Cambridge Ideas

Cambridge Ideas is an on-going series of short documentaries presenting cutting edge research at Cambridge University together with comment and opinion on matters of global significance. The videos in this collection include:

Darwin's women: explores the emergence of women scientists in the Victorian era, and the help and support that Darwin gave them.

Sticky feet: Chris Clemente explains why insects can walk on the ceiling and the possible applications of his research.

How many lightbulbs?: David Mackay presents a passionate, personal analysis of the energy crisis in the UK, with some surprising conclusions.

Just add water: Dr Alan Tunnecliffe explains how extraordinary animals called rotifers are able to survive under conditions deadly to most life.

Meet the algae: A look at algae as a potential source of renewable energy.

Professor Risk: David Spiegelhalter looks at the subject of risk. He compares comparative risks and shows how statistics are used to face up to life's major risks.

Seahorses and the onion world: Dr Amanda Vincent explains her interest in seahorses and how her research is helping to conserve threatened habitats.

The emotional computer: Professor Peter Robinson explores how emotions can be used to improve interaction between humans and computers.

The future of energy: three academics look at wind power, carbon capture and storage (CCS) and material efficiency as examples of how we can cut our carbon dioxide emissions.

This icy world: Professor Julian Dowdeswell describes how his research reveals the challenges we all face from climate change.

Please note that video comments are moderated by the National STEM Learning Centre and Network and do not represent the views of the University of Cambridge.



Showing 10 result(s)

Sticky Feet

This video features Chris Clemente, from Cambridge University, who is studying the mechanisms that ants and other insects (especially cockroaches) use to walk down as well as up walls. Ants have incredibly sticky feet.

With them they can hang onto ceilings, whilst carrying 100 times their body weight. But if...

How Many Light Bulbs Does It Take to Change a Man?

This video features Cambridge University physicist, David Mackay, in a passionate, personal analysis of the energy crisis in the UK, in which he comes to some surprising conclusions about the way forward.

The film is based on his new book Sustainable Energy Without the Hot Air, in which Professor Mackay...

Just Add Water

Rotifers are microscopic animals that survive against all the odds. This film follows Dr Alan Tunnacliffe, award-winning Cambridge researcher at the Institute of Biotechnology, as he tests their super-powers by draining 90% of the water in their microscopic bodies, heats them to boiling point and freezes them in...

Meet the Algae

In this film, scientists at Cambridge University take a closer look at algae and examine its potential as a renewable source of energy. In the near future algae could be used as a sustainable, carbon neutral biofuel. Alison Smith, Professor of plant biochemistry,...


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