Episodes
Published 03/19/24
Brian Cox and Robin Ince journey through the asteroid belt to discuss space rocks with Dr Who companion John Bishop, professor of planetary science Sara Russell and astrophysicist Alan Fitzsimmons. They learn that these seemingly innocuous rubble like rocks can hold secrets to the formation of the solar system but just don’t jump on one – you may shoot straight through it! They find out about the latest space missions that are trying to bump into or grab bits of asteroids and how these...
Published 02/28/24
Brian Cox and Robin Ince pull scientific explanations out of a hat and go down the rabbit hole to explore the science of magic with comedian Alan Davies, sleight of hand artist Laura London and two experts in the psychology of magic Richard Wiseman and Gustav Kuhn. They ask what our predilection to be bamboozled by sleight of hand can tell us about how our minds work. Alan has a card trick played on him and we learn how our choices aren’t always what we think they are. Producer: Melanie...
Published 02/21/24
Brian Cox and Robin Ince peel back the layers to explore mummification and the science of Ancient Egypt. They are joined by comedians Russel Kane, Lucy Porter and bio-medical Egyptologists Rosalie David and Lidija McKnight from the University of Manchester, as they learn about the scientific techniques that are helping to uncover the lives of Ancient Egyptians, including that of a woman who died running away from an axe murderer. They find out that much of modern western medicine was built on...
Published 02/14/24
Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined by the longest running science show in the world, The Sky at Night, alongside comedian and astronomy enthusiast Dara O Briain for the ultimate guide to studying the stars from your own back garden. Sky At Night presenters Dr Maggie Aderin Pocock, Chris Lintott and Pete Lawrence join the panel to offer their top tips to backyard astronomy over the winter season. From binoculars to telescopes and even the naked eye: meteor showers, planetary moons and odd...
Published 12/20/23
Brian Cox and Robin Ince are subject to a non-hostile takeover by comedian and non-physicist Jo Brand, as she challenges the panel to help her understand the almost unbelievable world of cheeky particles who may or may not be in several places at once. To help Jo get to grips with the bizarre and strange world of our quantum universe, Brian and Robin are joined by theoretical physicist Prof Ben Allanach from the University of Cambridge and cosmologist Prof Fay Dowker from Imperial College...
Published 12/13/23
Brian Cox and Robin Ince put Hollywood under the microscope to unpick the science fact v science fiction of some of the biggest movies set in space. They are joined by a truly out of this world panel of space experts including astronauts Tim Peake, Nicole Stott and Susan Kilrain alongside Oscar-winning Special FX director Paul Franklin, whose movies include Interstellar and First Man. Tim, Nicole and Susan fact check how space travel and astronauts are portrayed in movies such as Gravity and...
Published 12/06/23
Brian and Robin are joined by palaeontologist Dr Susie Maidment, evolutionary biologist Dr Tori Herridge and comedian Dave Gorman to pitch giant creatures against tiny creatures in their bid to avoid extinction. They explore the scale of life and ask why some organisms are large and some small and what the optimum size for successful survival is. From the prokaryotic cell to the grandest dinosaur, how does the modern synthesis explain the huge variation in scale, form and function? What are...
Published 11/29/23
Brian and Robin (the real ones) are joined by mathematician Prof Hannah Fry, compute scientist Dr Kate Devlin and comedian Rufus Hound to discuss the pros and cons of AI. Just how intelligent is the most intelligent AI? Will our phones soon be smarter than us – will we fail a Turing test while our phone passes it? Will we have AI therapists, doctors, lawyers, carers or even politicians? How will the increasing ubiquity of AI systems change our society and our relationships with each other? ...
Published 11/22/23
Are some people just lucky? Is there any scientific formula behind coincidences? Is randomness the norm? Brian and Robin team up with comedian Sophie Duker, mathematician Marcus Du Sautoy and statistician David Speigelhalter to uncover the reality and the maths behind seemingly incredible coincidences. How many people do you need in a room to find two with the same birthday? What is the weirdest coincidence that the panel have ever encountered? Is there a mathematical formula to being...
Published 11/14/23
If Aliens really are amongst us, the most likely candidates may not be little green men, but living in plain sight, just below our ocean waves, in the form of the mysterious and awe-inspiringly clever Octopus. Scientists are only just discovering the amazing intelligence of these elegant and highly unusual creatures that seem to have evolved in a completely different way to nearly any other creature on the planet. Brian and Robin are joined by marine biologist Dr Tim Lamont, ...
Published 11/08/23
There’s no shortage of surprising science in The Infinite Monkey Cage and this episode is dedicated to you, the audience, as we hear some of your favourite clips from the past 14 years of the show. Palaeontologist Susie Maidment explains why licking rocks is the best way to determine their age, but you were just as interested in whether Robin is older than Brian, who also admits Jon Culshaw’s impression of him is surprisingly accurate. Entomologist Erica McAlister explains what to do if a fly...
Published 11/08/23
Endless inflation seems to be everywhere at the moment, including on this episode examining the nature of infinity. Brian and Robin dive through the back catalogue to discover there might be no limit to the number of parallel universes that exist. This leads to an argument between astronomer royal Lord Rees and comedy producer John Lloyd, who says the whole suggestion is total speculation. Even cosmologist Carlos Frenk can’t get his head round the idea, as he contemplates the suggestion that...
Published 11/01/23
Brian Cox and Robin Ince consider the quirks that make human beings unique and check in with experts from The Infinite Monkey Cage back catalogue. Prof Alice Roberts explains that our ancestors interbred with Neanderthals to make us who we are today. We’re also excellent at communicating with other species, as comedian Bill Bailey learns when he gets a lesson in chimp speak from the legendary primatologist Dr Jane Goodall. Then there are the bits of us that are pretty different, like our...
Published 10/25/23
If there’s any doubt that the deep sea is as exciting to explore as the moon or Mars, this episode puts the question to rest, as Robin and Brian wade through the back catalogue to learn all about the ocean. Professor Lloyd Peck from the British Antarctic Survey tells them about the weird and wonderful creatures he’s encountered at sea, from rat-tailed fish to bacteria that feed off sulphides that could kill them, but Dave Gorman is still sceptical that it’s an environment worth investigating....
Published 10/18/23
While most of us believe the universe began with a big bang, Brian and Robin hear some of the alternative theories, including an Egyptian myth that it actually started with a giant ejaculation, as they question the origins of life as we know it. With so much still to be discovered about the cosmos, Rufus Hound says we need more bangs and flashes in chemistry classes, arguing lessons aren’t dangerous enough anymore. So could comedians play a role in advancing the science? Matt Lucas says he’s...
Published 10/11/23
Robin Ince and Brian Cox are still struggling to decide when a strawberry dies as they trawl through the archive to ponder where we should draw the line between life and death. Katy Brand kicks the debate off with her thoughts on whether strawberries have souls, which leads her to wonder whether it might be possible for people to be resurrected. While it’s theoretically possible to bring someone back to life, it’s not looking likely any time soon. Instead, Rufus Hound talks us through how...
Published 10/04/23
How important is it for movie producers to get the science right? Brian Cox and Robin Ince discover why some surprising movies have scientific advisers and ask if there is any science in The Simpsons. They question the existence of fictional wormholes, while comedian Ross Noble can’t believe there may actually be a space-time portal shaped like a pair of trousers. Some writers are even accurate by accident, as comic book author Alan Moore discovers when he tells Brian about one of his...
Published 09/27/23
Astronauts and explorers including Brian Blessed, Sir Patrick Stewart, Nicole Stott and Charlie Duke reveal the wonders, and challenges, of traveling into space. Brian Cox and Robin Ince have delved into the Monkey Cage back catalogue to hear from astronauts and some very well known would-be space explorers about their passion for space travel. Brian Blessed has been dreaming of visiting Mars since the age of six, but will he ever reach the red planet? Sir Patrick Stewart has warp sped...
Published 09/20/23
Brian Cox and Robin Ince take a deep dive into the Monkey Cage archive to find out how scared scientists and comedians are about the universe ending. Steve Martin says he’s happy to burn to a crisp when the sun explodes, but learns he might be more likely to die when galaxies tear each other apart during the ‘big rip’. And if the heat death of the universe really is inevitable, how come some people seem so jolly about it? Having studied this for years, astrophysicist Katie Mack wants to be...
Published 09/13/23
Brian Cox and Robin Ince trawl through the Monkey Cage back catalogue to reveal whether science and the supernatural can sit side by side. They hear how comedian Lucy Beaumont believes alien life has visited Hull, and challenge the physics and psychology of ghosts with Prof Richard Wiseman. Has our brain evolved to conjure up ghostly apparitions and demonic forces? Is there real science behind some of our most common paranormal experiences? And they unpick the practical difficulties for Santa...
Published 09/06/23
Brian Cox and Robin Ince introduce a new series in which they look back at some of the best moments from more than 27 series of their hit science show.
Published 09/05/23
Brian Cox and Robin Ince find out about dust that is raining down on Earth from space. They are joined by planetary scientists Matthew Genge and Penny Wozniakiewicz and comedian Alan Davies. They learn how billions of tiny micrometeorites land on the surface of the Earth every year, hidden amongst pollution particles and household dust. Where does cosmic dust come from and what can it tell us about the birth of the solar system? New episodes are released on Saturdays. If you're in the UK,...
Published 08/05/23
Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined by Horrible Histories alum Ben Willbond, ancient DNA experts Prof Turi King and Dr Tom Booth and Nobel prize winner Sir Paul Nurse, as they uncover some of the incredible revelations being revealed through study of ancient DNA. The discovery of the skeleton of Richard III under a Leicester car park made headlines around the world.Turi King talks about her involvement in identifying the regal remains using DNA extracted from his teeth and how she was able...
Published 07/29/23
Brian Cox and Robin Ince find out about the apex predators of the ocean. They are joined by physiological ecologist Lucy Hawkes, shark scientist Isla Hodgson and naturalist Steve Backshall. They learn about the surprising social behaviours of sharks, how they reproduce and exactly how long they have been around for - they’re even older than dinosaurs! Brian and Robin hear about Steve’s experience of diving with over 100 species of shark. Is their reputation as cold blooded killers accurate?...
Published 07/22/23