Jane Dorner’s first career was in publishing. From art editor for Longman’s and then as fiction reader for Penguin. After thirty years she fell in love with glass-making and developed a parallel career designing and making art works in glass. In this conversation we discuss the similarities and differences between our worlds of medicine, publishing and the arts.
In this conversation Chris Peters and I discuss the fast-moving world of robot-assisted surgery and explore new developments that are changing how surgeons operate. We talk about the shifting balance between vision and touch as surgery has evolved from ‘open’ procedures to keyhole surgery and now to robot-assisted operating supported by augmented reality and artificial intelligence.
Roberto di Napoli graduated in modern languages and linguistics in Italy before developing a career in education which has taken him to many institutions. A gifted teacher, he is passionate about making complex educational concepts accessible to people with expertise in a wide range of domains. In this conversation we explore the roles of performance and human interaction in teaching and learning.
Heather Mayfield joined the London Science Museum in 1979 as a museum assistant. By the time she left in 2014 she was its Deputy Director. In this podcast she describes her excitement in being part of the team unpacking and cataloguing Sir Henry Wellcome’s extraordinary collection for the first time since his death. She maps her career within the world of museums and her passion for engaging with people around the ideas and controversies of science. Now CEO of Nottingham Castle Trust, Heather is back in the city where she grew up.
David Nott trained as a trauma surgeon and has worked in war-torn areas all over the world. At the same time he trained as an airline pilot, gaining his airline transport pilot's licence and flying corporate jets in parallel with his surgical career. In this podcast we discuss the challenges, excitements and downsides of living and working in some of the most extreme environments on the globe.
David's book ‘War Doctor: Surgery on the Front Line’ was published in February 2019.
Phil Bayman is a combat pilot and instructor with over 4,500 flying hours experience. Alongside an active career flying combat missions in Hawks and Tornadoes, Phil is passionate about education. Six of the 2018 intake of Red Arrows pilots are his former students. In this podcast Phil describes the extraordinary world of combat flying, where pilots steer along the edge of what is physiologically possible. We explore similarities and differences between our experiences in aviation and medicine and ask what these worlds might learn from one another.
James Peto’s interests range from art history and contemporary design to the creation of ground-breaking exhibitions at the Wellcome Trust. Our discussion explores how these interests have helped to form the Wellcome Collection’s identity as an intersection between medicine, science and the arts.
Angela Barrett is one of the UK’s leading illustrators of children’s books. Her much-loved works include Beauty and the Beast, Snow White, The Emperor’s New Clothes and The Diary of Anne Frank. Her illustrations combine an inspired imagination with detail and humour, resulting in imaginary worlds of extraordinary power. In this conversation we explore the relationship between words and images and draw parallels between our very different worlds.
Professor Alan Spivey designs and creates biologically important molecules. In this conversation we discuss the differences between ‘following a recipe’ in chemistry and ‘designing an experiment’, exploring our perspectives from science and medicine. We discuss the concept of ‘performance’ in a science laboratory and how this resonates with other areas of expert practice.
A taxidermist for over 45 years, Derek Frampton is one of the leading experts in his field. His work is in many museums and scientific collections, and he has worked in film and television too. In this podcast he describes how his work stands at the intersection of science, craftsmanship and art. From voles to giraffes, from crocodiles to dinosaurs, Derek’s range is extraordinarily diverse. Each day brings a different challenge, and ‘everything is a prototype’.
Sir Terence English carried out the UK’s first successful heart transplant in 1979 and established the transplant programme at Papworth Hospital which revolutionised clinical care. In this podcast we discuss the events of that extraordinary time, looking back to the world’s first heart transplant in 1967 by Christiaan Barnard and forward to new horizons for cardiac transplantation today.
The artist Rebecca Salter RA was elected Keeper of the Royal Academy in 2017. In this podcast we discuss her fascination with drawing, her time as a Leverhulme Scholar in Japan, the differences between Eastern and Western artistic cultures and her role at the Royal Academy of Arts
One of the UK’s leading close-up magicians, with a international reputation as performer and teacher, Will Houstoun was Magic Circle Magician of the Year in 2015. Will is renowned for his extraordinary skill in manipulating coins and cards. Alongside his career in magic, Will studied mechanical engineering before completing a PhD in Victorian conjuring. In this podcast we discuss parallels and differences between our approaches to practical skill, scholarship and performance.
Roger and Will discuss connections between medicine and magic in Roger's Gresham College Lecture as Visiting Professor of Medical Education on 5 December 2018 at the Museum of London
Roger Highfield is Director of External Affairs at the Science Museum Group. A physical chemist by training, he honed his journalistic skills while a postdoctoral researcher before becoming Science Editor of the Daily Telegraph for the next 20 years. After a spell as Editor of the New Scientist he joined the Science Museum, where he works at an intersection between scientists, historians, curators and multiple publics. In this extended conversation we explore tensions between depth and breadth, ask whether medicine is a science or a practice and talk about the craftsmanship that underpins the performance of laboratory science.
Sarah Angliss defies conventional definition. A multitalented creator of musical scores and an expert performer, she describes herself as a composer. With degrees in electroacoustics and robotics and a fascination with musical automata, Sarah’s interests cut across orthodox categories.
Malcolm Love’s career has included being a Baptist minister in London’s Battersea, a freelance journalist in Nicaragua and El Salvador, a producer and presenter for the BBC, a leading science communicator and a mentor and coach in the changing landscape of public engagement. In this conversation we explore how our varied paths intersect, and discuss our shared fascination with making connections.
Andrea Sella is well known as a chemist, a teacher, a science communicator and broadcaster. In this podcast we discuss the nature of contemporary chemistry, talk about its development over the last couple of decades and explore issues of uncertainty and risk.
Aaron Williamon started his career as a trumpeter before changing direction and studying psychology. As one of the world’s leading conservatoires, the Royal College of Music (RCM) attracts performers with extraordinary skill but who also work under extraordinary pressure. In this podcast we discuss our shared interests in expert performance, whether in music, medicine or the arts, and talk about the RCM-Imperial Centre for Performance Science which we jointly lead.
After a law degree at Oxford and an MA in Renaissance Studies at Birkbeck, Ian Blatchford trained as an accountant and worked at the Bank of England, the Arts Council and the Royal Academy of Arts. After a spell as Finance Director at the Victoria & Albert Museum he became its Deputy Driector. In 2010 he moved across the road the Science Museum as its Director. In this conversation we discuss Ian’s fascination with science and scientists and how the various strands of his career have intertwined.
Saagar Patel and I discuss the technical, aesthetic and human challenges of dentistry and medicine. We explore how dentists carry out delicate work in a confined space using mirrors; how they combine dexterity, craftsmanship and a sensitivity to the subtleties of materials; and how they meet the challenges of ensuring that each patient has the best possible experience.
The distinguished couture hattist Susie Hopkins describes how she became entranced by hats while an art student in Vienna. After becoming a Master in Austria she moved to a Paris fashion house as their creative designer. Her subsequent career in London has included teaching at the London College of Fashion. Susie is not only a gifted designer and maker but an expert in creating bespoke hats for weddings and special occasions. This requires high levels of interpersonal skill, and her expertise has interesting parallels with my own experience as a clinician working with the complex family relationships and tensions of my patients. In this podcast we explore similarities and differences between our perspectives.
Andrew Garlick is one of the UK’s leading harpsichord makers and has been creating instruments for 45 years. In this conversation we explore what drew him to this specialised field, and how his skills as a craftsman, an artist and a creator of sound worlds have come together to create over 250 instruments.
Vicki Ambery-Smith is one of the country’s leading silversmiths, with work in major collections around the world. She specialises in creating tiny, exquisitely beautiful sculptures of buildings that can be worn as jewellery. We discuss how she designs and creates these tiny works of art and explore how her skills in the workshop are an expression of the human relationships she develops with those who commission her work. In the process we uncover unexpected similarities with the world of medicine.
Simon Chaplin’s varied career has included studying history and philosophy of science, directing the Museum and Special Collections at the Royal College of Surgeons of England, heading the Wellcome Library and becoming Director of Culture and Society at Wellcome Trust and Director of the Wellcome Collection. We explore our different perspectives on anatomical museums and their contents, drawing on Simon’s engagement with the physicality of anatomical specimens and my experience of dissection and prosection. The conversation ranges from the disciplines of close observation to the skills of maintaining old tractor engines before exploring what has prompted us both to take unexpected directions in our careers.
Katharine Coleman is one of the country’s leading glass engravers. She moved from being a hispanophone historian of sixteenth century Spanish American history to a fascination with the ancient craftsmanship of glass and a painstaking mastery of her craft. In our conversation we explore how a deep knowledge of this extraordinary material allows Katharine to exploit its instabilities as she creates her exquisite work.