268 episodes

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.

Babbage from Economist Radio The Economist

    • Tech News

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.

    Babbage: Predicting pandemics

    Babbage: Predicting pandemics

    As covid-19 continues to devastate the world and scientists race to develop therapeutics and vaccines, Alok Jha investigates how to get ahead of the curve and prevent the next pandemic. Scientists explain how studying the relationship between animals and humans, and finding and genetically sequencing the millions of as-yet-undiscovered animal viruses in the wild, could stop future disease outbreaks becoming global health catastrophes. 




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    • 24 min
    Babbage: Track and trace

    Babbage: Track and trace

    Contact tracing is one of the tools being used against covid-19, but in the age of the smartphone, technology presents a new way to improve the process. Kenneth Cukier explores why contact-tracing apps have not yet delivered on their promise, how they can preserve privacy and what today’s decisions mean for the future of technology in society.  


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    • 33 min
    Babbage: Pole position

    Babbage: Pole position

    A year-long, $160m expedition to the Arctic has passed its halfway mark and is amassing sobering data about the effects of climate change there. One of the scientists on board explains the discoveries so far. Also, Peter Schwartz, who imagined the future in Minority Report, shares his advice for forward planning in the age of covid-19. And, what next for facial recognition technology?


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    • 25 min
    Babbage: Covid-19's path of destruction

    Babbage: Covid-19's path of destruction

    Slavea Chankova and Kenneth Cukier investigate the ways in which SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes covid-19, wears the body down. Apart from pneumonia, there are other facets to the disease that are less understood such as damage to the kidneys, blood vessels and heart. And, how does covid-19 continue to harm the body—and patients' mental health— in the long term?


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    • 26 min
    Babbage: The rise of robo-doc

    Babbage: The rise of robo-doc

    Doctors enter augmented reality to help them treat patients with illnesses like covid-19. Host Kenneth Cukier speaks to the doctors leading a Hololens initiative at an Imperial College London hospital. Also, Dario Gil, director of IBM Research, on the future of scientific collaboration. And SpaceX has successfully sent two astronauts to the International Space Station—what’s next for commercial spaceflight? 


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    • 28 min
    Babbage: The language of the universe

    Babbage: The language of the universe

    How can mathematics help us understand our lives and predict the world around us? Host Alok Jha speaks to David Sumpter of Uppsala University about the equations that can help people make better decisions. Christl Donnelly, an epidemiologist at the University of Oxford and Imperial College London details the role mathematics plays in modelling covid-19. Moon Duchin of Tufts University explains how maths can stop gerrymandering. And physicist Graham Farmelo on why he thinks the universe speaks in numbers. 


    For more on the pandemic, see The Economist's coronavirus hub.


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    • 25 min

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