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The Infinite Monkey Cage

Author: BBC Radio 4

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Witty, irreverent look at the world through scientists' eyes. With Brian Cox and Robin Ince.
134 Episodes
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The End of the Universe

The End of the Universe

2020-05-2540:4511

Brian Cox and Robin Ince are back for new series, for now at least, as they take an upbeat look at all the different ways our Universe might end. They are joined by legendary comedians Steve Martin and Eric Idle, alongside astrophysicist Katie Mack and cosmologist Brian Greene, to find out which end the panel might prefer. Will we go with the Big Rip or possibly the Big Crunch, or even death by giant bubble that expands so rapidly it wipes out our universe almost instantly? On that cheery note the panel vote for their favourite apocalyptic ending and wonder what they might be doing and what they hope to have achieved when the final moment comes. Producer: Alexandra Feachem
UFO special

UFO special

2020-02-1243:0544

UFO SPECIAL Brian Cox and Robin Ince host a close encounter of the 1st kind with comedian Lucy Beaumont, astronomer Maggie Aderin-Pocock, Director of Jodrell Bank Professor Tim O’Brien, and science presenter Dallas Campbell to ask if UFOs and aliens have visited Earth? They explore why Lucy's home city of Hull appears to have had more than its fair share of alien visitations, as well as learning about the genuine scientific effort to look for intelligent life elsewhere in our universe. This episode is also available to watch, so you can see our truly out of this world panel in full technicolour glory. Just look for The Infinite Monkey Cage UFO TV Special on BBC iplayer. Producer: Alexandra Feachem
Brian Cox and Robin Ince send comedian Lucy Beaumont to investigate UFO sightings in the extra-terrestrial hotspot of... Hull! Lucy is joined by her mum GIll Adams who claims to have experienced a number of close encounters of the third kind and they return to Longhill Estate where a UFO was reported in the 1960s. Local historian Mike Covell takes Lucy through the documented accounts of prolific UFO sightings in and around the East Yorkshire area.
Quantum Worlds

Quantum Worlds

2020-02-1043:4449

Quantum Worlds Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined by comedian Katy Brand, and physicists Sean Carroll and Jim Al-Khalili as they enter the strange and bizarre world of quantum mechanics. Schroedinger's famous thought experiment stuck a cat in a box and asked if it is dead or alive. Quantum physics says the cat is both dead and alive, until we open the box. This mind-bending idea may seem the realm of philosophy, but is actually the science that underpins most of modern life as we know it. Once the panel have dealt with the controversial issues surrounding cats in boxes, they explore whether quantum physics is really an accurate description of reality, and if it is, are there, as the theory suggests, infinite copies of you, me and everything in our universe all existing in every possible combination of ways of existing? If that is the strange but true reality of existence, will we ever be able to prove it?
Fire

Fire

2020-02-0337:5933

Fire! Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined by comedian Ed Byrne, forensic chemist Niamh Nic Daeid and biologist Adam Rutherford, as they explore the science of fire and how it has impacted the evolution of life on earth. They also look at whether controlling fire is a uniquely human trait and how other species have evolved to use fire to their advantage. Producer: Alexandra Feachem
Coral Reefs

Coral Reefs

2020-01-2745:5629

The Magic of Coral Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined on stage by comedian Marcus Brigstocke and marine biologists Professor Callum Roberts and Dr Heather Koldewey as they look at the amazing creatures that create and colonise coral reefs. Just two microscopic organisms are responsible for the creation of these incredible structures, structures so huge that they can be seen from outer-space. Brian, Robin and the panel talk about the vital yet delicate relationship between the coral polyp and and its tiny plant lodger, how they evolved to be so co-dependent, and how this unique partnership has lead to some of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet. They also look at the very real threat to our planet's reefs as our oceans warm, and what, if anything can be done. Producer: Alexandra Feachem
Conspiracy Theories

Conspiracy Theories

2020-01-2033:2543

Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined on stage by comedian Shazia Mirza, science writer and cancer researcher Dr David Robert Grimes and psychologist Prof Karen Douglas to look at the weird world of conspiracy theories. From Flat Earth believers to people who refuse to accept that humans have ever been to the moon, why is fiction often so much easier to believe than fact - and does it matter? They discuss the psychology and profile of people who are more likely to believe in conspiracies and the devastating effect some, like the anti-vaccine movement, have had on public health. They ask whether being irrational is our default setting and how to convince the most hard-core believers with the power of evidence and critical thinking. Although they would say that wouldnt' they? Producer: Alexandra Feachem
Science of Laughter

Science of Laughter

2020-01-1343:5950

The Science of Laughter Brian Cox and Robin Ince return for a new series of science/comedy chat. They are joined on stage, appropriately enough, by comedian Frank Skinner, as they look at the science of what makes us laugh, why we laugh at all, and whether humour and laughter are uniquely human traits. Joining the panel are experts in what makes us chuckle, Prof Sophie Scott and Professor Richard Wiseman. They look at why laughter is not only an ancient human trait that goes a long way to making us the social animal we are today, but that rats and apes also enjoy a good chuckle. They discover whether science can come up with the perfect joke and why a joke with the punchline "quack" is funnier than one with the punchline "moo". Producer: Alexandra Feachem
Brits in Space

Brits in Space

2019-10-1459:4747

Brits in Space! Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined by astronaut and author of "The Astronaut Selection Test Book", Tim Peake, first British astronaut Helen Sharman and comedian Mark Steel for a Brits in Space Special. Tim and Helen talk about their different experiences of training to be an astronaut and the challenges of life in space. They also look to the future as the panel talk about the various options being considered for long term space flight with planned future missions to the Moon and ultimately Mars.
The Periodic Table How well do you know your Fe from your Cu, and what the heck is Np?? Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined by comedian Katy Brand, Prof Polly Arnold and Prof Andrea Sella to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Dmitri Mendeleev's great achievement. They find out how scientists first realised that the elements that form the ingredients that make up our planet , are able to be organised in such a logical and ordered way, and whether its still a useful tool today. They also discover why one of the guests has been called the Free Solo equivalent of chemists because of the skill and danger involved in their work. Producer: Alexandra Feachem
Science of Dreaming

Science of Dreaming

2019-09-3044:4464

Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined by comedian Bridget Christie, neuroscientist Professor Penny Lewis and psychologist Richard Wiseman to explore the science of dreaming. Our dreams have fascinated humans for millennia and then Freud came along and told us they really did mean something, and mostly they were about sex and anger. Was he right? Why do we dream and can we find meaning in the content of our dreams? Can our dreams help us solve problems, give us new ideas, help us write a symphony, even if they can't predict the future? The panel also discuss what is going on in the brain whilst we sleep, and how memories are formed and consolidated while we snooze. It turns out the phrase "better to sleep on it" has a strong scientific argument. Producer: Alexandra Feachem
Clever Creatures

Clever Creatures

2019-09-2341:2853

Those Clever Creatures Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined on stage by comedian and author Danny Wallace, ornithologist Professor Tim Birkhead and marine biologist Helen Scales to look at animal intelligence. We have all heard about clever chimps that can count, and about how we can compare the intelligence of humans and the great apes - but have we underestimated many of the other animal species? It would seem so, with remarkable examples of cunning, smart behaviour from animals as diverse as birds, octopuses and even fish. So how do you test a guppies IQ and can a crow really outsmart a gorilla, or even a human...prepare to be amazed. Producer Alexandra Feachem
Dinosaurs

Dinosaurs

2019-09-1647:0065

Brian Cox and Robin Ince return for a new series of their multi-award winning science/comedy show. They kick off with arguably any child's first interest in science - dinosaurs! They are joined by comedian Rufus Hound and palaeontologists Susannah Maidment from the Natural History Museum and Steve Brusatte from the University of Edinburgh to find out what the latest research and exciting fossil finds have revealed about these epic creatures. Are we in a new age of dinosaur discovery? What are the big questions that dinosaur hunters are hoping to uncover, and did they go extinct at all? Producer: Alexandra Feachem
In this episode from 2017, Brian Cox and Robin Ince transport the cage to the Starmus Festival in Trondheim, Norway, for an extraordinary gathering of astronauts. They are joined on stage by NASA astronauts Sandra Magnus and Terry Virts, ESA astronaut Claude Nicollier, and Apollo 16's Charlie Duke, one of the last people to have walked on the moon. They talk about their personal journeys to fulfill their long-held dreams, and literally reach for the stars. They hear from Charlie Duke about the extraordinary Apollo missions he was part of, including his role as Capsule Communicator for the very first moon landing, before taking his own first steps on the lunar surface as part of Apollo 16. They explore the different experience of astronauts from Charlie's era, and those who now become residents of space, spending months and months aboard the International Space Station, and the challenges each mission brings. And Claude Nicollier describes his epic spacewalk to repair the Hubble Telescope. Producer: Alexandra Feachem.
The Infinite Moonkey Cage

The Infinite Moonkey Cage

2019-07-2058:1153

A special hour long episode of the hugely popular science/comedy show, celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo moon landings. Recorded at Cocoa Beach, Florida just down the road from Cape Canaveral, Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined by some of the key players involved in landing the first people on the moon, on this day, 1969. Apollo 9 Astronaut Rusty Schweickart, Apollo flight director Gerry Griffin and Apollo children Jan and Andy Aldrin give their perspectives on arguably one of the greatest scientific and engineering achievements of all time. Keep listening for a very special guest appearance by Duran Duran's Nick Rhodes. Presenters: Brian Cox and Robin Ince Producer Alexandra Feachem
Hannah Fry and Adam Rutherford present highlights from their podcast which investigates questions sent in by listeners using the power of science.
How We Measure the Universe

How We Measure the Universe

2019-02-1138:36104

How to Measure the Universe Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined on stage by comedian Jo Brand, and physicists Prof Jo Dunkley and Dr Adam Masters to look at how we go about measuring our universe, from measuring the contents of atmospheres of planets and moons at the outer edges of our solar system to looking far back in time to study the very earliest beginnings of the cosmos. Our ability to learn about phenomena and worlds that seem almost impossibly out of reach, now give us an incredible insight into the universe we occupy, and how we got here. Brian and Robin find out about some of the big new missions providing information into our own solar system and beyond, and find out what big questions in cosmology still remain a tantalising challenge? Producer: Alexandra Feachem
How to Build a Bionic Human. Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined on stage by "supervet" Noel Fitzpatrick, Dr Kevin Fong and comedian Lucy Beaumont to learn how to build a bionic human. They'll be looking at the development of artificial limbs and organs that have been pioneered during times of war and at the extreme end of emergency medicine, and find out how Noel Fitzpatrick is developing new techniques and bionic devices at his veterinary practice, that could eventually be used on humans.
Are humans still evolving?

Are humans still evolving?

2019-01-2847:20107

Are humans still evolving? Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined by comedian and author David Baddiel, Professor of Evolutionary Genetics Aoife McLysaght, and geneticist and broadcaster Adam Rutherford to ask whether human beings are still evolving? Has the invention of modern medicine, and technology meant that survival of the fittest is a thing of the past or are humans evolving new adaptations that will help us cope and survive better in our ever changing world (better thumbs for texting anyone?). If evolution happens over 1000's of years, could we even tell if we were evolving as a species, or have humans reached peak human? Producer: Alexandra Feachem
Origin of Numbers

Origin of Numbers

2019-01-2136:1781

The origin of numbers and can fish count? Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined by mathematician Dr Hannah Fry, comedian Matt Parker and neuroscientist Prof Brian Butterworth to ask where numbers come from and can fish count? They'll be looking at the origin of numbers and whether counting is a uniquely human trait that actually started before the evolution of language.
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Comments (149)

Rikki S

the woman who said that relocating due to a nuclear disaster is more devastating than the disaster itself is a bloody idiot. really? everyone knows Chernobyl killed more than just a handful of people. despite what the Russians say. hundreds and thousands of people later down the line didn't die from home sickness. they died of radiation poisoning. what kinda of idiot did you hire on here?

May 26th
Reply

Sujay Hegde

freaking awesome

May 24th
Reply

er professore

Hello, I just received a voice message via WhatsApp about the supposedly biggest cover-up of the century: The symptoms of corona are not actually caused by a virus but by the worldwide implementation of 5G. According to the apparently British pastor (whose name I didn't quite catch) people are dying from the 5G radio frequency radiation and the goverments are trying to cover this up by "testing" the subjects, but in reality INFECTING THEM with Corona, so everyone will believe this to be the cause of them being sick or dying. I think this is a very dangerous theory, since it can cause people to not get tested for fear of being deliberately infected with the virus. This pastor claims he once ran the biggest vodafone buisness unit worldwide. I would forward the voice message to you but have no email adress. Also, here is a short but very interesting article from the radio station and news agency Deutsche Welle about the history of conspiracy theories in times of pandemic: https://www.dw.com/en/coronavirus-and-the-plague-the-disease-of-viral-conspiracy-theories/a-52700321 Could you make a show on this or something similar? I think it's very much needed.

Mar 30th
Reply

mike hunt

he called it with the bats!

Mar 24th
Reply

Beatrix Ducz

miss the show, what happened?

Mar 15th
Reply

calmfocustruth

@00:20:00 "We are brilliant", jokingly bragging about spying on UK allies....and yet... you've imported a large chunk of the 3rd world and now Brexit... 🤔

Mar 11th
Reply

Ðavid Palmer

We were happy to see that a new podcast had arrived in the Infinite Monkey Cage feed but it turned out to be an advert for a different show. Now we are disappointed and unhappy. Stop doing this to us.

Mar 10th
Reply (2)

Beatrix Ducz

Lmao poor Prof Cox :D

Mar 5th
Reply

Catelyn Hearne

I found this URL, which was interesting. Bowls was not.foubd, but it is not a.complwte top.10... 😎 https://www.rulesofsport.com/faq/what-is-the-world-s-most-dangerous-sport.html I am a cyclist... Eeeek!!

Mar 4th
Reply

Beatrix Ducz

the man at 13 minutes is definitely hungarian. :)

Mar 3rd
Reply

Mark Bentley

Ridiculous show, Brian is SUCH a pompous prick. And why make such a joke of such an important subject

Mar 3rd
Reply (2)

iTzUniQue

Katie Brand is harder to listen to... more so than understanding Quantum mechanics

Mar 3rd
Reply

Jamie Nettley

The reason the Aliens don't announce their arrival is the same as in Star Trek. The prime directive! 😁

Mar 1st
Reply

Darren Molloy

That woman sounds like she's hyperventilating. Very annoying.

Feb 25th
Reply

calmfocustruth

Cognitive dissonance and the expected progressive narrative from the usual suspects, warping/omitting/misrepresenting the current social science literature. Comedy by any standard, sold as fact. Goodbye BBC, and none to soon.

Feb 23rd
Reply (1)

calmfocustruth

The irony of Brian whinging about 'Libel Laws', which is essentially 'freedom of speech'.... that all his socialist mates have obliterated over the last 10yrs. Hilarious 😂

Feb 17th
Reply

Jeremy Green

you missed the definition, burning fuel.

Feb 16th
Reply

love barcelona

Arabian gulf?!!!! you're completly wrong! It's Persian gulf. remember😐

Feb 15th
Reply

C R

Nanoonanoo.. 👍

Feb 15th
Reply

Jason Salvo

.....why is this here?

Feb 13th
Reply (1)
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