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Scepticism 05 Jul 12

Duration: 43 mins

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss Scepticism, the idea that it may be impossible to know anything with complete certainty. Socrates is reported to have said that the only thing he knew for certain was that he knew nothing. Scepticism was taken up by later philosophers and came to the fore during the Renaissance, especially in the work of Descartes and Montaigne. Its ideas went on to have a powerful influence on the religious and scientific debates of the Enlightenment. Melvyn Bragg is joined by Peter Millican, Professor of Philosophy at Hertford College, Oxford; Melissa Lane, Professor of Politics at Princeton University and Jill Kraye, Professor of the History of Renaissance Philosophy and Librarian at the Warburg Institute, University of London.

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Trojan War 

Thu, 31 May 12

Duration: 42 mins

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the Trojan War, one of the best known events of Greek mythology. According to the traditional story, the war began when a Trojan prince, Paris, eloped with the Spartan queen Helen. A Greek army besieged Troy for ten years before the city was finally overrun and destroyed. But does the Trojan War story have any basis in fact? And why has it proved such an enduring legend? Melvyn Bragg is joined by Edith Hall, Professor of Classics at King's College London; Ellen Adams, Lecturer in Classical Art and Archaeology at King's College London and Susan Sherratt, Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Sheffield.

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Game Theory 10 May 12

Thu, 10 May 12

Duration: 42 mins

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss game theory, the mathematical study of decision-making. Some of the games studied in game theory have become well known outside academia - they include the Prisoner's Dilemma, an intriguing scenario popularised in novels and films. Today game theory is seen as an important tool in evolutionary biology, economics, computing and philosophy. Melvyn Bragg is joined by Ian Stewart, Emeritus Professor of Mathematics at the University of Warwick; Andrew Colman, Professor of Psychology at the University of Leicester and Richard Bradley, Professor of Philosophy at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Podcast: The Battle of Bosworth Field 26 Apr 12

Thu, 26 Apr 12

Duration: 43 mins

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the Battle of Bosworth Field, the celebrated encounter between Lancastrian and Yorkist forces in August 1485, which resulted in the death of Richard III. Henry Tudor's victory established the Tudor dynasty which was to rule for over a century. Melvyn Bragg is joined by Anne Curry, Professor of Medieval History and Dean of Humanities at the University of Southampton; Steven Gunn, Tutor and Fellow in Modern History at Merton College, Oxford and David Grummitt, Lecturer in British History at the University of Kent.

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The Neutrino

Thu, 14 Apr 11

Duration: 43 mins

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the neutrino. With Frank Close, Susan Cartwright and David Wark.

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The Age of the Universe

Thu, 3 Mar 11

Duration: 43 mins

Melvin Bragg dicusses the Age of the Universe, with Martin Rees, Carolin Crawford and Carlos Frenk.

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Imaginary Numbers

Thu, 23 Sep 10

Duration: 43 mins

Melvyn Bragg grapples with the concept of imaginary numbers. Perplexing digits that underpin the majority of technology we take for granted today, from radios to computers to MRI scans; not to mention quantum mechanics. Melvyn is joined by Marcus du Sautoy, Professor of Mathematics at Oxford University; Ian Stewart, Emeritus Professor of Mathematics at the University of Warwick; and Caroline Series, Professor of Mathematics, also at the University of Warwick.

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Neoplatonism 19 Apr 12

Thu, 19 Apr 12

Duration: 42 mins

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss Neoplatonism, the school of thought founded in the 3rd century AD by the philosopher Plotinus. The Neoplatonists brought a new religious sensibility to bear on Plato's thought, outlining a complex cosmology which linked the human with the divine, headed by a mysterious power called the One. Neoplatonism shaped early Christian, Jewish and Muslim religious scholarship, and remained a dominant force in European thought until the Renaissance. Melvyn Bragg is joined by Angie Hobbs, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Senior Fellow in the Public Understanding of Philosophy at the University of Warwick; Peter Adamson, Professor of Ancient and Medieval Philosophy at King's College London and Anne Sheppard, Professor of Ancient Philosophy at Royal Holloway, University of London.

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