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The figures on fertility

Human egg being pierced by a micro-needle (
More Or Less
Friday, 23 January 2009
BBC Radio 4, 1330 GMT

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority has the world's largest database on artificial insemination.

But how does the HFEA make all this information useful to anxious couples considering having IVF treatment?

To find out Tim Harford speaks to Lisa Jardine, chair of the HFEA and Helen Joyce the education correspondent for the Economist and mathematician, who has had IVF treatment herself.

Maths of the credit crunch

Man looks at graphs representing 12 months decline of FTS 100
How did the derivatives market grow to the value of $150 trillion?

Continuing with our credit crunch series , Paul Wilmott returns to explain how the value of the global derivatives market could possibly be three times that of the world economy - a figure amounting to $150 trillion.

And, following a deluge of emails he responds to listeners' gripes about his piece on traders' bonuses from our 2nd January programme.

Statistical significance

Steve Ziliak
Steve Ziliak, co-author of 'The Cult of Statistical Significance'

Professor Steve Ziliak, economist and co-author of 'The Cult of Statistical Significance' discusses the mathematical tool for separating random from real effects.

He explains to us why the misunderstanding of statistical significance has lead to bad government policy making and how one particularly famous brewery employed the technique to improve the pints we enjoy today.


Word 'recession' on bank notes and coins
How exactly is a recession defined?

Its official - the UK is in recession, defined by the second consecutive quarter of negative growth that was announced today.

But why do we define recession this way and how is negative growth calculated?

To find out we speak to Martin Weale, director of the National Institute for Economic and Social Research.

BBC Radio 4's More or Less is broadcast on Friday, 23 January at 1330 GMT and repeated on Sunday, 25 January at 2000 GMT.

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