On today’s show, we have two guests. The first is Caitlin Davies, author of Downstream: A History and Celebration of Swimming the River Thames (Aurum Press, June 2015). The River Thames has the same mythic status in England as the Mississippi River has in the United States, and Davies undertook a project to research the history of swimming in it—which, not unsurprisingly, led her to take a few dips herself. Our second guest is Chris Woodford, author of Atoms Under the Floorboards: The Surprising Science Hidden in Your Home (Bloomsbury USA, May 2015). Woodford uses everyday examples to get us excited about science and how things work. And he also tells us about the Victorian plans for cell phones.

Music this hour: