One of my favorite podcasts is "In Our Time," a BBC Radio 4 radio program about the "history of ideas."
Host Melvyn Bragg doesn't waste any time with long-winded introductions or the kind of bloviating that's made me swear off talk radio forever. Instead, he gathers together three or four experts and historians and starts drilling them with excellent questions about the particular show subject. The most recent show is about the speed of light: how it was discovered and what it means to science and technology.
Recent programs include:
Altruism – how can evolutionary biology explain it? [with guest Richard Dawkins, who dominates the other guests.]
The Peasants' Revolt – a lasting legacy for popular uprising?
Alexander Pope – "short is my date, but deathless my renown"
The Poincare Conjecture – how a 19th century mathematician changed how we think about the shape of the universe
The Encyclopedie – the great project of the Enlightenment
The Needham Question – did China lay the foundations of modern science?
Link to site | Podcast link | MP3 Link to current show | Show archives