#BrainFood: things to do this week (23 – 29 January 2016)

#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 – Attenborough and the giant dinosaur, Stephen Hawking on black holes, and why we fall for cons.

22nd January 2016
Image: BBC/Richard Ansett

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

TV programme of the week

Attenborough and the Giant Dinosaur
BBC One, Sun 24 January, 6:30-7:30pm

In 2014, a new species of titanosaur was discovered in Argentina with a whopping length of 37 metres – making it possibly the largest animal ever to walk the Earth. In this one-off programme, Sir David Attenborough tells the story of this prehistoric behemoth, bringing the dinosaur to life with the help of 3D scanning, CGI visuals and animation.

Image: Robin Cox


Book of the week

The Confidence Game: The Psychology of the Con and Why We Fall for It Every Time
Maria Konnikova

(Canongate, paperback, £12.99)

The next time you fall for a con, maybe you should pick up a copy of Maria Konnikova’s new book. The psychology writer explores how our sense of truth can be manipulated by con artists, and how we can train ourselves to spot a cheat before they get their way.    


Event of the week

Otherworlds: Visions of our Solar System
Natural History Museum, London, until 15 May 2016, £9.90

See our Solar System in all its technicolour glory at this new exhibition, which showcases 77 images created by artist and writer Michael Benson. Benson constructed the images by processing raw data from ESA and NASA, and the results are spectacular. Otherworlds also features music by Brian Eno, as well as an audio commentary providing extra perspectives on the images from some of the museum’s top scientists.

Image: Michael Benson


Radio programme of the week

The Reith Lectures
BBC Radio 4, Tues 26 January, 9:00-9:30am

Prof Stephen Hawking delivers the first of his two Reith Lectures on black holes, looking at how our understanding of these mysterious entities has changed over the years, and what they can tell us about the nature of the Universe.

Image: BBC/Richard Ansett

App of the week

This Is My Food – Nutrition For Kids
iOS 8.0 or later, iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch, urbn pockets, £2.29

Struggling to convince your little ‘uns to eat their greens? Let this app do the job for you. This Is My Food helps kids to get to know the food on their plates, with information on nutrition presented in a cute, accessible way. They can build their perfect sandwich, discover how the digestive system works, and find out how to grow their own herb garden.