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Greater Minds: Hilary Mantel on the life and project

Shortly before her death, Susan Sontag said ‘that somewhere along the line, one has to choose between the Life and the Project’. Hilary Mantel quoted her in the third of this year’s Reith lectures, while she was talking about the

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Posted in Greater minds, Wednesday Pontification

Greater Minds: Hilary Mantel on adapting the past

The Reith Lectures are an annual pleasure from the BBC to the world. Every year, a prominent speaker gives a series of lectures on a subject close to their heart, followed by questions from an audience that usually includes some

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Posted in Greater minds, Wednesday Pontification

Greater Minds: Stephen Hawking on black holes

Stephen Hawking gave this year’s Reith Lectures on the subject of black holes. Hawking combined quantum mechanics and relativity to show black holes emit ‘Hawking radiation’. Hawking radiation shows that unpredictability is inherent to the structure of the universe. Hawking

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Posted in Greater minds, Wednesday Pontification

Inspirations: Atul Gawande on Numbered Days

Modern medicine can extend life beyond the point where the patient feels it is worth living. The role of the doctor is to ask the patient how they want to spend what time they have left and to help them

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Posted in Inspirations, Wednesday Pontification

Inspirations: Atul Gawande on Medical Fallibility

Constructive criticism of medical practice aims to improve it, not to deny its successes. Some of modern medicine’s advances come about through highly complex processes, which have a lot to go wrong. Failures may come about because the knowledge necessary

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Posted in Inspirations, Wednesday Pontification
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