#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 – the return of Robot Wars, the science of altruism, and the first online romance novel.
Various venues, 21 – 29 October
For nine days, Norwich is hosting a celebration of all things science, with events and activities across the city. There’ll be appearances from Britain’s first astronaut Helen Sharman, plus Prof Alice Roberts, Robin Ince, and the Festival of the Spoken Nerd. And if you needed any more reason to go, we’ll also be making an appearance with our Journey of Discovery Trail. Check out the full programme here.
BBC Radio 4, Mon 23 October, 11:00-11:30am
Long before the internet, there was the telegraph. Lucy Hawking explores how the invention of this communications device led to social changes in the role of women, as well as providing the inspiration for a groundbreaking book: Wired Love: A Romance of Dots and Dashes. Published in 1879, it was the very first online romance novel, and a remarkably prescient taste of love in the digital age.
Abigail Marsh, Robinson, £14.99
Why would someone risk their life for a stranger? After experiencing an extraordinary act of kindness when she was 19, psychologist Abigail Marsh made it her mission to understand altruism. Good For Nothing is Marsh’s fascinating account of her work, taking us from the ‘super-altruists’ who donate their kidneys to strangers, to those who are unable to feel empathy at all.
BBC Two, Sun 22 October, 8:00-9:00pm
Following its reboot last year, Robot Wars returns for a new series of mechanical mayhem. This time around, there’s a new format, including a Ten Robot Rumble (ten robots, no time limit, fight to the death), where the winner gets a wildcard entry into the Grand Final. Meanwhile, Sir Killalot and co will have to contend with the ‘Fog of War’ – a new hazard that fills the arena with a dense fog.
iOS, Minilab, free with in-app purchases
Help budding artists hone their drawing skills with this lovely-looking app, which follows Artie and his magic pencil on their journey through the animal kingdom. There are eight objects to draw in the free-to-play Artie’s Village, plus plenty of additional map packs for three-to-six-year-olds to explore, from the jungle to the farmyard.