Babbage from Economist Radio

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Named after Charles Babbage, a 19th-century polymath and grandfather of computing, Babbage is a weekly podcast on science and technology. Host Kenneth Cukier talks to our correspondents about the innovations, discoveries and gadgetry making the news. Published every Wednesday on Economist Radio.

Episode Date
Babbage: Am-AI-zon

Amazon’s use of artificial intelligence has long outstripped Facebook and Google. Just how ingrained is AI at Amazon? Also, journalist and author David Wallace Wells explains the diminishing optimism of the climate change movement. And, how natural disasters fade from collective memory. Kenneth Cukier hosts

Apr 17, 2019
Babbage: Hypersonic Boom

America, China and Russia are developing long range, gliding missiles that travel at speeds greater than Mach 5. What are the threats and safeguards? Also, Dame Stephanie Shirley, the programmer who set up Britain’s first all-female software company in 1962, gives advice to women in tech today. And, how to knit a sports car with carbon fibre. Kenneth Cukier hosts

Apr 10, 2019
Babbage: Dino-more

A little-known paleontologist may have found the last piece of the puzzle explaining the fate of the dinosaurs: what actually happened when the giant asteroid struck the Earth. Also, Paul Davies, a renowned physicist, explains the systems of information that make up consciousness. And, why being heard in the House of Commons is not always essential to getting things done. Kenneth Cukier hosts

Apr 03, 2019
Babbage: DiagNoses

How scientists followed the nose of a super-smeller to identify a new test for Parkinson’s disease. Also, historian Kate Brown tells us what she uncovered from decades of researching the Chernobyl disaster. And scientists in China have found a potential solution for recharging the pacemaker. Kenneth Cukier hosts

Mar 27, 2019
Babbage: Insectageddon?

The insect apocalypse may not be imminent, but the decline of insect species is still a concern. And we speak to Dr Angela Gallop about her career as one of Britain’s most eminent forensic scientists. Also, when will a robot barista serve you a latte? Kenneth Cukier hosts

Mar 20, 2019
Babbage: Pioneers of the WWW

Kenneth Cukier gets in the Babbage time machine and travels to 1989, when Sir Tim Berners-Lee wrote the famous memo that laid the foundations for the world wide web. Kenn speaks to some of the other key figures that influenced its invention, like Ted Nelson and Vint Cerf, and then asks what the WWW might look like in the future.

Mar 13, 2019
Babbage: Breaking the ice

We have an exclusive interview with Dr Huw Griffiths on the mission to investigate a recently uncovered marine ecosystem in the Antarctic. And the author and scholar Shoshana Zuboff explains surveillance capitalism. Also, how the makers of the game Fortnite have the online platforms of Steam and Google locked in their sights. Kenneth Cukier hosts.

Mar 06, 2019
Babbage: The element-hunters

It is 150 years since Dmitri Mendeleev discovered the periodic table, the innate order underpinning the elements. Kenneth Cukier explores how this simple grid has shaped our understanding of the universe and our place in it. In a laboratory near Moscow the search is on for element 119, but on the other side of the world in California, researchers are hesitant. Is chemistry over?

Feb 27, 2019
Babbage: Joker AAAStronauts

The latest buzz from the AAAS, the largest general science meeting in the world, from The Economist’s science correspondent, Alok Jha. NASA scientists presented initial findings on how a year in space changes astronauts’ bodies. Why a good sense of humour is required for a successful mission to Mars. And can machines become scientists?

Feb 20, 2019
Babbage: Regulating fake news

Tech giants face regulation on news after UK media review. Its author, Dame Frances Cairncross, tells us even the technology platforms recognise the need for change. Roger McNamee, one of Facebook’s early investors, asks if it’s now too powerful. And the award-winning inventor of GPS on how his early atomic clock just keeps getting better with age. Kenneth Cukier hosts 

Feb 13, 2019
Babbage: A bill of data rights

Should individuals have rights over their data that are protected similar to human rights? We discuss the universe with Jo Dunkley of Princeton. And why the oceans are turning a different shade of blue. Kenneth Cukier hosts

Feb 06, 2019
Babbage: Ethically challenged

As the controversial story of the editing of the genomes of two babies in China unfolds, we ask how can science be more ethical — and how to tackle “ethics dumping”. Also, how environmental factors can influence the national security of countries affected by climate change. And we look at the phenomenon of the placebo button. Kenneth Cukier hosts

Jan 30, 2019
Babbage: Droning on

How can new technology deal with rogue drones? And what can be learned from Dutch hospitals in the fight against superbugs. Also, the development of a simple camera that can see around corners. Tim Cross hosts

Jan 23, 2019
Babbage: A growing conCERN

We discuss CERN’s latest plans for a successor to the Large Hadron Collider. Also, our healthcare editor explains how scientists hope to develop vaccines more quickly for unexpected viruses. And, how altering the genetic code of E.coli is leading to groundbreaking research on cancer drugs. Kenneth Cukier hosts.

Jan 16, 2019
Babbage: Will China dominate science?

In a special show, we examine China’s impressive scientific advances and question what they mean for the future of the sciences—and of China. Among the guests is the Chinese-American astronaut Leroy Chiao, discussing China’s recent feat of landing a probe on the far side of the moon. Kenneth Cukier hosts.

Jan 09, 2019
Babbage: Success of 'disability tech'

In this special episode of Babbage, we discuss some of the advancements in technology that could change the lives of those living with a disability — an app that is helping those who are visually impaired. Also, how the sit-ski has benefited from research in the aerospace and automotive industries. And, can the symptoms of phantom limb syndrome be harnessed to enhance prosthetics? Kenneth Cukier hosts.

Jan 02, 2019
Babbage: Best of 2018

In this festive special we look back at some of our favourite stories from 2018. Could IVF could save the northern white rhino from extinction? Also, the discovery of liquid water on Mars. And, how the amphibious life of the Bajau people has led to their unique evolutionary traits. Kenneth Cukier hosts.

Dec 26, 2018
Babbage: A little more conservation

We ask how can conservationists preserve biodiversity through new ideas. Also, what can be done to increase the number of women in the technology industry? And Hossein Derakhshan, a formerly jailed Iranian blogger, discusses whether the web is becoming more superficial. Kenneth Cukier hosts.

Dec 19, 2018
Babbage: Lots in space

The race is on to launch satellites to connect the entire world to the internet. We talk to psychologist and geneticist Robert Plomin, about his career and his latest book. And, is the fax machine facing extinction? Kenneth Cukier hosts

Dec 12, 2018
Babbage: Waymo to go

Waymo, a division of Google's parent company Alphabet, launched its self-driving taxi service, but is it really a landmark for driverless vehicles? Also, a vast study seeks to understand the genetic underpinnings of ADHD. And we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the “Mother of all demos” computing presentation. Kenneth Cukier hosts

Dec 05, 2018
Babbage: The baby crisperer

A Chinese scientist has claimed to have edited the genomes of two babies using the revolutionary genome-editing technique called CRISPR-Cas9. Also, how the production of semiconductors is becoming a new battlefield. And Kenneth Cukier asks the author, technology executive and investor Elad Gil what it takes for a startup to become a technology giant.

Nov 28, 2018
Babbage: The dos and don'ts of data

In this special episode we examine the controversial gang-mapping database of London's Metropolitan Police Service. Also, a new pilot project to study how a "data trust" might increase access to information while retaining privacy. And how sharing mapping data by the big web platforms could unlock innovations for companies and society. Kenneth Cukier hosts

Nov 21, 2018
Babbage: The blame game

Should climate change be a matter of human rights? Also, gene drives' controversial potential to wipe out entire species of mosquitoes. And, a novel watch spring that could change the way mechanical watches are designed. Kenneth Cukier hosts

Nov 14, 2018
Babbage: Economist in space

Highlights from The Economist’s Space Summit in New York, including an interview with Apollo 9 astronaut Russell 'Rusty' Schweickart. Also, how to prepare for space exploration with Dava Newman, Apollo Program Professor of Astronautics at MIT. And, astrophysicist Simonetta Di Pippo and astronaut Leroy Chiao discuss worldwide cooperation in space. Tom Standage hosts

Nov 07, 2018
Babbage: Turning the oceans green

Can greenhouse emissions be cut in maritime transport? Also, with the US midterms a week away, Courtney Kennedy from PEW Research Centre discusses the reliability of polling data. And the artificial intelligence system being tested as a way to cut down train delays. Kenneth Cukier hosts

Oct 31, 2018
Babbage: Pie in the sky

Could delivering goods by drone soon become a common occurrence? Also, cyber-security expert Bruce Schneier discusses his latest book. And a new innovation for the disposing of human waste from Mount Everest. Hal Hodson hosts

Oct 24, 2018
Babbage: The quantum conundrum

Is the internet about to be unravelled by quantum computing? And how artificial intelligence could be used to diagnose the need for lung transplants in patients with cystic fibrosis. Also, our technology correspondent, Hal Hodson, discuss some of the latest happenings in robotics. Kenneth Cukier hosts

Oct 17, 2018
Babbage: What a difference half a degree makes

This week's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report recommends keeping the global increase in temperature below 1.5°C. We ask how governments and companies can reach "net zero" and whether the global economy can both grow and go green? Kenneth Cukier talks to one of the authors of the report, an advisor to Costa Rica on its pioneering decarbonisation plan and the European refineries industry body on its green efforts.

Music: Smooth as Glass by The Freeharmonic Orchestra (CC x 4.0)

Oct 10, 2018
Babbage: The Nobel winners explained

Economist science correspondents break down the discoveries that won this year's Nobel prizes. Tristan Harris, a former design ethicist at Google, discusses the dangerous ways that the tech industry competes for our attention. And: the story of blackest fish in the deep ocean. Kenneth Cukier hosts

Oct 03, 2018
Babbage: Lessons from Spanish flu

What can we learn from the Spanish flu pandemic which killed over 50 million people a hundred years ago? Carl Malamud, founder of, wants to make more data public. And, is food actually scarce at the bottom of the ocean? Kenneth Cukier hosts.

Sep 26, 2018
Babbage: Up in smoke

Are e-cigarettes the answer to giving up tobacco smoking? And SpaceX revives its plans to send tourists around the moon. Also, we speak to Zia Chishti of Afiniti about the role of artificial intelligence in business. Kenneth Cukier hosts

Sep 19, 2018
Babbage: Ma waves ali bye bye

How China will struggle to produce another Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba, who steps down as chairman next year. And we discuss cyber-security with former United States Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff. Kenneth Cukier hosts

Sep 12, 2018
Babbage: Content liability

Should tech companies be legally responsible for all their content? Also, major European research funders have announced ‘Plan S’ to make all scientific works free to read. And how optical fibre made in orbit could be better than the terrestrial sort. Kenneth Cukier hosts.

Sep 05, 2018
Babbage: Peaks and Valleys

Has Silicon Valley’s influence as a technology hub peaked? Also, how artificial intelligence is gaining a sense of curiosity. And how a shampoo bottle is saving lives in Bangladesh. Kenneth Cukier hosts.

Aug 29, 2018
Babbage: Will Google translate?

If Google does reintroduce its search engine to China what will it have to omit? And how future helicopters will fly in new ways, with pilots optional. Also, the discovery of a 3,200-year-old ancient Egyptian cheese and what we can learn from it. Hal Hodson hosts

Aug 22, 2018
Babbage: Jumping the Q

Is quantum technology getting ahead of itself? And we look into what is being done to find a cure for celiac disease. Also, we explore random control trials and the placebo effect of sham surgery. Tim Cross hosts 

Music by Daniel Birch "Brushed bells in the wind" (CC by 4.0)

Aug 15, 2018
Babbage: My corona

We speak to project scientist for the Parker Solar Probe, Dr Nicola Fox, about the spacecraft's upcoming mission to the sun's atmosphere. We also discuss the upsides of artificial intelligence with professor Max Tegmark. And how seal whiskers are helping to create new underwater sensors. Kenneth Cukier hosts 

Aug 08, 2018
Babbage: time

Should AI systems be more human-centric? We look at how a trial of self-driving vehicles in Texas is focusing on what the technology can do now. Rufus Pollack, the founder of Open Knowledge International, discusses how freedom of choice promotes innovation. And, a simple solution to increasing productivity in India. Kenneth Cukier hosts 

Aug 01, 2018
Babbage: Too hot to handle

Are the recent heat waves around the world a sign of things to come? Geoffrey Carr, our science editor, finds out at the meeting of the International AIDS Society what more needs to be done to eradicate the disease. Also, has liquid water on Mars finally been found? Kenneth Cukier hosts. 

Jul 25, 2018
Babbage: Paranoid android

What does the European Commission's record fine of Google mean for the future of its Android operating system? And how a popular gene editing tool is raising a few questions. Also, we speak to Dr David Fajgenbaum about the first ever World Castleman Disease Day. Kenneth Cukier hosts

Jul 18, 2018
Babbage: The Roboburger

Are robots going to replace chefs in the kitchen? And how footsteps can be used for ID and health checks. Also, we focus on the very latest discoveries from the Gaia space mission. Kenneth Cukier hosts

Jul 11, 2018
Babbage: Saving white rhino

How IVF could save the northern white rhino from extinction. And Jaron Lanier tells us why we should delete our social media accounts. Also, how understanding animal behaviour could reduce errors in the operating theatre. Kenneth Cukier hosts

Jul 04, 2018
Babbage: Fixing the internet

The internet was meant to make the world a less centralised place, but the opposite has happened. The Economist’s technology editor Ludwig Siegele explores why it matters and what can be done about it. 

Music by Fabian Measures “Open Cab” cc by 4.0

Jun 27, 2018
Babbage: Fuel for thought

How a privately owned Chinese company called OneSpace is using solid fuel for launching rockets. Also, the worrying growth of bogus scientific journals. And is there an optimal strategy for the dreaded penalty shoot-out? Kenneth Cukier hosts

Jun 20, 2018
Babbage: Polio returns

Why has polio made a comeback in Venezuela and how does it spread? Tien Tzuo, founder of Zuora, says there will be no need to own anything in the future — you will subscribe to everything.  And research into how marine mammals respond to predators shows there is safety in numbers. Tom Standage hosts.

Jun 13, 2018
Babbage: AI will see you now

How companies are using artificial intelligence in medicine to help with diagnosis. We hear why a Dutch park that mimics nature is riling animal-rights activists. Also, what can be learnt from a new study on the calls of the bottlenose dolphin. Tim Cross hosts

Jun 06, 2018
Babbage: Gene genius

Has new research into the human genome discovered the secret to human evolution? And how studying HIV in every organ helps understand how to eliminate it. Also, we review the book “Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup”. Kenneth Cukier hosts

May 30, 2018
Babbage: Fake views

Deep-fakes – how can we trust what people appear to be saying in online videos? Also, how to contain the recent outbreak of ebola in the DRC. And, a new study of biomass that is putting human’s place in the world into perspective. Kenneth Cukier hosts

May 23, 2018
Babbage: Show me the way to Cordillera

Now that the war between the Colombian government and the FARC has ended, scientists are exploring parts of the country previously held by the rebels. The aim is to make Colombia a "bio-power" by 2030. Also, how lead pollution in Greenlandic ice shows evidence of ancient European societies. And the new insect-sized drones that are causing a buzz. Tim Cross hosts

May 16, 2018
Babbage: When an algorithm decides your fate

Computer algorithms are being used with increasing frequency to make decisions about humans - from whether a job applicant makes it through a selection process or if a prison inmate gets released on parole. But how are the algorithms making their decisions? And what if they make a mistake? In this special episode of Babbage, we explore the complex work of algorithmic decision-making. Music by Chris Zabriskie “Divider” (CC by 4.0 UK)

May 09, 2018
Babbage: Big data versus privacy

Data is becoming the world's most valuable resource. Governments use it to monitor and control their citizens. Corporations use it to persuade consumers to buy their products. But as machine learning and algorithms advance, will people still be able to harness the power of big data without losing too much individual privacy? Music by Chris Zabriskie “Divider” (CC by 4.0 UK).

May 02, 2018
Babbage: Insane in the methane

What is causing the rising rates of methane in the atmosphere? Also, how an amphibious life for the Bajau people has led to unique evolutionary traits. And the excitement around the Gaia space probe’s latest data release. Hal Hodson hosts

Apr 25, 2018
Babbage: The planet hunter

Professor Sara Seager joins us to discuss the launch of the spacecraft TESS, and its two-year mission to discover new planets. Also, physicist and author Leonard Mlodinow explains elastic thinking. And, how robots are learning to assemble flat-pack furniture. Kenneth Cukier hosts

Apr 18, 2018
Babbage: Zuckerberg faces Capitol Hill

Hal Hodson, our technology correspondent, joins us from Washington to discuss Mark Zuckerberg and the future for Facebook. Also, the connection between personality and music. And, how possible is it to populate other planets? Kenneth Cukier hosts. 

Apr 11, 2018
Babbage: The information game

How requesting personal data from companies leads to a bureaucratic tangle. Also, nurturing scientific talent in Africa. And, the surprising importance of paint colour for self-driving cars. Kenneth Cukier hosts

Apr 04, 2018
Babbage: Working AI to five

Alexandra Suich Bass, our US technology editor, discusses the rise of artificial intelligence in the workplace. Also, the link between genetics and exam success. And, understanding the language of bees. Kenneth Cukier hosts.

Mar 28, 2018
Babbage: Saving

Silkie Carlo from Big Brother Watch joins host Tim Cross to discuss the latest privacy issues involving Facebook. Also, ageing the rings of Saturn. And, the cost of using antibiotics on the human gut.

Mar 22, 2018
Babbage: Remembering Stephen Hawking

We speak to leading scientists about the life and legacy of Professor Stephen Hawking. And, what is being done to help the ailing Coral reefs? Also, the out of control Chinese space station. Hal Hodson hosts

Mar 14, 2018
Babbage: Exploring the ocean's hidden depths

In this week's programme, we dive into The Economist's Technology Quarterly issue on oceans. We discuss offshore aquaculture, how to map the sea floor and the threat of plastics. Joining us is Dr Jyotika Virmani, from the Ocean XPRIZE

Mar 07, 2018
Babbage: Automation for the people

What are the social problems facing the world of vehicle automation? Also, the rise of robot laboratories. And looking for life in the Atacama desert. Kenneth Cukier hosts

Feb 28, 2018
Babbage: Bad AAAS

We bring you the highlights from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, including how children can inherit acquired characteristics from their fathers, asteroid mining and how to grow a human organ. Tim Cross hosts

Feb 21, 2018
The World in 2018: Technology and us

In the final episode in our six-part series, we look at the scientific and technological advances that will shape the coming year - from algorithms that can make judgments about us online, to robots that are more effective than humans in the work place. Cathy O'Neil, author of "Weapons of Math Destruction" and Shane Wall, the Chief Technology Officer of HP join our hosts.

Feb 14, 2018
Babbage: Cars to Mars?

Oliver Morton, our briefings editor, wonders what’s next after Elon Musk’s latest mission to Mars. We ask whether homemade drones can fight conventional armed forces - and could there be lithium under Cornwall? Tim Cross hosts.

Feb 07, 2018
Babbage: Tech giants go to medical school

The world’s biggest technology firms are poised to transform health care. Will it empower patients and lead to a better diagnosis? Also, ways to prevent passengers in driverless cars from feeling queasy. And how genes play a role in the likelihood of divorce. Kenneth Cukier hosts.

Jan 31, 2018
Babbage: Out-of-body organ

A medical breakthrough means a human liver can now be kept alive outside the body. Will this result in more transplants? Also, a new idea for deadening an aircraft’s sonic boom. And the universal signals in music that cross cultural boundaries. Hal Hodson hosts

Jan 24, 2018
Babbage: The ethics of AI

Artificial intelligence heralds the fourth industrial revolution. But what are its ethical challenges? Also, Anne McElvoy and producer Cheryl Brumley head under Manhattan to inspect New York’s newest water tunnel. And the biggest rocket in the world prepares for its maiden flight. Kenneth Cukier hosts.

Jan 17, 2018
Babbage: Submarine drones hunt for missing flight

A Norwegian research vessel has joined the search to find missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370. Can its contingent of self-navigating submarine drones find what others have missed? Also, do we really understand the laws of physics? And what’s new at the world’s biggest gadget show? Hal Hodson and Ananyo Bhattacharya host.

Jan 10, 2018
Babbage: Trees take a bough

They are the longest living organisms on earth and supply a timber industry worth $600 billion. But do we value trees enough? Also, how reforesting is one of the biggest changes to land use changes. And the growing threat to tree health. Kenneth Cukier hosts.

Jan 03, 2018
Babbage: Highlights special

In this special festive episode, we look back at some of the highlights from this year’s coverage. A better way to sail into the stars, why birds are weaving cigarette butts into their homes and what the future of electric cars might look like when charged through thin air. Jason Palmer hosts

Dec 27, 2017
Babbage: Remaking tigerland

Science correspondent Hal Hodson tells the story of T3, a tiger whose bid for freedom and remarkable journey across India highlighted the underlying tensions between humans, nature and conservation

Dec 20, 2017
Babbage: Greetings, Earthlings

Astronomers say a curious cigar-shaped asteroid passing by the sun is not native to our solar system. Could it be an alien spacecraft? Also, a pioneering patient who set out to find a cure for his own life-threatening disease. And the great avocado shortage. Jason Palmer hosts.

Dec 13, 2017
Babbage: Archeology without the digging

Google is changing how we view ancient artefacts. Plus, governments could soon regulate video games, as a new money-making method using 'loot boxes' emerges. Some say it's too similar to gambling. And Melinda Gates discusses the importance of contraception in reducing poverty.

Dec 06, 2017
Babbage: The electric-flight plan

Electric cars have become a common sight. So are battery-powered planes likely to take off soon? Also, the engineered bacterium that uses two synthetic DNA letters to make artificial proteins. And how digital technology is transforming speakers and headsets. Jason Palmer hosts.

Nov 29, 2017
Babbage: The whizz of Oz

China’s rising demand for electric car batteries has produced a mineral boom in the Australian outback. But is there enough mined cobalt to go round? Also, how the European Union is working towards mitigating climate change. And why the humble fusebox could soon make your home more energy efficient. Tim Cross hosts.

Nov 22, 2017
Babbage: Negative emissions

Countries around the world have agreed to cut carbon emissions but what are they doing to remove the existing CO2 from the air? And how a new generation of surgical robots is about to enter the operating theatre. Also, why do birds really have such colourful bodies? Jason Palmer hosts.

Nov 15, 2017
Babbage: Leapfrogging forward

Technology in Africa is making huge advances but will it enough to close the economic gap between Africa and the West? Plus, how scientists are trying to harness the microbiome to rid us of tooth rot. And scientists have developed a 'spaghetti' probe that can map our brains much more accurately. We ask what the future of this technology is. Jason Palmer hosts.

Nov 08, 2017
Babbage: Unidentified flying rock

The first interstellar visitor to the solar system arrives, turns and leaves. What can be learned from the mysterious object? Also, researchers are kitting out drones to deliver supplies to the battlefield. And if wireless charging takes off, electric vehicles could—in theory—run forever

Nov 01, 2017
Babbage: All about that base

Minutes ago, Nature announced an important development in gene editing. Host Hal Hodson and Natasha Loder discuss how this technique is so precise and what this means for curing genetic diseases. Plus, why sperm whales like heavy metal music. And why are we so negative about our future?

Oct 25, 2017
Babbage: Deus ex machina

With the release of Blade Runner 2049, we explore the future of artificial intelligence and whether it could teach us how the human mind works. The Economist's Oliver Morton and Jan Piotrowski debate with host Tim Cross.

Oct 19, 2017
Babbage: Are C-sections fuelling the obesity epidemic?

Babies born via a Caesarean section are more likely to be obese says new research. Plus how glass is getting a makeover and we explore the question of why you’re attracted to the people you’re attracted to. The Economist's science correspondent Tim Cross presents.

Oct 11, 2017
Babbage: Sleep, space and a striking storm-source

This year's Nobel science prizes have been announced and The Economist's science team explain the discoveries behind them. Plus: the link between international trade and lightning strikes, and research suggests that standing desks might be good for your productivity as well as your health.

Oct 04, 2017
Babbage: Send in the microbots

The hunt is on among the world’s airlines for faster and more efficient ways to keep jet engines in tip-top condition. Could the answer be tiny robots that inspect and fix them from the inside? Also, a new study shows that birds deliberately weave cigarette butts into their nests to help keep parasites away. And is it right to relinquish control of our identities to private companies? Jason Palmer hosts.

Sep 27, 2017
Babbage: Sailing through space

Electronic sails could lead to faster, cheaper space exploration by harnessing the energy from solar wind. A new paper suggests climate change predictions could have been slightly overheated. And some antivenoms might be more like snake oil than salvation 

Sep 20, 2017
Babbage: Curing cancer

Miracles in a test tube won't cure cancer; using and adapting the technology we've already got will. Plus how WiFi's little brother LoRa will enable our smart cities to flourish. And why Saturn's space probe Cassini is diving to its death on Friday.

Sep 13, 2017
Babbage: I can see you

Facial recognition software can identify you in a crowd. But it will soon be able to judge your mood, your age and ethnicity. We discuss the merits and pitfalls of this fast-advancing technology. Plus, could fish food be the source of antibiotic resistance? And host Jason Palmer gets stuck in a virtual swamp.

Sep 06, 2017
Babbage: Weird weather

As heatwaves sear across Europe and hurricanes wreak havoc in Houston, we ask why extreme weather events are becoming more common. Plus why the anti-inflammatory injection canakinumab will not be the next miracle drug and why Norway might leave $65 billion of oil in the earth. Kenneth Cukier hosts.

Aug 30, 2017
Babbage: Memorable moments in technology and science this year
In this special summer episode, we look back at this year's coverage. What are the ethics of human cloning? Is it possible to fuse a computer into the human brain? And could mysterious signals picked up by an observatory really be from space aliens?
Aug 23, 2017
Babbage: Water and the Jevons Paradox

Technology is helping us access previously inaccessible water reserves. But the more efficient we become at extracting it, the more we use. Is the world’s water crisis set to get worse? Also, we ask the Royal Horticultural Society how we should prepare our gardens to survive while we are away on vacation. Kenneth Cukier hosts

Aug 16, 2017
Babbage: A plug for batteries

Better batteries are providing the jump start that electric cars need. Plus, could nuclear power plants soon be floating at sea? And why most areas on Earth are more biodiverse now than ever before, thanks to humans

Aug 09, 2017
Babbage: Hollow-grams?

Holograms have fallen short of the vivid, floating projections seen in science fiction. However, one scientist is copying an iridescent butterfly to create better effects. Also, how blow flies are helping to solve murder mysteries. And why genetic testing is threatening the insurance industry. Kenneth Cukier hosts.

Aug 02, 2017
Babbage: A boring episode

Elon Musk may be the most prominent advocate of boring technology, but there are projects across the world revamping the way we dig tunnels. The co-founders of the venture firm Public discuss how technology is transforming public services. Also, military researchers are using electricity to get more from the human brain

Jul 26, 2017
Babbage: Winter is coming

Scientists have pinpointed the cause of a catastrophic freeze across Europe during the Middle Ages—could a similar event be on the horizon? Author Douglas Rushkoff on why technology firms are criticised so often. And beauty in the eyes of artificial intelligence

Jul 19, 2017
Babbage: The power of young blood

Scientists are investigating the apparent benefits of infusing young blood into the body of an older animal. Author and academic Tim Wu explains why our attention is such a vital commodity. And virtual reality is breathing new life into old rollercoasters

Jul 12, 2017
Babbage: Fluid intelligence

Zapping the brain with a weak electric current enhances its visual cortex. Is this a way to help squeeze more value out of our grey matter? Also, how a new miniature phone camera is making us rethink every aspect of photography. And why whales have become so good at filtering food. Hal Hodson hosts.

Jul 05, 2017
Babbage: Printing the future

3D printing is finally revolutionising the mass production of everything from trainer soles and teeth to metal car parts. We explore a new realm of fake news, as creating convincing video and audio of false events becomes far easier. Also, how to stop rogue icebergs from wreaking havoc.

Jun 28, 2017
Babbage: Taxi for Travis
What next for Uber following the departure of the company's CEO Travis Kalanick? A pathogen that causes cystic fibrosis is being used to fight tuberculosis. Also, the head of Bloomberg's venture capital fund Roy Bahat on the complexities of AI replacing jobs
Jun 21, 2017
Babbage: Civilian drones take flight
Most drones today are either cheap toys or expensive weapons. But innovative commercial uses are emerging in the middle, says our deputy editor Tom Standage. Also, physicist Geoffrey West on his theory of scale and how it relates to cities. And do pollsters deserve their bad reputation?
Jun 15, 2017
Babbage: Battle of the maps
Companies are striving to control an evolving digital infrastructure that will guide everything from self-driving cars to drones. Veteran investor Bill Janeway explains the parallels between artificial intelligence and electricity. Also, a Braille-controlled camera system offers an efficient way to guide the blind
Jun 07, 2017
Babbage: When AI makes music
Can computer-generated composition compete with human creativity? 3D printing is adopting traditional techniques to give us reinforced floors. And cricket adds yet more technology into the game: what does this mean for the sport's hallowed commentators?
May 31, 2017
Babbage: Anticipating terrorism
In the wake of the Manchester bombing, Dr Robert Wesley explains how artificial intelligence can spot extremist behaviour early. Coloured light can now be used to control how genetically-engineered organisms behave. Also, what we must to do to preserve the oceans
May 24, 2017
Babbage: Megatech: Technology in 2050
This feature-length episode dives into the technology that will shape our world over the next decades. Host Kenn Cukier and The Economist's Executive Editor Daniel Franklin are joined by experts in artificial intelligence, cyber-security, healthcare and warfare to discuss how technology will transform many aspects of our lives
May 17, 2017
Babbage: Goodbye glaciers
Miranda Johnson explains why ice in the Arctic is melting at such an alarming rate. Philip Auerswald takes us on a 40,000-year history of human society. And an idea borrowed from lizards could make your waterproof jacket last even longer
May 10, 2017
Babbage: Soundscape of the deep ocean
A new form of bioengineering ditches the cell and could speed up innovation. Five giant tech firms are hoarding most of the world's data. Is it time to break up the oligopoly? Also, an ambient soundscape from the deepest known part of the ocean
May 03, 2017
Babbage: When cars fly
Uber announces flying cars to replace taxi systems in the future. How realistic is this? Plastic-munching moths could save the world from the scourge of shopping bags. And an artificial womb could one day help premature babies to survive
Apr 26, 2017
Babbage: The new world of voice cloning
The debate over internet regulation is heating up again in America. Also on the show: genetically-engineered bacteria could be used to light up hidden landmines. And voice-cloning technology can now reproduce speech. What does this mean in an era of fake news?
Apr 19, 2017
Babbage: What can science do for my garden?
The Royal Botanic Gardens Kew has unlocked the DNA sequence of thousands of plants. Is the ability to manipulate colour and smell good news for the worldwide floral industry? Also: Pests and pathogens thriving in a warmer climate could wipe out our woodlands. And is Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank the ultimate horticultural insurance policy for the planet? Kenneth Cukier hosts.
Apr 12, 2017
Babbage: Defending data
Security crises soar as computers meld further into our lives, but who is liable when hacking happens? We explore a potential charter to exploit the commercial value of data while also protecting privacy. And how humans can teach computers to avoid racist behaviour.
Apr 05, 2017
Babbage: Of machines and men
Elon Musk's new venture Neuralink wants to meld computers with the human brain. We explore how this concept could lead to artificial memory. Also, a paralysed man is able to use his own arm again after chips were implanted in his brain. And a new glove lets people detect deadly toxins with touch alone
Mar 29, 2017
Babbage: Uber's trail of woes
Why the ride-sharing company is in turmoil following the departure of its president Jeff Jones. Scientific publishing is slowing down progress; how might it be reformed? Also, dust devils in the Atacama desert solve one mystery—and spark another
Mar 22, 2017
Babbage: Little green men
Earth has received a cluster of mysterious radio signals; some scientists believe they could be propelling alien spacecraft across the universe. So what's the verdict? Also, an outbreak of yellow fever in Brazil is decimating local monkey populations. And the true worth of spiders is revealed, in how much they eat
Mar 15, 2017
Babbage: Building from the atom up
A second quantum revolution is happening at the atomic level. What will it mean for the future of computers? Also: a new battery based on aluminium provides up to ten times the power. And why yellow taxis are much less likely to get into accidents. Kenn Cukier hosts.
Mar 08, 2017
Babbage: Dragon’s blood medicine
Komodo dragon blood contains compounds that help combat human diseases. So can lizards help in the battle against antibiotic-resistant infections? Also: switch the power off and a microprocessor forgets everything but now there’s a way to give it a permanent memory. And did life on earth really begin 3,770 million years ago? Kenneth Cukier hosts
Mar 01, 2017
Babbage: Oceans of pollutants
Even the deepest reaches of the sea have been contaminated by man-made pollution. Author Alan Schwartz reveals the extent of ADHD overdiagnosis in America. And how is the scientific community reacting to President Trump?
Feb 22, 2017
Babbage: Cloning time
Twenty years ago, Dolly the sheep became the first adult mammal clone. Are we on the cusp of copying humans, too? And we explore how technology is aiding refugees and migrants with their treacherous journeys to Europe
Feb 15, 2017
Babbage: Game of drones
Robotic insects could help pollinate plants if bee numbers continue to decline. Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales on the pitfalls of crowdsourcing knowledge in an era of disinformation. And a protein's structure is key its function but hard to decipher; we explore how citizen science is solving the problem
Feb 09, 2017
Babbage: Adding to reality
Augmented reality technology blends the virtual with the real world, so how might this alter the way humans interact with computers, and each other? Also, we explore how artificial intelligence can enhance selling techniques.
Feb 01, 2017
Babbage: Printing parts
We're now pretty good at printing body parts, so what are the possibilities and limitations? Healthcare expert George Halvorson explains the importance of language development in the first few months of life. Also, the researchers trying to tune in to the particles of dark matter
Jan 25, 2017
Babbage: The automation game
How quickly will robots disrupt global industries and what will the implications be? We explore with economist Andrew McAfee at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Also, neuroscientists often compare the human brain to a computer chip, so what happened when the idea was put into practice?
Jan 18, 2017
Babbage: Conversational computers
When will computers truly be able to understand what we are saying? We discuss with our guest, Amazon's Alexa. Also, long-distance electrical supergrids could flood the planet with renewable energy
Jan 11, 2017
Babbage: War of the words
We explore a clutch of new words from 2016 and how technology contributes to the evolution of language. Vishal Sikka, the CEO of a technology services company explains how artificial intelligence can enhance the labour force. Also, science correspondent Matt Kaplan on a new device to sniff out disease
Jan 04, 2017
Babbage: year end review and preview of 2017
How artificial intelligence moved from the research lab into the real world, plus the challenges facing cyber security. And we explore the development of data donorship in the year ahead. Kenneth Cukier hosts
Dec 23, 2016
Babbage: The man himself
Charles Babbage was a British polymath, mathematician and a man widely hailed as the father of modern computing. In this special episode, host Emma Duncan is joined by two renowned computer science experts to explore the life and work of the eponymous inventor
Dec 21, 2016
Babbage: Thinking deeply
Alphabet's artificial intelligence company DeepMind doesn't make a profit, so why it is arousing long-term interest? Dr Pedro Alonso from the World Health Organisation explores advances in the fight against malaria. And the amateur enthusiast who found meteorite dust in the gutter
Dec 14, 2016
Babbage: What Einstein got wrong
This week: clues to dinosaur evolution lurk in the amber mines of Myanmar. Author David Bodanis tells us about Einstein’s greatest mistake. And why solar energy is due soon to pay back its carbon debt. Kenneth Cukier hosts
Dec 07, 2016
Babbage: Big bomber is watching
This week: how optical navigation can help a bomb find its target without GPS. Researchers at MIT are investigating super-slippery surfaces. Also, why computers are replacing manpower in port security. Kenneth Cukier hosts
Nov 30, 2016
Babbage: Snapping planets
Long-distance photography could help us understand far more about exoplanets. We report on the sense of global resilience at climate talks in Marrakech and an audacious plan to tackle air pollution using old jet engines
Nov 23, 2016
Babbage: No news like fake news
Our deputy editor Tom Standage weighs in on the debate about false news in the aftermath of America's presidential election. We speak to female entrepreneurs at the Web Summit in Lisbon about gender balance in the technology industry. And a new way to measure fish stocks using DNA
Nov 16, 2016
Babbage: Fighting falsehoods
We are joined by Martin Sweeney, co-founder of Ravelin, to explain how artificial intelligence is being used to stop fraud. Our environment correspondent discusses climate-change scepticism in America. Also, a long-standing bet about the underpinnings of the universe needs to be settled
Nov 10, 2016
Babbage: Super new defibrillator ameliorates prognosis
Host Kenneth Cukier explores new research into light-based treatments for patients at high risk of fatal heartbeat irregularities. Also: a new crypto-currency promises greater privacy and how to blend wine via touch screen
Nov 02, 2016
Babbage: Can the American election be hacked?
In the second episode of Economist Radio specials running up to the presidential election, security expert Bruce Schneier examines vulnerabilities in electoral voting systems. We hear from Dr Darren Schreiber about whether our political inclinations are hardwired. Also: what impact is big data having in this year's election? Cheryl Brumley speaks to online campaigning expert Dr Matt Hindman
Oct 26, 2016
Babbage: Prospects for new life
Scientists in Japan grow artificial mouse pups from skin cells; could the same technique one day be used for humans? Planetary scientist Dr Claire Cousins explains where we might find life on Mars as the ExoMars satellite and probe arrive at the red planet. And we explore why virtual reality has taken a foothold in China
Oct 19, 2016
Babbage: Samsung's meltdown
Our technology editor examines the long-term fallout after Samsung's flagship smartphone is pulled from production. The Food and Drug Administration's approval of a new drug for muscular dystrophy proves controversial and Matt Kaplan explains why higher-class people spend less time looking at their fellow humans
Oct 12, 2016
Babbage: Elevated intelligence
Google launches a handful of hardware to deliver its artificial intelligence. We speak to Professor Chris Phillips about this year's Nobel prize for physics, and research analyst Alberto Noel discusses how machine learning is enhancing factory automation and what the global implications are in the world of work
Oct 05, 2016
Babbage: Interplanetary travel
We assess Elon Musk's ambitious intentions to make humans a multiplanetary species. As the European Space Agency's Rosetta mission ends, Dr Matt Taylor explains what information the probe will gather on its final descent and we discuss the consequences of voice-activated computers becoming integrated into our lives
Sep 28, 2016
Babbage: A climate of change
Our environment correspondent, Miranda Johnson, assesses the latest efforts to curb climate change as the UN General Assembly gets underway. Dr Brent Seales explains how we can now read an ancient, burnt scroll without unrolling it. And Ananyo Bhattacharya explains why bad science may be hereditary
Sep 21, 2016
Babbage: Undermining infection
Should disease-bearing mosquitoes be made extinct? Natasha Loder lays out the arguments for using gene drives to do so. We hear an update on the known unknowns of the Zika virus from Slavea Chankova and whether “feed a fever, starve a cold” is sound advice. Jason Palmer hosts.
Sep 14, 2016
Babbage: The renaissance of wood
Paul Markillie explains why wooden skyscrapers could soon be on the horizon, we hear from an Indian scientist making electricity with fish scales and Tim Cross explores the fallout for Space X after last week's explosion at Cape Canaveral
Sep 07, 2016
Babbage: The Countess of Computers
The Economist's Emma Duncan and author Sydney Padua explore the story of 19th century data geek, Ada Lovelace, who presaged the power of computers by writing one of the first programs. And have we entered a new geological epoch? Tim Cross discusses the evidence. Kenneth Cukier hosts
Aug 31, 2016
Babbage: Exploring the final frontier
An E​arth-like planet has been discovered orbiting the nearest star to our solar system, reveals astronomer Richard Nelson. Oliver Morton discusses the new space technology closer to home, and Tom Standage describes the state of the art in — and the worries about — facial-recognition software
Aug 24, 2016
Babbage: The brain that stopped remembering
Paul Markillie buckles up for a future of 48-volt hybrid cars. Matt Kaplan examines whether self-control is really a finite resource. And Luke Dittrich, the author of a new book, explains how a lobotomy gone wrong paved the way for the science of memory. Tom Standage hosts
Aug 17, 2016
Babbage: The evolution of bromance
Host Jason Palmer ​asks Natasha Loder if scientists are getting ever closer to the fountain of youth in pill form. Richard Wrangham explains why men are more touchy-feely than women after competitive sport. A​nd Matt Kaplan ​examines how one sea creature's means​​ of self-repair​​ ​​could help humans with damaged hearing
Aug 10, 2016
Babbage: Didi overtakes Uber
As Didi buys up Uber China, Kenneth Cukier discusses the implications with editors Tom Standage and from Shanghai, Vijay Vaitheeswaran. And Tim Cross explains the importance of IBM's new artificial neuron-on-a-chip
Aug 03, 2016
Babbage: When AI meets reality
How can artificial intelligence leave the lab and get down to business? Kenneth Cukier explores an innovative method with Tractable founder Alexandre Dalyac. Also, a new way to measure ancient oxygen is changing our understanding of evolution, and we crunch the numbers to reveal the long-term risks of air pollution.
Jul 27, 2016
Babbage: What's the matter with the universe?
The asymmetry between matter and antimatter in the Universe perplexes physicists. Could the tiny particle, the neutrino, offer an explanation? Kenneth Cukier explores the issues with our Babbage producer, Louisa Field. Also, a flaw in the way brain-scan data was collected throws thousands of studies into doubt
Jul 20, 2016
Babbage: Fishing beyond borders
Bigger trawlers and better mapping allow fishermen to cast their nets where fish were once plentiful. Kenneth Cukier and environment correspondent Miranda Johnson explore the possibilities of monitoring the unregulated frontier of fishing. Also, Trevor Darrell explains how robots can "hallucinate" sensory experiences they lack, and a new approach to reduce the growth of cancerous tumours by starving them shows promise
Jul 13, 2016
Babbage: Autonomous cars put to the test
A fatal accident in a Tesla vehicle on autopilot calls the technology into question. Kenneth Cukier and innovation editor Paul Markillie discuss the use of virtual reality to test driverless safety. Also on the show: Should algorithms be transparent to the public? And a new study suggests that climate-change models need rethinking
Jul 06, 2016
Babbage: The origins of Jupiter
This week: After five years of travel, the Juno spacecraft finally nears Jupiter. Our science correspondent, Tim Cross speaks to host Jason Palmer about its vital and dangerous mission. And, Matt Kaplan discusses how the shifty eyes of gamblers can explain how our brains process numbers.
Jun 29, 2016
Babbage: What history might tell us about AI
Concerns abound about the impact of artificial intelligence, but could history suggest a brighter future? A new algorithm is designed to hunt down hateful videos on the Internet. And we hear from two scientists, Mauro Costa-Mattioli and Shelly Buffington, whose new study links obesity to autism. Hosted by Kenneth Cukier
Jun 22, 2016
Babbage: Gaming goes to Hollywood
Green screens could soon be a thing of the past as studios switch to video game technology to build special effects*; and a group of scientists in Syria and Europe find a nifty way to rid of a nasty, organic pollutant ^ See for The Jungle Book Official Trailer
Jun 15, 2016
Babbage: The price of a private phone call
Would you spend £10,000 on a smartphone? Tom Standage and Anne McElvoy visit the world of luxurious technology. Matthew Kaplan explains how your holiday snaps can have scientific uses, and researcher Lauren Sherman reveals how teenage brains react to social media
Jun 08, 2016
Babbage: Escaping black holes
Stephen Hawking revises his theory of black holes and argues that everything may not be lost at the "event horizon" after all. And new sensors made by inkjet printers can tell when a new layer of sunscreen is needed to prevent sunburns. Hosted by Kenneth Cukier
Jun 01, 2016
Babbage: The evolution of intelligence
New technology combines 3D printing with traditional machining, and a fresh theory on how humans became so smart
May 25, 2016
Babbage: Trending: The demise of antibiotics
We talk to Jim O’Neill about how the overconsumption of antibiotics has eroded their effectiveness and discuss whether Facebook is turning into a news publisher
May 19, 2016
Babbage: Yellow fever - the next pandemic?
Kenneth Cukier investigates the burgeoning yellow fever outbreak in Angola. Also, astrobiologist Sanjoy Som fills us in on his research into the Earth's early atmosphere, and there's some eggstatic news for the egg industry
May 11, 2016
Babbage: Will your surgeon be a robot?
Surgical operations become more akin to driverless cars. And users try out IBM's quantum computer
May 04, 2016
Babbage: The legacy of Chernobyl
We discuss the political and scientific impact of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster on its 30th anniversary, and a new way to protect cells from many different kinds of virus
Apr 28, 2016
Babbage: One blockchain to rule them all?
This week we discuss how to keep drones away from manned aircraft and talk to Vitalik Buterin, inventor of Ethereum
Apr 20, 2016
Babbage: Better lives for autistic people
Researcher Simon Baron-Cohen joins our writers to discuss autism in the workplace. And our innovation editor on mapping technology in driverless cars.
Apr 14, 2016
Babbage: Mark Zuckerberg's vision
An efficient, low-cost way to detect explosives, and our US technology editor analyses Facebook’s future after an interview with its boss, Mark Zuckerberg
Apr 06, 2016
Babbage: What’s in a yeast?
New yeasts could open up new flavours for clever chocolate and coffee producers, and sonic booms may become less loud, unleashing faster private air travel
Mar 30, 2016
Babbage: How to crack an iPhone
The FBI claims it may be able to bypass the privacy protections on a terrorist's Apple phone. But the broader dispute over balancing user privacy and national security remains.
Mar 23, 2016
Babbage: Data heard, memories retrieved
Scientists find ways of analysing data sonically, not visually, and a new study suggests how memory problems in Alzheimer's disease aren't with storage, but with retrieval
Mar 16, 2016
Babbage: The future of computing
In a milestone for artificial intelligence, a program designed to play the ancient Asian game of Go has won the first of its five games against a human champion. It's an example of how smarter software, not just more powerful hardware, will drive progress in the computer industry in future
Mar 09, 2016
Babbage: From footies to selfies
Brain scans of American footballers reveal the darker side of contact sports and a new study on social media uncovers why we take selfies
Mar 02, 2016
Babbage: Apple and the reason for sex
Apple clashes with the FBI over accessing iPhone data and scientists finally prove why we keep having sex
Feb 24, 2016
Babbage: 5G to unite them all
The fifth generation of mobile network promises to take us one step closer to wireless paradise and researchers infect patients with modified viruses to fight cancer
Feb 17, 2016
Babbage: Slimy, underwater light-eaters
This week we look at how selectively bred coral-dwelling algae might survive warmer waters and at how bacteria bend light to direct their tiny bodies toward the sun
Feb 10, 2016
Babbage: Frosty organs and doped-up horses
A charity in America rallies transplant-organ preservation scientists, and researchers in Hong Kong think they've found a way to detect doping in racehorses
Feb 03, 2016
Babbage: Schizophrenic genes
Scientists identify the genes that are driving schizophrenia and as touchscreens become more responsive, imaginative new uses may emerge
Jan 27, 2016
Babbage: Viruses and Facebook friends
A mosquito-borne virus is linked to a worrying number of birth defects in Brazil and has social media expanded the number of friendships we can maintain?
Jan 20, 2016
Babbage: The pollution solution
How big data can help tackle air pollution and a bright idea makes for a better light bulb
Jan 13, 2016
Babbage: Blackholes and hoverboards
Scientists are learning more than ever about black holes as astronomical objects and an American firm brings a real McFly hoverboard to market
Jan 06, 2016
Babbage: The ghosts of Babbage future
In our second holiday special, our hosts look back from 2115. Pluto’s portraits may be humdrum by then, but AI, gene editing and quantum computing may have changed the world
Dec 30, 2015
Babbage: The ghost of Babbage past
In the first of two holiday specials, our hosts look at the stories of a century ago, from X-ray crystallography to sonar, continental drift and the first sighting of Pluto
Dec 23, 2015
Babbage: Climate of change
A look at last week’s climate talks in Paris: what was agreed on, how realistic the goals are and whether there is reason to be optimistic
Dec 16, 2015
Babbage: A bit of peace, round the corner
The end of bitcoin’s civil war and a look at new technology that can be used to see round corners
Dec 09, 2015
Babbage: Materials for making and cleaning
New materials are changing the way we make things from light bulbs to cars and aircraft, and there's a better way to capture carbon from fossil fuels before it is burned
Dec 02, 2015
Babbage: Relativity's revelations
Our correspondents discuss the importance of Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity and how it is still revealing the secrets of our cosmos
Nov 25, 2015
Babbage: The rise of the drone-selfie
Google makes its core machine-learning system, TensorFlow, open-source and the Flying Robot International Film Festival kicks off in San Francisco
Nov 18, 2015
Babbage: Things visible and invisible
How satellites can save lives in the aftermath of an earthquake and a tantalising signal looks increasingly like it could be from dark matter
Nov 11, 2015
Babbage: The big chill
Hypersonic air-breathing engines may at least be a reality and the Cassini spacecraft has a close encounter with Saturn's icy moon
Nov 04, 2015
Babbage: Time and energy
Why stock traders will soon need atomic clocks and Dupont finally tries to crack cellulosic biofuel
Oct 28, 2015
Babbage: Fusion and confusion
Fusion energy gets a new star player and an unusual find in our galaxy both perplexes astronomers and gives hope to alien hunters
Oct 21, 2015
Babbage: Swine lifelines
Dell makes a $67 billion bet in the form of the technology industry's largest ever merger and scientists prepare pig organs for human transplants
Oct 14, 2015
Babbage: Nobel's neutrinos
A data transfer pact between the EU and America is struck down in Europe and two scientists working on the changing identities of neutrinos receive the Nobel Prize in Physics
Oct 07, 2015
Babbage: Opportunity and curiosity
Countries pledge to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions ahead of the UN climate summit in Paris and NASA discovers water on Mars reigniting hopes for life on the red planet
Sep 30, 2015
Babbage: Zoning drones
The rise in drone hobbyism raises questions about how best to control the skies, and scientists hope to catch sight of Einstein's gravitational wave
Sep 23, 2015
Babbage: Hybrid fliers
The hybrid and electric plane industry takes off and advanced artificial intelligence is used to diagnose disease
Sep 16, 2015
Babbage: What lies beneath
Radar scans reveal an enormous site of underground stone monoliths near Stonehenge and subterranean plant seed banks could save harvests and lives in the face of climate change
Sep 09, 2015
Babbage: Inspectors' gadgets
New technology used by nuclear weapons inspectors and 3D printing buildings on Earth and in outer space
Sep 02, 2015
Babbage: The microbes in our midst
Scientists say a universal flu vaccine is on the horizon and a new study unearths the thousands of bacteria and fungi in our homes
Aug 26, 2015
Babbage: Climate's wild child
A new technique makes editing the human genome much easier and this year's El Niño, a disrupting climate phenomenon, could be the strongest ever
Aug 19, 2015
Babbage: Thinking with your tentacles
The secret to the intelligence of the octopus lies in its genome and scientists explore how big data disrupts the principle of anonymity
Aug 12, 2015
Babbage: Notes from the oeno files
Fine wine is priced by using artificial intelligence and President Obama announces new rules to reduce carbon emissions
Aug 05, 2015
Babbage: Sunset and sunrise in the Kuiper belt
Scientists fit living cells with lasers to track what they get up to and New Horizons gets a stunning final look back at Pluto
Jul 29, 2015
Babbage: The Jodie Foster moment
Clinical trials for drugs are not as closely scrutinised as they should be and a Russian billionaire is on the hunt for extraterrestrials
Jul 22, 2015
Babbage: Atomic vision
Hackers threaten the "internet of things", and scientists use atomic microscopes to observe and control chemical reactions in real time
Jul 15, 2015
Babbage: Hacking the hackers
The Hacking Team gets hacked, exposing alleged illegal activities, and NASA's New Horizons probe flickers back to life as it approaches the planetoid Pluto
Jul 08, 2015
Babbage: Break-ups
Embryos frozen during relationships lead to legal troubles down the road, and SpaceX loses a cargo carrier in the risky business of rocketry
Jul 01, 2015
Babbage: Mapping crises with mobiles
How mobile phone data can help aid workers during humanitarian crises and start-ups which tweak your phone’s connectivity take on the big mobile network companies
Jun 24, 2015
Babbage: Quantum leaps and bee-conomics
Computer companies are harnessing the power of quantum mechanics and why the majority of bees have no economic value
Jun 17, 2015
Babbage: Up in e-smoke
Organs on chips allow researchers to mimic complicated human systems and Wales plans to ban e-cigarettes
Jun 10, 2015
Babbage: AI and IA
Ad-blocking software has reached the mainstream and is going mobile, and handheld robots begin to marry what both man and machine do well
Jun 03, 2015
Babbage: Thin-skinned
Nokia attracts bids for its HERE mapping service and tests of a few brave mice suggest space travel could be terrible for the skin
May 27, 2015
Babbage: Home-brewed heroin
How lab experiments got a step closer to yeast that can make morphine, and how app experiments by developers such as Facebook happen in New Zealand
May 20, 2015
Babbage: LEDtime
This week our correspondents discuss the effects gadget-use can have on teenagers’ sleep, and Silicon Valley's billion-dollar "unicorns".
May 13, 2015