Rank #1: Am I crazy or is it physics? | Katy Clough
How do physicists know what will happen in situations that haven't been tested? How sure can we be that physical laws are constant? Katy Clough explains how we are pushing the limits of what we know about the universe. | Narrated by Agnes Donnelly and Vidish Athavale | Music by Lee Rosevere | Katy is a postdoctoral researcher in the Astrophysics Department at Göttingen University in Germany, having recently completed her Ph.D. at King's College London. Her research involves solving the Einstein equations of gravity on supercomputers, investigating the early universe and even making black holes.
Rank #2: Can we cure neurological disorders by modifying the genome? | Gabriele Lignani
Imagine if we could correct genetic mutations as easily as correcting a typo in Microsoft Word, and thereby cure Alzheimer's, depression and other neurological disorders. Sounds like the plot of a sci-fi film, right? According to neuroscientist Gabriele Lignani, this is now a reality. | Narrated by Angus Waite | Music by Dexter Britain, Léo Delibes, Lloyd Rodgers and Jon Luc Hefferman | Gabriele is a neuroscientist at UCL whose research focuses on new approaches in the treatment of neurological disorders, which include gene editing and regulation in different neurons and brain regions. He has a passion for all sorts of animals and when he is not busy with his neurons at work, he enjoys spending time hiking with his two dogs.
Rank #3: What can facial movement tell us about emotional expression? | Eva Krumhuber
One of the most complex and finely-tuned ways of communicating emotion in humans are facial expressions. Social psychologist Eva Krumhuber fills us in on the latest research and takes us from the Oscars to the quest to create ever more realistic robots. | Narrated by Louise Essex | Music by Akoko Nante Ensemble, Podington Bear, Lee Rosevere and Jon Luc Hefferman | Eva is a Lecturer in Experimental Psychology at UCL, where she investigates the expression and perception of emotions in the human face. Besides her scientific contributions to psychology, her research has proved relevant for the successful modelling of emotions in virtual characters, being commercially used by the film and video games industries.
Rank #4: Why is the Earth habitable? | Philip Pogge von Strandmann
The Earth is over 4 billion years old, but land animals have only existed on our planet for the past 500 million years. Why didn't animal life on land emerge sooner? And why did it emerge at all? The Earth scientist Philip Pogge von Strandmann has the answers. | Read along while listening at our Medium: bit.ly/2kzO0V6 | Narrated by Vidish Athavale | Music by Alasdair Cooper and Lee Rosevere | Philip is a Senior Lecturer in the Earth Science Department at UCL. His main research area is the Earth’s present and past biogeochemical cycles, including the carbon and oxygen cycles and what controls them. He is the 2016 winner of the Max Hey Medal.
Rank #5: Russia’s new rich and their attitudes to the West | Elisabeth Schimpfossl
In 2014, the head of Russia's biggest international news agency reminded the world that Russia is the only country capable of ‘turning the USA into radioactive dust’. Do Russian elites share similarly hostile attitudes towards Western countries? Sociologist Elisabeth Schimpfossl investigates. | Read along while listening at our Medium: bit.ly/2hAWdtf | Narrated by Charlotte Holtum and Vidish Athavale | Music by Kai Engel, Huma-Huma and Alasdair Cooper | Elisabeth is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at UCL, teaching Russian politics at the School of Slavonic & East European Studies. Her current research compares the philanthropic practices of Britain's and Russia's super-rich.
Rank #6: String theory: Must it be so? | Yang-Hui He
Could there be a theory that describes all of the fundamental laws of nature, a Theory of Everything? Einstein thought so but he never managed to prove it. Mathematical physicist Yang-Hui He guides us through the quest to fulfil Einstein's dream. | Read along while listening at our Medium: http://bit.ly/2gMa9kG | Narrated by Vidish Athavale | Music by Jon Luc Hefferman, Neil Cross, James Joshua Otto and Jason Donnelly | Yang-Hui is a Professor of Mathematics at the City University of London and a Tutor at Merton College, University of Oxford. He works on various interfaces between geometry and theoretical high energy physics and is particularly interested in aspects of algebraic geometry in application to, and interacting with, gauge theory as well as string theory.
Rank #7: The quantum foundations of life | Johnjoe McFadden
The extraordinary complexity of life has puzzled scientists for a long time. But underneath the apparent randomness of life lies a deeply rooted order at the quantum scale. Geneticist Johnjoe McFadden takes us to the world where biology meets quantum mechanics. | Read along while listening at our Medium: http://bit.ly/2cA0CJN | Narrated by Vidish Athavale | Music by Sergey Cheremisinov, Alasdair Cooper, Jon Luc Hefferman and James Joshua Otto | Johnjoe is Professor of Molecular Genetics at the University of Surrey. His principal research area is investigating genetics of microbes that cause infectious diseases. He is the author of 'Quantum Evolution', 'Life on the Edge: The Coming Age of Quantum Biology' (with Jim Al-Khalili), and is currently working on a book on Ockham’s razor.
Rank #8: The woman who unmasked the forger | Mary Wellesley
Art forgery has existed for centuries, but what about a 19th-century forger of medieval art whose unmasked work went on to become more valuable than originals? Mary Wellesley takes us through the detective-like story of the woman who uncovered his deception. | Read along while listening at our Medium: bit.ly/2cfJRmO | Narrated by Mary Wellesley and Vidish Athavale | Music by James Joshua Otto, Kai Engel, Greg Joy and Neil Cross | Mary is a medieval culture scholar at UCL and the British Library whose current research focuses on 15th-century literary manuscripts. As a freelance writer, her work has appeared, among others, in the Times Literary Supplement, London Review of Books and Lapham’s Quarterly, where a version of 'The woman who unmasked the forger' first appeared.
Rank #9: It's at Tate but is it art? | Miguel Dos Santos
For many people, contemporary art is a strange place where artists are charlatans who take us for fools. But are they really, or should we take them seriously? Miguel Dos Santos tackles the issue. | Read along while listening at our Medium: bit.ly/2aSWbc2 | Narrated by Vidish Athavale | Music by Addam Farmer, Debbie Miller and Mark Petrie | Miguel teaches and does research in philosophy at UCL. When he is not trying to solve the problem of what art is and several other philosophical puzzles, he enjoys learning about theoretical physics and how the universe works. No less important, he is a big supporter of Real Madrid.
Rank #10: Why Martin Luther King had the US Constitution on his side | Adam Smith
From the Civil Rights movement to the modern efforts to legalize gay marriage, the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution has been central to many of the most important issues in American history. UCL historian Adam Smith takes us through its significance. | Read along while listening at our Medium: bit.ly/2aEpNZE | Narrated by Adam Smith and Vidish Athavale | Music by Sergey Cheremisinov and Kai Engel | Adam is a Senior Lecturer in the History Department at UCL and a frequent broadcaster on BBC Radio 4. An expert on the nineteenth century United States, his latest book is 'The Stormy Present: Conservatism and American Politics in an Age of Revolution, 1848-1877', shortly to be published by the University of North Carolina Press.