The Museum of Curiosity

This BBC Radio 4 special is too good to miss. This particular episode was recorded as part of the BBC “Make It Digital” season, and the “museum” has brought in three brilliant guests – Matt Parker (mathematician and comedian), Eben Upton (creator of the Raspberry Pi) and Sydney Padua (writer and illustrator of The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage) – along with “curators” John Lloyd and Sarah Millican to discuss how computers came to be whilst squeezing in as many laughs as possible.

To listen, go to or search “Museum of Curiosity” on the BBC website – but bear in mind that the BBC takes down programmes from iPlayer 30 days after they’re broadcast – you have 28 days and counting!*

Some of my favourite extracts from the episode:

“There’s nothing like a bad start in life.”

“It’s interesting how Sydney described Lovelace as ‘raised by mathematicians’ in the same way you’d describe someone as ‘raised by wolves’!”

“Someone did point out that we spent , you know, six hours balancing dominoes to prove that six plus four equal two plus eight in binary. Thanks!”

“Matt Parker: I picked up this language called Python, which I believe the Raspberry Pi is named after.

Eben Upton: It’s where the pi comes from in Pi.

Matt Parker: There you are. Except spelt wrong.”

“[Python] is formalised thinking.”

“Sarah Millican: Eben, how can we persuade younger visitors to use the BBC Micro when they’ve got smartphones?

Eben Upton: I think the way you persuade them to use it is you get them to use it for five minutes, and then see how long it takes them to pick up their smartphone, because I think there will be a good fraction of them that will still be sitting there three hours later.”

*You could also try catching one of the repeats on Thursday 17th or Friday 18th September.


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