The Infinite Monkey Cage

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The Infinite Monkey Cage
Robin Ince and Brian Cox, the hosts of the programme
GenreComedy
Running timeapprox. 30 minutes
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Language(s)English
Home stationBBC Radio 4
StarringBrian Cox
Robin Ince
Produced byAlexandra Feachem
Executive producer(s)Deborah Cohen
Recording studioRadio Theatre, Broadcasting House, London
RADA Studios, London
Original release30 November 2009 (2009-11-30) – present
No. of series22
No. of episodes134 + 3[1]
Websitebbc.co.uk/programmes/b00snr0w
Podcastbbc.co.uk/programmes/b00snr0w/episodes/downloads.rss

The Infinite Monkey Cage is a BBC Radio 4 comedy and popular science series. Hosted by physicist Brian Cox and comedian Robin Ince,[2] The Independent described it as a "witty and irreverent look at the world according to science".[3][4] The show's eighth series was broadcast in June and July 2013 and the podcast, published immediately after the initial radio broadcast, features extended versions of most episodes starting with 1 July 2013 Glastonbury Special episode in Series 8.[5] The programme won a Gold Award in the Best Speech Programme category at the 2011 Sony Radio Awards,[6][7] and it won the best Radio Talk Show at the 2015 Rose d'Or awards.[8] The name is a reference to the infinite monkey theorem.

Each show has a particular topic up for discussion, with previous topics including the apocalypse and space travel. There are normally three guests; two of these are scientists with an interest in the topic of discussion, offering an expert opinion on the subject. The other guest is usually a comedian, who takes a less serious view of the subject, and often makes the show more accessible by asking the 'stupid' questions that the other guests may have overlooked.

Ince and Cox headed an Uncaged Monkeys live tour in 2011, and toured the United States in 2015.[9]

In April 2018 a book titled Infinite Monkey Cage - How to Build a Universe was released. Its audiobook was read by Cox and Ince.

Humour[edit]

The programme features a number of running themes and gags. Robin Ince regularly pokes fun of Brian Cox's hair, good looks, and former career as a rock musician. Ince often imitates and quotes Carl Sagan. Cox often ridicules chemistry, astrology, Creationists and occasionally returns to the subject of how and when a strawberry can be considered dead.[10]

Theme song[edit]

The programme's theme song was written by Eric Idle and recorded by Idle and Jeff Lynne.[11] Idle and his band performed the song live on the show when it toured in Los Angeles in 2015 and it appears in the 2016 TV show "The Entire Universe".

List of episodes[edit]

The following is an episode list of the BBC radio series The Infinite Monkey Cage. As of July 2018, there have been 103 episodes spanning 18 series plus 6 specials; two responding to viewers questions and Christmas Specials in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. All episodes are available to stream via the website and as podcast downloads.[12]

Since 2013, podcasts are longer than the broadcast episodes at around 45 minutes, frequently adding mild spats between Cox and Ince, and occasionally language unsuitable "for the 4:30pm school run slot".

In addition to the regular programmes, a special entitled "An Infinite Monkey's Guide to General Relativity" was broadcast in two half-hour episodes on 8 and 15 December 2015.[13] Their 100th Episode (according to their own manner of counting which differs from the one listed on Wikipedia), simply titled "Monkey Cage 100", was also recorded on Video and is currently watchable on the BBC iPlayer.

Series One[edit]

Total No. Title Guest(s) Original airdate
11"Science and Comedians"Dara Ó Briain and Dr Alice Roberts30 November 2009 (2009-11-30)
Former cosmologist Dara O'Briain and Dr Alice Roberts join physicist Brian Cox and comedian Robin Ince for a witty, irreverent and unashamedly rational look at the world according to science. They'll be asking why so many comedians seem to start life as scientists, and begin their quest to put science at the heart of popular culture.
22"Extraterrestrial Life"Jon Ronson and Seth Shostak7 December 2009 (2009-12-07)
Robin and Brian are joined by alien abduction expert Jon Ronson and Seth Shostack from the SETI Institute in California to discuss science conspiracies, UFOs and the search for ET.
33"Quantum Physics"Ben Miller14 December 2009 (2009-12-14)
Physicist turned comedian Ben Miller joins Brian and Robin to discuss quantum physics, and if astrology really shares its roots with more scientific pursuits. They also discuss the largest scientific experiment ever undertaken, currently storming ahead in a large tunnel just outside Geneva.
44"Science and Religion"Chris Addison, Victor Stock and Adam Rutherford21 December 2009 (2009-12-21)
Robin and Brian are joined by Victor Stock, Dean of Guildford Cathedral, and science journalist Adam Rutherford for a special Christmas edition of the programme. Adam explains why religion really could be good for your health, and can Victor convert Robin and Brian in time for the festive season?

Series Two[edit]

Total No. Title Guest(s) Original airdate
51"Popular Science"Ben Miller and Robert Winston14 June 2010 (2010-06-14)
In a special programme recorded as part of this year's Cheltenham Science Festival, Brian and Robin are joined by special guests Ben Miller and Robert Winston to explore the choppy waters of science and fame. Are we are entering a golden age of science popularity? Is there a genuine interest in the wonder of science and is science the real star or is it simply being dumbed down as a result of our celebrity obsessed culture? They'll be asking whether science needs to be popular and whether this new wave of enthusiasm has any real impact on science policy, or the quality of science being done in this country. Has science finally found the S Factor?
62"Trust me, I'm a Scientist"Ben Goldacre, Claudia Hammond and Dave Gorman21 June 2010 (2010-06-21)
Brian and Robin are joined by special guests Ben Goldacre and comedian Dave Gorman to discuss the notion of trust in science. Why are people prepared to believe in magic and pseudoscience rather than empirical evidence, and does it matter? Science often appears open ended and evolving, a reason to mistrust it, especially when it can feel like we are bombarded with so much contradictory information. So is the scientific method the only way to truly test if something works, and why should we trust the scientists over alternative practitioners who many people would argue have helped them more than anything that comes out of a laboratory.
73"Science Fiction, Science Fact"Jonathan Ross, Alan Moore and Dr Brian Greene28 June 2010 (2010-06-28)
Special guests Jonathan Ross, graphic novelist Alan Moore and string theorist Brian Greene, join Brian Cox and Robin Ince on stage for a special edition of the science show that boldly goes where no other science show has been before. In a special science fiction themed programme, recorded in front of an audience at London's Southbank Centre, Brian, Robin and guests discuss multiple dimensions, alternate universes and look at whether science fact is far more outrageous than anything Hollywood or science fiction authors could ever come up with.
84"Things Can Only Get Better?"Colin Blakemore and Mark Steel5 July 2010 (2010-07-05)
In the last of the current series, physicist Brian Cox and comedian Robin Ince look at the notion of perfection and whether the latest advances in the biomedical sciences could ever lead us to the perfect body. What are the limitations of science, and can we visualise a future where we transcend the human form that evolution has led us to, and would we want to?

Series Three[edit]

Total No. Title Guest(s) Original airdate
91"Apocalypse"Adam Rutherford, Andy Hamilton and Dr Lucie Green with Matt Parker15 November 2010 (2010-11-15)
In the first episode of the series, Brian and Robin are joined by comedian Andy Hamilton to discuss some of the wackier apocalyptic theories, as well as those more grounded in science fact. Did the Mayans know something that we didn't with their prediction of global annihilation in 2012, or should we be focusing our energies and scientific know-how on some of the more likely scenarios, from near earth asteroids, through to climate change and deadly pandemics, or even the more long term possibilities of our sun burning out....although we have got roughly another 5 billion years to ponder the challenge of that problem.
102"Modern World"Paul Foot, Aleks Krotoski and Professor Tony Ryan with Matt Parker22 November 2010 (2010-11-22)
Physicist Brian Cox, comedian Robin Ince and guests return for more witty irreverent science chat. This week they are joined by comedian and former mathematician Paul Foot to discuss whether the modern world is a force for good or evil, and whether a simpler, more natural existence might be a better way forward.
113"Randomness"Tim Minchin and Alex Bellos with Matt Parker29 November 2010 (2010-11-29)
Physicist Brian Cox and comedian Robin Ince are joined by the Australian comedian and musician Tim Minchin and mathematician Alex Bellos to discuss randomness, probability and chance. They look at whether coincidences are far more common than one might think and how a mathematical approach can make even the most unpredictable situations... well, predictable.
124"Philosophy"Alexei Sayle, Julian Baggini and Professor Raymond Tallis with Matt Parker6 December 2010 (2010-12-06)
Physicist Brian Cox and comedian Robin Ince are joined by special guests Alexei Sayle and philosopher Julian Baggini to discuss Stephen Hawking's recent comment that "philosophy is dead". Does the progress of science mean the need for disciplines such as philosophy and even religion are negated as we understand more and more about how the world works. Or are there some things, such as human consciousness, that science will never be able to fully explain.

Series Four[edit]

Total No. Title Guest(s) Original airdate
131"What Don't We Know?"Paul Foot, Marcus Chown and Professor Steve Jones30 May 2011 (2011-05-30)
Professor Brian Cox and comedian Robin Ince return for a new series of the witty, irreverent science/comedy show. This week the Infinite Monkeys will be asking what don't we know, do we know what we don't know, does science know what it doesn't know, and are there some things that science will never be able to know? Joining them on stage for this brain twister and to discuss whether any of us actually know anything at all, are the comedian Paul Foot, biologist Professor Steve Jones and cosmologist and science writer Marcus Chown.
142"Six Degrees"Stephen Fry, Simon Singh, and Aleks Krotoski with Matt Parker6 June 2011 (2011-06-06)
The Infinite Monkeys, Brian Cox and Robin Ince, are joined on stage by special guest Stephen Fry and science writer Simon Singh to find out whether we really are only Six degrees of separation from anyone else? What started as an interesting psychology experiment in connectedness, back in the 1960s, has not only taken on a life of its own in popular culture, but in the last 10 years has begun to influence everything from mathematics, to engineering and even biology. Brian and Robin look at how the concept of 6 degrees has influenced a whole new field of science and whether, in this age of social network sites such as Twitter and Facebook, we are in fact, far more connected than ever before. We also find out what Robin's "Bacon" number is. Whether Brian has an "Erdos" number, and whether, like Russell Crowe, any of the panel have successfully managed to combine the two.
153"So You Want To Be an Astronaut?"Chris Riley, Dr Kevin Fong, and Helen Keen13 June 2011 (2011-06-13)
Robin Ince and Brian Cox are joined by comedian Helen Keen ("It is Rocket Science") and space medicine expert Dr Kevin Fong, to discuss the future of human space travel. As NASA's space shuttle program comes to a close, what does the future hold in terms of humans bid to leave the confines of earth, and what has human space travel provided in terms of scientific understanding back at home? Brian Cox acknowledges the importance of the Apollo moon landings in inspiring him, and many like him, to take up careers in science - so what will the next big scientific inspiration be?
164"Is Cosmology Really a Science?"Alan Moore, Dallas Campbell, Professor Ed Copeland and Helen Arney20 June 2011 (2011-06-20)
Robin Ince and Brian Cox are joined on stage by V for Vendetta author and legendary comic book writer Alan Moore, cosmologist Ed Copeland, and science broadcaster Dallas Campbell to ask whether Cosmology is really a science? Do scientific theories need to be testable to make them, well - scientific? And if so, where does that leave some of the more mind-bending theories that Cosmology has postulated over the last few years? From String Theory to the idea of multiple universes, the maths might work, but if there is no way of observing whether it is correct, is it science or science fiction? Does Cosmology have more in common with the fantastical stories dreamt up by fiction writers such as Alan Moore, and will science ever progress enough to really get to the bottom of some of the more weird and wonderful theories about the way our universe works? This programme was recorded as part of the Cheltenham Science Festival.
175"Is There Room for Mysticism in a Rational World?"Billy Bragg, Graham Coxon, Shappi Khorsandi and Professor Tony Ryan27 June 2011 (2011-06-27)
Radio 4's award winning science/comedy show hits Glastonbury Festival to prove that science really is the new rock n roll. Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined on stage by musicians Billy Bragg and Graham Coxon, comedian Shappi Khorsandi, and scientist Professor Tony Ryan to bring their own brand of rationality and reason to Glastonbury's most hardened new-age followers.
186"Science vs the Supernatural: Does Science Kill the Magic?"Andy Nyman, Richard Wiseman and Bruce Hood5 July 2011 (2011-07-05)
Robin Ince and Brian Cox are joined on stage by actor and magician Andy Nyman, psychologist Richard Wiseman and neuroscientist Bruce Hood as they take on the paranormal. They'll be looking at some of the more popular claims of supernatural goings on, and asking whether a belief in ghosts, psychic abilities and other other-worldly phenomena, is just a bit of harmless fun, or whether there are more worrying implications in a belief in the paranormal.

Series Five[edit]

Total No. Title Guest(s) Original airdate
191"What's the North Ever Done for Us?"Jon Culshaw, Jeff Forshaw and Matthew Cobb21 November 2011 (2011-11-21)
The Infinite Monkeys, Robin Ince and Brian Cox, return for a new series of irreverent science chatter with a host of special guests. In the first of the new series, they're on Brian Cox's home territory for a recording at the University of Manchester at the Manchester Science Festival. They're joined by impressionist Jon Culshaw, physicist Jeff Forshaw and biologist Matthew Cobb to look at just a few of the amazing scientific achievements that Manchester has given the world, from Rutherford splitting the atom through to last year's Nobel Prize for Physics. And if you listen closely, a few other well known voices may also appear to have snuck onto the panel...who knew that even Alan Carr has an opinion on the Higgs Boson.
202"A Balanced Programme on Balance"Sir Paul Nurse, Katy Brand, Simon Mayo, and Professor Steve Jones28 November 2011 (2011-11-28)
The Infinite Monkeys, Brian Cox and Robin Ince, are joined on stage by Sir Paul Nurse, President of the Royal Society, and comedian and theology graduate Katy Brand to look at how science is portrayed in the press and whether opinion is ever as valid as evidence. Occasionally accused of lack of balance by lovers of astrology and the supernatural, the unashamedly rational and evidence loving duo tackle the issue of balance head on. Does the media skew scientific debate by giving too much weight to public opinion over the scientific evidence? Do important science messages get lost because scientists don't engage enough with seemingly irrational concerns and beliefs? A witty irreverent look at some of the issues surrounding the public's perception of science and how it's reported in the media.
213"The Origins of Life"Tim Minchin, Dr Nick Lane, and Adam Rutherford5 December 2011 (2011-12-05)
Robin Ince and Brian Cox are joined inside the Infinite Monkey Cage by rationalist comedian and musician Tim Minchin, science broadcaster and biologist Adam Rutherford and biochemist Professor Nick Lane to discuss the science of creation and the latest theories about the origins of life.
224"The Science of Sound"Tom Wrigglesworth, Professor Trevor Cox and Professor Chris Plack12 December 2011 (2011-12-12)
Robin Ince and Brian Cox head north for the second time this series, and take residence for one episode in the BBC Philharmonic's headquarters to talk about the science of sound. They are joined by the University of Salford's acoustic expert Professor Trevor Cox, neuroscientist Professor Chris Plack and comedian and former acoustics student Tom Wrigglesworth to talk about all things noise related. With some musical accompaniment, they'll be discussing why some sounds sound nice and some sound horrible. Why certain sounds are noise and others are literally music to our ears, and whether specific sounds can trigger specific emotions. But perhaps the biggest question of all is, are there any clues in the chord sequences to D:Ream's hit "Things Can Only Get Better" that made it the perfect soundscape for to a political leadership campaign?..maybe that's something that even science can't answer!
235"I'm a Chemist Get Me Out of Here"Dara Ó Briain, Professor Tony Ryan, and Andrea Sella19 December 2011 (2011-12-19)
Robin Ince and Brian Cox give the chemists a chance to fight back as they stage the ultimate battle of the sciences to find out, once and for all, whether all science is really just physics...and whether chemistry is, as Brian puts it "the social science of molecules". Joining Brian in the physics corner will be comedian and ex-physicist Dara O'Briain, and trading punches for the chemists will be Professor Andrea Sella and monkey cage regular Professor Tony Ryan. Referee Robin Ince will be ringside to make sure its a clean fight and there's no hitting below the belt. Ding ding.
246"The Science of Christmas"Professor Richard Dawkins, Mark Gatiss and Roger Highfield with Helen Arney26 December 2011 (2011-12-26)
The Infinite Monkeys Robin Ince and Brian Cox are in a festive mood as they discuss the science of Christmas with special guests biologist Richard Dawkins, actor and writer Mark Gatiss and science journalist Roger Highfield.

Series Six[edit]

Total No. Title Guest(s) Original airdate
251"Oceans: The Last Great Unexplored Frontier?"Dave Gorman, Lloyd Peck and Bramley Murton18 June 2012 (2012-06-18)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince return for a new series of the award-winning science/comedy show, as they take a witty, irreverent and unashamedly rational look at the world according to science. In today's programme they'll be looking down rather than up as they consider the great mysteries that still remain uncovered in the watery depths of our oceans and asking whether they are truly the last unexplored frontiers for science. It has often been said that we know more about the surface of the moon than we do about much of what lies beneath the ocean waves, so how come we know so little about the vast majority of our own planet? They'll be joined on stage by comedian Dave Gorman, British Antarctic Survey scientist Lloyd Peck and Bramley Murton from the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton.
262"Science Mavericks"Marcus Brigstocke, Professor Barry Marshall, Kevin Fong, and Aoife McLysaght25 June 2012 (2012-06-25)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince take to the stage at this year's Cheltenham Science Festival to discuss science mavericks. They are joined by comedian Marcus Brigstocke, medic and broadcaster Dr Kevin Fong, evolutionary biologist Aoife McLysaght and Nobel Laureate Professor Barry Marshall. Marshall, an Australian physician, famously experimented on himself to prove his theory that a bacterium was responsible for most peptic ulcers. He drank the bacterium he suspected was the cause, and as a result reversed decades of medical doctrine. He and the rest of the panel discuss the role of mavericks in science, how new theories get accepted and whether you have to go to such extreme lengths to truly push the frontiers of our scientific understanding.
273"Does Size Matter?"Andy Hamilton, Mark Miodownik and Eleanor Stride2 July 2012 (2012-07-02)
Robin Ince and Brian Cox are joined on stage by comedian Andy Hamilton to discuss whether size matters? Material scientist Mark Miodownik and bioengineer Eleanor Stride also join the panel to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of being really huge, or extremely small, and why if you wanted to be a truly effective super hero, then being really really tiny is probably the greatest superpower you could have.
284"The Science of Symmetry"Marcus du Sautoy, Adam Rutherford and Alan Moore9 July 2012 (2012-07-09)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined by mathematician Marcus Du Sautoy, science journalist Adam Rutherford and comic book legend Alan Moore to discuss why symmetry seems such a pervasive phenomenon throughout our universe, and possibly beyond. The world turns on symmetry -- from the spin of subatomic particles to the structure of the natural world, through to the molecules that make up life itself. They'll be asking why symmetry seems so ubiquitous and whether the key to Brian's large female fanbase is down to his more than usually symmetrical face.
295"Parallel Universes"Professor Sir Martin Rees, Dr Lucie Green and John Lloyd16 July 2012 (2012-07-16)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince stretch the cage of infinite proportions this week to encompass not just our own universe, but any others that might be lurking out there as well. They'll be joined by QI creator John Lloyd, the Astronomer Royal, Professor Sir Martin Rees, and solar scientist Dr Lucie Green to talk about one of the most tantalising ideas of cosmology, that of parallel universes. Are we inhabiting a universe that is just one of a possibly infinite number of others and how would we ever know? Is this an idea that is destined to remain one of the great scientific thought experiments, and a staple of science fiction, or will science ever progress enough to truly put the idea of multiverses to the test.
306"Science v Art"Al Murray, Sara Pascoe, Andrew Pontzen and Jon Butterworth.23 July 2012 (2012-07-23)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince transport the cage of infinite proportions, to the slightly more confined space of the Latitude Comedy Arena. They will be joined on stage by a panel of guests, including Al Murray, for a witty, irreverent and unashamedly rational look at the world according to science. Given Latitude's artistic, musical and literary credentials, they'll be taking a huge risk by staging the ultimate show down, as they pitch Art against Science and ask which has more to offer and whether the two cultures might ever make a happy union. To help them battle it out, and alongside comedian Al Murray, they'll be joined by cosmologist Andrew Pontzen, comedian and actor Sara Pascoe and CERN scientist Jonathan Butterworth. Let battle commence!

Series Seven[edit]

Total No. Title Guest(s) Original airdate
311"Space Exploration"Sir Patrick Stewart, Ben Miller and Monica Grady19 November 2012 (2012-11-19)
The Infinite Monkeys are back and in the first of the new series Brian Cox and Robin Ince boldly go where no science programme has been before, as they discuss space exploration with Captain Jean Luc Picard himself, actor Sir Patrick Stewart; former quantum physicist Ben Miller; and Professor of Planetary Sciences, Monica Grady. They'll be discussing whether space really is the final frontier and whether, with the development of ever more sophisticated robotic space missions, do humans need to go to space at all? Are un-manned missions more cost effective and ultimately more efficient in terms of the scientific knowledge they generate, or is the need to explore unknown worlds, on this planet, or any other, the key to driving the progress of science?
322"Improbable Science"Katy Brand, Matthew Cobb and Marc Abrahams26 November 2012 (2012-11-26)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince discuss some of the more unlikely and odd avenues of research travelled down in the name of science. For example, the British physicist who calculated the optimal way to dunk a biscuit into a cup of tea without it disintegrating too quickly. Or the brain researchers who demonstrated that they could detect meaningful brain activity... in a dead salmon. All these academics share something in common, not just a slightly quirky application of the scientific method. They have also been a recipient of the now infamous Ig Nobel prizes, awarded each year as a parody of the Nobel Prize, to research that seems at first glance, entirely improbable, and possibly pointless. Robin and Brian are joined on stage by the organiser of the Ig Nobels, Marc Abrahams, comedian Katy Brand and biologist Professor Matthew Cobb, from the University of Manchester, to ask whether all scientific exploration is valid, no matter how ridiculous it may seem at first glance, or whether there is genuinely something to be learned from observations that to many, may seem pointless.
333"Secret Science"Simon Singh, Sue Black and Dave Gorman3 December 2012 (2012-12-03)
Robin Ince and Brian Cox are joined on stage by comedian Dave Gorman, author and Enigma Machine owner Simon Singh and Bletchley Park enthusiast Dr Sue Black as they discuss secret science, code-breaking and the extraordinary achievements of the team working at Bletchley during WWII.
344"Brain Science"Jo Brand, Sophie Scott, and Brian Butterworth10 December 2012 (2012-12-10)
Will science ever understand the human mind? Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined on stage by comedian and former psychiatric nurse, Jo Brand, and neuroscientists Sophie Scott and Brian Butterworth. With ever more sensitive brain scanning techniques and advances in brain science, how close are we to understanding the inner workings of the human mind - or is this a quest that still remains in the hands of the philosophers?
355"Creating Life"Ed Byrne, Adam Rutherford, and Philip Ball17 December 2012 (2012-12-17)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined on stage by guests Ed Byrne, Adam Rutherford and Philip Ball to talk about science's quest to create life. From the medieval alchemists' recipe for creating a homunculus through to IVF, cloning and the current cutting edge science working on creating artificial DNA, the quest to create life is an age-old one, but with modern scientific techniques now a reality. Viewed by many as deeply suspicious, even heretical, creation of life is one of the key ideas that generates distrust in science, but is this fair and are we really entering a brave new world where life is no longer in nature's hands.
366"Christmas Special: The Science of Christmas Behaviour"Mark Gatiss, Professor Steve Jones, Richard Wiseman, Victor Stock, and Jonny & The Baptists24 December 2012 (2012-12-24)

Series Eight[edit]

Total No. Title Guest(s) Original airdate
371"What is Death?"Katy Brand, Dr Nick Lane, and Sue Black24 June 2013 (2013-06-24)
In the first of a new series of the award winning science/comedy series, Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined on stage by comedian Katy Brand, biochemist Nick Lane and forensic anthropologist Sue Black to discuss why death is such an inevitable feature of a living planet. As well as revisiting such weighty scientific issues, such as when can a strawberry, be truly declared to be dead, they'll also explore the scientific process of death, its evolutionary purpose and whether it is scientifically possibly to avoid it all together.
382"Glastonbury"Marcus Brigstocke, KT Tunstall, Fay Dowker, and Jeff Forshaw1 July 2013 (2013-07-01)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince transport their cage of infinite proportions to the Glastonbury Festival as they take to the stage with their special brand of science and comedy. They are joined by singer KT Tunstall and physicists Fay Dowker and Jeff Forshaw to discuss all things Quantum, in the most unlikely of places!
393"Space Tourism"Brian Blessed, Kevin Fong, and Steven Attenborough8 July 2013 (2013-07-08)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined by actor and space enthusiast Brian Blessed, Director of Virgin Galactic Stephen Attenborough and space medicine expert Dr Kevin Fong to talk about the possibilities of space exploration for mere mortals. Is travel beyond our own planet the reserve of highly trained astronauts and cosmonauts, or are we about to see a new era of space travel, where a round trip to the moon is not beyond the grasp of many ordinary members of the public, and is it a good idea?
404"What Makes a Science a Science"Ben Goldacre, Sophie Scott, and Evan Davis15 July 2013 (2013-07-15)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined by "Bad Science" author Ben Goldacre, neuroscientist Sophie Scott and broadcaster Evan Davis to ask what makes a science, a science. They'll be asking whether the scientific method can be applied to topics such as history and politics, and whether subjects like economics and social sciences qualify as science at all.
415"Alfred Russel Wallace"Steve Jones, Aoife McLysaght, and Tony Law22 July 2013 (2013-07-22)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince discuss the life and works of Alfred Russel Wallace, the lesser known co-founder of the theory of evolution by natural selection. They are joined on stage by biologists Steve Jones and Aoife McLysaght and comedian Tony Law to ask whether Wallace is the great unsung hero of biology and why it was Darwin who seems to have walked away with all the glory.
426"Science Museum"Neil deGrasse Tyson, Josie Long, Ian Blatchford, Richard Holmes and Doc Brown29 July 2013 (2013-07-29)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince transport their infinite cage to the more finite proportions of London's Science Museum to discuss wonder in science, and why children seem to have it, but too many of us lose it as adults. Joining them on stage are comedian Josie Long, US astrophysicist and science communicator Neil deGrasse Tyson, Director of the Science Museum Ian Blatchford and author and historian Richard Holmes. There's also a special performance by comedian and rap artist Doc Brown, in tribute to his childhood hero.

Series Nine[edit]

Total No. Title Guest(s) Original airdate
431"Risk"Graeme Garden, David Spiegelhalter, and Sue Ion18 November 2013 (2013-11-18)
Professor Brian Cox and comedian Robin Ince bring their witty and irreverent take on the world to a programme all about the science of risk. Together with guests David Spiegelhalter, Sue Ion and former Goodie, Graeme Garden, the team explores such questions as: why is seven the safest age to be? Should badgers wear bicycle helmets? How safe is nuclear power and how worried should we be by the threat of asteroid impact? Producer: Rami Tzabar.
442"Through the Doors of Perception"Claudia Hammond, Beau Lotto, and Alan Moore25 November 2013 (2013-11-25)
This week, Brian Cox and Robin Ince attempt to walk through the doors of perception. On the way, they'll encounter the nature of consciousness, the secret messages hidden in pop songs, the problem of objectivity (it's subjective) and how time appears to warp. This week's guests are psychologist and presenter of Radio 4's All in the Mind, Claudia Hammond, Neuroscientist Beau Lotto and the writer Alan Moore.
453"Science Rocks!"Hermione Cockburn, Ross Noble, and Eric Idle2 December 2013 (2013-12-02)
This week, Brian Cox and Robin Ince are travelling back in time, to discuss when and how geology became a science, what the dinosaurs ever did for us and why cryptids, creatures of popular mythology, hold such fascination for those on the fringes of science. Joining the panel are paleobiologist Dave Martill, geologist and BBC broadcaster Hermione Cockburn, the comedian Ross Noble and legendary actor, writer and performer, Eric Idle.
464"To Infinity and Beyond"John Lloyd, Colva Roney-Dougal, and Simon Singh9 December 2013 (2013-12-09)
This week on the Infinite Monkey Cage, Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined by comedy producer John Lloyd, mathematician Colva Roney Dougal and writer Simon Singh, to explore the universality of mathematics, the nature of infinity and the role of numbers in everyday life. Producer: Rami Tzabar.
475"Should We Pander to Pandas?"Sandy Knapp, Simon Watt, and Sara Pascoe16 December 2013 (2013-12-16)
This week, Brian Cox and Robin Ince wonder if the world would be better off without spending an undue amount of time and energy trying to get giant pandas to mate and instead concentrated on saving species which let's face it, are a lot less cute but probably more important for the planet. Should we make a distinction between the organisms we want to save as opposed to those we need to save? The science and politics of biodiversity and conservation, explored and explained (sort of) with the help of Sandy Knapp, Simon Watt and comedian Sara Pascoe.
486"Science and Spin"Matthew Cobb, Sheena Cruikshank, Helen Keen, and James Burke23 December 2013 (2013-12-23)
This week on the Infinite Monkey Cage, Brian Cox and Robin Ince take to the stage at Manchester University, to discuss the state of science communication. Is the public engaged enough with the complexities of science? Are scientists engaging enough with the hoi polloi or still stuck in their ivory towers? And when was the 'golden age' of TV science, if it ever existed? Joining our presenters are scientists Matthew Cobb and Sheena Cruikshank, comedian Helen Keen and legendary science TV presenter and writer, James Burke, whose classic series 'Connections' captivated audiences around the world.
497"Brian & Robin’s Infinite Inbox"None9 March 2014 (2014-03-09)
Infinite Monkeys Brian Cox and Robin Ince delve into the postbag and open up the inbox for a programme specially recorded for BBC Radio 4 Extra.

Series Ten[edit]

Total No. Title Guest(s) Original airdate
501"Numbers Numbers Everywhere"Dave Gorman, Dr Vicky Neale, and Alex Bellos7 July 2014 (2014-07-07)
In the first episode of the new series, Brian and Robin are joined by comedian and former maths undergraduate Dave Gorman, maths enthusiast and author Alex Bellos and number theorist Dr Vicky Neale to look at the joy to be found in numbers. Although many people fear maths and will admit to dreading any task that requires even basic skills of numeracy, the truth is that numbers really are everywhere and our relationship with them can, at times, be oddly emotional. Why do so many people have a favourite number, for example, and why is it most often the number 7? 7 is of course a prime number - a favourite amongst mathematicians and non-mathematicians alike, although seemingly for different reasons. Could it be however, as the panel discuss, that the reasons are not so very different, and that we are all closet mathematicians at heart?
512"Are Humans Uniquely Unique?"Keith Jensen, Katie Slocombe, and Ross Noble14 July 2014 (2014-07-14)
Robin Ince and Brian Cox are joined on stage by human and non-human ape experts Keith Jensen, Katie Slocombe and Ross Noble to ask whether humans are truly unique amongst animal species. They'll be looking at why studying our nearest relative, the chimpanzee, could reveal clues as to how humans evolved some of the traits that make us stand out, such as language, culture and truly altruistic cooperation, or whether these are traits that are now being uncovered in our primate cousins. They'll also be revealing why a chimpanzee could be classified as far more rational than its human counterpart.
523"Does Science Need War?"Katy Brand, Philip Ball, and Kevin Fong21 July 2014 (2014-07-21)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined on stage by comedian Katy Brand, science writer Philip Ball and medic, author and broadcaster Kevin Fong. They'll be asking whether scientific progress needs the pressures and casualties of war to drive it, or whether some of our biggest scientific breakthroughs, that have resulted from periods of conflict, would have happened anyway? It's a serious topic, but never fear, on the way the intergalactic battles faced in Star Wars, and why only the French could come up with onions as a cure for burns, are all equally seriously investigated.
534"Can Science Save Us?"Stephen Fry, Dr. Lucie Green, Prof. Tony Ryan and Eric Idle28 July 2014 (2014-07-28)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined on stage by Stephen Fry, Eric Idle, chemist and Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Sheffield University, Professor Tony Ryan, and University of London solar scientist, Dr Lucie Green, as they ask: "can science save us?" They'll be looking at some of the fantastic ideas at the very forefront of science and technology that are being looked at to help in tackling some of the biggest challenges facing our planet, from climate change, to feeding our ever expanding global population.
545"Before the Big Bang"Carlos Frenk, Fay Dowker, Ben Miller and Richard Vranch4 August 2014 (2014-08-04)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince transport the cage of infinite proportions, for the first of 2 programmes from the Edinburgh Festival. They are joined on stage by cosmologists Carlos Frenk and Faye Dowker and actor and comedian Ben Miller and comedian and fellow physics PhD alumnus Richard Vranch.
556"Irrationality"Josie Long, Paul Foot, Richard Wiseman and Stuart Ritchie11 August 2014 (2014-08-11)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined by comedians Josie Long and Paul Foot, psychologist Richard Wiseman and neuroscientist Stuart Ritchie to ask "is irrationality genetic?". The second of two programmes recorded at the Edinburgh Festival.
567"2014 Christmas Special"Rev. Richard Coles, Chris Hadfield, Professor Francesca Stavrakopoulou, Brian Blessed25 December 2014 (2014-12-25)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined by Brian Blessed, astronaut Chris Hadfield, bible scholar Professor Francesca Stavrakopoulou and the Reverend Richard Coles for a very special festive edition of the show. They'll be taking their own unique look at the Christmas story and the history of the bible and asking whether the christmas story and your view of humanity changes once you've look back at earth from the heavens themselves.

Series Eleven[edit]

Total No. Title Guest(s) Original airdate
571"Deception"Richard Wiseman, Sophie Scott, and David Aaronovitch19 January 2015 (2015-01-19)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined on stage by author and journalist David Aaronovitch, psychologist Professor Richard Wiseman and neuroscientist Professor Sophie Scott as they tackle the science of deception. They'll be asking why we seem to be so good at telling lies, but not very good at spotting them, and why being good liars could be the secret to our success as a social animal. They will also be carrying out their own act of deception on the monkey cage audience. They reveal the results of an experiment to test the idea of subliminal advertising, carried out by David Aaronovitch for the Radio 4 documentary, "Can You Spot the Hidden Message" . Will they manage to secretly persuade a section of the theatre audience to pick one type of soft drink over another by secretly flashing the name of a certain brand on a screen? All will be revealed.
582"Fierce Creatures"Steve Backshall, Lucy Cooke, and Andy Hamilton26 January 2015 (2015-01-26)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined on stage by naturalist Steve Backshall, zoologist Lucy Cooke and comedian Andy Hamilton as they battle it out to decide which creature wins the title of earth's most deadly. The panel reveal their own brave encounters with a host of venomous, toxic and just downright aggressive beasts, including the bullet ant, rated the most painful stinging insect on the planet, deadly tree frogs and snakes, sharks, scorpions and hippos. They ask whether our seemingly innate fear of snakes and spiders is justified, and whether the deadliest creature on the planet is in fact a human being.
593"Solar System"Monica Grady, Jo Brand, and Carolyn Porco2 February 2015 (2015-02-02)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined by comedian Jo Brand, planetary scientist Professor Monica Grady and NASA scientist Dr Carolyn Porco as they discuss some of the most exciting and technically ambitious explorations of our solar system. They'll be looking at the Rosetta mission that has, for the first time, landed a probe on a comet, and the Cassini-Huygens mission which is bringing us extraordinary information about Saturn and its moons, and what these explorations of the far reaches of our solar system might tell us about our own planet.
604"When Quantum Goes Woo"Ben Goldacre, Jeff Forshaw, and Sara Pascoe9 February 2015 (2015-02-09)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined on stage by Bad Science author, Ben Goldacre, Professor of Particle Physics at Manchester University, Jeff Forshaw, and comedian Sara Pascoe. They'll be looking at why quantum physics, in particular, seems to attract some of the more fringe elements of pseudoscience and alternative medicine, and whether there is anything about the frankly weird quantum behaviour of particles, like the ability to seemingly be in two places at once, that really can be applied to the human condition. When spiritual healers and gurus talk about our own quantum energy and the power of quantum healing, is it simply a metaphor, or is there more to this esoteric branch of science that we could all learn from?
615"What's The Point of Plants"Jane Langdale, Jim Al-Khalili, and Ed Byrne16 February 2015 (2015-02-16)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined on stage by plant biologist Professor Jane Langdale, physicist Professor Jim Al-Khalili and comedian and former horticulture student Ed Byrne to ask, "what's the point of plants?". How would the evolution of life on our planet have differed without plants, and what would our planet look like today? Most crucially that seemingly dull but necessary process of photosynthesis that we all learned about in school, is in fact one of the most important processes in our universe, and as usual it seems, the physicists are trying to take credit for it. Could there be a quantum explanation for how this amazing reaction works, and if so, are plants in fact the perfect quantum computers?
626"Serendipity"Lee Mack, Simon Singh, and Andrea Sella23 February 2015 (2015-02-23)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined on stage by comedian Lee Mack, science author and journalist Simon Singh and chemist Professor Andrea Sella to look at how many of our biggest science discoveries seem to have come about by accident. From Viagra to Pyrex to the discovery of the Cosmic Background Microwave Radiation, the earliest remnant of the big bang, they all owe their discovery to a healthy dose of luck and accident as scientists stumbled across them in the course of looking for something else. So are these discoveries just luck, are they still deserving of Nobel prizes and scientific glory, or is serendipity and an open scientific mind key to exploring and understanding our universe?

Series Twelve[edit]

Total No. Title Guest(s) Original airdate
631"The Infinite Monkey Cage USA Tour: New York"Bill Nye, Janna Levin, Tim Daly, and Lisa Lampanelli6 July 2015 (2015-07-06)
The Infinite Monkeys return for a new series, the first of which will see them head to the USA for their first live tour. This week Brian Cox and Robin Ince can be found on stage in New York asking the question, Is Science a Force for Good Or Evil? They are joined on stage by Bill Nye the Science Guy, cosmologist Janna Levin, actor Tim Daly and comedian Lisa Lampanelli.
642"The Infinite Monkey Cage USA Tour: Los Angeles"Sean Carroll, Joe Rogan, David X. Cohen, and Eric Idle13 July 2015 (2015-07-13)
Science Goes to Hollywood: Science Fact V Science Fiction. Brian Cox and Robin Ince continue their tour of the USA, as they take to the stage in LA. They are joined by cosmologist and science advisor on movies such as Thor and Tron Legacy, Sean Carroll, comedian Joe Rogan, The Simpsons' writer and Executive Producer of Futurama, David X Cohen, and Eric Idle. They ask why so many movies now seem to employ a science advisor, whether scientific accuracy is really important when you are watching a film about a mythical norse god and whether science fact can actually be far more interesting than science fiction.
653"The Infinite Monkey Cage USA Tour: Chicago"Peter Sagal, Julia Sweeney, Paul Sereno, and Jerry Coyne20 July 2015 (2015-07-20)
Fossil Records and other Archaeological Hits. Brian Cox and Robin Ince take to the stage in Chicago, Illinois, to discuss fossil records and evolution. They are joined on stage by host of NPR's "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me" Peter Sagal, comedian and Saturday Night Live alumnus Julia Sweeney, palaeontologist Paul Sereno and evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne.
664"The Infinite Monkey Cage USA Tour: San Francisco"Dr Seth Shostak, Dr Carolyn Porco, Greg Proops, and Paul Provenza27 July 2015 (2015-07-27)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince take to the stage in San Francisco for the last of their USA specials. They talk alien visitations, UFOs and other close encounters with astronomer Dr Seth Shostack, NASA scientist Dr Carolyn Porco, and comedians Greg Proops and Paul Provenza.
675"Speed"Alexei Sayle, Andy Green and Professor Danielle George3 August 2015 (2015-08-03)
The Monkey Cage returns from its tour of the USA, as Brian Cox and Robin Ince take to the stage of the BBC Radio Theatre to look at the science of speed. They are joined by comedian and former motoring correspondent for the Daily Telegraph, Alexei Sayle, Land Speed Record Holder Andy Green and Professor Danielle George from the University of Manchester. They'll be looking at the engineering challenges of creating the fastest vehicle on the planet, and whether the limits to human speed are engineering or the laws of physics themselves.
686"Forensic Science"Professor Sue Black, Dr Mark Spencer and Rufus Hound10 August 2015 (2015-08-10)
No dead strawberries this week, but plenty of dead bodies, as Brian Cox and Robin Ince take a gruesome look at the science of death and some of the more unusual ways that forensic scientists are able to look for and gather clues and evidence. From insects that can be used to give a precise time of death, to the unusual field of forensic botany, It's not just DNA evidence that can be used to pinpoint someone to the scene of a crime. They are joined on stage by Professor Sue Black from the University of Dundee, Dr Mark Spencer, a forensic botanist at the Natural History Museum and comedian Rufus Hound.
697"2015 Christmas Special"Ross Noble, Paul Franklin, Simon Guerrier and Victor Stock25 December 2015 (2015-12-25)
The Science of Doctor Who Brian Cox and Robin Ince celebrate the festive season with a look at the science of Doctor Who. Swapping the infinite cage for the Tardis, they are joined on stage by comedian Ross Noble, Professor Fay Dowker, Oscar winning special FX director Paul Franklin, author and Doctor Who writer Simon Guerrier and the Very Reverend Victor Stock. They discuss the real science of time travel, the tardis and why wormholes are inaccurately named (according to Ross!).

Year-end specials[edit]

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of Albert Einstein's theory of General Relativity, two special episodes were added in December 2015:

Total No. Title Guest(s) Original airdate
Special1"Episode 1: An Infinite Monkey's Guide to General Relativity"Ben Miller, Dara Ó Briain, Richard Vranch, and Carlos Frenk8 December 2015 (2015-12-08)
It's 100 years since the publication of Einstein's great theory, and arguably one of the greatest scientific theories of all time. To mark the occasion, Brian Cox takes Robin Ince on a guided tour of General Relativity. With the help of some of the world's leading cosmologists, and a comedian or two, they explore the notions of space time, falling elevators, trampolines and bowling balls, and what was wrong with Newton's apple. It's a whistle stop tour of all you'll ever need to know about gravity and how a mathematical equation written 100 years ago predicted everything from black holes to the Big Bang, to our expanding universe, long before there was any proof that these extraordinary phenomena existed.
Special2"Episode 2: An Infinite Monkey's Guide to General Relativity"Sean Carroll, Richard Vranch, Tim O'Brien, Sarah Bridle, and Carlos Frenk15 December 2015 (2015-12-15)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince explore the legacy of Einstein's great theory, and how a mathematical equation written 100 years ago seems to have predicted so accurately exactly how our universe works. From black holes to the expanding universe, every observation of the universe, so far, has been held up by the maths in Einstein's extraordinary work. So how was he able to predict the events and behaviour of our universe, long before the technology existed to prove he was right, and will there ever be another theory that will supersede it? Brian and Robin head up the iconic Lovell telescope at Jodrell Bank to explore Einstein's theory in action, and talk to scientists who are still probing the mysteries hidden within General Relativity.

Series Thirteen[edit]

Total No. Title Guest(s) Original airdate
701"Artificial Intelligence"Jo Brand, Anil Seth, and Alan Winfield11 January 2016 (2016-01-11)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince return for a new series of their award winning science/comedy show. Tonight the infinite monkey's are joined on stage by comedian Jo Brand, neuroscientist Anil Seth, and robotics expert Alan Winfield to discuss Artificial Intelligence. How close are we to creating a truly intelligent machine, how do we define intelligence anyway, and what are the moral and ethical issues that the development of intelligent machines might bring?
712"What is Race?"Shappi Khorsandi, Adam Rutherford, and Mark Thomas18 January 2016 (2016-01-18)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined on stage by comedian Shappi Khorsandi, science broadcaster Adam Rutherford and evolutionary geneticist Mark Thomas. They look at the thorny issue of race, and whether there is a scientific definition for the concept of race. Do our genes reveal racial differences, and if so do they tell us anything about our evolutionary history? They also look at the results of their own personal DNA tests...so which panellist is a little bit neanderthal and which one has a genetic history firmly rooted in the North!
723"Invisible Universe"Jon Culshaw, Sarah Bridle, and Tim O'Brien25 January 2016 (2016-01-25)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince transport the cage of infinite proportions to the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry. They are joined on stage by impressionist Jon Culshaw and astrophysicists Sarah Bridle and Tim O'Brien as they look up at the sky to discover that everything we see only accounts for 5% of the entire universe. So what is the rest of the universe made of? What are these mysterious elements known as Dark Matter and Dark Energy and would their discovery mean a complete re-writing of the laws of physics as we know them?
734"What is Reality?"David Eagleman, Sophie Scott, and Bridget Christie1 February 2016 (2016-02-01)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined by US superstar neuroscientist David Eagleman, Professor Sophie Scott and comedian Bridget Christie to ask what is reality? Is our sense of the world around us a completely personal experience and a construct of our brains? How can we ever know whether what one person perceives is exactly the same as what another person perceives. Is your sense of the world around you an illusion constructed by this extraordinary organ, the brain, that has no direct access to the outside world that it is helping you to understand.
745"Maths of Love and Sex"Paul Foot, Hannah Fry, and David Spiegelhalter8 February 2016 (2016-02-08)
Robin Ince and Brian Cox get romantic (although unfortunately not with each other) as they discuss the mathematics of love and the statistics of sex. They are joined on stage by comedian and former maths student Paul Foot, mathematician Hannah Fry and statistician Professor Sir David Speigelhalter, as they discover whether a knowledge of numbers can help you in the affairs of the heart? Can a maths algorithm help you find your perfect mate at a party and what do the statistics tell us about what happens after the party, if you do! They find out whether mathematicians are more successful at dating than comedians, and whether a rational, scientific approach to love and life long happiness is really the answer.
756"Climate Change"Dara Ó Briain, Professor Tony Ryan, and Dr Gabrielle Walker15 February 2016 (2016-02-15)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined by guests Dara O Briain, Professor Tony Ryan and Dr Gabrielle Walker to discuss the ever-hot topic of climate change. They take a forensic look at the evidence that the climate is indeed changing, how we know that we are responsible, and what can be done to stop it. The scientific willing may be there, but is the political will finally catching up?
767"Brian & Robin's Infinite Inbox"None22 February 2016 (2016-02-22)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince answer The Infinite Monkey Cage listeners' questions.

Series Fourteen[edit]

Total No. Title Guest(s) Original airdate
771"The Sound of Music"Matt Kirshen, KT Tunstall, Nitin Sawhney, Lucy Cooke, and Trevor Cox4 July 2016 (2016-07-04)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince take to the stage at Glastonbury Festival. They are joined by comedian Matt Kirshen, musicians KT Tunstall and Nitin Sawhney and scientists Lucy Cooke and Trevor Cox. No Julie Andrews for this special edition of the long running science/comedy show, although music does take centre stage as the panel discuss the evolution and science of why and how humans are programmed to love everything from the Rolling Stones to Rap to Rachmaninoff. They'll also be looking at whether there are any examples of music in the animal kingdom and whether gorillas really hum.
782"The Recipe to Build a Universe"Rufus Hound, Andrea Sella and Lucie Green11 July 2016 (2016-07-11)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince ask what ingredients you need to build a universe? They are joined on stage by comedian and former Science Museum explainer, Rufus Hound, chemist Andrea Sella and solar scientist Lucie Green, as they discuss the basis of all school chemistry lessons, the periodic table. They discover how the elements we learnt about at school are the building blocks that make up everything from humans to planet earth to the universe itself. They were formed in stars and during the big bang. The history of the discovery of the periodic table and the elements is a wonderful tale of genuine scientific exploration that has changed our understanding of where we come from and how life and the universe that we know came to be. The panel also ponder which element they might choose if they were building a universe from scratch and the audience suggest which elements they would remove from the periodic table if given the chance?
793"Science of Sleep"Russell Foster, Richard Wiseman and Katy Brand18 July 2016 (2016-07-18)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined on stage by Professor Russell Foster, Professor Richard Wiseman and comedian Katy Brand as they attempt to get to grips with the science behind Robin's insomnia. They'll be asking why we sleep, is 8 hours really enough, and why has every creature on the planet evolved with some period of inactivity? They'll also be investigating the purpose of dreams and whether analysing them has any useful purpose? Was Freud right with his symbolic interpretation of dreams, or if we dream about aggressive courgettes, does this reveal our inner most anxieties about.... aggressive courgettes?
804"Battle of the Sexes"Sophie Scott, Steve Jones and Sara Pascoe25 July 2016 (2016-07-25)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined on stage by Professor Sophie Scott, Professor Steve Jones and comedian Sara Pascoe. They will be tackling the age old battle of the sexes, and asking whether men really are from Mars, and women really are from Venus? Probably not, according to Brian as Venus is too hot! Moving on from the pedantry of physics, they'll be asking whether the divide between men and women is based on a fundamental difference in our genetics, in our brain function, or is it all down to our upbringing. Let the battle commence.
815"200 Years of Frankenstein"Noel Fielding, Nick Lane and Sir Christopher Frayling1 August 2016 (2016-08-01)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince mark the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. They are joined on stage by Noel Fielding, evolutionary biologist Nick Lane and writer and expert in popular culture, Sir Christopher Frayling. They'll be looking at the cultural impact of this epic novel, and the long lasting impact it has had on the perception of science and scientists. They'll also be looking at the real science behind some of the ideas about life and the creation of life that Mary Shelley explored.
826"The Universe: What Remains to Be Discovered?"Ben Miller, Charlotte Church, Paul Abel and Tim O'Brien8 August 2016 (2016-08-08)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince take to the stage at the Blue Dot Festival, at the home of Radio Astronomy, Jodrell Bank. They are joined on stage by Ben Miller, Charlotte Church, Dr Paul Abel and Professor Tim O'Brien to explore the big questions that are still to be answered about our Universe.
837"2016 Christmas Special"Neil deGrasse Tyson, Mark Gatiss, Deborah Hyde and Nick Baines27 December 2016 (2016-12-27)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince return for a very special Christmas edition of the show. They are joined on stage by Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, actor and writer Mark Gatiss, cultural anthropologist Deborah Hyde and the Bishop of Leeds. They'll be discussing the joys of the Christmas ghost story, and looking at the Victorian obsession with the supernatural. They'll be asking when studying paranormal phenomenon went from a genuine scientific endeavour, to the realms of pseudoscience.

Series Fifteen[edit]

Total No. Title Guest(s) Original airdate
841"The Science of Everyday Life"Russell Kane, Helen Czerski and Danielle George16 January 2017 (2017-01-16)
Robin Ince and Brian Cox return for a new series. They are joined on stage, at the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry, by comedian Russell Kane, physicist Helen Czerski and engineer Danielle George as they discuss the science to be discovered in everyday life. They discover how the humble cup of tea displays fundamental laws of nature that also govern our climate. How dropping raisins in a bottle of lemonade reveal how the Titanic sunk, and a robot orchestra, created from household objects, plays some familiar tunes.
852"How to Beat the House and Win at Games"Hannah Fry, Alex Bellos, Richard Wiseman and Helen Zaltzman23 January 2017 (2017-01-23)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined on stage by mathematicians Hannah Fry and Alex Bellos, psychologist Richard Wiseman and games enthusiast Helen Zaltzman, to get their top tips for winning games and solving puzzles. Do mathematicians make better Poker players, or is psychology the key to the ultimate poker face? Will a knowledge of probability give you the ultimate winning strategy for your next game of Monopoly? (the answer is yes!). How old are the oldest puzzles and why do they involve wolves and cabbages? And how have puzzles involving wolves, cabbages and bridges resulted in the development of whole new branches of mathematics.
863"Science's Epic Fails"Rufus Hound, Professor Alice Roberts and Dr Adam Rutherford30 January 2017 (2017-01-30)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined on stage by actor and comedian Rufus Hound, Professor Alice Roberts and Dr Adam Rutherford to discuss some of the great scientific failures, and mistakes made by some very well known scientists. They look at how some of the greatest scientific thinkers of all time, from Darwin to Einstein, got key elements of their own theories wrong, or in the case of others, followed a path of understanding that would later be completely disproved. They discuss why failure in science is no bad thing, and ask whether getting it wrong, is a fundamental part of the scientific method, and should in fact be applied to many other areas of life.
874"Oceans: What Remains to Be Discovered?"Andy Hamilton, Professor Jon Copley and Helen Scales6 February 2017 (2017-02-06)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined by Andy Hamilton, Professor Jon Copley and marine biologist Helen Scales, as they look at the riches still remaining to be discovered deep within our oceans. The deep ocean remains the last great unexplored frontier of our planet, and as Brian and Robin discover, what we might find there could provide us with some extraordinary insights and applications. We've only just begun to touch the surface, literally, in terms of identifying and learning about the huge and varied life forms that live in our oceans -from the microbes that could inspire and generate new drugs to fight antibiotic resistant diseases, to the deep sea snails with iron clad shells, that may lead to the development of new super-strong materials. Even the humble limpet is providing inspiration to material scientists and engineers: the limpets' teeth, it turns out, are made from the strongest natural substance on the planet.
885"The Human Story: How We Got Here and Why We Survived"Ross Noble, Professor Danielle Schreve and Chris Stringer13 February 2017 (2017-02-13)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined by comedian Ross Noble, Professor Danielle Schreve and Professor Chris Stringer as they look at the tricky job of piecing together the history of modern humans and how we came to be here. They look back to the earliest known human ancestors and the fossils and tools that have allowed us to paint the picture of our journey out of Africa, to become the last surviving human species on the planet. They ask why we have gone from more than 5 or 6 species of humans some 200,000 years ago, to just 1 today. They also look at how discoveries made in just the last 5 years have completely transformed our understanding of human history and what new DNA technology has revealed about our ancient past. They also reveal what surprising tropical animal remains have been found buried deep under Trafalgar Square.
896"Making the Invisible Visible"Katy Brand, Carlos Frenk and Matthew Cobb20 February 2017 (2017-02-20)
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".

Series Sixteen[edit]

Total No. Title Guest(s) Original airdate
901"What Particles Remain to be Discovered?"Eric Idle, Jon Butterworth and Catherine Heymans3 July 2017 (2017-07-03)
The first show will see Python legend and Monkey Cage theme tune creator Eric Idle take to the stage alongside physicists Jonathan Butterworth and Catherine Heymans to ask "what particles remain to be discovered?" . They'll be looking at life beyond the Higgs Boson and asking whether a new, as yet undetected particle could answer arguably the greatest question in physics and finally uncover the mysterious unknown elements that make up the 95% of our Universe that are known as Dark Matter and Dark Energy.
912"Astronaut Special"Sandra Magnus, Terry Virts, Claude Nicollier and Charlie Duke10 July 2017 (2017-07-10)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince transport the cage to Trondheim Norway, host of this year's Starmus Festival, for an extraordinary gathering of astronauts. They are joined on stage by NASA astronauts Sandra Magnus and Terry Virts, ESA astronaut Claude Nicollier, and Apollo 16's Charlie Duke, one of the last people to have walked on the moon. They talk about their personal journeys to fulfill their long-held dreams, and literally reach for the stars. They hear from Charlie Duke about the extraordinary Apollo missions he was part of, including his role as Capsule Communicator for the very first moon landing, before taking his own first steps on the lunar surface as part of Apollo 16. They explore the different experience of astronauts from Charlie's era, and those who now become residents of space, spending months and months aboard the International Space Station, and the challenges each mission brings. And Claude Nicollier describes his epic spacewalk to repair the Hubble Telescope.
923"Oxygen: A Matter of Life or Death"Sara Pascoe, Andrea Sella and Dr Gabrielle Walker17 July 2017 (2017-07-17)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined on stage by chemist Andrea Sella, science broadcaster and writer Gabrielle Walker and comedian Sara Pascoe to look at the life and death properties of oxygen. It's the molecule we simply can't live without, but as fate would have it, oxygen is also the molecule that eventually leads to our death. Hailed as an elixir of life, and foundation of the atmosphere, oxygen is the revolutionary element that quickens life and hastens death through its ferocious reactivity. It's the molecule our cells need, but is actually highly toxic to them, and is in the end what causes us to age. Brian and Robin get to grips with the chemistry of this contradictory molecule, and Andrea Sella tries not to cause too big an explosion by demonstrating oxygen's reactive nature using a digestive biscuit.
934"Will Insects Inherit the Earth?"Dave Gorman, Tim Cockerill and Amoret Whitaker24 July 2017 (2017-07-24)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined on stage by comedian Dave Gorman, zoologist Tim Cockerill and forensic entomologist Amoret Whitaker. They'll be discovering the joy of creepy crawlies, why the flea is the ultimate master of Darwinian evolution, and whether those pesky cockroaches will really have the last laugh if we are unlucky enough to be wiped out by a nuclear explosion. They'll be discovering how and why insects have been by far the most successful group of organisms during the history of life on planet earth, and why we simply couldn't do without them.
945"Are We Living in a Simulation?"Phill Jupitus, Nick Bostrom and Anil Seth31 July 2017 (2017-07-31)
Elon Musk thinks we definitely could be, and it seems he is not alone. The idea that we might simply be products of an advanced post-human civilisation, that are simply running a simulation of our universe and everything it contains, has taken hold over the last few years. Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined on stage by comedian Phill Jupitus, Philosopher Professor Nick Bostrom and Neuroscientist Professor Anil Seth to ask what the chances are that are living in some Matrix like, simulated world and more importantly, how would we ever know?
956"The Mind v the Brain?"Katy Brand, Uta Frith and Sophie Scott7 August 2017 (2017-08-07)
It's one of the hardest problems in neuroscience. How do the chemical processes and electric signals produced by our brains result in the complex and varied experiences and sense of self that we might describe as our mind? Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined on stage by comedian Katy Brand, and neuroscientists Professor Uta Frith and Professor Sophie Scott to ask whether the mind is simply a product of the biology of our brain, or is there more to it than that? Can you have a brain without a mind, and is the mind simply an unexpected consequence, an emergent property, of our highly evolved and sophisticated brain. They'll also be tackling the question of free will, and whether we really have any, and if you could in theory simulate a fully working brain, with all its signals and complexity, would a mind naturally emerge?
967"2017 Christmas Special: The Science of Magic"Andy Nyman, Diane Morgan, Richard Wiseman and Francesca Stavrakopoulou25 December 2017 (2017-12-25)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince will be joined on stage by some very special guests to look at the science behind some of our best loved magic tricks and illusions. Actor, writer and illusionist Andy Nyman,actor and comedian Diane Morgan, Professor of Psychology and magician Richard Wiseman, and theologian and broadcaster Professor Francesca Stavrakopoulou will all be demonstrating how basic human psychology and evolution allow us to see and believe the seemingly impossible. They'll be exploring how some basic psychology can lead to some truly impressive deceptions, and ask how easy it is to trick the human mind, even a mind like Brian's. Prepare to be amazed.

Series Seventeen[edit]

Total No. Title Guest(s) Original airdate
971"When Two Stars Collide"Dara Ó Briain, Sheila Brown and Nils Andersson8 January 2018 (2018-01-08)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined on stage by comedian Dara O'Briain, Professor Sheila Rowan of Glasgow University and Professor Nils Andersson of Southampton University to look at last summer's spectacular discovery of gravitational waves from two colliding neutron stars. The observation of this huge cosmic event not only confirmed one of Einstein's great predictions, some 100 years ago, but also revealed the source of gold in our universe. Brian, Robin and guests look at how this momentous discovery brought together nearly 1/3 of the world's astronomers and astrophysicists as they raced to point their telescopes at the collision, but also confirmed the presence of gravitational waves, first predicted in Einstein's theory of general relativity back in 1915. They also discover why the source of our heavier elements such as gold and platinum has been so difficult to prove, until now.
982"The Secret Life of Birds"Katy Brand, Steve Backshall, Professor Tim Birkhead and special guest Brann the Raven15 January 2018 (2018-01-15)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined by guests including Katy Brand, Steve Backshall and Professor Tim Birkhead to uncover the secret life of birds. They'll be looking at some of the extraordinary and cunning behaviour exhibited by many species of birds, both male and female, in an effort to attract a mate. They also get a special visit from Brann the Raven, who takes to the stage to demonstrate just how intelligent some species of birds can be.
993"Antibiotics"Chris Addison, Chief Medical Officer, Dame Sally Davies and Martha Clokie22 January 2018 (2018-01-22)
Antibiotics Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined by comedian Chris Addison, Chief Medical Officer, Dame Sally Davies, and Professor Martha Clokie to look at the history and future for antibiotics.
1004"Teenage Brain"Rory Bremner, Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore and Professor Matthew Cobb29 January 2018 (2018-01-29)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined by impressionist Rory Bremner, Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at UCL Sarah-Jayne Blakemore and Professor of Zoology at Manchester University Matthew Cobb to look at the working of the teenage brain, and why teenagers are so, well, teenagery. Stomping off to your bedroom, being embarrassed by your parents, wanting to fit in with your peers and a love of risky behaviour are all well known traits associated with our teenage years, exasperating parents through the ages. But new research into dynamic changes going on in the brain during these key years has revealed that it's not just hormones that are responsible for these behaviours. Could a better understanding of what is going on during these formative years not only help teenagers themselves, but inform our education system and even help prevent many of the mental health problems that often begin during adolescence?
1015"How Animals Behave"Rufus Hound, Lucy Cooke and Professor Rory Wilson5 February 2018 (2018-02-05)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined by comedian Rufus Hound, Zoologist and broadcaster Lucy Cooke and Professor Rory Wilson to discover how we learn about what animals are up to when we are not looking, and some of the hilarious mistakes we've made in the process of discovery. They'll be hearing about why the sex life of eels has remained so enigmatic, how the mystery of the wandering albatross has been solved, and why making underwear for frogs finally solved the riddle of how babies are made.
1026"Volcanoes"Jo Brand, Tamsin Mather and Clive Oppenheimer12 February 2018 (2018-02-12)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined by comedian Jo Brand and Volcano experts Professor Tamsin Mather and Professor Clive Oppenheimer. They look at the very latest technology that is used to predict the next big volcanic eruption, as well as the history and importance of volcanoes and volcanic activity on our planet.

Series Eighteen[edit]

Total No. Title Guest(s) Original airdate
103TV–Special"Infinite Monkey Cage 100"Katy Brand, Brian Blessed, Eric Idle, Dave Gorman, Andy Hamilton, Alice Roberts, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Sue Black, Fay Dowker, David Spiegelhalter, Richard Wiseman, Professor Tony Ryan and Andrea Sella11 July 2018 (2018-07-11)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince celebrate the 100th episode of the hit science/comedy show, by inviting some very well known monkey cage alumni to join them. Brian Blessed, Eric Idle, Katy Brand, Dave Gorman and Andy Hamilton (to name a few) take to the stage to consider what has been learnt since Episode 1, back in November 2009. Joining them on stage, will be science royalty, including Alice Roberts, American Astrophysicist Neil De Grasse Tyson, Professor Sue Black and Prof Fay Dowker, to look at the big scientific discoveries that have happened in the time since Brian and Robin first hit the airwaves, from the Higgs Boson, to Gravitational Waves, to our understanding of how human evolved. What epic discoveries might be made over the course of the next 100 episodes?
1041"Big Data"Danny Wallace, Hannah Fry and Timandra Harkness16 July 2018 (2018-07-16)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined on stage by Danny Wallace, mathematician Hannah Fry and science writer Timandra Harkness. They'll be going big on Big Data, and asking just how big is it? They'll be looking at where Big Data comes from, should we be worried about it, and what mysteries are hidden within the seemingly endless amounts of information that is collected about us as we go about our daily lives.
1052"Invasion!"Phill Jupitus, Kate Jones and Mark Spencer23 July 2018 (2018-07-23)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined by comedian Phill Jupitus, bat expert and ecologist Professor Kate Jones and forensic botanist Dr Mark Spencer to look at the problems caused by alien invasions, although not of the little green men kind. They look at why such innocent and innocuous sounding plants such as floating pennywort strike terror and fear in the heart of environmentalists up and down the country, and how clever microbes and diseases are able to jump from animals such as bats to humans causing devastating consequences.
1063"Immune System"Shappi Khorsandi, Professor Dan Davis and Professor Steve Jones30 July 2018 (2018-07-30)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined by comedian Shappi Khorsandi, Prof Dan Davis and Prof Steve Jones to look at our amazingly complex and clever immune system. They look at how the human body fights disease, and why it has been so little understood until now. Fear not though, a new revolution in understanding is underway, with some extraordinary insights into the cunning of our little white cells. The panel look at how this new understanding is already leading to some real breakthroughs in treatment for diseases such as cancer, and Shappi reveals the crucial role she played in one such discovery.
1074"The Human Voice"Beardyman, Professor Trevor Cox and Professor Sophie Scott6 August 2018 (2018-08-06)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined by comedian and beatboxer Beardyman, acoustic engineer Prof Trevor Cox and neuroscientist Prof Sophie Scott to explore the amazing capabilities of the human voice. They chat about chatting, vocalise about voices and explore the extraordinary and unique way the human voice works from opera singing to laughter, and discovery why our voice has been so key to our success and survival as a species.
1085"GCHQ"Katy Brand13 August 2018 (2018-08-13)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined by comedian Katy Brand, as they transport the cage of infinite proportions to the home of modern day cryptography and codebreaking., GCHQ. They'll be discovering how far we've come from the days of the humble code book and the birth of machines like Enigma. and how the new digital era has turned us all into modern day code breakers and cryptographers, without us even realising it.

Series Nineteen[edit]

Total No. Title Guest(s) Original airdate
1091"Microbes: Secret Rulers of the World?"Jon Copley, Monica Grady and Ed Byrne7 January 2019 (2019-01-07)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince return for a new series of the hugely popular, award-winning science/comedy show. This week they are joined by comedian Ed Byrne, oceanographer Dr Jon Copley and planetary scientist Prof Monica Grady to ask whether the real master-race on planet Earth is not human but microbe. They'll be looking at how microbes are found in every extreme environment on the planet, how and when they first arrived on the Earth and why the hunt is on to find evidence of microbes in space.
1102"The Future of Humanity"Chris Addison, Astronomer Royal Lord Martin Rees and Baroness Cathy Ashton14 January 2019 (2019-01-14)
The Future of Humanity Brian Cox and Robin Ince take on the entire future of our civilisation, as they are joined by Astronomer Royal and former head of the Royal Society Lord Rees, Baroness Cathy Ashton and comedian, actor and director Chris Addison. They'll be talking about the biggest challenges facing humanity at the moment, and whether science offers the solution to some of these great problems, from Climate Change to the rise of AI.
1113"The Origin of Numbers"Matt Parker, Dr Hannah Fry and Professor Brian Butterworth21 January 2019 (2019-01-21)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined by mathematician Dr Hannah Fry, comedian Matt Parker and neuroscientist Prof Brian Butterworth to ask where numbers come from and can fish count? They'll be looking at the origin of numbers and whether counting is a uniquely human trait that actually started before the evolution of language.
1124"Are Humans Still Evolving?"David Baddiel, Professor Aoife McLysaght and Dr Adam Rutherford28 January 2019 (2019-01-28)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined by comedian and author David Baddiel, Professor of Evolutionary Genetics Aoife McLysaght, and geneticist and broadcaster Adam Rutherford to ask whether human beings are still evolving? Has the invention of modern medicine, and technology meant that survival of the fittest is a thing of the past or are humans evolving new adaptations that will help us cope and survive better in our ever changing world (better thumbs for texting anyone?). If evolution happens over thousands of years, could we even tell if we were evolving as a species, or have humans reached peak human?
1135"How to Build a Bionic Human"Dr Kevin Fong, Noel Fitzpatrick and Lucy Beaumont4 February 2019 (2019-02-04)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined on stage by "supervet" Noel Fitzpatrick, Dr Kevin Fong and comedian Lucy Beaumont to learn how to build a bionic human. They'll be looking at the development of artificial limbs and organs that have been pioneered during times of war and at the extreme end of emergency medicine, and find out how Noel Fitzpatrick is developing new techniques and bionic devices at his veterinary practice, that could eventually be used on humans.
1146"How to Measure the Universe"Jo Brand, Professor Jo Dunkley and Dr Adam Masters11 February 2019 (2019-02-11)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined on stage by comedian Jo Brand, and physicists Prof Jo Dunkley and Dr Adam Masters to look at how we go about measuring our universe, from measuring the contents of atmospheres of planets and moons at the outer edges of our solar system to looking far back in time to study the very earliest beginnings of the cosmos. Our ability to learn about phenomena and worlds that seem almost impossibly out of reach, now give us an incredible insight into the universe we occupy, and how we got here. Brian and Robin find out about some of the big new missions providing information into our own solar system and beyond, and find out what big questions in cosmology still remain a tantalising challenge?

Moon landing anniversary special[edit]

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, a special episode was added in July 2019:

Total No. Title Guest(s) Original airdate
Special1"The Infinite Moonkey Cage"Rusty Schweickart, Gerry Griffin, Andy Aldrin, and Jan Aldrin19 July 2019 (2019-07-19)
A special hour long episode of the hugely popular science/comedy show, celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo moon landings. Recorded at Cocoa Beach, Florida just down the road from Cape Canaveral, Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined by some of the key players involved in landing the first people on the moon, on this day, 1969. Apollo 9 Astronaut Rusty Schweickart, Apollo flight director Gerry Griffin and Apollo children Jan and Andy Aldrin give their perspectives on arguably one of the greatest scientific and engineering achievements of all time. Keep listening for a very special guest appearance by Duran Duran's Nick Rhodes.

Series Twenty[edit]

Total No. Title Guest(s) Original airdate
1151"Dinosaurs"Susannah Maidment, Steve Brusatte and Rufus Hound16 September 2019 (2019-09-16)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince return for a new series of their multi-award winning science/comedy show. They kick off with arguably any child's first interest in science - dinosaurs! They are joined by comedian Rufus Hound and palaeontologists Susannah Maidment from the Natural History Museum and Steve Brusatte from the University of Edinburgh to find out what the latest research and exciting fossil finds have revealed about these epic creatures. Are we in a new age of dinosaur discovery? What are the big questions that dinosaur hunters are hoping to uncover, and did they go extinct at all?
1162"Clever Creatures"Tim Birkhead, Helen Scales and Danny Wallace23 September 2019 (2019-09-23)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined on stage by comedian and author Danny Wallace, ornithologist Professor Tim Birkhead and marine biologist Helen Scales to look at animal intelligence. We have all heard about clever chimps that can count, and about how we can compare the intelligence of humans and the great apes - but have we underestimated many of the other animal species? It would seem so, with remarkable examples of cunning, smart behaviour from animals as diverse as birds, octopuses and even fish. So how do you test a guppies IQ and can a crow really outsmart a gorilla, or even a human...prepare to be amazed.
1173"Science of Dreaming"Professor Penny Lewis, Professor Richard Wiseman and Bridget Christie30 September 2019 (2019-09-30)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined by comedian Bridget Christie, neuroscientist Professor Penny Lewis and psychologist Richard Wiseman to explore the science of dreaming. Our dreams have fascinated humans for millennia and then Freud came along and told us they really did mean something, and mostly they were about sex and anger. Was he right? Why do we dream and can we find meaning in the content of our dreams? Can our dreams help us solve problems, give us new ideas, help us write a symphony, even if they can't predict the future? The panel also discuss what is going on in the brain whilst we sleep, and how memories are formed and consolidated while we snooze. It turns out the phrase "better to sleep on it" has a strong scientific argument.
1184"Anniversary of the Periodic Table"Professor Polly Arnold, Professor Andrea Sella and Katy Brand7 October 2019 (2019-10-07)
How well do you know your Fe from your Cu, and what the heck is Np?? Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined by comedian Katy Brand, Prof Polly Arnold and Prof Andrea Sella to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Dmitri Mendeleev's great achievement. They find out how scientists first realised that the elements that form the ingredients that make up our planet , are able to be organised in such a logical and ordered way, and whether its still a useful tool today. They also discover why one of the guests has been called the Free Solo equivalent of chemists because of the skill and danger involved in their work.
1195"Brits in Space"Tim Peake, Helen Sharman and Mark Steel14 October 2019 (2019-10-14)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined by astronaut and author of "The Astronaut Selection Test Book", Tim Peake, first British astronaut Helen Sharman and comedian Mark Steel for a Brits in Space Special. Tim and Helen talk about their different experiences of training to be an astronaut and the challenges of life in space. They also look to the future as the panel talk about the various options being considered for long term space flight with planned future missions to the Moon and ultimately Mars.

Series Twenty One[edit]

Total No. Title Guest(s) Original airdate
1201"The Science of Laughter"Professor Sophie Scott, Professor Richard Wiseman and Frank Skinner13 January 2020 (2020-01-13)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince return for a new series of science/comedy chat. They are joined on stage, appropriately enough, by comedian Frank Skinner, as they look at the science of what makes us laugh, why we laugh at all, and whether humour and laughter are uniquely human traits. Joining the panel are experts in what makes us chuckle, Prof Sophie Scott and Professor Richard Wiseman. They look at why laughter is not only an ancient human trait that goes a long way to making us the social animal we are today, but that rats and apes also enjoy a good chuckle. They discover whether science can come up with the perfect joke and why a joke with the punchline "quack" is funnier than one with the punchline "moo".
1212"Conspiracy Theories"Professor Karen Douglas, Dr David Robert Grimes and Shazia Mirza20 January 2020 (2020-01-20)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined on stage by comedian Shazia Mirza, science writer and cancer researcher Dr David Robert Grimes and psychologist Prof Karen Douglas to look at the weird world of Conspiracy theories. From Flat Earth believers to people who refuse to accept that humans have ever been to the moon, why is fiction often so much easier to believe than fact - and does it matter? They discuss the psychology and profile of people who are more likely to believe in conspiracies and the devastating effect some, like the anti-vaccine movement, have had on public health. They ask whether being irrational is our default setting and how to convince the most hard-core believers with the power of evidence and critical thinking. Although they would say that wouldn't' they?
1223"Coral Reefs"Dr Heather Koldewey, Professor Callum Roberts and Marcus Brigstocke27 January 2020 (2020-01-27)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined on stage by comedian Marcus Brigstocke and marine biologists Professor Callum Roberts and Dr Heather Koldewey as they look at the amazing creatures that create and colonise coral reefs. Just 2 microscopic organisms are responsible for the creation of these incredible structures, structures so huge that they can be seen from outer-space. Brian, Robin and the panel talk about the vital yet delicate relationship between the coral polyp and its tiny plant lodger, how they evolved to be so co-dependent, and how this unique partnership has led to some of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet. They also look at the very real threat to our planets reefs as our oceans warm, and what, if anything can be done.
1234"Fire"Niamh Nic Daéid, Adam Rutherford and Ed Byrne3 February 2020 (2020-02-03)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined by comedian Ed Byrne, Forensic Chemist Niamh Nic Daéid and biologist Adam Rutherford, as they explore the science of fire and how it has impacted the evolution of life on earth. They also look at whether controlling fire is a uniquely human trait and how other species have evolved to use fire to their advantage.
1245"Quantum Worlds"Jim Al-Khalili, Sean Carroll and Katy Brand10 February 2020 (2020-02-10)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined by comedian Katy Brand, and physicists Sean Carroll and Jim Al-Khalili as they enter the strange and bizarre world of quantum mechanics. Schroedinger's famous thought experiment stuck a cat in a box and asked if it is dead or alive. Quantum physics says the cat is both dead and alive, until we open the box. This mind-bending idea may seem the realm of philosophy, but is actually the science that underpins most of modern life as we know it. Once the panel have dealt with the controversial issues surrounding cats in boxes, they explore whether quantum physics is really an accurate description of reality, and if it is, are there, as the theory suggests, infinite copies of you, me and everything in our universe all existing in every possible combination of ways of existing? If that is the strange but true reality of existence, will we ever be able to prove it?
1256"UFO Special"Maggie Aderin-Pocock, Dallas Campbell, Professor Tim O'Brien and Lucy Beaumont17 February 2020 (2020-02-17)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince host a close encounter of the 1st kind with comedian Lucy Beaumont, astronomer Maggie Aderin-Pocock, Director of Jodrell Bank Professor Tim O’Brien, and science presenter Dallas Campbell to ask if UFOs and aliens have visited Earth? They explore why Lucy's home city of Hull appears to have had more than its fair share of alien visitations, as well as learning about the genuine scientific effort to look for intelligent life elsewhere in our universe.

Series Twenty Two[edit]

Total No. Title Guest(s) Original airdate
1261"The End of the Universe"Brian Greene, Katie Mack, Eric Idle and Steve Martin25 May 2020 (2020-05-25)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince are back for new series, for now at least, as they take an upbeat look at all the different ways our Universe might end. They are joined by legendary comedians Steve Martin and Eric Idle, alongside astrophysicist Katie Mack and cosmologist Brian Greene, to find out which end the panel might prefer. Will we go with the Big Rip or possibly the Big Crunch, or even death by giant bubble that expands so rapidly it wipes out our universe almost instantly? On that cheery note the panel vote for their favourite apocalyptic ending and wonder what they might be doing and what they hope to have achieved when the final moment comes.
1272"Black Holes"Sean Carroll, Janna Levin and Matt Lucas1 June 2020 (2020-06-01)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince look at the weird and wacky world of black holes as they ask a question that has been troubling scientists for years: What happens if you push Matt Lucas into a black hole? They are joined by the very game Matt Lucas, alongside Cosmologist Sean Carroll and Astrophysicist Janna Levin to discover just how strange things might get for our intrepid volunteer, as he ventures into the interior of a black hole. From Holograms to spagettification, it turns out science fact is far more bizarre than anything that science fiction could possibly imagine.
1283"Space Archaeology"Alice Roberts, Sarah Parcak and Sara Pascoe8 June 2020 (2020-06-08)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined by comedian and writer Sara Pascoe, biological anthropologist Alice Roberts and space archaeologist Sarah Parcak. They consider how archaeology today looks far more Star Wars than Indiana Jones, as an archaeologist's list of kit can now include satellites and lasers. They discover how searching for clues from space has led to the discovery of several ancient lost Egyptian cities and how the study of ancient DNA and artefacts reveals our similarities, not differences, with our ancient forebears.
1294"An Astronaut's Guide To Isolation"Chris Hadfield, Rusty Schweickart, Helen Sharman and Nicole Stott15 June 2020 (2020-06-15)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined by a stellar panel of space travellers as they get tips on surviving isolation from a group with a truly unique insight. They are joined by astronauts Helen Sharman, Chris Hadfield, Nicole Stott and Apollo 9's Rusty Schweickart to talk Space X, the future of space travel and how a trip to Mars will be the ultimate test of our ability to survive isolation.
1305"The Sun"Lucie Green, Steve Jones and Tim Minchin22 June 2020 (2020-06-22)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined by a dazzling panel of sun worshipers from actor, comedian and musician Tim Minchin,to solar scientist Dr Lucie Green and biologist Prof Steve Jones. They look at how the evolution of life was only possible given our position relative to the Sun and its possibly unique behaviour, and how rare that situation might be across the rest of the universe. They also look at how the Sun makes you feel and its vital importance to all creatures, especially snails.
1316"When the Monkeys met the Chimps"Dr Jane Goodall, Dr Cat Hobaiter and Bill Bailey29 June 2020 (2020-06-29)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined by Dr Jane Goodall DBE, comedian Bill Bailey and primatologist Dr Cat Hobaiter to find out what we've learnt in the 60 years since Jane first discovered the chimpanzees of Gombe. From tool use, to language and even to culture, her revolutionary work has transformed our understanding of our great ape cousins, and ourselves. The panel chat about how far our understanding has come in that time, and talk about their own unique close-up experiences of chimpanzees, macaques and baboons, and Bill gets a masterclass in how to speak chimp from a true expert!
1327"Does Time Exist?"Fay Dowker, Carlo Rovelli and Mark Gatiss6 July 2020 (2020-07-06)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined by actor and writer Mark Gatiss, theoretical physicists Carlo Rovelli and Fay Dowker to ask timely questions about time. Is time real, does it exist in the fundamental laws of physics, and if it doesn't, why do we experience the sensation of time passing? They look at the idea of the block universe, where our future is as real as our past, which worryingly leads to Robin's favourite question about free will... is that an illusion too? A timely look at the question of time and hopefully just in time...
1338"The Human Brain"David Eagleman, Gina Rippon and Conan O'Brien14 July 2020 (2020-07-14)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince look at the amazing capabilities of the super-adaptable, ever-changing human brain. They are joined by US talk show host Conan O'Brien, and neuroscientists David Eagleman and Gina Rippon to find out how the 3lb organ that sits in our skull allows us to live on every corner of the planet, adapt to any habitat, allows us to argue with each other and ourselves and think about ideas such as free will. They learn whether being a successful comedian is really down to having a brain disorder and how the connections we make in our brain are changing and forming throughout our life, not just when we are young, so you really can teach an old dog, or human, new tricks. And talking of old dogs, a surprise guest makes a genuinely unexpected, special appearance!
1349"What is Life?"Prof Aoife McLysaght, Sir Paul Nurse, Jo Brand and Ross Noble20 July 2020 (2020-07-20)
Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined by comedians Jo Brand and Ross Noble, alongside Nobel prize winner Sir Paul Nurse and geneticist Prof Aoife Mclysaght to ask the biggest question of all: What is Life and how did it start? They look at the amazing feat of nature that has somehow created all of life from just four fundamental units of simple chemistry. From chickens to butterflies to yeast, we are all far more closely related than we think, but how did the spark of life occur, and what has any of this got to do with Ewoks?

References[edit]

  1. ^ "BBC Radio 4 - The Infinite Monkey Cage - Series". BBC. 2014. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
  2. ^ Ince, Robin (27 August 2010). "A cat in a wheelie bin can help us ponder how the universe works". The Telegraph.
  3. ^ Maume, Chris (21 November 2010). "The Infinite Monkey Cage, Radio 4, Monday; Take one boffin. Mix with comedy writers, and hear them gently fizz". The Independent.
  4. ^ "Radio GaGa: Infinite Monkey Cage, Moyles & Bacon!". Tim Minchin. Retrieved 12 September 2011.
  5. ^ "BBC Radio 4 - The Infinite Monkey Cage". BBC. 10 March 2014. Retrieved 23 June 2014.
  6. ^ "Frank Skinner and Jason Byrne win at Sony Awards 2011". The British Comedy Guide. 9 May 2011. Retrieved 9 May 2011.
  7. ^ "TV scientist scoops top radio award". Express & Star. 9 May 2011. Retrieved 9 May 2011.
  8. ^ "54th Rose D'Or Awards Honour the Best in TV and Radio Entertainment". www.rosedor.com. 9 December 2015. Retrieved 26 February 2017.
  9. ^ "Uncaged Monkeys, New Theatre Oxford & touring, review". Telegraph.co.uk. 3 May 2011.
  10. ^ "Infinite universes and dead strawberries: an interview with Brian Cox and Robin Ince". theverge.com. 4 March 2015.
  11. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04bn0gp The Infinite Monkey Cage, season 10, episode 4. Eric Idle states that Jeff Lynne played all the instruments on the recording.
  12. ^ "BBC Radio 4 - The Infinite Monkey Cage - Episodes". BBC. Retrieved 23 June 2014.
  13. ^ "BBC Radio 4 - The Infinite Monkey Cage - Episodes 2010s > 2015 > December". BBC. Retrieved 19 July 2016.

External links[edit]