UCL CENTRE FOR LANGUAGES & INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION (CLIE)

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Today, Georg Cantor, the mathematician who showed us how to carry on counting when the numbers run out. An insight into the nature of infinity that Roger Penrose believes helps to explain why the human brain will always be cleverer than artificial intelligence.

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georg cantorhistorymathematics

Today, Georg Cantor, the mathematician who showed us how to carry on counting when the numbers run out. An insight into the nature of infinity that Roger Penrose believes helps to explain why the human brain will always be cleverer than artificial intelligence.

Today Henri Poincare, the man who proved there are certain problems that mathematics will never be able to answer: a mathematical insight that gave rise to chaos theory.

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henri poincarehistorymathematics

Today Henri Poincare, the man who proved there are certain problems that mathematics will never be able to answer: a mathematical insight that gave rise to chaos theory.

Today, G.H.Hardy, the mathematician who insisted he had never done anything useful. And yet his work on the "diabolical malice" inherent in prime numbers inspired the millions of codes that now help to keep the internet safe.

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hardyhistorymathematicsramanujan

Today, G.H.Hardy, the mathematician who insisted he had never done anything useful. And yet his work on the "diabolical malice" inherent in prime numbers inspired the millions of codes that now help to keep the internet safe.

Today, the mathematician that never was, Nicolas Bourbaki. A group of French mathematicians, working between the two world wars and writing under the pseudonym Nicolas Bourbaki transformed their discipline and paved the way for several mathematical breakthroughs in the 21st century.

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historymathematicsnicolas bourbaki

Today, the mathematician that never was, Nicolas Bourbaki. A group of French mathematicians, working between the two world wars and writing under the pseudonym Nicolas Bourbaki transformed their discipline and paved the way for several mathematical breakthroughs in the 21st century.

The universe will die. The sun and other stars like it will throw out heat until they have no more energy to burn. The big bang threw everything outwards at a massive rate. As it gets bigger, so the gaps between matter get bigger and are filled with "dark energy". Instead of gravity pulling everything back down to a "big crunch" the dark energy accelerates the expansion process, pushing everything further apart faster and faster. In the end everything will be a cold, sad, blackness as the stars all go out, or are too far apart for us to see anything - but "us" will be long gone.

The universe will die. The sun and other stars like it will throw out heat until they have no more energy to burn. The big bang threw everything outwards at a massive rate. As it gets bigger, so the gaps between matter get bigger and are filled with "dark energy". Instead of gravity pulling everything back down to a "big crunch" the dark energy accelerates the expansion process, pushing everything further apart faster and faster. In the end everything will be a cold, sad, blackness as the stars all go out, or are too far apart for us to see anything - but "us" will be long gone.

A strange subatomic particle produced in an atom-smashing experiment here on earth could, theoretically, tumble to the centre of the planet and start eating the planet from the inside out - death by industrial accident. Or a random quantum fluctuation in distant space could switch off the machinery that makes matter big, and this would send a bubble of destruction moving at the speed of light and shutting down all creation in its path. All of the ideas explored in this series suggest that the future is not rosy - that the universe is going to end and that we will end along with it...or can we escape?

A strange subatomic particle produced in an atom-smashing experiment here on earth could, theoretically, tumble to the centre of the planet and start eating the planet from the inside out - death by industrial accident. Or a random quantum fluctuation in distant space could switch off the machinery that makes matter big, and this would send a bubble of destruction moving at the speed of light and shutting down all creation in its path. All of the ideas explored in this series suggest that the future is not rosy - that the universe is going to end and that we will end along with it...or can we escape?

A series exploring how our ideas about the end of the universe have been shaped by religion, belief, and the contemporary state of scientific thinking and observation. The series is presented by Vatican Astronomer, Brother Guy Consolmagno. He is a Jesuit astro-physicist who came to religion via science and his wonder at the universe. At the Vatican Observatory in Castel Gandolfo, Italy, he compares cutting edge cosmology with Chinese, Ancient Greek, Buddhist, Medieval and Victorian ideas about the end of everything.

A series exploring how our ideas about the end of the universe have been shaped by religion, belief, and the contemporary state of scientific thinking and observation. The series is presented by Vatican Astronomer, Brother Guy Consolmagno. He is a Jesuit astro-physicist who came to religion via science and his wonder at the universe. At the Vatican Observatory in Castel Gandolfo, Italy, he compares cutting edge cosmology with Chinese, Ancient Greek, Buddhist, Medieval and Victorian ideas about the end of everything.

It will die. Like a ball thrown into the air, no matter how fast the acceleration to begin with, gravity always wins. The universe will reach a critical mass, then start to fall back in on itself. This is the big crunch theory. The power of gravity wins out over the accelerating power throwing everything outwards. Microseconds from the end, black holes begin to merge with each other, little different from the collapsing state of the surrounding universe. The implosion becomes increasingly powerful, crushing all matter and every physical thing out of existence. Space and time end - there is eternal nothingness beyond this point, unless...

It will die. Like a ball thrown into the air, no matter how fast the acceleration to begin with, gravity always wins. The universe will reach a critical mass, then start to fall back in on itself. This is the big crunch theory. The power of gravity wins out over the accelerating power throwing everything outwards. Microseconds from the end, black holes begin to merge with each other, little different from the collapsing state of the surrounding universe. The implosion becomes increasingly powerful, crushing all matter and every physical thing out of existence. Space and time end - there is eternal nothingness beyond this point, unless...

Yes the universe will end, but at the crunch the process starts all over again, and could go on forever (cf. Hindu and Buddhist ideas of re-birth). Another possibility is "multiverses" - there are lots of different universes, all in different states of existence, some at moment of big bang, but will never become a universe as we know it, so grow to the size of a grape and shrink back, or expand outwards and never turn into frothy, lumpy matter - just a thin soup with no life in them. Our universe is perfect…not too fast to become a soup and not too slow so it falls back in on itself to destruct - just lumpy enough for galaxies to form and the whole thing hold together - a balancing act between gravity and acceleration, for the time being.

Yes the universe will end, but at the crunch the process starts all over again, and could go on forever (cf. Hindu and Buddhist ideas of re-birth). Another possibility is "multiverses" - there are lots of different universes, all in different states of existence, some at moment of big bang, but will never become a universe as we know it, so grow to the size of a grape and shrink back, or expand outwards and never turn into frothy, lumpy matter - just a thin soup with no life in them. Our universe is perfect…not too fast to become a soup and not too slow so it falls back in on itself to destruct - just lumpy enough for galaxies to form and the whole thing hold together - a balancing act between gravity and acceleration, for the time being.

The Medici are synonymous with the Renaissance, but why did these bankers act as patrons to artists like Michelangelo and Donatello - was it a love of art or something more sinister?

The Medici are synonymous with the Renaissance, but why did these bankers act as patrons to artists like Michelangelo and Donatello - was it a love of art or something more sinister?

Classicist Bettany Hughes continues her journey through the beauty and the blood-letting of Renaissance Florence. Could it be that the Renaissance as we know it wasn't a renaissance at all? Could Donatello's David really be a political statement for the Medici? And what has Liverpool got to do with it? Bettany finds that the Renaissance is more than it's cracked up to be.

Classicist Bettany Hughes continues her journey through the beauty and the blood-letting of Renaissance Florence. Could it be that the Renaissance as we know it wasn't a renaissance at all? Could Donatello's David really be a political statement for the Medici? And what has Liverpool got to do with it? Bettany finds that the Renaissance is more than it's cracked up to be.

Historian Bettany Hughes concludes her journey through the beauty and the blood of renaissance Florence. This week she finds that, contrary to popular belief, it was smart women, gay men and false gods who made the corner stones of western civilisation

Historian Bettany Hughes concludes her journey through the beauty and the blood of renaissance Florence. This week she finds that, contrary to popular belief, it was smart women, gay men and false gods who made the corner stones of western civilisation

  • An Earth Made for Life - Programme 3: Sex, Death and War

  • Gabrielle Walker

In the second series of An Earth Made for Life Gabrielle Walker continues her quest to understand why complex life is found on our planet, but not on any of our celestial neighbours. From the outback of Australia to the walls of the Grand Canyon Gabrielle unearths evidence of the dramatic changes that took place on our planet billions of years ago which may have triggered the rise of animals.

In the second series of An Earth Made for Life Gabrielle Walker continues her quest to understand why complex life is found on our planet, but not on any of our celestial neighbours. From the outback of Australia to the walls of the Grand Canyon Gabrielle unearths evidence of the dramatic changes that took place on our planet billions of years ago which may have triggered the rise of animals.

Professor of Genetics Steve Jones challenges evolutionary psychology, the controversial new science of how our brains and minds developed.

Professor of Genetics Steve Jones challenges evolutionary psychology, the controversial new science of how our brains and minds developed.

Professor of Genetics Steve Jones challenges the controversial science of evolutionary psychology. Evolutionary psychologists say human behaviour, such as who we marry, when we have children and even the quality of our sex lives, can be explained by having a Stone Age brain in a 21st century body. Professor Jones examines the scientific evidence for such claims and asks if we should be worried if contentious theories escape the world of science and enter the arena of social policy.

Professor of Genetics Steve Jones challenges the controversial science of evolutionary psychology. Evolutionary psychologists say human behaviour, such as who we marry, when we have children and even the quality of our sex lives, can be explained by having a Stone Age brain in a 21st century body. Professor Jones examines the scientific evidence for such claims and asks if we should be worried if contentious theories escape the world of science and enter the arena of social policy.

  • Battle for Birth

  • Penny Marshall

Penny Marshall tells the story of how the battle for birth has been waged between women, doctors and midwives over the last two centuries. This war has shaped the maternity services in the UK today. Penny talks to midwives, obstetricians, mothers and policy makers about the battles that have been fought to give women the maternity care they want.

Penny Marshall tells the story of how the battle for birth has been waged between women, doctors and midwives over the last two centuries. This war has shaped the maternity services in the UK today. Penny talks to midwives, obstetricians, mothers and policy makers about the battles that have been fought to give women the maternity care they want.

  • Book of the Week - A Commonwealth of Thieves

  • Thomas Keneally

With drama and flair, novelist Keneally illuminates the birth of New South Wales in 1788, richly evoking the social conditions in London, miserable sea voyage and the desperate conditions of the new colony. His tale revolves around Arthur Phillips, the ambitious captain in the Royal Navy who would become the first governor of New South Wales

With drama and flair, novelist Keneally illuminates the birth of New South Wales in 1788, richly evoking the social conditions in London, miserable sea voyage and the desperate conditions of the new colony. His tale revolves around Arthur Phillips, the ambitious captain in the Royal Navy who would become the first governor of New South Wales

  • Book of the Week - A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier

  • Ishamel Beah

A gripping story of a child’s journey through hell and back. There may be as many as 300,000 child soldiers, hopped-up on drugs and wielding AK-47s, in more than fifty conflicts around the world. Ishmael Beah used to be one of them. He is one of the first to tell his story in his own words. In this book, Beah, tells a riveting story. At the age of twelve, he fled attacking rebels and wandered a land rendered unrecognizable by violence. By thirteen, he’d been picked up by the government army, and Beah, at heart a gentle boy, found that he was capable of truly terrible acts.

A gripping story of a child’s journey through hell and back. There may be as many as 300,000 child soldiers, hopped-up on drugs and wielding AK-47s, in more than fifty conflicts around the world. Ishmael Beah used to be one of them. He is one of the first to tell his story in his own words. In this book, Beah, tells a riveting story. At the age of twelve, he fled attacking rebels and wandered a land rendered unrecognizable by violence. By thirteen, he’d been picked up by the government army, and Beah, at heart a gentle boy, found that he was capable of truly terrible acts.

  • Book of the Week - A Room Full of Mirrors

  • Charles R. Cross

Published to coincide with the thirty-fifth anniversary of Jimi Hendrix's death, Room Full of Mirrors gives full voice to the music that continues to enthrall each successive generation of rock fans. Hendrix's colorful, tumultuous life is brilliantly detailed in Charles Cross's latest rock bio

Published to coincide with the thirty-fifth anniversary of Jimi Hendrix's death, Room Full of Mirrors gives full voice to the music that continues to enthrall each successive generation of rock fans. Hendrix's colorful, tumultuous life is brilliantly detailed in Charles Cross's latest rock bio

  • Book of the Week - Beatrix Potter - A Life in Nature

  • Linda Lear

Beatrix Potter, the twentieth century's most beloved children's writer and illustrator, created books that will forever conjure nature for millions. Yet though she is a household name around the world, her personal life and her other significant achievements remain largely unknown. This remarkable new biography is a voyage of discovery into the story of an extraordinary woman. At a time when plunder was more popular than preservation, she brought nature back into the English imagination. "Beatrix Potter: A Life In Nature" reveals a strong, humorous and independent woman, whose art was timeless, and whose generosity left an indelible imprint on the countryside.

Beatrix Potter, the twentieth century's most beloved children's writer and illustrator, created books that will forever conjure nature for millions. Yet though she is a household name around the world, her personal life and her other significant achievements remain largely unknown. This remarkable new biography is a voyage of discovery into the story of an extraordinary woman. At a time when plunder was more popular than preservation, she brought nature back into the English imagination. "Beatrix Potter: A Life In Nature" reveals a strong, humorous and independent woman, whose art was timeless, and whose generosity left an indelible imprint on the countryside.

  • Book of the Week - Bringing the House Down

  • David Profumo

David Profumo was just seven when his father, who had been Secretary of State for War, resigned from the Macmillan government. Despite the furore and humiliation that followed, his parents famously stayed together -- and now, forty years on, their son has written this long-awaited account of their family life before, during and after the sensational events of 1963.

David Profumo was just seven when his father, who had been Secretary of State for War, resigned from the Macmillan government. Despite the furore and humiliation that followed, his parents famously stayed together -- and now, forty years on, their son has written this long-awaited account of their family life before, during and after the sensational events of 1963.

  • Book of the Week - Coconut Chaos

  • Diana Souhami

This singular tale by Whitbread Prize-winning writer Diana Souhami ('Selkirk's Island') connects the famous mutiny on the Bounty in the Pacific Ocean in 1789 to the plight of the islanders of Pitcairn now. Its conceptual core is how a small chance thing, the taking of a coconut by Fletcher Christian from William Bligh's stores on the ship, had dramatic ramifications that continue today.

This singular tale by Whitbread Prize-winning writer Diana Souhami ('Selkirk's Island') connects the famous mutiny on the Bounty in the Pacific Ocean in 1789 to the plight of the islanders of Pitcairn now. Its conceptual core is how a small chance thing, the taking of a coconut by Fletcher Christian from William Bligh's stores on the ship, had dramatic ramifications that continue today.

  • Book of the Week - Diaries 1969-1979: The Python Years

  • Michael Palin

Michael Palin has kept a diary since newly married in the late 1960s, when he was beginning to make a name for himself as a TV scriptwriter (for the Two Ronnies, David Frost etc). Monty Python was just around the corner. This first volume of his diaries reveals how Python emerged and triumphed, how he, John Cleese, Graham Chapman, the two Terrys - Jones and Gilliam - and Eric Idle, came together and changed the face of British comedy.

Michael Palin has kept a diary since newly married in the late 1960s, when he was beginning to make a name for himself as a TV scriptwriter (for the Two Ronnies, David Frost etc). Monty Python was just around the corner. This first volume of his diaries reveals how Python emerged and triumphed, how he, John Cleese, Graham Chapman, the two Terrys - Jones and Gilliam - and Eric Idle, came together and changed the face of British comedy.

  • Book of the Week - England's Mistress: The Infamous Life of Emma Hamilton

  • Kate Williams

A dramatic, sparkling tale of sex, glamour, intrigue, romance and heartbreak, "England's Mistress" traces the rise and rise of the gorgeous Emma Hamilton. Born into poverty, she clawed her way up through London's underworlds of sex for sale to become England's first media superstar.

A dramatic, sparkling tale of sex, glamour, intrigue, romance and heartbreak, "England's Mistress" traces the rise and rise of the gorgeous Emma Hamilton. Born into poverty, she clawed her way up through London's underworlds of sex for sale to become England's first media superstar.

  • Book of the Week - I Was Vermeer

  • Frank Wynne

In 1945, a small-time Dutch art dealer was arrested for selling a forgery of a priceless national treasure - a painting by Vermeer - to Hitler's right-hand man. The charge was treason, the only possible sentence death. And yet Han van Meegeren languished in his dank prison cell, incapable of uttering the words that would set him free: 'I am a forger.' This riveting account of greed, hubris, excess, treason and fine art is the story of a failed artist and the greatest forger of all time, who executed a swindle which earned him the equivalent of fifty million dollars and the acclaim of the very critics who had mocked him.

In 1945, a small-time Dutch art dealer was arrested for selling a forgery of a priceless national treasure - a painting by Vermeer - to Hitler's right-hand man. The charge was treason, the only possible sentence death. And yet Han van Meegeren languished in his dank prison cell, incapable of uttering the words that would set him free: 'I am a forger.' This riveting account of greed, hubris, excess, treason and fine art is the story of a failed artist and the greatest forger of all time, who executed a swindle which earned him the equivalent of fifty million dollars and the acclaim of the very critics who had mocked him.

  • Book of the Week - Judge Sewall's Apology

  • Richard Francis

Samuel Sewall sat in judgement at the Salem witch trials. Five years later he recanted the guilty verdicts. Through his story, Richard Francis brings the New World vividly to life. The Salem witch trials of 1692 have assumed mythical status. Immortalised by Arthur Miller's The Crucible, the witch-hunt is now part of our vocabulary. Yet the actual events are more remote than ever. Biographer and novelist Richard Francis brings the reality back into focus with the story of Samuel Sewall, New England Puritan, Salem trial judge, publisher, entrepreneur and writer.

Samuel Sewall sat in judgement at the Salem witch trials. Five years later he recanted the guilty verdicts. Through his story, Richard Francis brings the New World vividly to life. The Salem witch trials of 1692 have assumed mythical status. Immortalised by Arthur Miller's The Crucible, the witch-hunt is now part of our vocabulary. Yet the actual events are more remote than ever. Biographer and novelist Richard Francis brings the reality back into focus with the story of Samuel Sewall, New England Puritan, Salem trial judge, publisher, entrepreneur and writer.

  • Book of the Week - Leni - The Life and Work of Leni Riefenstahl

  • Steven Bach

The definitive biography of Leni Riefenstahl, the woman best known as "Hitler's filmmaker," one of the most fascinating and controversial personalities of the twentieth century. It is the story of huge talent and huger ambition, one that probes the sometimes blurred borders dividing art and beauty from truth and humanity

The definitive biography of Leni Riefenstahl, the woman best known as "Hitler's filmmaker," one of the most fascinating and controversial personalities of the twentieth century. It is the story of huge talent and huger ambition, one that probes the sometimes blurred borders dividing art and beauty from truth and humanity

  • Book of the Week - Love and Louis XIV

  • Antonia Fraser

Mistresses and wives, mothers and daughters - Antonia Fraser brilliantly explores the relationships which existed between The Sun King and the women in his life. This includes not only Louis XIV's mistresses, principally Louise de La Valliere, Athenais de Montespan, and the puritanical Madame de Maintenon, but also the wider story of his relationships with women in general, including his mother Anne of Austria, his two sisters-in-law who were Duchesses d'Orleans in succession, Henriette-Anne and Liselotte, his wayward illegitimate daughters, and lastly Adelaide, the beloved child-wife of his grandson.

Mistresses and wives, mothers and daughters - Antonia Fraser brilliantly explores the relationships which existed between The Sun King and the women in his life. This includes not only Louis XIV's mistresses, principally Louise de La Valliere, Athenais de Montespan, and the puritanical Madame de Maintenon, but also the wider story of his relationships with women in general, including his mother Anne of Austria, his two sisters-in-law who were Duchesses d'Orleans in succession, Henriette-Anne and Liselotte, his wayward illegitimate daughters, and lastly Adelaide, the beloved child-wife of his grandson.

  • Book of the Week - Part of the Pattern: Memoirs of a Wife at Westminster

  • Edna Healey

Edna Healey has been married to Denis Healey for more than fifty years and has seen parliamentary life, both in power and opposition from the inside.

Edna Healey has been married to Denis Healey for more than fifty years and has seen parliamentary life, both in power and opposition from the inside.

  • Book of the Week - Passionate Minds

  • David Bodanis

Emilie du Chatelet was one of the greatest thinkers of the 18th century, a woman whose work was of by history. Fiercely intellectual and passionate, Emilie's relationship with Voltaire was as radical as he vital use to Einstein and who, until now, has been largely ignoredr thinking.

Emilie du Chatelet was one of the greatest thinkers of the 18th century, a woman whose work was of by history. Fiercely intellectual and passionate, Emilie's relationship with Voltaire was as radical as he vital use to Einstein and who, until now, has been largely ignoredr thinking.