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Podcast Start the Week
Podcast Start the Week

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  • Bradford - Brave New World
    In a special edition of the show, in front of an audience at the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford, Adam Rutherford and guests focus on scientific curiosity – its thrills and its dangers. Professor Matthew Cobb looks back over the last fifty years at the extraordinary development in gene editing. In his book The Genetic Age: Our Perilous Quest to Edit Life he traces the excitement of innovation and progress. But as the full potential of manipulating life is understood, he sounds a warning too. The science historian Professor Alison Bashford tells the history of modern science and culture through the story of one family – the extraordinary Huxley dynasty. Through four generations the family profoundly shaped how we see ourselves, and pushed the boundaries of knowledge in science, literature and film. Born in Bradford is an internationally-recognised research programme which aims to find out what keeps families healthy and happy. Professor Deborah Lawlor was born in the city and was one of the many scientists involved in setting up the programme. She explains how this vast ‘city of research’ – with data from more than 700,000 citizens – is being used to improve population health. Producer: Katy Hickman
    9/26/2022
    49:38
  • Birmingham
    Forget the north south divide, what about the ‘squeezed middle’? Tom Sutcliffe and guests discuss the cultural and political status of the country’s ‘second city’ Birmingham. The writer Kit de Waal looks back at growing up in the city, caught between three worlds – Irish, Caribbean and British – in her memoir Without Warning and Only Sometimes. The historian Richard Vinen argues, in his new book Second City, that Birmingham is the overlooked heart of modern Britain, and the remnants of the West Midland’s Victorian industrial heyday can be glimpsed in the poetry of Liz Berry – in The Dereliction and Black Country. Producer: Katy Hickman
    9/12/2022
    42:08
  • Health, sickness and exploitation
    When people feel ill they go to the doctor for a diagnosis and what they hope will be the first step on the road to recovery. But former consultant neurologist Jules Montague argues that getting a diagnosis isn’t as simple as it sounds – they can be infected by medical bias, swayed by Big Pharma or political expedience, even refused because the condition isn’t officially recognised. In The Imaginary Patient Dr Montague meets those who have had to fight to get the right treatment. The GP Gavin Francis knows only too well how desperate patients can feel with undiagnosed symptoms, but in his latest work, Recovery: The Lost Art of Convalescence he’s looking at the other end of the medical journey. He warns that getting better can take longer and be far more complex than most people understand. The academic, Jennifer Jacquet, is interested in how far patients can be pawns in the wider power plays in the corporate world and Big Pharma. In The Playbook: How to Deny Science, Sell Lies, and Make a Killing in the Corporate World, she uses satire to expose the extraordinary lengths that corporations will go to quash inconvenient research, target scientists and forestall regulations. Producer: Katy Hickman This is the last show in the series; back on Monday 12th September.
    6/27/2022
    41:49
  • Justice, war crimes and targeted killings
    Linda Kinstler’s Latvian grandfather disappeared after WWII and the family never spoke about him. But as she delved into Boris Kinstler’s life she found he had been a member of a killing brigade in the SS linked to the ‘Butcher of Riga’ Herbert Cukurs, before becoming a KGB agent and then vanishing. She attempts to uncover the truth in Come To This Court and Cry: How The Holocaust Ends, but also interrogates the uncertainties of memory, family, nation and justice. Although Herbert Cukur’s name came up frequently at the Nuremberg war crime trials for the killing of tens of thousands of Jews, he managed to escape and find refuge in South America. It was there he was murdered by Mossad agents who left a note from Those Who Will Never Forget saying ‘the condemned man has been executed’. The Israeli investigative journalist Ronen Bergman has uncovered his country’s most secret activities in Rise and Kill First: The Secret History Of Israel's Targeted Assassinations (translated by Ronnie Hope). The Nuremberg trials in the aftermath of WWII mark the birth of international law and set the framework of modern human rights law. The barrister and writer Philippe Sands has appeared frequently before international courts, and has been involved in many of the most important cases of recent years from Yugoslavia to Rwanda to Guantanamo. He explains what can be done when countries – like Russia – refuse to recognise the jurisdiction of international law. Producer: Katy Hickman
    6/20/2022
    42:01
  • Social inequality - up close
    The failure of British politics and public institutions to tackle social inequality is down to proximity, so says the writer, performer and activist Darren McGarvey. In The Social Distance Between Us: How Remote Politics Wrecked Britain he looks at the huge gulf – geographic, economic and cultural – between those who make decisions and the people on the receiving end of them. He tells Adam Rutherford it’s time for a meaningful discussion in which the voiceless and powerless get heard. The Social Distance Between Us is BBC Radio 4's Book of the Week. The poet Jo Clement gives voice to the stories and people of her family’s Romany past. In her collection Outlandish she has no time for Romantic impressions of British Gypsy ethnicity as she moves from ancient stopping-places to decaying council estates. Her poems are imaginative protests that cast light on a hidden and threatened culture. It’s a far cry from the world of former broker Brett Scott. But in his latest book, Cloudmoney: Cash Cards, Crypto and the War for our Wallets he argues that social inequality will only increase if cash is allowed to disappear. A cashless society is the vision of big finance and tech, and he warns that it will end up only benefitting the few, while infringing the privacy of the many. Producer: Katy Hickman
    6/13/2022
    41:28

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