Audio & Podcasts

The Infinite Monkey Cage – 12 Days of Podmas

It was so popular last year that we decided to do it again! Join us this holiday season as we introduce you to twelve of our favourite podcasts in the 12 Days of Podmas.

For 13 years now, The Infinite Monkey Cage has been answering questions, posing problems, laughing at flat earthers and creationists, and generally making science fun and accessible to people who may not have been paying as much attention as they should have in class.

Brought to you by Robin Ince and Brian Cox (the other one), since 2013 the podcast has been longer than the radio broadcast, adding around 15 minutes of additional features that mainly seem to be either Robin making fun of Brian for having good hair, Brian making fun of any scientist who’s not a physicist, or everyone making even more fun at creationists. Seriously, if you think that evolution is ‘just a theory’, this is not the podcast for you.

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The format normally involves each episode having a set topic and sees the two hosts joined by three guests: two experts on the subject and a celebrity – often a comic – who usually has some familiarity as well. There have been some wonderfully memorable moments. Professor Monica Grady showing a fragment of Mars and almost immediately getting upstaged by Patrick Stewart producing a Star Trek communicator, or Brian Blessed’s wonderfully heartfelt tribute to his friend Patrick Moore. From Apollo astronauts to Steve Martin, Neil deGrasse Tyson offering insightful scepticism to Eric Idle writing and recording the theme tune, and world class scientists of every discipline, there are few shows able to boast such quality of guest.

But what really makes it work is the partnership of Ince and Cox. The two have remarkable chemistry, and play their parts well. Cox leans into the joke-killing scientist role beautifully, and Ince is a wonderful foil as the at-sea humanities graduate. The obvious truth is that Cox has a fantastic sense of humour and timing, whilst Ince is far more well read than the vast majority of us. Their natural gifts as presenters, as well their affection for each other as well as the subject of each episode, keeps us listening.

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It’s the moments of spontaneity that are most memorable. Whether it be a sudden realisation that a previously held belief is utterly wrong, a genuinely heated discussion between two scientists who disagree about a fundamental point, or just the pitch perfect mini-monologues that can happen when people at the top of their profession are able to talk about something they are knowledgeable and passionate about, each episode of this podcast is a gem to be treasured. In short, The Infinite Monkey Cage is fun, insightful, and even has Christmas specials. Check it out.

The Infinite Monkey Cage is available from various podcast providers.

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