OwlTail

Cover image of Cambridge Ideas

Cambridge Ideas

Communicating the transformative impact on society of eight centuries of brilliant academic thought. Cambridge research together with comment and opinion on national and international current affairs.

Weekly hand curated podcast episodes for learning

Popular episodes

All episodes

Warning: This podcast data isn't working.

This means that the episode rankings aren't working properly. Please revisit us at a later time to get the best episodes of this podcast!

Podcast cover

Gaia's mission: solving the celestial puzzle

A space mission to create the largest, most-accurate, map of the Milky Way in three dimensions will revolutionise our understanding of the galaxy and the universe beyond.On 19th December 2013, a rocket blasted into the sky from a launch site in French Guiana and travelled 1.5 million km to reach its destination in orbit around the Sun. The spacecraft is called Gaia. Its mission, funded by the European Space Agency and involving scientists from across Europe, is to make the largest, most precise, three-dimensional map of the Milky Way ever attempted. It will be a census of a billion stars spread across our galaxy. The results, says Professor Gerry Gilmore from Cambridge's Institute of Astronomy and the Principal Investigator for UK involvement in the mission, "will revolutionise our understanding of the cosmos as never before."http://www.gaia.ac.uk http://sci.esa.int/gaia/

19mins

31 Jul 2014

Rank #1

Podcast cover

Darwin's Women

The Darwin Correspondence Project is researching Charles Darwin's letters and has so far located more than 15,000 he either sent or received. The full texts of these are being published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin (20 vols to date, CUP 1985-), and are also going online on the Project's website with 7500 currently available to read for free (www.darwinproject.ac.uk). Around half the original letters are in the Darwin archive in Cambridge University Library where the Project is based, with the rest spread in archives and private collections around the world; more are discovered every year. The research presented here was carried out as part of the "Darwin & Gender" project.www.darwinproject.ac.uk/

19mins

31 Jul 2014

Rank #2

Similar Podcasts

Podcast cover

Cambridge Ideas - The future of energy?

Today, we consume a truly vast amount of energy - with demand continuing to skyrocket at an alarming rate. We know that producing this energy has significant environmental impacts and emitting so much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere could cause catastrophic climate change. In this film, three academics look at wind power, carbon capture and storage (CCS) and material efficiency as examples of how we can cut our C02 emissions. They suggest that we must act now in order to avoid the serious risks of man-made global warming, one of our greatest challenges in the 21st century.

14mins

3 Aug 2012

Rank #3

Podcast cover

Cambridge Ideas - Memories Of Old Awake

Dr Emily Lethbridge, a Cambridge University academic, is exploring the centuries-old Sagas of Icelanders (Íslendingasögur) during a unique year-long research trip. Emily is discovering that the sagas are closely intertwined with the landscapes and the people who live there. The sagas were copied in manuscripts in Iceland from the medieval period until the early 20th century, and the stories were passed down from one generation to another over many hundreds of years.For more info visit:For more info visitwww.sagasteads.blogspot.com

14mins

27 Sep 2011

Rank #4

Most Popular Podcasts

Podcast cover

Cambridge Ideas - Don't Eat the Plants

Are plants as defenceless as they appear? See the world how the plants do, as Professor John Parker, explores how plants – the ‘great scientists of the animal kingdom’ – have evolved strategies to defend themselves against herbivores. The latest video from the University of Cambridge shows how plants use hairs, spikes and chemicals to improve their survival and reproduction by reducing the impact of herbivores.

6mins

23 May 2011

Rank #5

Podcast cover

Cambridge Ideas - How Many Lightbulbs?

Cambridge University physicist, David Mackay, in a passionate, personal analysis of the energy crisis in the UK, in which he comes to some surprising conclusions about the way forward. The film is based on his new book Sustainable Energy without the hot air, in which Prof Mackay has calculated the numbers involved for the alternatives to fossil fuels like coal, gas and oil. He debunks some myths about energy saving - unplugging our phone chargers, does not make any appreciable difference. After showing us what won't work - he goes on to show what will make a difference at home, like turning your thermostat down. But, his big point is that this will not be enough - individual efforts are not enough. Instead we need to make sweeping national changes to our energy production, and we can't reject everything available to us. If we are going to follow the advice of climate scientists, and get off fossil fuels by 2050, which currently provide 90% of our energy, Britain's main options are wind power and nuclear power. But to make this huge change in our power supply, Mackay says that we have to get building now!For more information go to David Mackays websitewww.withouthotair.com

6mins

20 May 2011

Rank #6

Podcast cover

Cambridge Ideas - Sticky Feet

Ants have incredibly sticky feet. With them they can hang onto ceilings, while carrying 100 times their body weight. But if they are stuck down so successfully - how do they ever get them unstuck?? Chris Clemente is studying the mechanisms that ants and other insects (especially cockroaches) use to stick and unstick, and also to walk down as well as up walls. He also considers the applications that this might one day have to develop a 'supersuper glue' and to improve the movement of robots.

6mins

12 Apr 2011

Rank #7

Podcast cover

Cambridge Ideas - The Perfect Crew?

Striving for, and achieving, high performance in teams has become a major business imperative. Drawing on two years of ethnographic research with the Cambridge University Boat Club, this film examines the causes of team failure and success. The mix of differing personalities, skills, motivations, career aspirations, and leadership styles as well as the complexities of the task means that building and shaping high performance teams is fraught with difficulty.

5mins

31 Mar 2011

Rank #8

Podcast cover

Cambridge Ideas - Strange Seas of Thought

A journey into Wordsworth's mind and the process of creation. We know about the experiments that have led to great scientific discoveries is widely recognised. But how much do we understand about the same processes in the arts? When the poet William Wordsworth died in 1850, few if none of the thousands of lines of poetry he left had escaped constant revision and alteration, and many of his most famous poems were never published. Cambridge researcher Ruth Abbott draws on the notebooks in which he left them to investigate the creative processes, attempts, and failures that go up to make great works of art.

5mins

30 Mar 2011

Rank #9

Podcast cover

Cambridge Ideas - Vanishing Voices

Of the world's 6,500 living languages, half will cease to be spoken by the end of this century. Dr Mark Turin, director of the World Oral Literature Project, has spent much of his life travelling to remote corners of the Himalayas to study languages and cultures that are at risk and document them before they disappear without record.

6mins

28 Feb 2011

Rank #10