A Point of View
Summary: Weekly reflections on topical issues from a range of contributors including historian Lisa Jardine, novelist Sarah Dunant and writer Alain de Botton.
John Gray draws on the novels of Mervyn Peake to argue it's a mistake to imagine that modernity marks a fundamental change in human experience.
A story by Walter de la Mare inspires philosopher John Gray to argue that the prevailing creed of scientific materialism is a "simple minded philosophy" too limited for an unknowable world.
Philosopher John Gray wonders what the rise of the cyber currency Bitcoin tells us about our human need for freedom and protection.
Adam Gopnik reflects on the terrible day when children finally leave home.
What is the difference between magic and science? What is the difference between Galileo and his contemporary, the famous Elizabethan astrologer and alchemist John Dee? Adam Gopnik says it's the experimental method - the looking and seeing and testing that goes with true science. But when he wrote about this recently he found that fervent members of the John Dee fan club disagreed.
Every nation has a core irrationality - a belief about itself which no amount of contrary evidence can shift, says Adam Gopnik.
Lust, laughter and loyalty is the prformula for a happy marriage, says writer Adam Gopnik.
As the world's top chess players battle it out in London, Adam Gopnik reflects on why we overrate masters and underrate mastery.
Historian Lisa Jardine reflects on comets and the lessons we can learn from early astronomers.
Lisa Jardine celebrates the achievements of the mathematician Dame Mary Cartwright, whose work helped war-time radar engineers and became the foundation of chaos theory.
Lisa Jardine celebrates the influence of art connoisseur Sir Denis Mahon and reflects on the impact of wealthy art collectors on public taste and government policy.
Lisa Jardine celebrates Elizabeth of Bohemia, the "Winter Queen", and sees her relegation to the margins of history as typical of our failure to recognise powerful women.
David Cannadine defends his home city of Birmingham against a slur in "Pride and Prejudice" by celebrating its past and its current cultural renaissance.
David Cannadine celebrates the saving of New York's now century old Grand Central Terminal and regrets the destruction of the city's other great beaux-arts station.
David Cannadine reflects on the enduring appeal of the teddy bear in contemporary culture since they were first named after Theodore Roosevelt over a hundred years ago.