Things to do this week: Illuminating India

Looking for the best things to do this week? Don’t waste away being bored on the sofa… here’s our pick of ways to exercise your grey matter and nourish your neurons.

29th September 2017
Illuminating India © Mitch Epstein / Galerie Thomas Zander

#BrainFood brings you the best shows on TV and radio, science apps and books to activate your mind, and fun events to visit. This week – Indian innovation, the wonders of sleep, and the finale of Astronauts: Do You Have What It Takes?.


Astronauts: Do You Have What It Takes? © BBC/Sam Lax
© BBC/Sam Lax

Astronauts: Do You Have What It Takes?

BBC Two, Sun 1 October, 8:00-9:00pm

It’s the final episode, and the shortlist of 12 budding astronauts has been whittled down to three: Kerry Bennett, Tim Gregory and Suzie Imber. The trio will experience weightlessness for the first time as their motor skills are tested at 30,000 feet, before returning to London’s Science Museum for the announcement of the overall winner.


The Digital Human © BBC

The Digital Human

BBC Radio 4, Mon 2 October, 4:30-5:00pm

Aleks Krotoski returns for a new series exploring the digital world. This week, she looks at the dark and difficult work of ‘sin eaters’ – content moderators whose job it is to stop horrible images from slipping into our social media feeds. Aleks explores the psychological effects of dealing with such gruesome material.


Why We Sleep © Allen Lane
© Allen Lane

Why We Sleep

Matthew Walker, Allen Lane, £20

How did you sleep last night? The chances are it wasn’t well enough. In his first book, Matthew Walker – Director of the Center for Human Sleep Science in California – makes an irrefutable case for getting a better night’s sleep, showing how it’s the single most important thing we can do for our health, wealth and wellbeing. Along the way, he reveals the latest thinking around just why we sleep in the first place. 


Illuminating India © Mitch Epstein / Galerie Thomas Zander
© Mitch Epstein / Galerie Thomas Zander

Illuminating India

London Science Museum, 4 October 2017 – 31 March 2018, free

Celebrate India’s contribution to science, technology and maths with two new exhibitions at London’s Science Museum. 5000 Years of Science and Innovation shines a light on the country’s most important breakthroughs, from ancient medical texts to Mars-going spacecraft, while Photography 1857–2017 showcases the work of Indian photographers who have captured the country’s modern history.


BBC Pandemic © BBC

BBC Pandemic

iOS/Android, BBC, free

Help to stem the next pandemic with this innovative science experiment. Using your phone’s GPS, the app will map your movement over a 24-hour period (don’t worry, it won’t know exactly where, or who, you are). Researchers will then use this information to model how an imagined flu pandemic would spread across the country – and what could be done to stop it. Look out for an accompanying documentary on BBC Four in early 2018. 

For more fabulous apps, check out our list of the top 10 science apps for Android and iOS.


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