OwlTail

Cover image of Babbage from The Economist

Babbage from The Economist

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

Popular episodes

All episodes

The best episodes ranked using user listens.

Podcast cover

Babbage: Is the model looking good?

As initial data arrives from countries with high vaccination rates, how will the covid-19 vaccines affect the need for lockdowns? Epidemiologist Professor Mark Woolhouse explains his models of the future of the virus. Plus: a new way of getting concentrated oxygen out of the air and Britain's state-run strategies for capitalising on the growing space economy. Kenneth Cukier hosts.Please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio editions:www.economist.com/podcastofferSee acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

24mins

27 Jan 2021

Rank #1

Podcast cover

Babbage: Mark Zuckerberg's vision

An efficient, low-cost way to detect explosives, and our US technology editor analyses Facebook’s future after an interview with its boss, Mark Zuckerberg  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

13mins

6 Apr 2016

Rank #2

Similar Podcasts

Podcast cover

Babbage: Signal and noise

Social media platforms face one of the most testing weeks in their history as they try to filter the real election news from the fake—host Kenneth Cukier asks whether they are up to the task. In the data economy, does privacy equal power? And, how to harness the sound of the deep sea to power underwater devices.Please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio editions: www.economist.com/podcastofferSee acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

25mins

4 Nov 2020

Rank #3

Podcast cover

Babbage: Think of the children

An apparent spike in a rare childhood illness, Kawasaki disease, suggests the coronavirus may manifest very differently in children and raises questions over the role they play in spreading the pandemic. America’s latest offensive against Huawei pushes the global semiconductor industry into uncharted territory; it may also harm American interests in the process. And, flattening the other curve—could fossil fuels be added to covid-19’s casualty list? Kenneth Cukier hostsFor more on the pandemic, see The Economist's coronavirus hub.Please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio editions:www.economist.com/radioofferSee acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

23mins

20 May 2020

Rank #4

Most Popular Podcasts

Podcast cover

Babbage: Thin-skinned

Nokia attracts bids for its HERE mapping service and tests of a few brave mice suggest space travel could be terrible for the skin  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

7mins

27 May 2015

Rank #5

Podcast cover

Babbage: Apple and the reason for sex

Apple clashes with the FBI over accessing iPhone data and scientists finally prove why we keep having sex  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

9mins

24 Feb 2016

Rank #6

Podcast cover

Babbage: A bit of peace, round the corner

The end of bitcoin’s civil war and a look at new technology that can be used to see round corners  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

11mins

9 Dec 2015

Rank #7

Podcast cover

Babbage: Will Google translate?

If Google does reintroduce its search engine to China what will it have to omit? And how future helicopters will fly in new ways, with pilots optional. Also, the discovery of a 3,200-year-old ancient Egyptian cheese and what we can learn from it. Hal Hodson hostsSee acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

14mins

22 Aug 2018

Rank #8

Podcast cover

Babbage: Predicting pandemics

As covid-19 continues to devastate the world and scientists race to develop therapeutics and vaccines, Alok Jha investigates how to get ahead of the curve and prevent the next pandemic. Scientists explain how studying the relationship between animals and humans, and finding and genetically sequencing the millions of as-yet-undiscovered animal viruses in the wild, could stop future disease outbreaks becoming global health catastrophes. Please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio editions:www.economist.com/podcastofferSee acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

24mins

1 Jul 2020

Rank #9

Podcast cover

Babbage: A punt on the Oxford vaccine

Oxford University is ahead in the race to develop a covid-19 vaccine that could halt the pandemic. Yet lead researcher, Professor Sarah Gilbert, says some trial results may be delayed owing to changing virus transmissions in different countries. Also, navigating the sky with diamonds. And, why sewage can help census-takers. Kenneth Cukier hosts. Please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio editions:www.economist.com/podcastofferSee acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

24mins

22 Jul 2020

Rank #10

Podcast cover

Babbage: The ghosts of Babbage future

In our second holiday special, our hosts look back from 2115. Pluto’s portraits may be humdrum by then, but AI, gene editing and quantum computing may have changed the world  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

13mins

30 Dec 2015

Rank #11

Podcast cover

Babbage: The genetic revolution

Kenneth Cukier takes a look at the future of genetic engineering and what it means to be human. He speaks to leading scientists, doctors and philosophers to ask if ethics and regulations are able to keep up with the technologySee acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

21mins

24 Apr 2019

Rank #12

Podcast cover

Babbage: Slimy, underwater light-eaters

This week we look at how selectively bred coral-dwelling algae might survive warmer waters and at how bacteria bend light to direct their tiny bodies toward the sun  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

12mins

10 Feb 2016

Rank #13

Podcast cover

Babbage: Frosty organs and doped-up horses

A charity in America rallies transplant-organ preservation scientists, and researchers in Hong Kong think they've found a way to detect doping in racehorses  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

12mins

3 Feb 2016

Rank #14

Podcast cover

Babbage: Paranoid android

What does the European Commission's record fine of Google mean for the future of its Android operating system? And how a popular gene editing tool is raising a few questions. Also, we speak to Dr David Fajgenbaum about the first ever World Castleman Disease Day. Kenneth Cukier hostsSee acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

16mins

18 Jul 2018

Rank #15

Podcast cover

Babbage: Something in the air

As governments consider loosening lockdowns, troubling evidence suggests that the virus behind covid-19 lingers in the air, making it more communicable than previously thought. Lidia Morawska, of the International Laboratory for Air Quality and Health in Queensland, argues for better indoor ventilation. Also, Dr Vivian Lee from Verily, on how she would fix the American healthcare system. And, the “illuminating” technology revealing archaeological secrets. Kenneth Cukier hosts Please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio editions:www.economist.com/podcastofferSee acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

26mins

15 Jul 2020

Rank #16

Podcast cover

Babbage: Private patients

Google has teamed up with US-healthcare provider Ascension to access patient data without them being notified. What are the privacy concerns and implications for digital healthcare? And, how will 3D printing change the way we build everything from skyscrapers to spaceships. Also, Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist and author, speaks to Kenn Cukier about the future of science education and space exploration.Please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio editions:www.economist.com/radioofferSee acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

28mins

13 Nov 2019

Rank #17

Podcast cover

Babbage: The origins of Jupiter

This week: After five years of travel, the Juno spacecraft finally nears Jupiter. Our science correspondent, Tim Cross speaks to host Jason Palmer about its vital and dangerous mission. And, Matt Kaplan discusses how the shifty eyes of gamblers can explain how our brains process numbers.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

15mins

29 Jun 2016

Rank #18

Podcast cover

Babbage: Time and energy

Why stock traders will soon need atomic clocks and Dupont finally tries to crack cellulosic biofuel  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

11mins

28 Oct 2015

Rank #19

Podcast cover

Babbage: Up in smoke

Are e-cigarettes the answer to giving up tobacco smoking? And SpaceX revives its plans to send tourists around the moon. Also, we speak to Zia Chishti of Afiniti about the role of artificial intelligence in business. Kenneth Cukier hostsSee acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

17mins

19 Sep 2018

Rank #20