Countercurrent Podcast

About the Podcast: Countercurrent with Professor Roger Kneebone

A podcast for people who like the unexpected. Join the surgeon and academic Professor Roger Kneebone in conversation with unorthodox people whose careers defy traditional boundaries and who swim against the tide.

With grateful thanks to Justin Margovan for technical support.

Many of the people in Countercurrent feature in my book Expert: Understanding the Path to Mastery (Penguin Viking, 2020).

Available to listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Libsyn.


Andrew Grundon in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Andrew Grundon is an artist who draws, paints and sculpts. He designs and paints traditional pub signs, makes marionettes and is writing and illustrating a novel. In this podcast we discuss the remarkable range of skills which he has gained over many decades and explore how he continues to defy conventional categories and push the boundaries of his work.

In November 2023 Andrew became Maker of the Year in the 2023 Heritage Crafts Awards.


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Alexandru Bolboaca in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Alexandru Bolboaca has developed the idea of software design and engineering as an instance of craftsmanship. In this conversation he describes the nature of his work, and we explore its similarities with words, musical notation and other forms of expression through symbols. Alex's podcast Think. Design. Work Smart explores issues around adapting to a changing world.



Stuart Greengrass in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Stuart Greengrass is fascinated by the interplay between technology and professional practice. He worked across professional boundaries throughout his career and played a pivotal role in the pioneering days of keyhole surgery in the 1980s, working as part of a collaborative team led by the late Mr John Wickham.



Justin Margovan in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Justin Margovan has been providing his technical expertise for my Countercurrent podcasts since the series started in August 2014. In this podcast we discuss his varied career and explore how his experience as a DJ and his expertise in becoming a ‘curator of music’ has fed into his current role at the Wellcome Trust.



Chau-Jean Lin in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Chau-Jean Lin’s company Marulin is all about tea. Chau-Jean’s family has been growing oolong tea in Taiwan for five generations. She herself trained as a materials scientist and engineer, living and working in France, the Netherlands and the UK before establishing her own company. Working with a co-operative of tea farmers, including family and friends, she focuses on sustainability and raising awareness of tea across the world.



Stephen Birkill in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Stephen Birkill’s career began as an engineer in the BBC transmissions section. In the following decades he made numerous technical advances in his field. He discovered a talent for solving practical problems in unorthodox ways and was instrumental in the development of tuning systems for satellite television, set-top boxes and digital radio. In parallel with his engineering career he has a longstanding fascination with the songs of Pete Atkin and Clive James and was responsible for the revival of Atkin’s music in the 1990s.



Dr Nina Baker in conversation with Roger Kneebone

Even as a child, Nina Baker was unorthodox. In her first career, she became the first female navigating officer in the British Merchant Navy. After several years on BP tankers she went to university to study engineering, then completed a PhD in concrete studies at Liverpool University. Later she became a research administrator at Glasgow and Strathclyde Universities and developed her interest in the history of women in engineering.

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