Little Atoms

Little Atoms

United States

Little Atoms is a weekly show featuring the worlds of science, journalism, politics, religion, academia, human rights and the arts in conversation. Produced and presented by Neil Denny, Padraig Reidy, Richard Sanderson and special guests. It's broadcast in London every Friday from 19:00 GMT on Resonance 104.4 FM. The podcast is graciously hosted for peanuts by Positive Internet.


445: Helen Czerski's Storm in a Teacup  

Helen Czerski is a lecturer in the Mechanical Engineering Department at University College London. As a physicist she studies the bubbles underneath breaking waves in the open ocean to understand their effects on weather and climate. Helen regularly presents BBC programmes on physics, the ocean and the atmosphere – recent series include Colour: The Spectrum of Science, Orbit, Operation Iceberg, Super Senses, Dara O’Briain’s Science Club, as well as programmes on bubbles, the sun and our weather. She is also a columnist for Focus magazine, shortlisted for PPA columnist of the year in 2014, and has written numerous articles for national newspapers. Helen's first book is Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life.

Little Atoms 444: Tim Marshall on the Power and Politics of Flags  

Tim Marshall is a leading authority on foreign a­ffairs with more than 25 years of reporting experience. He was diplomatic editor at Sky News, and before that was working for the BBC and LBC/IRN radio. He has reported from forty countries and covered conflicts in Croatia, Bosnia, Macedonia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Israel. He is the author of the Sunday Times bestseller Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps that Tell You Everything You Need to Know About Global Politics, and his latest book is Worth Dying For: The Power and Politics of Flags.

Little Atoms 443 - Adam Rutherford's Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived  

Dr Adam Rutherford is a science writer and broadcaster. He studied genetics at University College London, and during his PhD on the developing eye, he was part of a team that identified the first genetic cause of a form of childhood blindness. He has written and presented many award-winning series and programmes for the BBC, including the flagship weekly Radio 4 programme INSIDE SCIENCE, THE CELL for BBC Four, and PLAYING GOD on the rise of synthetic biology for the leading science strand HORIZON, as well as writing for the science pages of the GUARDIAN. His first book, CREATION, on the origin of life and synthetic biology, was published in 2013 to outstanding reviews and was shortlisted for the Wellcome Trust Prize. Adam’s latest book is A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived: The Stories in Our Genes

442 – Simon Ings' Stalin and The Scientists  

Simon Ings began his career writing science fiction stories, novels and films, before widening his brief to explore perception (The Eye), 20th-century radical politics (The Weight of Numbers), the shipping system (Dead Water) and augmented reality (Wolves). He co-founded and edited Arc magazine, a digital publication about the future, before joining New Scientist as its arts editor. Out of the office, he lives in possibly the coldest flat in London, writing for the Guardian, Times, Telegraph, Independent and Nature. Simon's latest book is Stalin and The Scientists.

401 – Hadley Freeman's Life Moves Pretty Fast  

Recorded live at the first London Podcast Festival at King’s Place, Guardian writer Hadley Freeman brings us her personalised guide to American movies from the 1980s – why they are brilliant, what they meant to her, and how they influenced movie-making forever. Growing up in New York in the 1980’s Hadley learned everything she knows from films like Pretty in Pink, The Breakfast Club, Top Gun, The Princess Bride, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Beverley Hills Copand When Harry Met Sally… We’ll be talking about how the changes between movies then and movies today say so much about pop culture’s and society’s changing expectations of women, young people, masculinity, class and art, and explains why Pretty in Pink and Ghostbusters should be put on school syllabuses immediately.

440 – Naomi Alderman and Petina Gappah  

Naomi Alderman is the author of four novels. In 2006 she won the Orange Award for New Writers, and in 2007 she was named Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year, as well as being selected as one of Waterstones' 25 Writers for the Future. All of her novels have been broadcast on BBC Radio 4's Book at Bedtime. In 2013 she was selected for the prestigious Granta Best of Young British Writers. Naomi's latest novel is The Power. Petina Gappah is a Zimbabwean writer with law degrees from Cambridge, Graz University and the University of Zimbabwe. Her debut story collection, An Elegy for Easterly, won the Guardian First Book Prize in 2009. She is the author of a novel, The Book of Memory, and now a second short story collection Rotten Row.

239 – Mike Massimino's Spaceman  

Mike Massimino served as an astronaut for NASA between 1996 and 2014, going on two Space Shuttle missions to service the Hubble telescope, spending more than 30 hours on spacewalks. He has appeared as himself on The Big Bang Theory and is now a professor at the University of Columbia. Mike is the author of a new memoir Spaceman: An Astronaut's Unlikely Journey to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe.

438 – Thomas Frank's Listen, Liberal or, Whatever Happened to The Party of The People  

Thomas Frank is the author of Pity the Billionaire, The Wrecking Crew, and What's the Matter with Kansas? A former columnist for The Wall Street Journal and Harper's and a regular contributor to The Guardian, Frank is the founding editor of The Baffler. His latest book is Listen, Liberal or, Whatever Happened to The Party of The People.

437 – Mark Greif's Against Everything  

Mark Greif studied history and literature at Harvard, and English at Oxford as a British Marshall Scholar. In 2004, he co-founded the literary journal n+1 in New York and has been a principal at the magazine since then. He earned a PhD in American studies from Yale in 2007. Since 2008, he has been on the faculty of the New School in New York, where he is currently an associate professor. His previous book, The Age of the Crisis of Man: Thought and Fiction in America, 1933–1973, was published in 2015. Greif has been a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, and, for 2016–17, is a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. Mark’s latest book is the essay collection Against Everything.

Little Atoms - 436 Colonel Alfred “Al” Worden  

After graduating from West Point with a degree in Military Science, and from The University of Michigan with a Masters in Astronautical/Aeronautical Engineering, Colonel Alfred “Al” Worden had a career in the US Air Force as a fighter pilot and a test pilot, before joining NASA and becoming part of the Apollo program. Having served as a member of the astronaut support crew for the Apollo 9 flight and as backup Command Module Pilot for the Apollo 12 flight, Al Worden was chosen as Command Module Pilot for Apollo 15, becoming one of only 24 people to have flown to the moon.

From the archive: Nick Cohen's What's Left?  

In this interview from 2007, Neil and Padraig talked to journalist Nick Cohen about his book What's Left?, which examines the ideas of the British far left and their effects on mainstream politics.

Francis Wheen - Strange Days Indeed  

First broadcast 11 September 2009, Francis Wheen discusses Strange Days Indeed, his brilliant book on the mad, paranoid world of 70s politics.

Francis Spufford - Red Plenty  

First broadcast on 14th January 2011 Hailed as one of the most original non-fiction books in recent years, Francis Spufford's Red Plenty tells the story of the men and women who strived to deliver technological and economic Utopia for the Soviet Union in the Kruschev era

Little Atoms 435 - Mary Roach and the science of humans at war  

Mary Roach is the New York Times bestselling author of several popular science books, including Stiff, Spook, Bonk, Packing for Mars and Gulp. She has written for the Guardian, Wired, BBC Focus, GQ and Vogue. Her latest book is Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War.

Little Atoms 434 - Science and the City with Laurie Winkless  

Laurie Winkless is a physicist and writer, currently based in London. Following a degree at Trinity College Dublin, a placement at NASA's Kennedy Space Centre, and a masters in Space Science at UCL, Laurie worked at the National Physical Laboratory, specialising in materials. Laurie has been communicating science to the public for more than a decade, working with schools and universities, the Royal Society, Forbes, and the Naked Scientists, amongst others. She's given TEDx talks, hung out with astronauts, and appeared in The Times magazine as a leading light in STEM. Science and the City is her first book

Little Atoms 433 - Travis Elborough’s Walk In The Park  

Travis Elborough is the author of four acclaimed books: The Bus We Loved, a history of the Routemaster bus; The Long Player Goodbye, which lamented the passing of vinyl; Wish You Were Here, a history of the British beside the seaside; and London Bridge in America, which tells the transatlantic story of the sale of the world's largest antique. Travis regularly appears on Radio 4 and writes for the Guardian. His latest book is A Walk in The Park: The Life and Times of a People’s Institution.

432 - Alex Cox's Introduction to Film  

Maverick British filmmaker Alex Cox is responsible for directing a host of acclaimed films including Repo Man, Sid & Nancy, Straight to Hell, Walker and Highway Patrolman. From 1987 to 1994, he presented the acclaimed BBC TV series ‘Moviedrome’, bringing unknown or forgotten films to new audiences. He’s also the author of X Films: True Confessions of a Radical Filmmaker, 10,000 Ways to Die, and The President and the Provocateur, and has written on the subject of film for publications including Sight and Sound, The Guardian, The Independent and Film Comment. His latest book is Alex Cox’s Introduction to Film.

Little Atoms 431 - Dan Richards and Cal Flyn  

Cal Flyn is a freelance journalist from the Highlands of Scotland. She has been a reporter for the Sunday Times and the Daily Telegraph, and a contributing editor at The Week magazine. She has been published in the New Statesman, The Observer, The Independent, Telegraph Magazine and FT Weekend, and won the 2013 Brandt/Independent on Sunday travel writing prize. Her first book is Thicker Than Water. Dan Richards studied at UEA and Norwich Arts School. He is co-author of Holloway with Robert Macfarlane and Stanley Donwood, and The Beechwood Airship Interviews, a book about the creative process and the importance of art for art’s sake, which we talked about last year on Little Atoms. His latest book is Climbing Days.

Little Atoms 430 - Alex Marshall’s Republic or Death  

Alex Marshall is a journalist who writes about music and politics. He has written previously for the BBC, Guardian and New York Times. Alex is the author of Republic or Death! Travels in Search of National Anthems.

Little Atoms 429 - Miranda Sawyer's Out Of Time  

Miranda Sawyer is a journalist and broadcaster. Formerly of Smash Hits and Select, she currently writes features and radio criticism for the Observer, and her writing has also appeared in GQ, Vogue and the Guardian. She is a regular arts critic in print, on television and on radio. The author of Park and Ride, a book about suburbia, her latest is Out of Time: Midlife, If You Still Think You’re Young.

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