Podcasting Alan Turing, Review #2: Travels in a Mathematical World’s “History With Noel-Ann Bradshaw”

Days to Centenary: 257

This is the second in a series of reviews of English-language podcasts that relate to Alan Turing  (all of which are available for free through iTunes).

It’s still my intention to review all such podcasts on this site before the centenary arrives, although my research is turning up more and more stuff that is vying for a position here on the blog, so I may have to make an editorial decision somewhere along the way as to what should get priority. For the moment, though, my obsessively completist agenda is solidly in place.

Source: Travels in a Mathematical World

Title: History with Noel-Ann Bradshaw

Running Time: 9:56

Format: Audio only

Sound Quality: 4/5 stars – some sibilant artifacts in the sound

Available here (scroll down to episode 21 for the Turing episode)

Travels in a Mathematical World isn’t a podcast I’d experienced before encountering it in doing research for this blog and I haven’t sampled beyond the Turing episode so I can’t comment on its overall quality.  This episode provides a brief biography of Turing, although in comparison with TechStuff’s podcast this one has a particular emphasis on his work in mathematics rather than on his role in the creation of the computer (which is appropriate since this is a mathematics podcast).

The podcast is hosted and introduced by Peter Rowlett, who has a host of online mathematical ventures, including videos, podcasts, and publications, all available through his web page, including the entertaining “Birthday Presents” video, below.

The bulk of the podcast, however, is delivered by Noel-Ann Bradshaw, a senior lecturer at the University of Greenwich and meetings coordinator of the British Society for the History of Mathematics (who also features prominently in a promotional video for mathematics and statistics at the University of Greenwich, which you can see below — go math geeks!).

The format is that of a straightforward, factual narrative (in contrast, for instance, to the back and forth banter of TechStuff) which is reasonably well written.  The delivery includes a few minor stumbles, but nothing that detracts from the content, and presents the facts in a pleasant manner that makes the content easy to absorb.  The sound quality could be better, but its minor imperfections aren’t very distracting.

Overall, this podcasts works well, but I’m increasingly finding that it, the TechStuff podcast, and some of the others that I have listened to (but not yet reviewed), work best in concert, each one forming a node in an overall array of information.  Some are delivered in a factual manner, others with humour; some are primarily biographical, while others are scholarly.  All together they add up to more than a simple sum of their parts.

Travels in a Mathematical World lives here.  Scroll down to episode 21 for the Turing episode.

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