A podcast about history, science, tales and everything in between.
We are The Curiosity of a Child, a father and son who discuss everything from science and history to monsters and games. We look at the quirky and unusual as well we the mundane from around the world as well as seeking out local history, events and characters. Don’t be put off by a young co-host, this isn’t a podcast aimed at kids, we don’t shy away from the stories we uncover. That said we aim to by fun, accessible and enjoyable to all! And we don’t just research, we like to test and recreate! We’ve performed a traditional magical ritual whilst exploring the history of magic and recreated the Great London Stink to understand just how bad it was. We’ve tasted spices from around the globe to understand why nations went to war over them and recorded in megalithic passage graves to feel the power they gave to our ancestors. Join us and rediscover your curiosity!
This episode we take a break from talking history and science and interview Paul Mayze MD of Avid Games, the creators of Cards, the Universe and Everything affectionately known as CUE Cards. A great fun mobile game that’s chock-full of facts about… well everything! CUE Cards is a deck building and battling game where you can learn about everything from Chinese Folklore to the Higgs Boson and Corn Beef Sandwiches to the Macrauchenia!
46: Potato, Potato, Potato
Foundation of the modern world
The potato, it’s been with us forever, it’s so mundane and everyday it’s hardly worth thinking about, right? Wrong! We travel from Axomama, an Andean potato goddess, through it’s spread across Europe (correcting several incorrect anecdotes along the way) to modern day China where’s the humble potato is celebrated in song!
45: Artificial intelligence
Creativity and talking to animals
Artificial intelligence is set to transform the world altering how we work, access content and create. Many visions of AI show it as robotic, machinelike and impersonal but is this really the case? In this first AI revolution it’s creativity and artistic disciplines that are most touched. But can a computer really be creative and what does creativity mean? Trained on our data - our images, writings, stories - they have only ever had an echo of the true experience of feeling sad or the wind in their hair. We explore this topic, demonstrate how DALL·E works, get creeped out by Bing uncover what animals say, all using AI!
44: Elementary my dear Anton
Atoms and elements
Last episode we were dragged down to hell through our naive use of magic and occult elements - this time we break free thanks to the real elements that make our world - the atoms. From our obsession with gold to burning diamonds with giant magnifying glasses we’ve long sought to control, create and transform the world. Beginning with the first nanoseconds of the universe we chart humanity’s understanding of these smallest of building blocks.
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43: The history of magic
And we summon a banshee
Magic has a long and complex history. From the earliest times people have sought to understand and manipulate the world, predict the future or curse and control others! We look at the history of magic, learning all we can then attempt to cast the perfect spell!
42: 22 Orphans to Save the World
The 1803 Balmis Expedition
We were honoured to be invited to talk at Intelligent Speech 2022 on the theme of crossings. https://www.intelligentspeechconference.com/ We selected the Balmis expedition - a Spanish attempt to vaccinate their empire from smallpox in the early 1800s but in an age before air travel and refrigeration how do you transfer a delicate vaccine across the world’s oceans? Enter 22 orphans to save the world... We had a few technical issues during recording but I have tried my best to clean the audio up.
41: William Dampier
Explorer, pirate, privateer, navigator, and naturalist
We look at the life of one of the most amazing but forgotten men of the 1600s, William Dampier. Ever curious he was an explorer, navigator, naturalist, writer and so much more. The author of A New Voyage Around the World, his accounts opened the world to the public. Never before had they read such detailed descriptions of exotic locations beyond their shores.
40: What is time?
The reality and the preception
Time is one of the biggest mysteries of science but also one of the fundamental aspects of our reality. It’s nature has been discussed for centuries, from Aristotle to Newton to Einstein, we’ve sought answers but only found more questions as we’ve peeled back it’s layers. There is no fixed ‘now’, every point in space has it’s own flow of time. Does time even exist? How much of what we feel is simply our brain attempting to make sense of the world? Join us as we uncover it’s secrets.
39: The ‘True History’ of Flight
From ancient rockets to personal balloons
Legend tells of an early pioneer of rocketry who, in 1633, blasted off over Istanbul in celebration of the birth of the Sultan’s daughter. There are stories of an eccentric French couple flying horses and bulls into the sky to entertain the masses. There were inventors who saw the future of travel in personal balloons that allowed us to bound across the landscape as if we were an astronaut on the moon. These tales my sound absurd by they are the ‘True History’ of mankind’s obsession with flight. Join us as we discover some of history’s craziest people who put entertainment and progress ahead of their mortality!
38: The Paradoxical Platypus
The history and science of this unusual mammal
We travel downunder to meet one of Australia’s most unusual creatures: Ornithorhynchus anatinus, better know as the Platypus. We explore the folklore, tell the history, look at the science of how we came to understand Ornithorhynchus anatinus. Along the way there are epic arguments and a secret WW2 mission, finally we top it off with a rap written and performed by Anton!
37: Norman Castles
From motte and bailey to concentric circles
This episode Anton takes the lead as he explores the development of Norman castles in the British Isles. Whilst fortifications dotted the English landscape long before the 1066 Norman invasion nothing quite like their castles existed before. Anton and I talk about early motte and bailey fortifications that offered only rudimentary protection to vast concentric circle castles like Beaumaris in Wales that dominated the surrounding landscape. What did they symbolise? How did they change? And are they the origin of IKEA?!
36: Black Pepper
King of Spices
Pepper, king of the spices. Found in every kitchen and on every restaurant table pepper is a spice that’s ‘just there’. Today we take this spice for granted but this wasn’t always the case as great European powers fought over it’s control wanting to monopolise the trade and the wealth it brought.
35: Greg Wah
We are honoured to be joined by Greg Wah, science communicator from Australia and co-host of the excellent Smart Enough to Know Better podcast. We discuss the size of the universe and how the JWST is going to help us look back further than ever, iconic images from Hubble, the beauty and importance of science and more.
34: Interview: Andrew McCarthy
Keeping with our space theme we chat to Astrophotographer Andrew McCarthy about how he captures his incredible images, space travel, aliens and more.
33: Warren De La Rue
The man who looked at the sun
History remembers many great men but it forgets far more. Warren De la Rue, born 1815, was an engineer and scientist who pioneered astral photography. From designing and operating the photoheliograph – the first instrument created specifically for photographing celestial bodies – to improving chemical processes to decrease exposure times De la Rue was a true innovator.
32: Ghost Hunters!
We seek the truth.
We go ghost hunting in a Neolithic passage grave, taking with us an infrared robot, an EMF metre and recording equipment for EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon). Do we capture anything? Does anything capture us!?
31: Interview: Tim Brown
Paranormal Intelligence Gathering Service
Halloween is drawing near and the spirits are stirring so what better time than now to chat with Tim Brown from the Paranormal Intelligence Gathering Service (PIGS).
30: A London stink
Miasma and plastic pollution
This episode marks our two year anniversary and we celebrate in style! I recreate the 1858 Great Stink of London, a terrible smell caused by an overburdened sewerage system and unresponsive government. Anton then tells of modern day pollution - plastic dumped into the world’s oceans where it kills wildlife. One of the worst affected areas is the small atoll of Midway where the Albatross population is under threat.
How do we see the world?
What is perception? How do we see the world? How do our senses trick and lie to us? Through a series of simple experiments you can try at home we look at all these questions. We then delve deeper into our perception and understanding of the world around us. Most people perceive themselves as above average, can’t take on new ideas and misremember events. Being aware of this will help us all understand the world and each other with deeper respect.
28: Dr George McGavin
We chat with the leading entomologist
We are honoured to be joined by the very charming George McGavin. One of the leading entomologists he taught at the University of Oxford before embarking on TV career that has taken him deep into the jungles of Guyana, New Guinea and more. Always lively and passionate George is full of stories of his adventures and the importance of understanding our position in, and the protection of, our fragile environment.
27: Foam guns to chicken bombs
Stupid weapons from history
War is never nice but sometimes it drives people to their extremes. In desperation to gain the upper hand all logic and rational thought is flung out the window and insane proposals for weapons are put forth. From dropping cakes seeded with anthrax on herds of cows to bats with bomb-backpacks and giant siege towers to expanding foam guns mankind has devised some odd and, let’s be honest, terrifying devices. Join us as we travel through time discovering some of the strangest.
26: Oxen, more than just ‘unintact bulls’
We look at this oft-forgotten animalg
In possibly our most uncomfortable episode yet for Anton we talk Oxen! In school history lessons they just seem to turn during the agricultural revolution to help with crop rotation and then disappear. But what exactly are Oxen, how are they used, where do they come from and what is their history? We travel the world to answer all these questions.
25: William Le Lacheur
The transformation of Costa Rica
After its independence in 1821 Costa Rica was a poor nation with very little outside trade but one man, from a small island halfway around the world, would change that. This episode we tell his remarkable story.
24: Old toys and Christmas elves
What will Anton make of older gifts?
Dec 23rd, 2020 Come settle down next to the fire, help yourself to a mince pie and glass of mulled wine for we have a festive delight for you. This episode we take a relaxed look at popular toys from days gone bye, what will Anton make of Tonka Trucks, Pet Rocks and Cabbage Patch kids? But it’s not long until the warmth of the fire sends the drowsy child to sleep, but he’s awoken by a visitor checking up which list, naughty or nice, he should be on…
23: We go nuts!
Hazelnut folklore and the Conker Cup
This episode we go nuts! Conkers and hazelnuts to be exact! Have you ever heard of Melch Dick, a forest guardian who punished children for picking unripe nuts? Or do you know why Ministry of Munitions asked school children to collect conkers during WW1? We also interview Conker Cup representative and host of Chestnut Chat, ‘Mr Conkers’, who tells us all about the exciting sport.
22: Corpse Medicine
From mummies to brains to mellified man
In this gruesome episode we look at corpse medicine. For thousands of years humans have used other humans for medicine. Not only do we look at the history but we actually recreate some of the famous concoctions!
21: Pigments that poison
We look at the history and science of colour
Our love of colour goes deep into the depths of prehistory to a time when humans weren’t exactly like they are today. Artists all over the world have sought out new pigments, new colours, to wow and amaze. But the processes in creating them have often been unusual and even deadly!
20: Talk like a necromancer pirate monk!
Every 19 September is International Talk Like a Pirate Day and we thought we’d celebrate with some pirate tales, history and facts. We aren’t just looking at the golden age of piracy though - we take our time machine to see how Julius Caesar handles being captured by pirates and tell the tale of Eustace the Black Monk. Anton uncovers various pirate facts and rights some wrongs in how we view them and teaches me some pirate lingo! So let’s hoist our sails and journey together once more.
19: Margaret Ann Neve
The oldest woman in the world & a look at frozen dogs
This episode we travel far back in time to look at some frozen dogs found in the Siberian tundra. These amazingly preserved animals are helping scientists understand the evolution and domestication of modern-day canines - could they be ancestors of the first Russian space dogs? We follow this with the life of Margaret Ann Neve, the first woman to live to 110 years and span three different centuries – truly a Guernsey Great!
18: Something smelly
The science and history of farts
Since the last episode Anton has turned 10 so as a little treat and a sign of his new levels of responsibility he selected the topic for this show. It’s fun and maybe a tiny bit rude but still full of science, facts and history!
17: Fortress Guernsey
The Nazi invasion and occupation of the Channel Islands
On 28 June 1940 the sound of German aircraft filled the skies over the Channel Islands, they were followed by the whistle of bombs and the crack of explosions. The islands had been demilitarised but a row of trucks on quay of St Peter Port's harbour were mistake for military vehicles and destroyed - red liquid spilling from them, their cargo of tomatoes symbolic of the 34 civilians killed in the attack.
16: Our friendly pollinators
Bees, butterflies and fear is in the mind
Every person alive today is here thanks to pollinators – bees, wasps, butterflies, beetles and more. They are vital to all life on our planet but their habitats aren’t always protected. Anton investigates the pollinators found in Guernsey and the Pollinator Project – a local initiative to help protect and raise awareness of their importance. I then tell of a traumatic event that happened to me several nights ago and the effect it had on my brain and body!
Guernsey Literary Festival WriteStuff winners & Vulture poo!
This episode we look at the winners of the WriteStuff, a local writing competition for school children and part of the Guernsey Literary Festival. In our second feature I discuss vultures – their myths, their resistance to botulism and their poo!
Revisiting the Spice Islands and rock pool life
This episode we leave lockdown to see what’s living in the rock pools at low tide - far away from other humans - and discover a lot of crabs! Anton tells us more about our many legged friends and I discover what barnacles actually are. We then island hop to the Banda Islands, the home of nutmeg, a spice with an interesting history and effects on your body if you consume too much.
13: Easter traditions
Fabergé eggs and why is 13 unlucky?
We begin with Anton’s look at pre-Christian festivals that may have inspired Easter as well as odd modern day traditions, then Curious Mummy shares her experience of Easter in Russia and her love of Fabergé eggs. Being our unlucky 13th episode I delve into where this superstition may have come from and we remember that, 50 years ago to the day, Apollo 13 was struck by some bad luck but saved by some amazing minds.
12: Let’s soap that Corona
How soap destroys viruses
Anton is feeling a bit off colour but bravely soldiers on in this episode about viruses. We start by looking at who discovered them and when, then shrink down to investigate if they are living organism or not. After getting so close to a virus it’s wise to wash your hands so we do just this and find out how soap destroys them. Finally we offer a little friendly advice to keep you all going. Stay safe.
11: Time travelling Mayan journal
And how we lost 11 days
Anton discovered a 500-year-old journal that has been handed down by generations of archaeologists exploring the history of the Maya. Something very strange happens when we open it as we’re transported back in time. Continuing the Chronometry theme I look why we have leap years and how they lead to 11 missing days.
10: The Lionheart’s castle
And talk like an Egyptian
In 1203 Richard the Lionheart’s favourite castle is sieged after his death. Will it survive or will the French find a humorous fatal design flaw? In Anton Investigates he reveals all and also looks at the role of medieval blacksmiths. We also listen to the voice of a 3000 year-old Egyptian mummy thanks to cutting edge research and introduce our first funny phobia – Shuicaophobia!
9: The great taste of chocolate
We discover the history and it’s many flavours
We are back and with our most delicious episode ever!Anton and I are joined by Curious Granny and Curious Gramps as we taste our way through a multitude of chocolate bars learning a little about each along the way. What’s the fourth kind of chocolate? How many cocoa beans would buy a slave? And who was the neighbour of the man who invented milk chocolate? We explore all this and more whilst enjoying a lot of Quetzalcoatl’s gift to mankind (and why did I share so much? I must be crazy!).
8: 2020 according to 1950
Odd future predictions & a close look at pond water
We were very lucky to get a microscope for Christmas and discuss the tiny creatures we found in a local duck pond. With the dawn of 2020 we then look at funny and unusual past predictions of the future to see if they got the present correct (not exactly!) - Anton also throws a few of his own predictions into the pot. Finally, we announce our first ever Curiosity of a Children Person of the Year winner 🏆!
7: The darker side of Christmas
Lock your doors and block your chimney…
Happy Christmas one and all. We know the only gift you want this year is more Curiosity of a Child. This episode Anton explores some strange and funny traditions from around the world. Then things get a bit darker when I look at the history of St Nicholas.It's nearly midnight here and Santa will be arriving soon so I better get to bed and pretend to be asleep as so of what I read is rather scary!If you’re in the Christmas spirit please leave us a lovely review.
6: 1812: Sir Issac Brock part 2
And a stone age quiz
In part two of our Sir Isaac Brock Guernsey Greats feature we visit the War of 1812. How will Brock cope against the American invasion of Canada and will he create a legacy that lasts the test of time?Anton then becomes quizmaster as he challenges granny, gramps and myself to a series of Stone Age themed questions!
5: Sir Isaac Brock part 1: Early life
& cannibalistic bananas
Anton discovers that by eating bananas he is in fact 50% cannibal! Then we take a look at the life of Sir Isaac Brock, Hero of Upper Canada but born here in Guernsey however we end on a cliff-hanger with the outbreak of the war of 1812.
4: Bogies are good for you
& how do vaccnines work?
Have you ever noticed how your finger is just the right size to fit up your nose? Surely this must be for a reason. We examine some interesting research about bogies and also explore how Anton’s nasal flu vaccine works.
3.2: Halloween special part 2
Monster battles — terrible maths included!
In part two of our Halloween special we pit a Vampire, Cyclops, Werewolf and Zombie hoard against each other in battle to be crowned The Curiosity of a Child Halloween Monster Champion of The Year 2019. Who will win this epic battle? Who should you take with you whilst trick or treating? Grab a comfy seat and a handful of Halloween treats and we’ll reveal the answer.
3.1: Halloween special part 1
Witch’s e‑numbers & mythical monsters
The nights grow long and dark, Halloween approaches and all kinds of creatures begin to stir. In the first of a Halloween two parter we examine a witches spell in close detail, could the mistresses of the night really be concocting treats for unsuspecting children? We then introduce you to four monsters of myth and legend who will go head-to-head in the arena to be crowned the Curiosity of a Child Halloween Monster Champion. Listen to part two of this special extended edition for the result.
2: The truth about fairies
And breath fresh enough for an emperor
Anton continues his look at dolmens by searching the annals of history for local folktales about them. What he discovers is the dark truth about fairies. I subject him to another spice - this one fit for the emperor of China!
1: Turmeric tasted, dolmens and brain surgery
Welcome to the first ever episode of The Curiosity of a Child presented by a father and son team.
This episode Anton tastes the spice turmeric - what will he think? We then explore where it’s from. it’s history and it’s uses. In the first Anton Investigates he looks at prehistoric structures called dolmens and we record live from inside one of these amazing ancient tombs. Finally, to end the show, we follow a guide on Brain Surgery from Nick Arnold's Horrible Science Bulging Brains book. Will the operation proceed as planned or will our first show also be our last?