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The Inquiry

BBC World Service

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495
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The Inquiry
The Inquiry

The Inquiry

BBC World Service

183
Followers
495
Plays
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About Us

The Inquiry gets beyond the headlines to explore the trends, forces and ideas shaping the world.

Latest Episodes

Why the race to build a quantum computer?

Quantum computers could transform our lives. Based on a branch of Physics that even Einstein found "spooky", the machines are still in their infancy. But governments and corporations are spending billions trying to turn them into workable technology. Neal Razzell finds out why by talking to four experts: Shohini Ghose, Professor of Physics and Computer Science at Wilfred Laurier University in Canada Stephanie Wehner, Professor in Quantum Information at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands Winifried Hensinger, Professor or Quantum Technologies at the University of Sussex Jonathan Dowling, Professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of Louisiana and author of 'Quantum Technology - The Second Quantum Revolution' and 'Schrödinger's Killer App - Race to Build the World's First Quantum Computer'. Image: Professor Winfried Hensinger with a quantum computer prototype at the University of Sussex. Credit: Ion Quantum Technology Group, University of Sussex, UK.

23 MIN4 days ago
Comments
Why the race to build a quantum computer?

Why does Donald Trump seem to have such a problem with the truth?

Fact-checkers say the President of the United States has made more than 10,000 false or misleading statements since coming to office. Whether it’s the size of the crowd at his inauguration, the pay rise offered to the military or where his father was born, Donald Trump often says things that are untrue. And he doesn’t rush to correct them, even when they’re outright fabrications. Ruth Alexander examines Donald Trump’s long record of falsehoods, which stretch back even to his schooldays. And she explores his motives, both political and psychological. Photo: US President Donald Trump addresses the press in the White House briefing room. Credit: Nicholas Kamm/Getty Images.

22 MIN1 weeks ago
Comments
Why does Donald Trump seem to have such a problem with the truth?

Why are we having less sex?

Porn, smart phones and the ‘slutty transmitter’. Adults in the US have sex on average about 50 times a year, which has dropped by 20 per cent over the last two decades. It’s a similar story in the UK, Australia, Germany, Finland and Japan. Could it be down to porn or our smart phones? Or is it actually down to something much harder to switch off? Some of the answers might surprise you. Picture: A couple in bed using their phones. Credit: Getty Images

23 MIN2 weeks ago
Comments
Why are we having less sex?

Is Germany OK?

It’s known for precision and punctuality but Europe’s engine is slowing down. Germany’s economy relies heavily on selling its products abroad. Famed for luxury cars like Porsche, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, exports are nearly half the German economy. So if countries decide they don’t want to buy, or can’t afford to buy, the things that Germany makes, it’s a problem. And that’s what’s been happening to Germany today. China – the most important market for most German car makers - is slowing down. Much of Europe is struggling and the US is pursuing its own protectionist policies, to get Americans to buy US-made goods. On top of that, the German car industry is facing tough new EU emissions tests (prompted by the Volkswagen emissions’ scandal of 2015), with crippling penalties if they don’t comply. So, buffeted by these adverse winds in part self-inflicted, in part beyond its control, the German government is being urged to boost its economy at home – by spending more on roads, b...

22 MIN3 weeks ago
Comments
Is Germany OK?

Do children in two-parent families do better?

In 1965 a report from within the US government noted that the number of children born outside marriage, and the number of divorces, in the parts of the American population were rising rapidly. It argued that having many households run by a single woman risked holding back the progress of the next generation. At the time it was very controversial, rejected by mainstream academia and described as victim blaming. More than fifty years on, from the 'Moynihan' report we look at what modern research tells us about how children develop with married, cohabiting and single parents. Is there really a marked difference in their behaviour, cognition or emotional development?

24 MINAUG 8
Comments
Do children in two-parent families do better?

Can you reduce Central American migration?

Families from the Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador now make up the majority of migrants arriving at the US southern border. Many from urban areas are fleeing endemic gang violence, while those from rural regions are affected by droughts and food security issues. The Mexican government is increasing security along their borders, while the Trump administration has been changing asylum law. Could these measures help to lower the number of people choosing to make the dangerous journey? Or is there another way to make sure migrants don't feel like they need to leave their homes? (Photo: A Guatamalan mother with her three daughters crossed Mexico to reach the US border city of Juarez-El paso, Texas. Credit: David Peinado/Getty Images)

24 MINAUG 1
Comments
Can you reduce Central American migration?

Will China crack down on Hong Kong?

Last month Hong Kong witnessed its largest ever protests, the most violent in decades. A proposed law to allow extradition of criminals to mainland China caused uproar. This bill exposed the cracks in relations between Hong Kong and the Beijing government. The current ‘one country, two systems’ arrangement gives the region some autonomy from Beijing. Pro-democracy protesters worry that this is being eroded as the Communist party is trying to bring it further under its influence. Complicating matters is Hong Kong’s significant but shrinking economic importance to China. With this year being the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen square massacre the international community is nervously watching to see how modern China will respond to the civil disobedience on such a large scale. (Protesters storm the Legislative Council in Hong Kong on June 12, 2019. Photo Credit: Anthony Wallace/Getty images.)

22 MINJUL 25
Comments
Will China crack down on Hong Kong?

What kind of Prime Minister would Boris Johnson make?

With his unruly blond hair and shambolic appearance, Boris Johnson is Britain’s best-known politician. He’s also favourite to become the UK’s next Prime Minister. To his supporters, the former Mayor of London is charismatic, entertaining and a man of the people. His critics say he’s unprincipled, ruthless and flexible with the truth. If he wins the Conservative party leadership race, he’ll have to deliver Brexit. But what kind of leader might he be and how will he unite the country? Becky Milligan talks to some of those who’ve worked closely with him to find out what makes him tick. Presenter: Becky Milligan Producer: Sally Abrahams Picture: Boris Johnson poses during a visit to the Port of Dover Ltd., as part of his Conservative Party leadership campaign tour on July 11, 2019 in Dover, UK Credit:Chris Ratcliffe - Pool/Getty Images

24 MINJUL 18
Comments
What kind of Prime Minister would Boris Johnson make?

How can Chennai’s water crisis be solved?

South India’s biggest city, Chennai, is currently in the grip of drought. With the four main reservoirs which supply the city dry, residents have to queue for hours to collect pots of water from government tankers. Critics argue that the shortage isn’t just the result of a single failed monsoon season, but also the responsibility of the government who failed to plan for this scenario. Experts say 21 Indian cities could run out of groundwater next year, and that demand for drinkable water could outstrip supply by double in just a decade. So this week we ask, what can be done to solve this crisis? Image: Indian residents get water from a community well in Chennai Credit: Arun Sankar//AFP/Getty Images

23 MINJUL 11
Comments
How can Chennai’s water crisis be solved?

Is the deep ocean the answer to some of our biggest problems?

Our species is facing a whole lot of problems. Antibiotic resistance is on the rise, land based minerals are depleting and there are serious concerns about how warm everything’s becoming. As the population grows these problems are only going to get worse, but what if we could find some of the solutions to our most pressing problems beneath the waves? Scientists have discovered that deep sea sponges could help fight MRSA, your smart phone could be powered by minerals located thousands of metres beneath the sea, and there are even enzymes that could help your washing machine run on a colder cycle, saving both energy and your new cashmere sweater. Is the deep sea the answer to some of our biggest problems? There’s a lot of promise, but what are the risks? Presenter: Ruth Alexander Producer: Lizzy McNeill (Photo: Sunset over the sea. Credit: da-kuk/Getty Images)

23 MINJUL 4
Comments
Is the deep ocean the answer to some of our biggest problems?

Latest Episodes

Why the race to build a quantum computer?

Quantum computers could transform our lives. Based on a branch of Physics that even Einstein found "spooky", the machines are still in their infancy. But governments and corporations are spending billions trying to turn them into workable technology. Neal Razzell finds out why by talking to four experts: Shohini Ghose, Professor of Physics and Computer Science at Wilfred Laurier University in Canada Stephanie Wehner, Professor in Quantum Information at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands Winifried Hensinger, Professor or Quantum Technologies at the University of Sussex Jonathan Dowling, Professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of Louisiana and author of 'Quantum Technology - The Second Quantum Revolution' and 'Schrödinger's Killer App - Race to Build the World's First Quantum Computer'. Image: Professor Winfried Hensinger with a quantum computer prototype at the University of Sussex. Credit: Ion Quantum Technology Group, University of Sussex, UK.

23 MIN4 days ago
Comments
Why the race to build a quantum computer?

Why does Donald Trump seem to have such a problem with the truth?

Fact-checkers say the President of the United States has made more than 10,000 false or misleading statements since coming to office. Whether it’s the size of the crowd at his inauguration, the pay rise offered to the military or where his father was born, Donald Trump often says things that are untrue. And he doesn’t rush to correct them, even when they’re outright fabrications. Ruth Alexander examines Donald Trump’s long record of falsehoods, which stretch back even to his schooldays. And she explores his motives, both political and psychological. Photo: US President Donald Trump addresses the press in the White House briefing room. Credit: Nicholas Kamm/Getty Images.

22 MIN1 weeks ago
Comments
Why does Donald Trump seem to have such a problem with the truth?

Why are we having less sex?

Porn, smart phones and the ‘slutty transmitter’. Adults in the US have sex on average about 50 times a year, which has dropped by 20 per cent over the last two decades. It’s a similar story in the UK, Australia, Germany, Finland and Japan. Could it be down to porn or our smart phones? Or is it actually down to something much harder to switch off? Some of the answers might surprise you. Picture: A couple in bed using their phones. Credit: Getty Images

23 MIN2 weeks ago
Comments
Why are we having less sex?

Is Germany OK?

It’s known for precision and punctuality but Europe’s engine is slowing down. Germany’s economy relies heavily on selling its products abroad. Famed for luxury cars like Porsche, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, exports are nearly half the German economy. So if countries decide they don’t want to buy, or can’t afford to buy, the things that Germany makes, it’s a problem. And that’s what’s been happening to Germany today. China – the most important market for most German car makers - is slowing down. Much of Europe is struggling and the US is pursuing its own protectionist policies, to get Americans to buy US-made goods. On top of that, the German car industry is facing tough new EU emissions tests (prompted by the Volkswagen emissions’ scandal of 2015), with crippling penalties if they don’t comply. So, buffeted by these adverse winds in part self-inflicted, in part beyond its control, the German government is being urged to boost its economy at home – by spending more on roads, b...

22 MIN3 weeks ago
Comments
Is Germany OK?

Do children in two-parent families do better?

In 1965 a report from within the US government noted that the number of children born outside marriage, and the number of divorces, in the parts of the American population were rising rapidly. It argued that having many households run by a single woman risked holding back the progress of the next generation. At the time it was very controversial, rejected by mainstream academia and described as victim blaming. More than fifty years on, from the 'Moynihan' report we look at what modern research tells us about how children develop with married, cohabiting and single parents. Is there really a marked difference in their behaviour, cognition or emotional development?

24 MINAUG 8
Comments
Do children in two-parent families do better?

Can you reduce Central American migration?

Families from the Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador now make up the majority of migrants arriving at the US southern border. Many from urban areas are fleeing endemic gang violence, while those from rural regions are affected by droughts and food security issues. The Mexican government is increasing security along their borders, while the Trump administration has been changing asylum law. Could these measures help to lower the number of people choosing to make the dangerous journey? Or is there another way to make sure migrants don't feel like they need to leave their homes? (Photo: A Guatamalan mother with her three daughters crossed Mexico to reach the US border city of Juarez-El paso, Texas. Credit: David Peinado/Getty Images)

24 MINAUG 1
Comments
Can you reduce Central American migration?

Will China crack down on Hong Kong?

Last month Hong Kong witnessed its largest ever protests, the most violent in decades. A proposed law to allow extradition of criminals to mainland China caused uproar. This bill exposed the cracks in relations between Hong Kong and the Beijing government. The current ‘one country, two systems’ arrangement gives the region some autonomy from Beijing. Pro-democracy protesters worry that this is being eroded as the Communist party is trying to bring it further under its influence. Complicating matters is Hong Kong’s significant but shrinking economic importance to China. With this year being the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen square massacre the international community is nervously watching to see how modern China will respond to the civil disobedience on such a large scale. (Protesters storm the Legislative Council in Hong Kong on June 12, 2019. Photo Credit: Anthony Wallace/Getty images.)

22 MINJUL 25
Comments
Will China crack down on Hong Kong?

What kind of Prime Minister would Boris Johnson make?

With his unruly blond hair and shambolic appearance, Boris Johnson is Britain’s best-known politician. He’s also favourite to become the UK’s next Prime Minister. To his supporters, the former Mayor of London is charismatic, entertaining and a man of the people. His critics say he’s unprincipled, ruthless and flexible with the truth. If he wins the Conservative party leadership race, he’ll have to deliver Brexit. But what kind of leader might he be and how will he unite the country? Becky Milligan talks to some of those who’ve worked closely with him to find out what makes him tick. Presenter: Becky Milligan Producer: Sally Abrahams Picture: Boris Johnson poses during a visit to the Port of Dover Ltd., as part of his Conservative Party leadership campaign tour on July 11, 2019 in Dover, UK Credit:Chris Ratcliffe - Pool/Getty Images

24 MINJUL 18
Comments
What kind of Prime Minister would Boris Johnson make?

How can Chennai’s water crisis be solved?

South India’s biggest city, Chennai, is currently in the grip of drought. With the four main reservoirs which supply the city dry, residents have to queue for hours to collect pots of water from government tankers. Critics argue that the shortage isn’t just the result of a single failed monsoon season, but also the responsibility of the government who failed to plan for this scenario. Experts say 21 Indian cities could run out of groundwater next year, and that demand for drinkable water could outstrip supply by double in just a decade. So this week we ask, what can be done to solve this crisis? Image: Indian residents get water from a community well in Chennai Credit: Arun Sankar//AFP/Getty Images

23 MINJUL 11
Comments
How can Chennai’s water crisis be solved?

Is the deep ocean the answer to some of our biggest problems?

Our species is facing a whole lot of problems. Antibiotic resistance is on the rise, land based minerals are depleting and there are serious concerns about how warm everything’s becoming. As the population grows these problems are only going to get worse, but what if we could find some of the solutions to our most pressing problems beneath the waves? Scientists have discovered that deep sea sponges could help fight MRSA, your smart phone could be powered by minerals located thousands of metres beneath the sea, and there are even enzymes that could help your washing machine run on a colder cycle, saving both energy and your new cashmere sweater. Is the deep sea the answer to some of our biggest problems? There’s a lot of promise, but what are the risks? Presenter: Ruth Alexander Producer: Lizzy McNeill (Photo: Sunset over the sea. Credit: da-kuk/Getty Images)

23 MINJUL 4
Comments
Is the deep ocean the answer to some of our biggest problems?

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