What makes it vital, what makes it fruitful, it is the
absolute Titanic passion that I have put into it. It is
passion that has made my intellect clear, passion that
has made me never stop to ask myself if the work was
worth doing, passion that has made me not care if no
human being ever read a word of it; it is passion that
enabled me to sit for years before a blank page, thinking
the whole time about one possibly trivial point that I
could not get right...
- Bertrand Russel
Being a scientist is not going through the exams, getting
a diploma, publishing papers, and building a career. Being
a scientist is nothing less than having a very personal
relationship with the Universe.
The things to do are: the things that need doing,
that you see need to be done, and that no one else
seems to see need to be done.
- R. Buckminster Fuller
You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the
existing model obsolete.
- R. Buckminster Fuller
A reasonable man adapts himself th the condtions that
surround him. An unreasonable man adapts the surrounding
conditions to himself. All progress depend on the unreasonable
- George Bernard Shaw
The age of nations has passed. Now, unless we wish to perish,
we must shake off all our old prejudices and build the Earth.
- Pierre Theilhard de Chardin
Podcast and MP3 audio files
Do we really have to listen to all these boring talk shows with
the same stupid car advertisement every twenty minutes, day after
day, after day? Do they think we are that stupid?
Why not try something completely different and learn some really
- Quirks and Quarks
with host Bob McDonald. You can also go to the
page and listen to the reports you missed.
As I recall, I have discovered this CBC science show way back
in 1978 and it has been a great favorite of mine ever since. It
always offer a glimpse on how the minds of scientists work. And
now that I have an MP3 reader, I can listen to all their fine
reports once again.
MP3 files are available only for 2006 and beyond.
The Naked Scientists,
with Dr. Chris Smith and collegues, is a great science show
put together by a team of scientists and researchers from
Cambridge University. Their aim is to "strip down science to
its bare essentials and to promote it to the general public".
There, you will get science news and answers to science
questions as well as really cool kitchen science experiments
that you can perform at home or at parties. If you want to
laugh and have fun almost as much as you learn, this show is
definitely for you.
As far as I know, past broadcasts are available as MP3 files
starting from the show of 2003-09-14. Partial transcripts of
the shows are available as Web pages.
Besides general science, the site also has links to its
Naked Genetics, and
Naked Neruroscience sections.
Dr Karl's Great Moments in Science with
Dr Karl S. Kruszelnicki.
This is a gteat site where we can listen to short capsules and
learn lots of cool stuff on various subjects.
MP3 files are available only for the shows dated July 21, 2005
and beyond. Earlier shows can be listened to in Real Audio
but cannot be downloaded because the links lead to ram
instead of ra files. However, all transcripts are available
and you may prefer, like me, to save them on your hard disk and
read them off-line later on.
- Radiolab is another fun
show to listen to. From their Web site:
"Radiolab believes your ears are a portal to another world.
Where sound illuminates ideas, and the boundaries blur between
science, philosophy, and human experience. Big questions are
investigated, tinkered with, and encouraged to grow. Bring
your curiosity, and we'll feed it with possibility."
I have discovered this show just recently and have listen to
only a couple of episodes. It is fast paced, fun, surprising
and a bit weird.
Science in Action
with host Jack Stewart. This is "the BBC World Service's look
at new developments in science from around the world". And this
makes pretty exciting stuff on hot science topics. Some program
details can be found on this
Discovery is another BBC program in which reports on
various science and technology topics can be heard.
Naked Scientists on BBC.
In this BBC Radio 5 Live program, Dr. Chris Smith and other
members of the Naked Scientists team give the latest news in
Science With Dr Karl.
In this BBC Radio 5 Live program, Dr. Karl S. Kruszelnicki
answers listeners' science questions.
Dr Karl on Triple J .
An ABC radio program in which Dr. Karl S. Kruszelnicki
answers listeners' science questions.
Older podcasts (from 2009 to 2012) can also be found on this
In Our Time
podcast, Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the history
of ideas, including topics drawn from philosophy and science.
There is also a
I particularly enjoyed their podcasts on mathematical subjects.
The Life Scientific: "Each week, Jim al-Khalili invites
a leading scientist to tell us about their life and work.
He'll talk to Nobel laureates as well as the next generation
of beautiful minds to find out what inspires and motivates
them and what their discoveries might do for us."
Past podcasts can be accessed from this
hosted by Robert Frederick, from the American Association for
the Advancement of Science (AAAS). This weekly podcast takes
you on a tour of some interesting stories found in the journal
Science (from the AAAS) and on its sister sites.
The Science Show
with host Robyn Williams, from the ABC (Australian Broadcasting
Corporation). This is another show that keeps you well informed
on what is going on in science. Transcripts are available.
I have always been fascinated by the elegance of mathematics,
the way concepts are assembled step by step into a coherent
theory. The language is often a bit abstract, this is true,
but it is nothing less than the language of nature itself and
is thus mostly well suited to reflect all its beauty and harmony.
- "The Plus Podcast
will bring you the latest news from the world of maths,
plus interviews and discussions with leading mathematicians
and scientists about the maths that is changing our lives."
There are no transcripts of the podcasts but many of them are
complemented by well written articles available both as Web
pages and as pdf files. Some of the articles do contain
equations to help you get a deeper understanding of the subject.
Astronomy and space exploration
I am quite found of Astronomy.
Back in 1957, I was a 10-year old in grade 4 of primary school.
One day, a kid in my class showed me the Astronomy book he had.
When I looked at the images and learned about the planets, I
immediately felt as if I had been confined in an opaque box all
my life and as if, suddenly, someone had made a little opening
and showed me the vastness of the outside world. I just fell in
love with the Universe and science became a real passion for me.
However, many years later, in 1969, due to various circumstances,
I had became a drop out.
Then, one Sunday afternoon, I saw a TV show on space exploration
with host Jacques Lebrun. He was explaining how engineers manage
to move a satellite from one orbit to another. This brough back
memories of the good times I had when learning about the subject.
A few months later, I returned to college to complete my degree.
I then went to university, got a B. Sc. in Physics (with a minor
in Mathematics) and then a Master degree in Astrophysics.
Returning to school (and, more importantly to science) was,
undoubtedly, the best decision of my life.
- The Astronomy Cast
with Fraser Cain and Dr. Pamela Gay.
Their goal is to explain "not only what we know but also
how we know what we know" and this makes each show really
All past shows are available as MP3 files in the
Transcripts of older shows (but not all) are also available as
both Web pages and as pdf files. For each subject, there
are also many links leading to sites where it is possible to
Astronomy Cast is a great Web site about a great subject. Make
it known to all your friends and let them fall in love with the
Hosted by Stuart Gary, this fast pace show "reports on the latest
news and discoveries in science, with a special focus on astronomy,
space sciences and cosmology".
Naked Astronomy site is another popular site built and
maintained by the Naked Scientists team.
Physics is really my great love, my personal relation with the
- The more recent
Perimeter Institute public lectures on physics are available
for download in mp4 (video) format. The overhead slides
accompagnying the lectures are also available in pdf format.
Older lectures are available but only in mp3 (audio) format.
Philosophy is another subject that I am particularly fond of.
I remember the raging discussions I had on the moral implications
of the theory of evolution and about the attitude we should have
toward other animals. There were also those less tumultuous
discussions about knowledge and perceptions, discussions which,
most of the time, lasted through the middle of the night.
For me, philosophy is mainly thinking about thinking (logic),
thinking about knowledge (philosophy of science), and thinking
about being a decent person (ethics). And all this is pretty
Quite frankly, I don't trust physicians and this is not without
And these are just general reasons. I won't get into all the cases
of wrong diagnosis and of the medication poisonings that I know of.
This would take too much space.
- I took me just one year of primary school to learn how to
write properly but I have yet to meet a single MD who has
mastered this simple skill. For my health and my life, should
I rely on someone who is incapable of learning how to write?
- How do MDs get their university diploma anyway? They should
have flunk their first year of primary school. Maybe, in their
exams, they got the benefit of the doubt. Since nobody could
decipher what they wrote, it was supposed that their answers
were the correct ones. Or, maybe, medical school students knew
how to write then but, after getting their diplomas, they got
access to lots of drugs, used them for recreational purposes
and, as a result, destroyed part of their brains. Or, maybe,
MDs are like some students I had: when they were unsure
between contradicting answers, they wrote both of them, one
on top of the other.
- I do not believe that someone who, during part of his or
her training, had to experiment on animals can develop true
compassion for sick people. Learn on mice and you will
treat your patients like you treated these poor mice.
- I am always amazed that MDs never check or double-check
anything. They always seem to know, from the top of their
heads, all the conditions giving rise to similar symptoms
and all the pharmaceutical drugs and all their possible
interactions. Is it happy guessing? Frankly, I would feel
much more secure if the good doctor would check all the
facts on a database. Happily, nowadays, we (the patients)
have acces to the Internet...
- Most of the times, a medical consultation lasts between 5 to
8 minutes, and a big chunk of it is used just for jotting
down a prescription. Now, a physicist wanting to find the
properties of a simple mechanical system (like a mass, a
spring and an inclined plane) would take about half an hour.
How come a physician is able to make a diagnosis on a much
more complex system in less than 10 minutes?
- Now, what is more reliable: less than 10 minutes of reflexion
by someone who got through a few years of medical school or
your 10-hour search in a medical library or on the Internet?
So, out of necessity and, although I am much more interested in
Physics and Cosmology, I have begun to take notice of the good
sources of medical information. (For more on this, see my
Med Skull page.)
Here are some good medical shows available as MP3 files,
The Health Report
with host Dr Norman Swan, on ABC.
The About Us link on the Web site gives a very good description
of what the show is all about:
"The Health Report appeals to both specialist and mainstream
audiences by applying a broad definition of health, and seeing
health and medicine within social, scientific and political
contexts. The Health Report is a valued information source for
professionals and students in the medical and health professions,
as well as attracting a sizeable audience of general listeners
seeking jargon-free, easy-to-understand information and analysis
on health and medical matters. Presented by Dr Norman Swan, the
program covers wide-ranging topics and issues, among them:
cancer, endocrinology, epidemiology, exercise, gastroenterology,
gynaecology, health education, mental health, nutrition,
obstetrics, pediatrics, physiotherapy, and rheumatology."
Transcripts are available.
White Coat, Black Art
with host Dr. Brian Goldman, on CBC.
The MP3 files of past shows are available on the
Inside Health with Dr Mark Porter is another fine program
from the BBC, with reports of various important topics in health
with host Claudia Hammond, on the BBC World Service.
The show contains many reports on developping countries.
Program details can be found on a separate
All in the Mind
with host Lynne Malcolm, on ABC.
As described in the Web site: "An exploration of all things
mental, All in the Mind is about the brain and behaviour, and
the fascinating connections between them". Transcripts are
with host Robyn Williams, on ABC.
As described in the Web site, the approach "consists of a short
introduction followed by a scripted talk. Just that, week after
week. This program allows thoughtful people to have their say
without pesky interviewers interrupting, or someone of opposite
views turning the exercise into a joust. There are times when a
speaker needs a clear run, some proper control, and this is what
Ockham's Razor provides."
Transcripts are available.
- Big Ideas, on
ABC, for lectures, conversations, and special feature series.
There are no transcripts.