Carramore International Limited
Carramore International Limited

 

BBC Radio 4 - The Infinite Monkey Cage

The Infinite Monkey Cage

Witty, irreverent look at the world through scientists' eyes. With Brian Cox and Robin Ince

The Infinite Monkey Cage

  • The Mind v the Brain
    The Mind V The Brain. It's one of the hardest problems in neuroscience. How do the chemical processes and electric signals produced by our brains result in the complex and varied experiences and sense of self that we might describe as our mind? Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined on stage by comedian Katy Brand, and neuroscientists Professor Uta Frith and Professor Sophie Scott to ask whether the mind is simply a product of the biology of our brain, or is there more to it than that? Can you have a brain without a mind, and is the mind simply an unexpected consequence, an emergent property, of our highly evolved and sophisticated brain. They'll also be tackling the question of free will, and whether we really have any, and if you could in theory simulate a fully working brain, with all its signals and complexity, would a mind naturally emerge? Producer: Alexandra Feachem.

  • Are We Living in a Simulation?
    Are we living in a simulation? Elon Musk thinks we definitely could be, and it seems he is not alone. The idea that we might simply be products of an advanced post-human civilisation, that are simply running a simulation of our universe and everything it contains, has taken hold over the last few years. Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined on stage by comedian Phill Jupitus, Philosopher Professor Nick Bostrom and Neuroscientist Professor Anil Seth to ask what the chances are that are living in some Matrix like, simulated world and more importantly, how would we ever know? Producer: Alexandra Feachem.

  • Will insects inherit the earth?
    Will Insects Inherit the Earth? Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined on stage by comedian Dave Gorman, zoologist Tim Cockerill and forensic entomologist Amoret Whitaker. They'll be discovering the joy of creepy crawlies, why the flea is the ultimate master of Darwinian evolution, and whether those pesky cockroaches will really have the last laugh if we are unlucky enough to be wiped out by a nuclear explosion. They'll be discovering how and why insects have been by far the most successful group of organisms during the history of life on planet earth, and why we simply couldn't do without them.

  • Oxygen: A Matter of Life and Death
    Oxygen: a matter of life and death. Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined on stage by chemist Andrea Sella, science broadcaster and writer Gabrielle Walker and comedian Sara Pascoe to look at the life and death properties of oxygen. It's the molecule we simply can't live without, but as fate would have it, oxygen is also the molecule that eventually leads to our death. Hailed as an elixir of life, and foundation of the atmosphere, oxygen is the revolutionary element that quickens life and hastens death through its ferocious reactivity. It's the molecule our cells need, but is actually highly toxic to them, and is in the end what causes us to age. Brian and Robin get to grips with the chemistry of this contradictory molecule, and Andrea Sella tries not to cause too big an explosion by demonstrating oxygen's reactive nature using a digestive biscuit. Producer: Alexandra Feachem.

  • Astronaut Special
    Astronaut Special Brian Cox and Robin Ince transport the cage to Trondheim Norway, host of this year's Starmus Festival, for an extraordinary gathering of astronauts. They are joined on stage by NASA astronauts Sandra Magnus and Terry Virts, ESA astronaut Claude Nicollier, and Apollo 16's Charlie Duke, one of the last people to have walked on the moon. They talk about their personal journeys to fulfill their long-held dreams, and literally reach for the stars. They hear from Charlie Duke about the extraordinary Apollo missions he was part of, including his role as Capsule Communicator for the very first moon landing, before taking his own first steps on the lunar surface as part of Apollo 16. They explore the different experience of astronauts from Charlie's era, and those who now become residents of space, spending months and months aboard the International Space Station, and the challenges each mission brings. And Claude Nicollier describes his epic spacewalk to repair the Hubble Telescope. Producer: Alexandra Feachem.