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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.

215 - The Infinite Monkey's Guide To… Tiny Things
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  • 215 - The Infinite Monkey's Guide To… Tiny Things

    Brian Cox and Robin Ince shuffle through the archive to find the smallest things in the world of science, from a particle so tiny nobody has ever actually seen it, to the millions of microbes we’re all made up of. They ask the short-of-stature comedian Andy Hamilton how he’d feel about being three times bigger, which he admits could come in handy if he ever met a mammoth, leading to an unexpected discussion about a potential new TV gameshow format. Entomologist Erica McAlister is back to tell the team about her favourite fly, which can burrow into a human head to lay its eggs, and we learn about a project to make ants glow in the dark using nano-gold which went a little bit wrong.

    New episodes will be released on Wednesdays. If you’re in the UK, listen to the full series on BBC Sounds: bbc.in/3K3JzyF

    Producer: Marijke Peters Executive Producer: Alexandra Feachem

    Episodes featured: Series 16: What particles remain to be discovered? Series 19: Microbes: Secret rulers of the world? Series 6: Does size matter? Series 23: In praise of flies Series 24: Astronauts

    Wed, 22 May 2024
  • 214 - The Infinite Monkey's Guide To… The Future

    We know the universe is rapidly expanding but what happens if other galaxies disappear from view? That’s what Eric Idle wants to know as he ponders the future and what it holds in store. Solar scientist Lucie Green says this is not worth dwelling on because we’ll all be wiped out by an asteroid at some point anyway, which leads to a discussion about whether anywhere is still safe. Away from physics, Brian Cox and Robin Ince learn that one of the major contributors to global warming is the urinal cooling industry, which raises important questions about human stupidity. Should we let another species have a go? Chris Addison reckons dolphins might do a better job than we have but admits there are some major logistical issues.

    New episodes will be released on Wednesdays. If you’re in the UK, listen to the full series on BBC Sounds: bbc.in/3K3JzyF

    Producer: Marijke Peters Executive Producer: Alexandra Feachem

    Episodes featured: Series 22: The end of the universe Series 3: Apocalypse Series 13: Climate Change Series 19: The future of humanity Series 15: The human story: How we got here and how we survived

    Wed, 15 May 2024
  • 213 - The Infinite Monkey's Guide To… Failure

    Brian Cox and Robin Ince embrace failure in its many forms, with a frank look at the importance of making mistakes. They examine the flaws in Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution with the anthropologist Alice Roberts, as she tells them no idea is totally watertight. And sometimes scientific error even leads to important discoveries – just ask the heart patients who took a pill that did nothing for their medical condition but did boost their libido and which we now know as Viagra. But other failures in the field of medicine have had more serious consequences, and Dr Chris van Tulleken questions why we’re not better at drug development for the poorest parts of the world.

    New episodes will be released on Wednesdays. If you’re in the UK, listen to the full series on BBC Sounds: bbc.in/3K3JzyF

    Producer: Marijke Peters Executive Producer: Alexandra Feachem

    Episodes featured: Series 15: Science’s Epic Fails Series 11: Serendipity Series 25: What Have We Learnt From Covid?

    Wed, 08 May 2024
  • 212 - The Infinite Monkey's Guide To… Gambling

    Robin Ince and Brian Cox ask why some people always seem to win as they investigate the science of gambling. They hear how playing monopoly is no way to make friends, but don’t worry, because psychologist Richard Wiseman claims that it’s never really good fun anyway. In fact, games are mainly a form of social bonding and studies show deception could even be essential to human behaviour, which may just explain why so many people cheat. So should we even bother playing them? Well, it just so happens that solving maths problems can help us in other areas of life, so the team tackle a conundrum involving a goat, a cabbage and very hungry wolf, before becoming side-tracked by a debate over why the three were ever on a trip together in the first place, let alone trying to cross a river.

    New episodes will be released on Wednesdays. If you’re in the UK, listen to the full series on BBC Sounds: bbc.in/3K3JzyF

    Producer: Marijke Peters Executive Producer: Alexandra Feachem

    Episodes featured: Series 15: How to Beat the House and Win Series 3: Randomness Series 11: Deception

    Wed, 01 May 2024
  • 211 - The Infinite Monkey's Guide To… The Gods

    Robin Ince and Brian Cox tackle the thorny debate over whether science and religion can co-exist. But forget the tension between the church and the researchers – Eric Idle wants an answer to the important question of whether God is in gluten free communion bread? Katy Brand launches the inaugural theologian’s corner with a pair of Reverends, who explain that comedians and the clergy have a lot in common, including a tendency to like the sound of their own voices. As we learn more about how our universe works, will there even be a need for religious belief? Since some research suggests fundamentalists and zealots tend to be less intelligent, perhaps there’s a case to be made for some healthy scepticism.

    New episodes will be released on Wednesdays. If you’re in the UK, listen to the full series on BBC Sounds: bbc.in/3K3JzyF

    Producer: Marijke Peters Executive Producer: Alexandra Feachem

    Episodes featured: Series 1: Science and Religion Series 4: Is There Room for Mysticism in a Rational World? The Infinite Monkey Cage 100 Series 21: Quantum Worlds Series 10: Irrationality

    Wed, 24 Apr 2024
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