Barry Smith is Professor of Philosophy at the University of London's School of Advanced Study and Leadership Fellow at the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Barry is a philosopher of language and mind who now works mainly on the multi sensory perception of flavour. A wine connoisseur himself, he is also a wine columnist and has been a ‘super taster’ on BBC 1’s Masterchef.
Kevin Buzzard has been obsessed by pure mathematics since he was a child, winning the International Mathematical Olympiad with a perfect score at the age of 19. Now Professor of Pure Mathematics at Imperial College London, Kevin is fascinated by modular forms. In this conversation we discuss the challenges of communicating with non-mathematicians about this unique conceptual world.
Timandra Harkness is well known as a radio presenter, comedian and science journalist. She is fascinated by mathematics and statistics and has recently published Big Data: Does Size Matter? Her career has taken many swerves, from her early days in clowning, physical theatre and the flying trapeze to stand-up comedy and broadcasting. Our conversation uncovers unexpected parallels between her experience and mine.
Dr Dougal Goodman has combined a lifelong passion for polar exploration with careers as a laboratory scientist, a member of the BP group, an expert on marine insurance and a Deputy Director of the British Antarctic Survey. He is Chief Executive of the Foundation for Science and Technology. In this conversation we explore ideas of exploration, risk and change.
The art historian and philanthropist Nicholas Fox Weber runs the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation and leads a non-profit organisation to improve medical care in Senegal. A prolific writer, he is the author of fourteen books, on topics ranging from the Albers to the Bauhaus and the art of Babar the Elephant.
Richard McDougall is one of the UK’s leading close-up magicians and a Gold Star member of the Inner Magic Circle. In this conversation we explore unexpected parallels between magic and medicine, framing the clinical consultation as a ‘close-up live performance with a very small audience’ and discussing the relationship between dexterity, body language and touch.
As Head of Public Programmes at the Wellcome Collection, Ken Arnold established an international reputation for creating ground-breaking exhibitions which bridge medicine and art. Now the Creative Director of Copenhagen’s Medical Museion, Ken’s ideas continue to challenge, provoke and inspire.
The potter Prue Cooper trained initially as a visual artist and came to making slipware after a varied career in other directions. We discuss how changes in direction can bring interesting perspectives, and explore how visual imagination, attentive observation and a willingness to take risks are characteristics of medicine and bioscience as well as of pottery.
With the writer Aifric Campbell I explore how language is shaped by its context. Aifric’s career has ranged from linguistics to investment banking, and now she teaches creative writing at Imperial College London. In this podcast we compare the language of the operating theatre, the clinical consulting room and the trading floor and explore how our personal perspectives intersect.
The illustrator and wood engraver Andrew Davidson combines artistry and craftsmanship in a career spanning decades. In this podcast he explains how imagination, draughtsmanship, dexterity and judgement come together to create unique works of art, and we discuss how surgery and medicine have similar characteristics.
Erica McAlister is in charge of the diptera (two-winged insects) collections at London’s Natural History Museum. An entomologist with a lifelong passion for flies and their peculiar behaviours, Erica shares her ideas about science, craftsmanship and involving the public in her work.
The choral conductor Jeremy Jackman and I explore parallels between our experiences in the operating theatre and the ’scratch orchestra’, where experts who have never met come together for high-stakes performance. Jeremy describes how his early years in the King’s Singers evolved into his current work bringing orchestras, soloists and choirs together.
Beth McKillop’s career has ranged from studying Chinese language and literature, becoming an authority on Chinese and Korean works of art and finally being appointed Deputy Director of the Victoria & Albert Museum. Our conversation explores points of connection and divergence between our two careers.
Professor Brian Rotman is impossible to pigeonhole. His career has ranged from pure mathematics, essay writing and theatre directing to an academic career as Professor of Comparative Studies at Ohio State University. In this podcast we discuss similarities and differences between our own career paths.