Watch our previous Talks, with new content added every week. The same fascinating Garden Talks, ready when you are.
Choose from favourite topics or surprise yourself with something new. Why not let your journey be driven by your curiosity?
Pick from 121 past Garden talks.
In severe psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia the normal functioning of the mind is compromised. What does it feel like to experience delusions & hallucinations and how do they differ from ordinary beliefs & normal experiences?
More than half the world speaks two or more languages fluently. And yet being bilingual is a label often reserved for native speakers who learn multiple languages as children. Can you both 'be' and 'become' bilingual?
From the paintings of Van Gogh to the music of Beyonce, art has a very close relationship to popular culture reflecting the trends and tastes of a given time, and provide insight into tastes in music, fashion, popular stories and much more
Sharks are often one of the more misunderstood creatures of the sea, for years demonised by movies. This talk explores why sharks are in fact an essential part of the ocean's ecosystem and how our own future is dependent on saving them.
Agriculture has been at the centre of civilisation for thousands of years. However, when we shop for our food, have you wondered about what developments have led to the food getting on our plates.
Conjoined twins are among the rarest of human beings. Revered in some cultures and vilified in others. How should we think about individuality in conjoined twinning, & should the phenomenon often seen as a medical “problem” be solved?
Some of mankind's most enduring questions are about who we are as individuals, how we can live successfully alongside others, & the tension between the two. What can we learn about identity from our furry, feathered and scaly friends?
The world of dating, sex and childbirth is a hazardous one, full of complex behaviours and even threats to our health. Well, mating in the animal kingdom is just as complex. What can we learn by looking at our animal cousins?
How we eat and the impact it has on our bodies, from weight loss and weight gain to eating disorders, is complex and a key facet of human health. But most of these behaviours and conditions aren't unique to our species. What can the animal world teach us?
Humans are information-seeking beings at heart. But while technology has given us unprecedented access to the data we crave, it has created a deluge of side effects. How are we adapting to information and stimulation overload?
The devil is one of the most recognisable figures in the western world, making frequent appearances on screen, in art and literature, and even in political rhetoric. Why, in our comparatively secular age, does the demonic continue to captivate us?
Stress starts in the mind, but it can take an enormous toll on the body too. Left unchecked, it can even prove fatal. What is stress, from a scientific perspective, and how does it wreak havoc on our bodies when we're in a state of burnout?
News broke that Ukraine was preparing war crimes charges against Russian military personnel. How feasible or likely is it that participants in the war could end up in the docks in Ukraine or the International Criminal Court in The Hague?
The Easter story of the death and resurrection of Jesus is central to the religion of millions of Christians around the world, and its key events are recognisable to many millions more. Did Early Christians really believe in a literal resurrection?
Plants wouldn’t have made it out of the water 450 million years ago if not for their collaboration with fungi. They are an ancient and extraordinary kingdom that exists everywhere. But if fungi are so essential, why are they so easy to miss?
Meditation - training your attention and awareness to reach a calm and stable state - is an ancient practice found all over the world and used in the modern day to manage stress. What's going on in your brain when you achieve this level of focus?
International diplomacy in the age of social media is no longer conducted by letter or phone call but Live Tweeted in real time & in public. From Trump vs North Korea to Wars, how are foreign relations conducted in the Digital Age?
We often hear about nature vs nurture, but did you know that science can pinpoint specific personality traits that can be traced to the environment we grew up in? How much of our adult personality has its roots in not who we were born, but where?
The 20th and 21st centuries are said to be the age of dictatorship, and this month's invasion of Ukraine is the latest frontline. With our world's leaders in the spotlight, what traits do they share, and when and why do they cross society's boundaries?
Love can make us act against logic and reason. It can make us irrational. It can make us forget about our own best interests, or even risk our own safety. Why have we developed such a strong instinct to love, when in so many ways it would be easier not to?
The invasion of Ukraine by Russia took the world by surprise. But tension between these two nations has been bubbling for many years. Why is Ukraine so important to Putin? And how did we get from Ukrainian independence to invasion?
There have been nearly 6m victims of Covid-19, but even this enormous death toll represents just a fraction of those lost to the Bubonic Plague in the Middle Ages. What do you need to know about the most fatal event in human history?
Imagining new worlds in speculative fiction and sci fi doesn't just help us envision possible futures; it also gives us a way to think about our world as it is now. What do our fictional worlds tell us about the world we want to live in?
Have you ever arrived at your destination with no memory of the journey that got you there? Your unconscious mind has been at work. Does that mean we don't always have free will over our actions and decisions? And what does that tell us about the brain?
We think of sleep as a period of relaxation and recuperation, but while we snooze, our brains remain incredibly busy, often with intriguing "side effects" like dreams and sleepwalking. What does the mind get up to when we're not paying attention?
Humans aren't unique in having an adolescent stage, but we are pretty unique in how we react to it. Why do other species find it easier to surf the trials and turmoils of this challenging life phase than we do?
History remembers the persecution of early Christians as a clash between the Roman state and its traditional gods, and the new Christian cult and its upstart God. But is that really all there is to the story?
Dopamine is our feel-good hormone: the one that encourages us to seek out pleasure. But the relentless pursuit of pleasure can lead to pain too. How can we find contentment in an age of instant gratification and overindulgence?
The law has to decide at what age someone should be held accountable for their actions. What does neuroscience tell us about when that should be?
More than 75% of sea creatures produce their own light. How do they do it, and what can we learn from this incredible marine firework display?
Old cookery books can tell us a lot more than just how to cook a meal. What do they reveal about topics as diverse as access to technology and the concept of truth?
Not only does DNA control physical characteristics like height, but it also shapes how our bodies react to food. Is it true that you are what you eat?
The Sharing Economy is challenging the West's traditional view of ownership, but other ways of thinking about property and possession have existed for millennia. What do they look like?
There's so much left to learn about the sea and its organisms. Could the ocean be the source of the next drug to change medicine?
Scientists have long used thought experiments to further their understanding of the world. But was Shakespeare the first person to do it?
Not even our closest primate relatives think about food in the way humans do. What does the food we eat tell us about our own evolutionary history?
The tech required to explore the deepest parts of the ocean is coming on in leaps and bounds. What bizarre habitats and organisms have we found, and what still remains to be discovered?
The modern world is increasingly polarised; we see things in black and white. How can Shakespeare teach us to hold two conflicting ideas in our heads simultaneously?
Cold case reviews often have to battle misinformation and conspiracy theories, as well as missing pieces. How do investigators see through the chaos to a solution?
History's leading ladies often come with a bad reputation. What can the Black Queen teach us about the misunderstood women of the past?
Fingerprints are getting rarer - everyone's seen the TV shows. What new tools can we bring in to confirm a criminal's identity, and is it ethical to use them?
How can someone on an acid trip see sounds or hear colours? And why do some people have this same experience all the time, drug-free?
Do the anatomical differences between men and women extend to the biology of the brain? Or does it all come down to environmental influence?
DNA is the go-to forensic evidence in many criminal cases. What other trace evidence can be used to identify the perpetrator when they don't leave DNA behind?
The most transformative scientific breakthroughs depend on maths. Which problems are mathematicians working on that will drive scientific change in the coming decades?
The body can create a shocking array of symptoms, from paralysis to seizures, seemingly without any medical explanation. Is the brain responsible, and if so, why does it do it?
As the science improves, we can detect smaller and smaller traces of DNA. Does that mean we could pin someone to a crime scene who was never there at all?
Artificial intelligence systems are built to mimic human intelligence. Do they have any chance of replicating all the abilities of a brain?
More than 70% of deaths linked to drug use worldwide are related to opioids. How did these drugs designed to treat pain end up crippling communities?
We think of forensics as a science - dispassionate and objective. But can we say the same about the humans who interpret it and decide what it means?