Simon Ings

Hatsune Miku went on her first tour in 2016

Can computers compose?

3 August 2019 9:00 am

In 1871, the polymath and computer pioneer Charles Babbage died at his home in Marylebone. The encyclopaedias have it that…

‘Telepainting’, 1964, by Takis

Full of wonders: Takis at Tate Modern reviewed

13 July 2019 9:00 am

Steel flowers bend in a ‘breeze’ generated by magnetic pendulums. This is the first thing you see as you enter…

Plastic fantastic: British Industried Fair, 1948

How plastic saved the elephant and tortoise

1 June 2019 9:00 am

Plastics — even venerable, historically eloquent plastics — hardly draw the eye. As this show’s insightful accompanying publication (a snip…

The only thing that baffled Einstein was his own popularity

11 May 2019 9:00 am

On 6 November 1919, at a joint meeting of the Royal Astronomical Society and the Royal Society, held at London’s…

James Clerk Maxwell: funny, flippant and charming, with an extraordinarily fertile mechanical imagination

The powerful magnetism of James Clerk Maxwell

16 February 2019 9:00 am

Chances are, you are reading these words in some room or other. Build a wall down the middle of it,…

Tibetan thanka representing the dakini Princess Mandaravna

The Tibetan Passion Book puts the Kama Sutra in the shade

9 June 2018 9:00 am

The Tibetan artist and poet Gendun Chopel was born in 1903. He was identified as an incarnate lama, and ordained…

Inhuman face: relying on robots to entertain or care for us could leave humans too vulnerable

What will it mean for mankind when robots start caring for us?

3 February 2018 9:00 am

‘I gotta be me,’ Sammy Davis Jr. croons as the android Dolores Abernathy (Evan Rachel Wood) steadies her horse, stands…

Help over the hump

28 October 2017 9:00 am

Losing our way in life’s trackless forest, whither should we turn for solace and advice? Wisdom used to be the…

Finger counting from 1 to 20,000. From De Numeris by Rabanus Maurus. (Carolingian school, 9th century)

The magic of maths

9 September 2017 9:00 am

It’s odd, when you think about it, that mathematics ever got going. We have no innate genius for numbers. Drop…