23 Apr 2008

Betting on science, The Simpsons and how maths keeps aircraft apart – More or Less returns to BBC Radio 4

Tim Harford

Tim Harford

More or Less, the eclectic numbers-based magazine programme, co-produced by The Open University, has returned to BBC Radio 4 for its latest series from 4.30pm on Mondays.

Among the amazing stories featured in the latest series presented by economist Tim Harford, will be the tax-free phenomenon of spread betting, how some scientists are making money by betting on their own theories being proven correct, and how air traffic scheduling relies on mathematics to function and bring aircraft safely into land.

Later in the series will be a round-table discussion featuring the Rt Hon Charles Clarke MP, Vince Cable MP and Fraser Nelson, political editor of The Spectator, about how numbers influence politics and policies and how they are often the most important part of the story.

There will also be an exclusive interview with Al Jean, head writer and executive producer of The Simpsons and Harvard maths graduate, on his love of numbers and how to constantly get good numeracy jokes into the world’s longest running sitcom.

Dr Kevin McConway, senior lecturer in maths and statistics with The Open University and academic adviser on the series said: "I love working with the More or Less team because it’s serious but it’s fun. Serious because numbers play such an important part in our lives --- we’ve got to be able to understand how numbers are used in decisions that affect everything we do. Fun because it’s not all serious --- in the last series we looked at how probability theory can help you win at Monopoly, and in this series we talk about mathematics in The Simpsons!

"Numbers can be funny, numbers can be exciting, numbers can be crucial --- and they’re all in More or Less".

Andrew Caspari, Radio 4 Commissioning Editor, said: "More or Less broadens our journalism in a unique way and looks at the world with a special kind of rigour that is revelatory and entertaining.

"BBC Radio 4 is delighted to work in partnership with The Open University who offer valuable academic back up to our team."

Each episode will be available on Listen Again for seven days and listeners will also be able to podcast the series through iTunes.

Editor’s Notes

More or Less is an Open University/BBC co-production for BBC Radio 4.

The Open University began its association with More or Less in 2005 and this will be the eighth series co-produced by The Open University.

Series Producer for the BBC is Innes Bowen. Executive Producer for The Open University is Emma De’Ath. The Open University Academic Adviser is Dr Kevin McConway.

The Open University and BBC have been in partnership for more than 30 years, providing educational programming to a mass audience. In recent times this partnership has evolved from late night programming for delivering courses to peak time programmes with a broad appeal to encourage wider participation in learning.

All broadcast information is correct at time of issue.


Related Courses and programmes from the Open University:-

- Y162 Starting with Maths
- SMK184 Chance, Risk and Health
- S151 Maths for Science
-MU120 Open Mathematics
-M248 Analysing Data
-DD202 Economics and Economic Change
-DB123 You and Your Money

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