Goshawk, Cosmic Renaissance, Carl Djerassi and Charles Townes


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As Helen MacDonald's "H is for Hawk" secures 2014's Book of the Year at the Costa Awards, a paper appears describing the hunting tactics of the Northern Goshawk, quite literally, from a birds' eye view. Suzanne Amador Kane of Haverford College in the US describes her work analyzing footage from tiny cameras mounted on the head of the predatory raptor.

The Planck Consortium releases yet more findings from the very beginning of the universe. A new age for the very first stars confirms our best models of the universe. But analysis of the dust in our own galaxy edges out the possibility that last year's BICEP2 announcement did in fact represent evidence of inflation and the first observed primordial gravitational waves.

And in the last two weeks, two giants of the twentieth century passed away. Science writer Philip Ball shares his thoughts on the lives of Carl Djerassi, father (he preferred mother) of the contraceptive pill, and Charles Townes, known as father of the Laser.

Producer Alex Mansfield.