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The Infinite Monkey Cage

The Infinite Monkey Cage

BBC Radio 4

Brian Cox and Robin Ince host a witty, irreverent look at the world through scientists' eyes.

169 - Why does wine taste good?
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  • 169 - Why does wine taste good?

    For this special Christmas episode, Brian Cox and Robin Ince visit the Australian Wine Research Institute in Adelaide to find out what science can teach us about wine. They are joined by stand-up comedian Tim Minchin, Nobel Prize winner and vineyard owner Brian Schmidt, flavour chemist Mango Parker and sensory and consumer scientist Patricia Williamson. The panel are put through their paces as they sample a variety of wines, learning the hard way that the majority of wine’s flavour isn’t down to molecular chemistry but instead the holistic experience of wine drinking: the perceived price, mood in the room and even the weight of the bottle. Producer: Caroline Steel Executive Producer: Alexandra Feachem

    Sat, 24 Dec 2022
  • 168 - The Deep Space Network

    Brian Cox and Robin Ince visit Canberra for the first of 4 special episodes recorded in Australia. This week they visit the amazing Canberra Deep Space Communication Centre where scientists communicate with, and track the 200 or so spacecraft that are currently exploring our vast solar system and even beyond. They are joined by Astrophysicists Mark Cheung and Alan Duffy, Nobel prize winner Brian Schmidt and comedian Alice Fraser as they track legendary space craft like Voyager, still sending back messages from deep in space some 40 plus years after it first launched. They discover how despite these incredible missions we still don't know what 97% of our universe is made of, and how so many of these explorations are vital to our understanding of one very important planet - our own. Producer: Caroline Steel Executiver Producer: Alexandra Feachem

    Sat, 17 Dec 2022
  • 167 - The Age of Conspiracy?

    Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined by comedian and author David Baddiel, psychologist Prof Karen Douglas, biologist Prof Matthew Cobb and philosopher Dr Timotheus Vermeulen to discover why conspiracy theories and conspiracy theorists seem to be booming. From flat earthers to moon hoaxers and holocaust deniers, is there something about society today that encourages beliefs that seem to go against all evidence and reason? Or are conspiracies just part of the human condition, and each to their own? Why do some of these alarming theories seem to hold more truth for many than overwhelming data and evidence to the contrary, and how far should we go in accommodating views that seem to have no basis in reality? Executive Producer: Alexandra Feachem

    Sat, 10 Dec 2022
  • 166 - Can we cure ageing?

    Brian Cox and Robin Ince tackle the thorny issue of their own differing experiences of ageing, as they find out why Robin seems to be doing it so much more quickly than Brian and whether science might have the answer. They are joined by comedian Sarah Kendall, Professor Dame Linda Partridge, world-renowned expert on the biology of ageing, and Dr Andrew Steele, author of "Ageless: The new science of getting older without getting old." Can the scientists answer the age-old monkey cage question of why Robin looks so much older than Brian despite being several years younger? Is it all the donuts he ate in his twenties or is down to his genes? Why do any of us age at all, and is there a biological limit to human lifespan. Most tantalisingly, they discover how the latest science into the biology of ageing could produce medicine that could slow down some of the ageing processes in the body, and in the process prevent many of the diseases, such as cancer and dementia, that can make old age so challenging. With these new advances comes the exciting prospect of not only living longer, but more importantly living healthier and happier and free of disease well into our hundreds. Executive Producer: Alexandra Feachem

    Sat, 03 Dec 2022
  • 165 - Hunting for Exoplanets

    Brian Cox and Robin Ince continue their LA science adventure as they visit Caltech in Pasadena to meet the scientists hunting for planets orbiting distant stars in solar systems far far from our own. They are joined in their quest by Python Legend Eric Idle and Exo-planet hunters Dr Jessie Christiansen from Caltech and Dr Tiffany Kataria from NASA's JPL who are using the latest telescopes to identify distant planets outside of our own solar system. Despite their distance from us, incredible new techniques allow exoplanet hunters to paint extraordinary pictures of the atmospheres and conditions on some of the 500 or so planets that have now been identified, and allow for the tantalising possibility of one day identifying other earth like planets that could even support life. Brian and Robin chat to Sean about what the discovery of life elsewhere out in the cosmos might mean for life here on planet earth, or whether the fact we haven't found any yet is evidence we are in fact all alone? Executive Producer: Alexandra Feachem

    Sat, 26 Nov 2022
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