Matthew on the BBC

Matthew Cobb was too modest to tell me that he was on Radio 4’s episode of The Infinite Monkey Cage (a science/comedy show) yesterday, but reader Kevin called it to my attention. You can download the broadcast by clicking on the screenshot below, and here’s the BBC’s summary:

Making the Invisible, Visible
Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined by comedian Katy Brand, Cosmologist Prof Carlos Frenk, and biologist Prof Matthew Cobb to discover how to make the seemingly invisible, visible. They look at how the history and development of the telescope and the microscope have allowed us to look at the impossibly big to the seemingly impossibly small, to gain insight into the history of our universe and the inner workings of the human body. They look at how radio and space telescopes have allowed us to look back in time and “see” the big bang, and understand the age and content of the early universe, and how space telescopes have thrown light on the mysterious substance known as dark matter. They also look at the way microscopes and new biological techniques have allowed us to understand the seemingly invisible processes going on inside our cells. They also ask what, if anything, will always remain invisible to us – are there some processes or concepts that are impossible for us to “see”.

I’ve listened to about 25 minutes of the 46-minute show, and Matthew and Frenk impart some good biology and physics. The show is a great combination of humor and science.



  1. Geoff Toscano
    Posted February 22, 2017 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    I love the show, though I can’t get to listen every week, and somehow I never get round to catching up. Matthew was very good I thought.

    • John Ottaway
      Posted February 22, 2017 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      Extended versions of every episode are available for download. I love to listen to them (and Inside Science with Adam Rutherford), whilst doing housework at weekends

  2. Merilee
    Posted February 22, 2017 at 8:56 am | Permalink


  3. John Ottaway
    Posted February 22, 2017 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Robin is in New Zealand doing a tour, based on TIMC, whilst you are there PCC

    Maybe give him a shout and see if you can guest spot?

    • Gnu Atheist
      Posted February 22, 2017 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      Yes! You’d be an excellent guest, Jerry. In fact, you could be the guy that finally answers their most vexing of questions… “When is a strawberry dead?”

      • Graham Head
        Posted February 22, 2017 at 10:28 am | Permalink

        Jerry has been on IMC. Listen to the Chicago show.

    • George
      Posted February 22, 2017 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      “Every warthog you suckle, you lose a lion.” Give it a listen –

  4. GBJames
    Posted February 22, 2017 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Great show.

  5. Dominic
    Posted February 22, 2017 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    He’s on the radio all the time!

    • Dominic
      Posted February 22, 2017 at 11:51 am | Permalink

      He knows what I mean…

  6. Dave Larson
    Posted February 22, 2017 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    And the volume control on my BBC feed goes to ’11’!

  7. Posted February 22, 2017 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    Aristotle’s greatest weakness as a thinker in my view was a refusal to think that the universe could be different at scales below human perception. It took the early moderns like Leewenhoek and Hooke to change this. I think this history is yet unexplored to the same extent as the discovery of the “very big” …

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