Ian McEwan discusses his climate change and his novel Solar
McEwan dismisses the idea that virtuous living will solve climate change. He argues our fuel deficit can only be filled by an alternative energy source.
“Our ingenuity got us into this; it was clever to replace human labour with machines and fossil fuel. Our cleverness will have to get us out.”
Dr. Dennis C Reuter is a New Horizons co-investigator at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, and the instrument scientist for Ralph, the New Horizons color imager and infrared spectrometer. New Horizons launched on 19 January 2006 and is scheduled to fly-by Pluto and its moons in July 2015. This is another interview recorded by Little Atoms for audio installation Mind's Eye,which will be coming to Manchester, Bristol and Bradford over the coming months.
Neil Denny conducted a series of "Fireside Chats" with some of the many speakers at the FutureEverything conference in Manchester on 31st March and 1st April 2014.
Alex Fleetwood is the founder and director of Hide&Seek, a game design studio dedicated to inventing new kinds of play. Hide&Seek started life in 2007 as a festival of social games and playful experiences on London's South Bank, and built into a studio occupied a unique position in the UK, creating innovative games, installations and events with organisations including Film4, the Cultural Olympiad, Tate Modern, Warner Bros, Gâité Lyrique, Nike, Sony, the Royal Opera House and Kensington Palace.
Anab Jain was born and educated in India (NID), with an MA in Interaction Design from the Royal College of Art, and founded Superflux in 2009, leading the Consultancy's client partnerships whilst balancing the Lab's self-initiated conceptual projects. She has lead multidisciplinary design, strategy and foresight projects for businesses, think-tanks and research organisations such as Sony, BBC, Nokia, NHS, Design Council, Forum for the Future, Qatar Foundation and Govt. of UAE. Honoured as a TED Fellow, she is the receipient of several awards, including the Award of Excellence ICSID and Apply Computers, Innovation Award, Chicago International Film Festival and the UNESCO Digital Arts Award. Her work has been exhibited at MoMA New York, Apple, Mattel Toys, Tate Modern, Science Gallery Dublin, National Museum of China and the London Design Festival. She is on the Board of MzTek and Broadway Cinema and Media Centre, and is a guest lecturer at the Royal College of Art, VCUQatar, Architectural Association, Goldsmiths, Dundee Innovative Product Design and CIID.
Ted Vallance is a Reader in Early Modern History at Roehampton University. After reading History at Balliol College, Oxford, he was DeVelling Willis Research Fellow at the University of Sheffield. He writes a historical blog, and is a regular contributor to the New Statesman and BBC History Magazine. Ted's books include The Glorious Revolution, and most recently, A Radical History of Britain.
Evgeny Morozov is the author of The Net Delusion: How Not to Liberate the World. He is a contributing editor to Foreign Policy and runs the magazine's "Net Effect" blog about the Internet's impact on global politics. Morozov is currently a visiting scholar at Stanford University and a Schwartz fellow at the New America Foundation. He was formerly a Yahoo! fellow at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University and a fellow at George Soros's Open Society Institute, where he remains on the board of the Information Program.
Morozov's writings have appeared in The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, The Washington Post, The International Herald Tribune, Times Literary Supplement, Le Monde, Dissent and many other publications.
Frank Furedi is professor of sociology at University of Kent, and author of a number of books including Politics of Fear, Where Have All the Intellectuals Gone?, Therapy Culture, Paranoid Parenting and Culture of Fear. During the past decade his intellectual work has been devoted towards clarifying the meaning of humanism for the twenty-first century. In Politics of Fear he argues that the politics of fear thrives in an atmosphere where the exercise of human agency is regarded with suspicion if not dread – and that the alternative to this culture of misanthropy is to set about humanising our existence. To further this aim Frank has recently initiated The Manifesto Club with a group of friends and like-minded colleagues, whose stated aim is to humanise humanism, and to reclaim the creative spirit of the Enlightenment for the twenty-first century.
Filmmaker Adam Curtis discusses power, politics and his searing cybernetic vision of the future.
The notion of cybernetics looks at the whole world, from society to cells, as systems. For Curtis, it is a highly political ideology whereby systems of nature and systems of computers have become intertwined.
“It’s a beautiful vision of this interconnected world, resonant of the cyber-utopian mood of our time, bleeding into nature”.
Curtis sees the increasing salience of cybernetics as a fundamental shift in the way we view human beings.
“We are moving away from the old enlightenment idea than human beings are separate, above the rest of the world and can shape and bend the world. In fact we are all components in systems of an interwoven network where everyone is connected”.
In this connected world, Curtis argues democracy is not about lots of individuals, but about mediating the powerful. Regulating those who often use their unequal access to power at the expense of the weak.
“It’s about electing people who will stand up and represent the weak and negotiate against the powerful. All evidence in western society shows power becoming more concentrated and unequal.”
First broadcast 20/05/11
Susan Pinker is a developmental psychologist and award-winning newspaper columnist who writes about psychology and social science in the Globe and Mail. She has worked as a clinical psychologist for twenty-five years and has taught at McGill University in Montreal. Known for her progressive and thought-provoking work, her previous book The Sexual Paradox took an unflinching look at the gender gap. Her latest book is The Village Effect: Why Face-to-Face Contact Matters.
Gary Wilson is the presenter of the popular TEDx talk The Great Porn Experiment and hosts the website Your Brain on Porn, which was created for those seeking to understand and reverse compulsive porn use. He taught anatomy and physiology for years and has long been interested in the neurochemistry of addiction, mating and bonding. Gary Wilson is the author of the book Your Brain on Porn: Internet Pornography and the Emerging Science of Addiction.
Susan Pinker portrait by Susie Lowe
Duncan Watts is a principal research scientist at Yahoo! Research, and a former professor of sociology at Columbia University. His research on social networks and collective dynamics has appeared in a wide range of academic journals, including Nature, Science, and the American Journal of Sociology. He is also the author of two previous books, Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age; and Small Worlds: The Dynamics of Networks between Order and Randomness. Duncan's latest book is Everything is Obvious* *Once you Know The Answer: How Common Sense Fails.
First broadcast on 29th July 2011.
Joanne Baker studied Physics at the University of Cambridge and took her PhD in Astrophysics at the University of Sydney in 1995. She is the author of the best selling 50 Physics Ideas You Really Need to Know and is an editor at Nature magazine, where her speciality is space and Earth science. Her latest book is 50 Universe Ideas You Really Need to Know.
First broadcast on 18th February 2011.
John Lanchester is a journalist and novelist, and was winner of the Whitbread First Novel Award for his debut The Debt to Pleasure. He is a regular contributor to the London Review of Books and The New Yorker, and a restaurant critic for the Guardian. He also writes a monthly column form Esquire. John's article on our love affair with the City “Cityphilia” generated much response on its publication in January 2008, and indeed predicted a worldwide crash based on the misuse of financial derivatives. In October 2008 he charted the financial crisis as it had developed over the year in “Citiphobia”. This then led to a book: Whoops! Why Everyone Owes Everyone and No One Can Pay.
First broadcast on 15th April 2011.
Mark Miodownik is Professor of Materials and Society at UCL, and the Director of the UCL Institute of Making. He recently appeared in The Times' inaugural list of the 100 most influential scientists in the UK. He is currently scientist-in-residence on Dara O Briain's Science Club (BBC2) and has presented of several documentaries, including The Genius of Invention (BBC2), and in 2010 he gave the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures. Mark's first book is Stuff Matters: The Strange Stories of the Marvellous Materials that Shape Our Man-made World.
First broadcast on 17th September 2013.
Marlene Zuk is a professor of biology at the University of Minnesota, her main research interest being behavioural ecology, the study of the evolution of behaviour. Her research centres on sexual selection and the effects of parasites on mate choice and the evolution of secondary sex characters. Marlene Zuk is the author of Sexual Selections: What we Can and Can't Learn about Sex from Animals, and Sex on Six Legs: Lessons on Life, Love and Language from the Insect World. Her latest book is Paleofantasy: What Evolution Really Tells us About Sex, Diet and How we Live.
First broadcast on 2nd August 2013.
Mark Vernon is a writer, broadcaster, journalist, blogger and an honorary research fellow at Birkbeck College. He has a PhD in Philosophy from Warwick University. Mark was a priest in the Church of England between 1994-96, but quit the church as a conviction Atheist. Mark now sees himself firmly as an Agnostic. His books include What Not To Say, The Philosophy of Friendship and After Atheism: Science, Religion and The Meaning of Life. Mark recently edited the latest edition of Chambers Dictionary of Beliefs and Religions. Mark's most recent book is Plato's Podcasts: The Ancients' Guide to Modern Living. Mark has been our guest on Little Atoms twice.
First interview broadcast on 4th April 2008.
Second interview broadcast on 30th October 2009.
Christopher T. Marsden is Professor of Law at the University of Sussex School of Law. He is the author of Net Neutrality: Towards a Co-Regulatory Solution, Internet Co-Regulation, and three other books. Ian and Chris are the join authors of Regulating Code: Good Governance and Better Regulation in the Information Age.
This week's Little Atoms is presented by Becky Hogge, with special guest presenter Bill Thompson.
First broadcast on 17th May 2013.
Martin Rowson is a multi-award winning cartoonist whose work appears regularly in the Guardian, the Independent on Sunday, the Daily Mirror and many other publications. His books include graphic adaptations of T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land and Laurence Sterne's Tristram Shandy. Among his other books are The Dog Allusion and Stuff, a memoir longlisted for the 2007 Samuel Johnson Prize. His latest book is an updated version of Gulliver's Travels. In 2001 Martin was made Cartoonist Laureate of London by Mayor Ken Livingstone. He is also a former vice-president of the Zoological Society of London. Martin has been our guest on Little Atoms twice. The first time with...
Padraig Reidy was Deputy Editor of New Humanist, which celebrated its 120th anniversary in 2005. He's now News Editor of Index on Censorship and a presenter of an Internet Radio Show. His work has also featured in the Guardian, the Independent, Tribune, the Irish Examiner and the Irish Post, and he has made frequent appearances on BBC Radio, including The Moral Maze.
Interview one first broadcast on 9th December 2005.
The second time Martin appeared on the show Padraig had graduated to the interviewer's chair.
Interview two first broadcast on 23rd March 2012.
Mary Roach has written for the Guardian, Vogue, GQ, Salon, Wired, National Geographic and the New York Times Magazine. She is the author of Stiff: The Curious Life of Human Cadavers, Six Feet Over: Adventures in the Afterlife, Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Sex and Science, and Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in Space. Her latest book, which we talk about in this interview, is Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal.
Little Atoms interview one first broadcast on 27th June 2008.
Little Atoms Road Trip Interview with Mary Roach can be found here.
Little Atoms interview two first broadcast on 26th April 2013.
Ian Haworth is the General Secretary of the Cult Information Centre. The Cult Information Centre is an educational charity providing advice and information for victims of cults, their families and friends, researchers and the media. Founded in 1987, and becoming a registered charity in 1992, it was the first educational organisation focusing critical concern on the methods used by cults to be granted charitable status in the UK.
Ian Sinclair is a British writer, documentarist, film maker, poet, flaneur, psychogeographer, metropolitan prophet and urban shaman, keeper of lost cultures and futurologist. His books include Downriver, White Chappell, Scarlet Tracings, Lights Out for the Territory, Dining on Stones, London Orbital, and most recently, Hackney, That Rose-Red Empire. He is the editor of London: City of Disappearances. He lives in Hackney.
Mark Forsyth is a writer, journalist and blogger and pedant. Every job he's ever had, whether as a ghost-writer or proof-reader or copy-writer, has been to do with words. He started The Inky Fool blog in 2009 and now writes a post almost every day. The blog has received worldwide attention and enjoys an average of 4,000 hits per week. Mark is the author of The Etymologicon: A Circular Stroll Through the Hidden Connections of the English Language.
First broadcast on 2nd December 2011.
Martin Rees is Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics and Master of Trinity College at the University of Cambridge. He was the President of the Royal Society until 2010, and is the Astronomer Royal. A member of the House of Lords, he is a foreign associate of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is an honorary member of the Russian Academy of Sciences. His awards include the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society, the Einstein Award of the World Cultural Council and the Crafoord Prize (Royal Swedish Academy). He was the recipient of the 2011 Templeton Prize. Martin's latest book is From Here to Infinity: Scientific Horizons, which expands on hIs 2010 BBC Radio 4 Reith Lectures.
THIS PROGRAM WAS THE 200TH EDITION OF LITTLE ATOMS.
First broadcast on 3rd June 2011.
Mark Stevenson formerly worked as an expert in both prime number cryptography and computer aided systems engineering. Today he combines two other careers – one as a successful writer/ comedian (writing for TV, radio and print) and another as a speaker and consultant on future narratives, institutional innovation, engineered serendipity and learning.
He is co-founder and director of the cultural learning agency Flow Associates and the science communication agency ReAgency. A new mobile project, engendering conversations and stimulating learning and direct action within an audience of 30 million users, The Age of Smart, is coming in mid 2011. Mark is a fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce.
Mark is the author of An Optimist's Tour of the Future.
First broadcast on 18th March 2011.
Marc Abrahams is editor and co-founder of the science humour magazine Annals of Improbable Research and its website Improbable.com.
He is the founder and master of ceremonies of the Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony, honouring achievements that make people LAUGH, and then THINK. The Prizes are handed out by genuine Nobel Laureates at a gala ceremony held each October at Harvard University and broadcast on National Public Radio and on the Internet.
Marc writes a weekly column for the Guardian, and is the author of numerous books about the Ig Nobel awards and improbable research.
First broadcast on 24th June 2011.
Martin Nowak is Professor of Biology and Mathematics at Harvard University and the recipient of a raft of international prizes. He has held major research posts at the University of Vienna, Oxford University, Princeton and now Harvard. He has published over 300 papers and has been widely praised for revolutionising the mathematical approach to biology. Martin is the author of Supercooperators: Evolution, Altruism and Human Behaviour or Why We Need Each Other to Succeed. SuperCooperators is co-authored by Roger Highfield, PhD, the editor of New Scientist magazine.
First broadcast on 29th April 2011.
Molly Oldfield studied Modern History at Oxford before becoming a writer and researcher on the BBC television show QI. She has worked on a string of bestselling QI books, writes the weekly QI column for the Daily Telegraph and is a researcher on a BBC Radio 4 show, The Museum of Curiosity. She is also the author of The Secret Museum, which looks behind the scenes at the hidden treasures contained within the World's museum's archives.
First broadcast on 8th October 2013.
London-based, Iranian-Canadian journalist and filmmaker Maziar Bahari was reporting for Newsweek magazine when he was arrested without charge during the 2009 Iranian Election Protests. He was held for 118 days until the Iranian state was forced by international pressure to release him. Maziar's book, Then They Came for Me, co-written with Aimee Molloy, tells the story of his incarceration.
First broadcast on 16th March 2012.
Naomi Alderman grew up in London and attended Oxford University and UEA. Her first novel, Disobedience, was published in ten languages; like her second novel, The Lessons, it was read on BBC radio's Book at Bedtime. In 2006 she won the Orange Award for New Writers. In 2007, she was named Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year, and one of Waterstones' 25 Writers for the Future.
Her prize-winning short fiction has appeared in Prospect, on BBC Radio 4 and in a number of anthologies. In 2009 she was shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award. Naomi broadcasts regularly, has guest-presented Front Row on BBC Radio 4 and writes regularly for Prospect and the Guardian. Her third novel, The Liars' Gospel, was published by Penguin in August 2012 an in 2012 she was selected by Margaret Atwood as her mentee as part of the Rolex Mentor and Protege Arts Initiative.
First broadcast on 22nd February 2013.
Andrew Mueller was born in Wagga Wagga, Australia in 1968, and has lived in London and hotels since 1990. He currently writes on various subjects for the Independent, Independent on Sunday, Guardian, Monocle, Arena, Uncut, High Life, New Humanist and anyone else who'll have him. Andrew was previously the author of Rock & Hard Places and a contributing editor of Robert Young Pelton's The World's Most Dangerous Places. His latest book is I Wouldn't Start From Here: The 21st Century and Where it All Went Wrong.
According to Little Atoms regular Jonathan Meades, "Mueller is a gung-ho Candide with a taste for places that it is wiser to avoid. His book is graphic comic, bemused and properly contemptuous of faith and ideology" (Books of the Year, Evening Standard).
First broadcast on 7th August 2009.
Nigel Warburton is a contemporary philosopher. As well as being Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at The Open University, he is a presenter of the Philosophy Bites podcast, and teaches a popuar course on art and philosophy at Tate Modern. He is the author of several popular introductions to philosophy including Philosophy: The Basics and Free Speech: A Very Short Introduction. His latest book is A Little History of Philosophy.
First broadcast on 9th December 2011.
In this episode of Little Atoms, two philosophical interviews:
Rebecca Newberger Goldstein received her doctorate in philosophy from Princeton University. Her award-winning books include the novels The Mind-Body Problem, Properties of Light, and 36 Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction and nonfiction studies of Kurt Gödel and Baruch Spinoza. She has received a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, has been designated a Humanist of the Year and a Freethought Heroine, and is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Her latest book is Plato at the Googleplex: Why Philosophy Won't Go Away.
Kenan Malik is a writer, lecturer and broadcaster. He is a presenter of Analysis of BBC Radio 4, and a panellist on The Moral Maze. He has taught at universities in Britain, Europe, Australia and the USA, presented many TV documentaries and writes regularly for newspapers across the world including the New York Times , the Guardian, and the Australian. His books include Man, Beast and Zombie, Strange Fruit and From Fatwa to Jihad, which was shortlisted for the 2010 Orwell Prize. His latest book is The Quest for a Moral Compass: A Global History of Ethics.
First broadcast on 19th November 2014
Matthew Sweet is a writer and broadcaster. He presents Night Waves and Free Thinking on BBC Radio 3 and The Philosopher's Arms and The Film Programme on BBC Radio 4. He is the author of Inventing the Victorians and Shepperton Babylon: The Lost Worlds of British Cinema - which he adapted as a film for BBC Four. His TV programmes include Silent Britain, A Brief History of Fun, The Age of Excess, Truly, Madly, Cheaply and The Rules of Film Noir. Matthew's latest book is The West End Front.
First broadcast on 10th February 2012.
Michael Nevin is one of the country's most experienced and respected applied economists. After working as an economist for the Government of St Lucia in the late 1970s, he worked as an investment analyst with the Commonwealth Development Corporation in London in the early 1980s. He returned to the UK in 1986 to serve as Financial and Economic Manager of the London Docklands Development Corporation, sponsors of the world's largest urban regeneration programme. In 1997, he founded Caledonian Economics as a specialist project finance practice. He sold his interest in the firm in July 2007, since when he has acted for a small number of selected clients on financial and economic matters through Nevin Associates Ltd. Mike Nevin is the author of The Golden Guinea: The International Financial Crisis, 2007-2014: Causes, Consequences and Cures.
First broadcast on 7th December 2012.
Nicholas Carr is the author of The Big Switch: Rewiring the World, from Edison to Google. He is a contributor to the New York Times, Guardian, Financial Times and Wired and was formerly the executive editor of the Harvard Business Review. In 2008 he wrote an article for The Atlantic called Is Google Making Us Stupid? This was recently expanded into a book, The Shallows: How the Internet is Changing the Way We Think, Read and Remember, published on 1st September by Atlantic Books. Nick blogs at www.roughtype.com.
First broadcast on 24th September 2010.
Nessa Carey has a PhD in virology from the University of Edinburgh and has worked in the biotech industry for nearly ten years. She was previously a Senior Lecturer at Imperial College School of Medicine in London.
Nick Davies writes investigative stories for the Guardian, and has been named Journalist of the Year, Reporter of the Year and Feature Writer of the Year in the British press awards. Nick's books include Dark Heart: The Shocking Truth About Hidden Britain, and Murder on Ward Four. His latest book Flat Earth News exposes falsehood, distortion and propaganda in the global media.
First broadcast on 6th February 2009.