People can’t resist a prize, especially when there’s money to go with a medal, and for hundreds of years that basic human urge has been used to push humanity forward. When you focus minds and money towards a simple target, incredible things can happen - from the clock that won the Longitude prize money in the 1700s to the spacecraft that won the XPRIZE in 2004. Are there any problems that a big enough prize cannot solve?
Producer & Reporter: William Kremer
Photo Caption: Pilot Mike Melvill standing on Space Ship One, which went on to win the Ansari XPRIZE
Photo Credit: Getty Images
This programme uses a sound effect created by Freesound user bone666138
Correction: Since our interview with Marcus Shingles was recorded, he has stepped down as CEO of XPrize
Bonus Podcast: Death in Ice Valley
A special preview of the new podcast Death in Ice Valley. An unidentified body. Who was she? Why hasn’t she been missed? A BBC World Service and NRK original podcast, investigating a mystery unsolved for almost half a century. Episode One was released on 16 April 2018 and new episodes will be released every Monday.
Search for Death in Ice Valley wherever you find your podcasts.
The Town Trying to Cure Loneliness
Loneliness and isolation can trigger a host of other problems, particularly for our health. But a town in Somerset, in the United Kingdom, appears to have taken a big step towards alleviating the problem. A team in Frome has implemented a handful of simple ideas – getting people to talk about the problems they face and finding ways for them to re-engage with family, friends or social clubs – and they believe it is having a dramatic effect. The cost of emergency admissions in Frome has fallen steeply, while it rises across most of the UK. We visit the town to meet the ‘connectors’ driving the project, and the people they have helped.
Reporter: Sam Judah
Presenter: Nick Holland
Photo caption: Susan Redding
Photo credit: BBC
The Babies Teaching Kindness In Class [REPEAT]
**This episode is a repeat from 23 January 2018**
Naomi is not your average teacher. For one thing, she is only six months old. But in many schools across Canada babies like Naomi are a regular feature at the front of class. It is because of an education programme called Roots of Empathy, which is designed to encourage kids to be kinder. The idea is that because a baby cannot explain and externalise how it is feeling, children learn to recognise and identify the baby’s emotions, and become more emotionally astute themselves. It has been proven to reduce bullying. People Fixing the World visits a school in Toronto to see how it works.
Reporter: Harriet Noble
Presenter: Tom Colls
Photo Caption: Baby Naomi
Photo Credit: BBC
Taking Out the Space Trash
Space is littered with junk – some pieces as small as a fleck of paint, and some as large as a London bus. So much of it is orbiting the Earth, in fact, that it poses a danger to future missions. But how can space be cleaned up? One way could be to catch the junk in a net, or to use a harpoon to grab it. A team in Surrey, in the UK, are launching a special spacecraft to find all of this out.
Reporter: Nick Holland
Presenter: Dougal Shaw
Image: Stock illustration of space debris
Credit: Getty Images