out.

And who chooses the winners?

What's the point of the Fields Medal and other maths prizes? Who decides who gets one? And when will we have the first female medallist? Rachel talks to László Lovász, current president of the International Mathematical Union (IMU), Martin Grötschel, the IMU's secretary, and Ragni Piene, the new chair of the Abel Prize committee about all this and more.

Interview with Brendan Mackay about the debunking of the bible code

We talk to Brendan Mackay, who spoke at the ICM, about how he debunked the bible codes.

Interview with Simon Singh at ICM 2010We talk to Simon Singh, winner of the Leelavati Prize for public outreach in maths, at the International Congress of Mathematicians 2010.
Interview with Stas Smirnov

We were lucky enough to interview Stas Smirnov at the ICM in Hyderabad, India. As well as being very pleased at winning the Fields Medal and being recognised by his colleagues, Stas reminded us that mathematicians don't do research to win medals. They do it because of curiosity and he personally can't wait to get back to his theorems.

Interview with Cédric Villani

Here's the full and uncut version of our interview with Fields Medallist Cédric Villani. We'll publish a slightly more polished version when we get the time, with more explanations, but thought you'd like the chance to listen to the whole thing.

How to protect your privacy

By cleverly cross-referencing different databases it can be possible for evil adversaries to reveal intimate information about individuals. Given that it's hard these days to keep your details off these databases, what can be done to protect privacy? We talk to Cynthia Dwork from Microsoft, whose talk at the ICM showcases some mathematical tools to keep our details safe.

Complex dining: day 2 at ICM

We're at the massive conference dinner, talking to Alex Bellos, author of best-selling popular maths book Alex's adventures in numberland, mathematician Colva Roney-Dougal,  other delegates and ourselves.

End of a long but exciting day at the ICM...

A very tired Marianne and Rachel discuss the atmosphere at the first day of the ICM when the Fields medals were awarded...

Plus at the International Conference of Women Mathematicians

We talk to delegates of the International Conference of Women Mathematicians, taking place in Hyderabad, India, about the challenges faced by female mathematicians around the world.

Plus podcast 22, February 2010: Evaluating a medical treatmentNew treatments and drugs are tested extensively before they come on the market using randomised controlled trials (RCTs). We talk to David Spiegelhalter (Winton Professor of the Public Understanding of Risk), Sheila Bird (Professor at the Medical Research Council Biostatistics Unit), and Nigel Hawkes (journalist and director of Straight Statistics).
  • Want facts and want them fast? Our Maths in a minute series explores key mathematical concepts in just a few words.