Babbage from The Economist podcast

Babbage from The Economist

The Economist

Named after Charles Babbage, a 19th-century polymath and grandfather of computing, Babbage is a weekly podcast on science and technology. Host Kenneth Cukier talks to our correspondents about the innovations, discoveries and gadgetry making the news. Published every Tuesday on Economist Radio.

337 Episodes

  • Babbage from The Economist podcast

    Babbage: Cleaning the air

    28:42

    The World Health Organisation recently declared that air pollution is the greatest environmental threat to health globally. What do cities and governments need to do to clean up their act? Also, we explore how Occam’s razor, ​​a theory from a medieval theologist, has influenced science. And, could music be an effective way to communicate with extraterrestrials? Alok Jha hosts For full access to The Economist’s print, digital and audio editions subscribe at economist.com/podcastoffer and sign up for our new weekly science newsletter at economist.com/simplyscience.Terms and conditions for the book competition featured in this podcast are available at economist.com/podcast-contest. 
 See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
  • Babbage from The Economist podcast

    Babbage: on Babbage

    30:44

    On the 150th anniversary of the death of Charles Babbage, we retrace the footsteps of the brilliant but irascible British inventor, mathematician, and engineer. Host Kenneth Cukier investigates why Babbage is hailed by some as the grandfather of the computer, while others argue his contribution is overblown. And could letting go of parts of his legacy help unleash the future of computing?For full access to The Economist’s print, digital and audio editions subscribe at economist.com/podcastoffer and sign up for our new weekly science newsletter at economist.com/simplyscience. 
 See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
  • Babbage from The Economist podcast

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  • Babbage from The Economist podcast

    Babbage: Rocks in space

    30:33

    A probe to study the Trojan asteroids is expected to take off this week, but what will this mission uncover about the formation of the solar system? Also, we explore new technology to observe asteroids, as well as a mission to deflect an incoming celestial object. And, we hear from the Nobel co-laureate in Physiology or Medicine, Ardem Patapoutian, about temperature and pressure sensing. Alok Jha hosts. For full access to The Economist’s print, digital and audio editions subscribe at economist.com/podcastoffer and sign up for our new weekly science newsletter at economist.com/simplyscience.Terms and conditions for the book competition featured in this podcast are available at economist.com/podcast-contest. 
 See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
  • Babbage from The Economist podcast

    Babbage: A new Anthropocene diet

    26:02

    A new generation of technologies are transforming the world’s food-production system. Food scientists are producing cruelty-free meat in the lab, growing salad underground in vertical farms and bringing aquaculture on land. The Economist's US digital editor Jon Fasman uncovers the future of food. 
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  • Babbage from The Economist podcast

    Babbage: Don't panic

    25:59

    As British petrol stations run dry, we explore the behavioural science of panic buying. Also, a dried-up lake bed reveals evidence about America’s first inhabitants. And neuroscientist Anil Seth explains what a new theory can tell us about our conscious experiences of the world—and a chance to win his book. Kenneth Cukier hosts.  For full access to The Economist’s print, digital and audio editions subscribe at economist.com/podcastoffer and sign up for our new weekly science newsletter at economist.com/simplyscience.Terms and conditions for the book competition featured in this podcast are available at economist.com/podcast-contest. 
 See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
  • Babbage from The Economist podcast

    Babbage: From pandemic to twindemic

    28:50

    As the northern hemisphere heads towards its second winter battling covid-19, epidemiologist Professor Dame Anne Johnson explains the risk of a surge in flu cases and how to avoid a double pandemic. Also, a decline in mental health was one of the unforeseen consequences of the coronavirus crisis. Dr Wendy Suzuki, a neuroscientist, advises how to turn everyday anxiety into a positive emotion. And, a new form of sea defence is part natural, part artificial. Kenneth Cukier hosts. For full access to The Economist’s print, digital and audio editions subscribe at economist.com/podcastoffer and sign up for our new weekly science newsletter at economist.com/simplyscience. 
 See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
  • Babbage from The Economist podcast

    Babbage: Booster shot

    24:55

    As the northern hemisphere heads towards its second pandemic winter, some countries have already started to make third doses of vaccine available to their most vulnerable citizens. But scientists disagree about whether offering boosters is the best use of vaccine resources—or necessary at all. And, a big study in Bangladesh finds simple ways to encourage mask use. Also, we reveal our book competition winner. Kenneth Cukier hosts.For full access to The Economist’s print, digital and audio editions subscribe at economist.com/podcastoffer and sign up for our new weekly science newsletter at economist.com/simplyscience.Terms and conditions for the book competition featured in this podcast are available at economist.com/podcast-contest.  
 See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
  • Babbage from The Economist podcast

    Babbage: The building blocks of life

    27:24

    From the hive of molecular activity inside every cell to how cells self-organise into complex living things and those organisms evolve into different species, host Kenneth Cukier explores the fundamental architecture of life. He also investigates how the power of stem cells could be used to treat genetic diseases and why there is still debate about the origins of modern humans.With Geoffrey Carr, The Economist’s science editor; Dr Alison Woollard, professor of biochemistry at Oxford University; Dr Alena Pance of the Wellcome Sanger Institute of genomics; and Dr Viviane Slon, a paleogeneticist at the University of Tel Aviv.Subscribers can read our essay series exploring how life works from the scale of the molecule all the way up to that of the planet at economist.com/biology-briefs For full access to The Economist’s print, digital and audio editions subscribe at economist.com/podcastoffer and sign up for our new weekly science newsletter at economist.com/simplyscience 
 See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
  • Babbage from The Economist podcast

    Babbage: Back to school

    28:18

    As debates over vaccinating children rage and the Delta variant of covid-19 surges in many countries, what impact will the return to classrooms have on the covid-19 pandemic? Also, our science correspondent Alok Jha asks ecologist Meg Lowman about the secrets that can be revealed by exploring the treetops. And the northern white rhino is nearing extinction, but can technology bring this species back from the brink? Kenneth Cukier hosts. For full access to The Economist’s print, digital and audio editions subscribe at economist.com/podcastoffer and sign up for our new weekly science newsletter at economist.com/simplyscience.Terms and conditions for the book competition featured in this podcast are available at economist.com/podcast-contest. 
 See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
  • Babbage from The Economist podcast

    Babbage: Unstrung — the end of string theory?

    25:07

    The 20th Century was a golden age for physics but some of its ideas for explaining the material universe have been thrown into doubt. Could a theory known as entropic gravity usher in a new dawn? Also, how should scientists engage with science deniers? And, the technology behind the next generation of prosthetic limbs. Natasha Loder hosts. For full access to The Economist’s print, digital and audio editions subscribe at economist.com/podcastoffer and sign up for our new weekly science newsletter at economist.com/simplyscience. 
 See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

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