Podcasts

Podcast Archive

Find all of our Podcasts from 2007 onwards

Plus podcast 21, December 2009: Protecting the nationVaccination is an emotive business. The furore around the MMR vaccine and autism has shown that vaccination health scares can cause considerable damage: stop vaccinating, and epidemics are sure to follow. But how do scientists decide whether a vaccine and a vaccination strategy are effective and safe? We talk to Paddy Farrington, Professor of statistics at the Open University. You can also read the accompanying article.
Plus Podcast 20, September 2009: How does gravity work?In our fourth online poll to find out what you would most like to know about our Universe, you told us that you would like to know how gravity works. We took the question to Bangalore Sathyaprakash from the University of Cardiff, and here is his answer. You can also read the accompanying article.
Plus Podcast 19, September 2009: The story of the GombocA Gomboc is a strange thing. It looks like an egg with sharp edges, and when you put it down it starts wriggling and rolling around as if it were alive. Until quite recently, no-one knew whether Gombocs even existed. Even now, Gabor Domokos, one of their discoverers, reckons that in some sense they barely exists at all. So what are Gombocs and what makes them special?
Plus Podcast 18, July 2009: Are the constants of nature really constant?As part of our celebration of the International Year of Astronomy 2009 we brought you the article Are the constants of nature really constant?, in which John D. Barrow tells us how it all depends on which constants you choose. In the podcast of this interview you can hear how changes in the constants that define our Universe might have implications for extra dimensions, gravity, and climbing flies...
Plus Careers Podcast 5, April 2009: Mathematics educator and authorIf you're worried that a mathematics degree might limit your career options, then there couldn't be a better person to talk to than Steve Hewson. Find out how his varied career has taken him from the lofty heights of theoretical physics, via the trading floor of a major investment bank, into the maths classroom, and has also seen him writing his very own maths book. This podcast accompanies the career interview from issue 50 of Plus.
Plus Podcast 17, April 2009: What happened before the Big Bang?In our online poll to find out what Plus readers would most like to know about the Universe, you told us that you'd like to find out what happened before the Big Bang. We took the question to the renowned cosmologist John D. Barrow and here is his answer. The Universe is an infinitely self-perpetuating foam of bubbles, it seems. This podcast accompanies the article What happened before the Big Bang?.
Plus Podcast 16, March 2009: Lewis Carroll in numberlandWe talk to Professor Robin Wilson, author of the book Lewis Carroll in numberland, about the mathematical work of the famous author of the Alice books, whose real name was Charles Dodgson.
Plus Careers Podcast 4, December 2008: Actor and mathematicianVictoria Gould has always known she would be an actor, and went straight from studying arts at school to running her own theatre company. But she eventually had to come clean about her guilty secret - she loves maths - and has since managed to combine a career as a research mathematician and teacher with a successful acting career on television and in theatre. In this, the first of a two part podcast, Victoria tells Plus why she needs to use boths sides of her brain. This podcast accompanies the career interview from issue 49 of Plus.
Plus Podcast 15, February 2009: A disappearing numberMathematics takes to the stage with A disappearing number, a work by Complicite, inspired by the mathematical collaboration of Hardy and Ramanujan. Plus spoke to Victoria Gould and Marcus du Sautoy about the mathematical and creative process of developing this show. This podcast accompanies the career podcast with Victoria and the article A disappearing number from issue 49 of Plus.
Podcast 14, December 2008: Small worlds on the brainWhat do the human brain, the Internet and climate change have in common? They're all hugely complex, and while they're very different, the tools used to grapple with this complexity are likely to be similar. We visited the Cambridge complex systems consortium, dedicated to building an over-arching science of complexity, and talked to neuroscientist Ed Bullmore, mathematician Frank Kelly and climate scientist Hans Graf about their take on complexity. This podcast accompanies the article Catching terrorists with maths.
Podcast 13, November 2008: Is maths to blame?According to media reports there are two suspects in the dock: the rocket scientists' (a.k.a. the financial mathematicians) who provided the information behind the market's decisions, or the greedy bankers who only thought about quick profits and their end-of-year bonuses. We talk to David Hand, Chris Rogers and John Coates to find out who is guilty. This podcast accompanies the article Is maths to blame?
Plus Careers Podcast 3, September 2008: Systems engineerChuck Gill caught the space bug as a child when watching Alan Shepherd launch into space. Since then he's worked as a US Air Force navigator, a satellite operator, and in the US intelligence service. These days he's busy reducing carbon emissions and preparing London for the 2012 Olympics. Plus went to see him to find out more about his career. This podcast accompanies the career interview from issue 48 of Plus.
Podcast 12, September 2008: Universal picturesPeter Markowich is a mathematician who likes to take pictures. At first his two interest seemed completely separate to him, but then he realised that behind every picture there is a mathematical story to tell. Plus went to see him to find out more, and ended up with an introduction to partial differential equations. This podcast accompanies the article Universal pictures.
Podcast 11, June 2008: Catching wavesThe Fourier transform is a piece of maths that is, almost single-handedly, responsible for the digital revolution. Digital music and images would be impossible without it and it has applications in anything from medical imaging to landmine detection. We asked Chris Budd what the Fourier transform does, and how it does it. This podcast accompanies the Plus article Saving lives: The mathematics of tomography.
Podcast 10, June 2008: Maths in the MoviesMaths has long been a theme in the movies. This week, Plus talks to Madeleine Shepherd, organiser of the maths film festival at the recent Edinburgh science festival, about how maths has been presented in the movies over the years, with particular reference to three more recent films, Cube, Pi and Flatland. For more on maths in the movies read the Plus article Maths, madness and movies.
Plus Careers Podcast 2, June 2008: Exhibition CuratorThis podcast accompanies the career interview in issue 47 of Plus. Barry Phipps is the first interdisciplinary fellow with the Kettle's Yard gallery in Cambridge. His remit is to develop projects of an interdisciplinary nature, to find the common ground between things. This week, Plus talks to Barry about breaking down the barriers between artists and scientists and creating greater dialogue because, as Barry says, science and art are intrinsically related at the centre, and there is no stepping away from one to be another.
Podcast 9, May 2008: Cosmic ImageryFrom the complexity of the snowflake, to the London tube map and the spiralling Andromeda galaxy, imagery has always been a vitally important ingredient of science. This week, Plus talks to John Barrow, professor of mathematics at Cambridge University and author of the new book Cosmic Imagery, about the images that have changed science, and how we have viewed science, over the centuries.

Cosmic imagery - visual version

From the complexity of the snowflake, to the London tube map and the spiralling Andromeda galaxy, imagery has always been a vitally important ingredient of science. This week, Plus talks to John Barrow, professor of mathematics at Cambridge University and author of the new book Cosmic Imagery, about the images that have changed science, and how we have viewed science, over the centuries.

Podcast 8, April 2008: Codes and codebreaking - the Enigma machineThe Enigma machine was once considered unbreakable, and the cracking of the "unbreakable code" by the allies changed the course of World War 2. This week, Plus talks to Nadia Baker from the Enigma Project about the history of codes and code-breaking, why the Enigma machine was considered unbreakable, the mathematics behind codes, and how it was finally cracked. The Enigma Project travels all over the United Kingdom and abroad, visiting over 100 schools and organisations, reaching over 12,000 people of all ages every year.
Podcast 7, March 2008: Biostatistics - From cradle to graveBacon sandwiches, drinking while pregnant, obesity - health risks are a favourite with the media. But behind the simple numbers quoted in the headlines lies a huge and sophisticated body of statistical research. We talk to Professor Sheila Bird of the Biostatistics Unit in Cambridge about her work in public health and its impact on policy, and discuss bias in pharmaceutical studies, as recently highlighted by the controversy around antidepressants.
Podcast 6, January 2008: Interdisciplinary Maths, from life on Mars to cancer development We talk to four researchers from UCL's centre for mathematics and physics in the life sciences and experimental biology (COMPLEX) about the role of maths in such fields as astrobiology, cancer modelling and biology.
Podcast 5, December 2007: Stadium mathsWe talk to Paul Shepherd about the maths of the Arsenal football stadium and to David Youdan about applied maths in the classroom.
Plus Careers Podcast, December 2007: Mathematical Modelling ConsultantWe talk to Nira Chamberlain about his job as a modelling consultant involving aircraft carriers, telecommunication networks, staying slim and speaking French.
Podcast 4, November 2007: Leonard Euler and maths communicationWe talk to Professor Chris Budd about the greatest mathematician of all - Leonard Euler. We also talk about maths communication, maths in the food industry and the best mathematical pickup lines.
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