Navigation for Windows On The World

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Monday 3 August 2015: The Colour Purple 

Philip Ball tells the tale of how a failed experiment turned a Victorian high street purple and, in time, made medicines cheap and widely available. At home in 1856, William Perkin was trying to make quinine, the only effective anti-malarial then known. Perkin’s experiments went wrong and he made grey sludge. But when this disappointing sludge dissolved, a glorious purple colour emerged. Aware of the vogue for mauve that was taking Paris by storm, Perkin gave up his studies to set up the first synthetic dye factory in the world.

Tuesday 4 August 2015: Tiny Libraries in New Zealand 

Dotting the countryside of New Zealand are dozens of tiny libraries – freestanding buildings that serve as meeting places, resource centres and lending libraries for the smaller regions located between larger urban areas. While New Zealand’s national public library culture thrives, these unassuming structures, having survived regular floods, aging populations, and the rise of the internet, continue to do what libraries do best: provide books for curious readers, and at the same time provide a backbone to their communities. Library enthusiasts, Julie Shapiro and Miyuki Jokiranta, travel around New Zealand, seeking out these tiny libraries, meeting the steadfast librarians and trustees responsible for keeping the lights on and the books in circulation, and exploring the stories behind these enchanting, tiny institutions.

Wednesday 5 August 2015: David Howman: WADA sports doping 

Stephen Sackur talks to David Howman, director general of the World Anti-Doping Agency, and asks why it is proving so hard to root drugs out of sport.

Thursday 6 August 2015: Snow White and the Seven Signs of Aging  

The Wicked Queen's answer to grey hair and crow's feet is a poisoned apple for Snow White. In Snow White and the Seven Signs of Aging Cathy FitzGerald investigates whether there are more productive ways to deal with aging, in a radio fairy-tale – with bite.