With Janet Radcliffe Richards, Reader in Bioethics, University College, London; Nicholas Humphrey, Professor of Psychology, New School for Social Research, New York; Professor Steven Rose, Professor of Physic, Open University.
Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the implications of the developments in genetic engineering. With Grahame Bulfield, geneticist, honorary professor, Edinburgh University and Director of the Roslin Institute, Edinburgh; Bryan Appleyard, features writer for The Sunday Times and author of Brave New Worlds: Genetics and the Human Experience.
With Dr Ken Richardson, educational psychologist, former Senior Lecturer, Open University and author of The Making of Intelligence; Professor Michael Ruse Philosopher of Biology, University of Guelph, Ontario and author of Mystery of Mysteries: Is Evolution a Social Construction?
With Professor Susan Greenfield, director of the Royal Institution, Professor of Pharmacology, Oxford University and Professor of Physics at Gresham College; Professor Vilayanur Ramachandran, Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology, Director of the Brain Perception Laboratory, University of California in San Diego and Professor at the Salk Institute.
With Margaret Deacon, visiting Research Fellow at Southampton Oceanography Centre and author of Scientists and the Sea, Tony Rice, Biological Oceanographer and author of Deep Ocean, Simon Schaffer, Reader in History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge, and a fellow of Darwin College.
Despite dissections of brains both human and animal throughout the following centuries, in 1669 the Danish anatomist, Nicolaus Steno, still lamented that, “the brain, the masterpiece of creation, is almost unknown to us.”
Why was the brain seen as a mystery for so long and how have our perceptions of how it works and what it symbolises changed over the centuries?
With Steven Rose, Professor of Biology and Director of the Brain and Behaviour Research Group, Open University, Dan Robinson, Distinguished Research Professor, Georgetown University and visiting lecturer in Philosophy and Senior Member of Linacre College, Oxford University.
In 1928, as America heads towards the Wall Street Crash, Joseph Stalin reveals his master plan - nature is to be conquered by science, Russia to be made brutally, glitteringly modern and the world transformed by communist endeavour.
Into the heart of this vision stepped Trofim Lysenko, a self-taught geneticist who promised to turn Russian wasteland into a grain-laden Garden of Eden.
Wendy Robbins presents a series revisiting the childhood neighbourhoods of influential Britons. Biologist and author Professor Steve Jones takes Wendy back to his childhood in west Wales in the 1950s to uncover the passions that led to his life of scientific discovery.
Biologist and author Professor Steve Jones takes Wendy back to his childhood in west Wales in the 1950s to uncover the passions that led to his life of scientific discovery.
The hypothesis proposes that the physical characteristics that distinguish us from our nearest cousin apes - standing and moving bipedally, being naked and sweaty, our swimming and diving abilities, fat babies, big brains and language - all of these and others are best explained as adaptations to a prolonged period of our evolutionary history being spent in and around the seashore and lake margins, not on the hot dry savannah or in the forest with the other apes. The programmes explore the varieties of response to the theory, from when it was first proposed to the present day.
The second programme looks at the evidence that has accumulated in the last 5 - 10 years which seems to be driving the anthropological herd inexorably down to the water's edge. It includes reports on brain evolution, highlighting the essential fatty acids and nutrients that can only be sourced in the marine food chain; the global coastal migrations of early hominids, including major water crossings 1 million years ago; diving response and voluntary breath-control as semi-aquatic pre-adaptation for speech and some new and intriguing research findings that seem to indicate that water-births may be a very ancient human adaptation indeed.
In this five-part series, Jonathan Miller returns to his roots in medicine and tells the story of how we came to understand reproduction & heredity. Disposing with the idea of an external, perhaps even supernatural, vitalising force, he describes how we have arrived at the picture of ourselves and all organisms as Self-Made Things.
Darwinism in the second half of the 19th century gave us a theoretical framework that captured in one stroke the seemingly limitless variety that zoologists, botanists and paleontologists were finding in every dimension in nature.
This week Jonathan Miller looks at the birth of ideas about reproduction and heredity. Starting with the ideas of Aristotle and the early Greeks, he argues that because knowledge of underlying structures such as cells and genes are comparatively recent, it was necessary for thinkers addressing the problem, right through the renaissance, to resort to immaterial agents acting upon the raw substances of fertilization.
In the final programme in the series, Jonathan Miller brings the story of reproduction and generation up to the present. He hears first from Nobel prize-winner Sir Aaron Klug who describes the work done by Crick and Watson in 1953 to identify the chemical structure of deoxyribonucleic acid, better know as DNA, which they represented as a double helix.
To most of us, viruses are the cause of illnesses like flu and measles. But to Angela Belcher of MIT, they’re the ideal building blocks for creating new materials at close to the atomic scale, in the new science of nanotechnology.