Science

Radio 4’s The Art of Innovation is a series that — for once — deserves the label ‘landmark’

28 September 2019 9:00 am

Radio 4, how do I love thee? Rather as one loves the flocked wallpaper that came with the house. It…

Business is the only area of human activity where you get paid to change your mind

14 September 2019 9:00 am

In 1891, a 29-year-old man moved from Philadelphia to Chicago intending to start a business. With $32 to his name,…

Earth dying in five billion years I can deal with, but not a world-weary Brian Cox

1 June 2019 9:00 am

When you see the opening caption ‘4.6 billion years ago’, it’s a pretty safe bet that you’re watching a programme…

Plastic fantastic: British Industried Fair, 1948

How plastics saved the elephant and the tortoise

1 June 2019 9:00 am

Plastics — even venerable, historically eloquent plastics — hardly draw the eye. As this show’s insightful accompanying publication (a snip…

The man who never cried

9 February 2019 9:00 am

It was odd listening to Jim Al-Khalili being interviewed on Radio 4 on Tuesday morning rather than the other way…

It’s not science I don’t trust – it’s the scientists

25 August 2018 9:00 am

Everyone knows the real reason people like Donald Trump are sceptical of climate change is that conservatives are fundamentally anti-science.…

Sarah Higgins (Helena) and Henry Pettigrew (Bob) in Midsummer

Conversations with a penis, having a laugh about Brexit and why titles matter: Edinburgh Festival reviewed

18 August 2018 9:00 am

David Greig has written the international festival’s flagship drama, Midsummer. This farcical romance is performed as a party piece by…

The long limbs, light frame and deep chest of sighthounds, like the Borzoi or Russian wolfhound, give them the speed and endurance to outrun their quarry. Drawing by Katrina van Grouw

The selective breeding of pets: how far should we go?

11 August 2018 9:00 am

It was in his play Back to Methuselah that George Bernard Shaw honoured a lesser known aspect of Charles Darwin’s…

Exhilaratingly original, C4’s Flowers is much more than just a ‘dark comedy’

16 June 2018 9:00 am

On Wednesday, BBC Four made an unexpectedly strong case that the human body is a bit rubbish. Our ill-designed spines,…

The Psychedelic Guide to Preparation of the Eucharist was a book produced in 1968 by the Neo-American Church, explaining how to manufacture and cultivate marijuana, peyote, mushrooms, morning glory, LSD and STP ‘for religious purposes’. Taken from Altered States: The Library of Julio Santo Domingo by Peter Watts (Anthology Editions, available at www.anthology.net)

Might LSD be good for you?

12 May 2018 9:00 am

Many hallucinogenic drugs are non-addictive, carry little or no physiological risk and might even be good for you, says Sam Leith

Benjamin Zephaniah once found the leg of a man in the back of a Ford Cortina

5 May 2018 9:00 am

‘For me rhyming was normal,’ said Benjamin Zephaniah, reading from his autobiography on Radio 4. Back in the 1960s, on…

Why a Big Oil row tells us it’s time to stop fetishising experts

7 April 2018 9:00 am

Something extraordinary and largely unreported has just happened in a court in San Francisco. A federal judge has said that…

Why the arts are needed to put the ‘A’ into ‘STEAM’

17 March 2018 9:00 am

Amongst the good places to be in Britain, the National Theatre and the RSC in Stratford-upon-Avon are up there. What…

‘A Cellar Dive in the Bend’, c.1895, by Richard Hoe Lawrence and Henry G. Piffard

A short history of flash photography

18 November 2017 9:00 am

A short history of flash photography, by Kate Flint

The head of Jeremy Bentham, who died in 1832

What can we learn from Jeremy Bentham’s pickled head?

18 November 2017 9:00 am

Under the central dome of UCL — an indoor crossroads where hordes of students come and go on their way…

When it comes to politics, perception is more important than ‘truth’

21 October 2017 9:00 am

I hate to tell you this, but every time you watch television you are being duped. In fact there are…

‘Cnidarians’ from Haeckel’s book Art Forms in Nature, 1899–1904

Art nouveau owes a lot to this dodgy German biologist and his dazzling illustrations

23 September 2017 9:00 am

Over the winter of 1859–60, a handsome young man could be seen patrolling the shores of the Gulf of Messina…

If gender stereotypes are an invention, why do we all freely conform to them?

2 September 2017 9:00 am

Later this year, the Advertising Standards Authority will reveal to the world their list of rules designed to wipe out…

David Jones, aged 12, with his chemistry set and, right, as ‘potty prof’ Daedalus

Remembering my brother Daedalus, the potty prof

19 August 2017 9:00 am

Remembering the man behind Daedalus

Shirley Henderson (Elizabeth Laine) and Michael Shaeffer (Reverend Marlowe) in Girl from the North Country

Old Vic's Girl from the North Country is a disaster as entertainment

5 August 2017 9:00 am

Conor McPherson’s new play is set in dust-bowl Minnesota in 1934. We’re in a fly-blown boarding house owned by skint,…

At 350ft tall, Godzilla would collapse under its own weight. But with two giant legs and a tiny body, it would be eminently feasible

What’s the ideal size for a city?

1 July 2017 9:00 am

Trust scientists to ruin all our fun. The spectacularly beautiful 2014 film reboot of Godzilla, it turns out, is anatomically…

Torture porn done with the trite slickness of a Vogue photo shoot: Salomé reviewed

27 May 2017 9:00 am

The Olivier describes Salomé by Yaël Farber as a ‘new’ play. Not quite. It premièred in Washington a couple of…

Not everyone’s dream: the Simpson Desert, Australia

Flatness is far from boring, as Barry Higman demonstrates

1 April 2017 9:00 am

On the website of the Australian National University in Canberra, emeritus professor of history Barry Higman lists his research interests…

What will you do in the gene-editing revolution?

11 March 2017 9:00 am

The only time I ever saw a wolf in the wild, a small one, I was so frightened that I…

It’s electrifying: Nikola Tesla in his lab, 1901

Poetry, animals, perms and Bovril are all part of the sparky history of electricity

25 February 2017 9:00 am

Poetry, animals, perms and Bovril are all part of the sparky history of electricity, writes Richard Holmes