Science Weekly

Science Weekly

By The Guardian

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Science Weekly podcast will now explore some of the crucial scientific questions about Covid-19. Led by its usual hosts  Ian Sample,  Hannah Devlin and  Nicola Davis, as well as the Guardian's health editor Sarah Boseley, we’ll be taking questions – some sent by you – to experts on the frontline of the global outbreak. Send us your questions here:  theguardian.com/covid19questions

Episodes

Are hair relaxers causing breast cancer in black women?

Research from the Black Women’s Health Study has found that long-term and frequent users of hair relaxers had roughly a 30% increased risk of breast cancer compared with more infrequent users. Shivani Dave speaks to Dr Kimberly Bertrand, co-investigator of the study and assistant professor of medicine at Boston University, about the research and to journalist Tayo Bero about the effects these findings could have on the black community. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
05/08/2115m 11s

The billionaire space race

Last month, billionaire after billionaire hopped into spacecraft to reach the final frontier. Shivani Dave speaks to Robert Massey, the deputy executive director at the Royal Astronomical Society, to understand what, if any, positives might come from what has been called ‘the billionaire space race’, or if the money and resources spent on space exploration should be redistributed to focus on the challenges being faced on Earth. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
03/08/2114m 57s

Testosterone in women’s athletics

Genetic advantages in sport tend to be celebrated, but that isn’t always the case when it comes to women’s athletics. At the start of July, two female runners from Namibia, Christine Mboma and Beatrice Masilingi, were told they couldn’t compete in the 400m race in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics unless they reduced their naturally high testosterone hormone levels. Shivani Dave speaks to Katrina Karkazis, a professor of sexuality, women’s, and gender studies, specialising in ‘sex testing’ and sport regulations, about the rules that ban female athletes with naturally high testosterone. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
29/07/2115m 46s

Sporting super spikes: how do they work?

In the lead-up to the athletics competitions at the Tokyo Olympic Games 2020, Shivani Dave takes look at how advances in running shoe technology are resulting in records being smashed. Talking to Geoff Burns, a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Michigan who specialises in biomechanics, Shivani asks how so-called ‘super spikes’ work and if the mechanical advantage they provide is fair. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
27/07/2116m 48s

How does the human body cope with extreme heat? (part two)

We learned in our previous episode about the very real consequences that extreme heat has on human health and wellbeing, but there is little research into what actually happens to our bodies when exposed to extreme heat apart from in the world of sports science. In the second part of our discussion, as fears mount that the Tokyo Olympics will be the hottest on record and the world gears up for Cop26, Shivani Dave speaks to Mike Tipton, a professor of human and applied physiology. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
22/07/2116m 9s

Why are extreme weather events on the rise? (part one)

The Guardian’s global environment editor, Jonathan Watts, speaks to Shivani Dave about extreme weather events – including the extreme heat recently recorded in the US and Canada. In the first of two parts, we hear how extreme heat comes about and why extreme weather events such as floods and monsoons look set to become more likely and even more extreme. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
20/07/2114m 7s

What are the risks of England unlocking on 19 July?

Nearly all coronavirus restrictions in England are set to be lifted from Monday 19 July. But what are the risks of unlocking when we could be in the middle of a third wave of infections? The Guardian’s science editor, Ian Sample, talks to Anand Jagatia about how cases, hospital admissions and deaths are modelled to increase in the coming weeks, as well as the risks from long Covid and new variants. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
15/07/2117m 1s

Covid-19: do we need to reframe the way we think about restrictions?

Before Downing Street urged ‘ extreme caution’ around the lifting of restrictions on so-called ‘freedom day’, Shivani Dave spoke to Prof Stephen Reicher about how mixed messages surrounding restrictions can affect our behaviour Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
13/07/2117m 35s

How does Covid-19 affect chronic pain? (part two)

Fibromyalgia sufferer Vicky Naylor was successfully managing her condition – until she developed Covid-19. In the second part of our exploration of chronic pain, the Guardian science correspondent Linda Geddes tells Anand Jagatia what we know about the connection between chronic pain, Covid and mental health, and why it affects women more than men. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
08/07/2114m 57s

Understanding chronic pain (part one)

Chronic pain affects about 40% of the UK population. While there is growing recognition that pain can be an illness in and of itself, there is still a lot we don’t know. Anand Jagatia hears from fibromyalgia sufferer Vicky Naylor on what it’s like to live with chronic pain, and the Guardian’s science correspondent Linda Geddes about the causes for these sometimes debilitating conditions. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
06/07/2114m 15s

Is hay fever on the rise?

After 18 months of life being at a near standstill, Science Weekly’s Shivani Dave found a lot of their conversations with friends turned to the severity of hay fever this year. Many claimed their allergies had never been worse. Shivani Dave asks horticulturist, Thomas Ogren, whether hay fever symptoms have become more severe in recent times. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
01/07/2113m 3s

How effective is the new Alzheimer’s drug aducanumab?

Before Covid, dementia was the biggest killer in the UK and Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type. A controversial new drug for Alzheimer’s, aducanumab, is the first in nearly 20 years to be approved in the US, which will trigger pressure to make it available worldwide. The Guardian’s health editor, Sarah Bosley, talks Shivani Dave through the mixed evidence of its efficacy. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
29/06/2114m 19s

Are we really ready to live with Covid-19?

Throughout the pandemic, but increasingly in recent weeks, some senior scientists and politicians have been saying that, at some point, we’re going to have to learn to live with coronavirus. On the other hand, just last week, there was a vote in the Commons to delay the easing of restrictions - a date dubbed by some as ‘freedom day’. Speaking to Prof Siân Griffiths and Prof David Salisbury, Ian Sample asks if now is the time to go back to normality or whether a more cautious approach is needed Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
24/06/2115m 25s

How clocks have shaped civilisations

Since the dawn of time, clocks have shaped our behaviour and values. They are embedded in almost every aspect of modern life, from the time on your smartphone to the atomic clocks that underpin GPS. Anand Jagatia talks to horologist David Rooney about his new book, which tells the history of civilisation in twelve clocks. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
22/06/2117m 3s

Inside the world of wildlife trafficking (part two)

In the second part of our look at wildlife crime, Phoebe Weston and Patrick Greenfield from the Guardian’s age of extinction project look at another victim: orchids. Why are they valued so highly? And how are they being protected? • Read more: ‘Orchidelirium’: how a modern-day flower madness is fuelling the illegal trade. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
17/06/2122m 40s

Inside the world of wildlife trafficking (part one)

We often think of the illegal trade in wildlife as involving charismatic megafauna such as elephants and big cats. But some of the biggest victims are more inconspicuous. Phoebe Weston and Patrick Greenfield from the Guardian’s age of extinction project explore wildlife crime in a two part series Read more: Jellied, smoked, baked in pies – but can the UK stop eels sliding into extinction?. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
15/06/2117m 48s

As indigenous languages die out, will we lose knowledge about plants?

There are more than 7,000 languages spoken on Earth, but by the end of the century, 30% of these could be lost. This week, research warns that knowledge of medicinal plants is at risk of disappearing as human languages become extinct. Phoebe Weston speaks to Rodrigo Cámara Leret about the study, and the links between biological and cultural diversity. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
10/06/2119m 26s

Anna Ploszajski: crafting to better understand material science

Material science allows us to understand the objects around us mathematically, but there is no formula to describe the sophistication of a handcrafted teacup. Dr Anna Ploszajski is a materials scientist who has travelled all over the UK, meeting makers to better understand her craft and theirs. She spoke to Shivani Dave about what she discovered and documented in her new book, Handmade.. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
08/06/2117m 34s

From the archive: Callum Roberts on a life spent diving in coral reefs

As temperatures soar in the UK, the Guardian’s Science Weekly team have decided to pull this episode out of the archive. Prof Callum Roberts is a British oceanographer, author and one of the world’s leading marine biologists. Sitting down with Ian Sample in 2019, he talks about his journey into exploring this marine habitat. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
03/06/2122m 55s

What can a wild night out teach us about ecosystem health?

Moths, bats and owls are just some of the animals best observed at night, and they tell us a lot about the health of ecosystems. Age of Extinction reporter Phoebe Weston ventures into a dark wood with Chris Salisbury, author of Wild Nights Out, to see what she can learn by watching and listening to wildlife. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
01/06/2121m 36s

Can Covid vaccines disrupt menstrual cycles?

When getting a Covid jab you will be read a list of potential side-effects. You’ll even be given a leaflet to take home with the side-effects on them, and none of those includes changes in menstruation. After anecdotal reports of bleeding, Dr Kate Clancy and Dr Katharine Lee speak to Nicola Davis about why they launched a survey documenting events of this kind. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
27/05/2114m 50s

Could sniffer dogs soon be used to detect Covid-19? (an update)

This week, a study has added to the evidence that specially trained dogs could be used to sniff out people with Covid-19, showing that canines are faster than PCR tests and more accurate than lateral flow tests at detecting infections. Anand Jagatia speaks to the Guardian’s science correspondent Linda Geddes, who went to see the dogs in action Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage This podcast was amended on 2 June 2021. An earlier version incorrectly referred to insulin being used by people with type 1 diabetes to treat low blood sugar; in fact insulin is given when blood sugar is too high. That reference has been removed.. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
25/05/2120m 7s

Have we entered the Anthropocene – a new epoch in Earth’s history?

Human beings have transformed the planet. Over the last century we’ve disrupted the climate and impacted entire ecosystems. This has led some to propose that we’ve entered another chapter in Earth’s history called the Anthropocene. Anand Jagatia speaks to Dr Simon Turner from the Anthropocene Working Group, given the task of gathering evidence on whether it will become an official unit of geological time. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
20/05/2119m 59s

The reality behind NFTs

One-of-a-kind digital collectables, known as non-fungible tokens (NFTs), have boomed in areas ranging from music, sport and art. As the focus is on digital artists to seize this opportunity to potentially make millions for their work, the Guardian’s technology correspondent, Alex Hern, talks to Shivani Dave about the pros and cons of this emerging technology. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
18/05/2120m 30s

Covid-19: what do we know about the variants first detected in India?

With restrictions in England due to be further relaxed on 17 May, new coronavirus variants first detected in India are spreading across the UK. Public Health England designated one, known as B.1.617.2, as a ‘variant of concern’ last week. It is now the second most common variant in the country. Anand Jagatia speaks to the Guardian science correspondent Nicola Davis and Prof Ravi Gupta about what we know and how concerned we should be. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
13/05/2122m 45s

Melting away: understanding the impact of disappearing glaciers

Prompted by an illness that took her to the brink of death and back, Jemma Wadham recalls 25 years of expeditions around the globe. Speaking to the professor about her new book, Ice Rivers, Shivani Dave uncovers the importance of glaciers – and what they should mean to us. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
11/05/2120m 45s

How has our thinking on the climate crisis changed?

When the Guardian began reporting on the climate crisis 70 years ago, people were worried that warmer temperatures would make it harder to complain about the weather. Today it is the biggest challenge humanity has ever faced. In the second special episode marking 200 years of the Guardian, Phoebe Weston is joined by Jonathan Watts, Prof Naomi Oreskes and Alice Bell to take a look at climate coverage over the years, how our understanding of the science has changed and how our attitudes and politics have shifted. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
06/05/2129m 21s

What can we learn from the 1918 flu pandemic? – podcast

On 22 June 1918, the Manchester Guardian reported that a flu epidemic was moving through the British Isles. It was noted to be ‘by any means a common form of influenza’. Eventually, it took the lives of more than 50 million people around the world. In a special episode to mark the Guardian’s 200th anniversary, Nicola Davis looks back on the 1918 flu pandemic and how it was reported at the time. Speaking to science journalist Laura Spinney, and ex-chief reporter at the Observer and science historian Dr Mark Honigsbaum, Nicola asks about the similarities and differences to our experiences with Covid-19, and what we can learn for future pandemics. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
05/05/2126m 54s

Unearthing the secret social lives of trees – podcast

Over her career, first as a forester and then as a professor of forest ecology, Suzanne Simard has been uncovering the hidden fungal networks that connect trees and allow them to send signals and share resources. Speaking to Suzanne about her new book, Finding the Mother Tree, Linda Geddes discovers how these underground webs allow plants to cooperate and communicate with each other. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
29/04/2121m 55s

Can we create a climate-resistant coffee in time? – podcast

Worldwide, we drink around 2bn cups of coffee every day. But as coffee plants come under pressure from the climate crisis, sustaining this habit will be increasingly challenging. Recently, a new study provided a glimmer of hope: a climate-resistant coffee plant just as tasty as arabica. Patrick Greenfield asks Dr Aaron Davis about his work tracking it down, and speaks to Dr Matthew Reynolds about developing climate-resistant crops. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
27/04/2123m 7s

Has the pandemic changed our sleep habits? – podcast

In the second of two episodes exploring our biological clocks, Linda Geddes speaks to Prof Till Roenneberg about how social restrictions during the pandemic have altered our sleep patterns and whether maintaining these changes could reduce social jetlag. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
22/04/2115m 58s

Why is it so bad being a night owl? – podcast

Do you like to get up and go as the sun rises, or do you prefer the quiet hush of the late evening? Many of us tend to see ourselves as being ‘morning larks’ or ‘night owls’, naturally falling into an early or late sleep schedule. These are known as our ‘chronotypes’. Studies have shown that those with later chronotypes are at risk of a range of negative health outcomes, from an increased likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes to depression. In the first of two episodes exploring our biological clocks, Linda Geddes speaks to Prof Debra Skene and Dr Samuel Jones to find out why our internal timings differ, and why it seems worse to be a night owl. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
20/04/2120m 41s

Do humans respond differently to screams of pleasure and pain? – podcast

Why do we scream? Whilst past research has largely focused on using screams to signal danger and scare predators, humans scream in a much wider range of contexts – from crying out in pleasure to shrieking with grief. Madeleine Finlay speaks to Prof Sascha Frühholz about his new study identifying what emotions humans communicate through screams, and how our brains react differently to distinct types of scream calls. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
15/04/2117m 13s

Covid-19: what’s going on with the AstraZeneca vaccine?

After mounting concern over reports of rare but serious blood clots in a small number of recipients of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, last week the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommended that healthy adults under 30 should have an alternative jab if they can. To find out what’s behind the change in advice, Nicola Davis speaks to Dr Sue Pavord about what this rare clotting syndrome is, and asks Prof Adam Finn about how the JCVI made its decision. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
13/04/2125m 50s

Covid-19: how does it cause heart damage?

Cardiovascular problems aren’t just a risk factor for Covid-19, but can also be a complication of having the disease. A growing number of studies are showing that many of those who have been hospitalised for Covid-19, as well as people who managed the initial infection at home, are being left with heart injuries including inflammation, blood clots and abnormal heart rhythms. Nicola Davis speaks to Dr Betty Raman to find out how the virus damages organs outside the lungs, and what’s being done to help. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
08/04/2114m 4s

Why has the African elephant been split into two species?

Recently, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) assessed the African elephant as two separate species – the forest elephant and savannah elephant. The move has increased these animals’ ‘ red list’ categorisation to endangered for savannah elephants and critically endangered for forest elephants. In an Age of Extinction extra for Science Weekly, Patrick Greenfield asks why it has taken so long for these two species to be officially recognised as such, and what the reclassification could mean for their conservation. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
06/04/2122m 38s

Should we determine species through DNA? (part two)

In part two of The Age of Extinction takeover of Science Weekly, Patrick Greenfield and Phoebe Weston explore a relatively new and controversial technology called DNA barcoding that is helping scientists to differentiate between species – including fungi, which we heard about in part one. As the catastrophic loss of biodiversity around the world continues, could DNA barcoding at least allow us to accurately record the species that are perishing?. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
01/04/2126m 16s

Why is it hard to get our head around fungi? (part one)

Our colleagues from The age of extinction, Phoebe Weston and Patrick Greenfield, are back with two new episodes. We often talk as if we know what species exist in the world – but we don’t. Could misclassifying the notoriously cryptic fungi have broader implications for what we know about the environment, and how we care for it?. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
30/03/2125m 37s

You can't bullshit a bullshitter, or can you?

In 2019, Ian Sample delved into the mind of a bullshitter, talking to psychologists about what prompts people to spout nonsense and gibberish. Recently, one of the researchers he spoke to, Shane Littrell, published a study asking – can you bullshit a bullshitter? Not being able to resist diving into the dark arts of BS once more, Ian Sample invited Shane back on the podcast to hear the answer and find out what it might tell us about the spread of misinformation. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
25/03/2119m 15s

Covid-19: what happens next?

On 23 March 2020, the UK prime minister, Boris Johnson, announced the first lockdown in response to the growing number of cases of Covid-19. At the same time, countries around the world began to close their schools, restaurants, and offices and ask citizens to physically distance from one another. In the 12 months since, more than 2 million people have died, viral variants have emerged, and we have developed safe and effective vaccines. One year into the pandemic, Science Weekly is asking: what happens next? Ian Sample talks to the professors Martin Landray, Mike Tildesley, and Deborah Dunn-Walters about Covid treatments, vaccines and what the next 12 months may hold. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
23/03/2127m 40s

Carlo Rovelli on how to understand the quantum world (part 2)

From electrons behaving as both particles and waves to a cat in a box that’s both dead and alive, the consequences of quantum physics are decidedly weird. So strange, that over a century since its conception, scientists are still arguing about the best way to understand the theory. In the second of two episodes, Ian Sample sits down with the physicist Carlo Rovelli to discuss his ideas for explaining quantum physics, and what it means for our understanding of the world. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
18/03/2121m 41s

Carlo Rovelli on the weirdness of quantum mechanics (part one)

It has been over a century since the groundwork of quantum physics was first formulated and yet the strange consequences of the theory still elude both scientists and philosophers. Why does light sometimes behave as a wave, and other times like a particle? Why does the outcome of an experiment apparently depend on whether the particles are being observed or not? In the first of two episodes, Ian Sample sits down with physicist Carlo Rovelli to discuss the strange consequences of quantum and the explanation he sets out in his new book, Helgoland. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
16/03/2122m 45s

How do you make a convincing deepfake video? – podcast

Last week videos of what appeared to be Tom Cruise at home and playing golf appeared on TikTok. It later emerged the clips were actually AI-generated by a creator of ‘deepfake’ videos. Deepfake videos depict situations that have never happened in the real world, and are becoming increasingly convincing. Alex Hern goes behind the scenes to find out exactly how such videos were made, and how far this technology has progressed. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
11/03/2124m 25s

What are we missing out on by not talking to strangers?

Social distancing measures mean most of us now have very little opportunity to talk to strangers and acquaintances. These chats might seem insignificant, but they can provide lots of psychological benefits. To find out more, Linda Geddes speaks to Gillian Sandstrom about what we’re currently missing out on. And, when told Gillian finds finishing a chat particularly hard, Linda gets in touch with the author of a recent paper asking why we find it so challenging to end a conversation. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
09/03/2129m 12s

Does how we think influence what we think?

What we believe is influenced by an array of factors, from our past experience to who our friends are. But a recent paper has now looked at what role how we think plays in sculpting our world-views. Natalie Grover speaks to lead author Dr Leor Zmigrod about the research evaluating the link between cognitive disposition – differences in how information is perceived and processed – and ideologies. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
04/03/2116m 56s

Covid-19: why are we feeling burnt out?

It’s getting towards a year since the UK first went into lockdown. That’s almost 12 months of home-schooling, staying in at the weekends, and not being able to see groups of friends and family in person. For many, the pandemic has also brought grief, loss of financial stability and isolation. So it should come as no surprise that lots of us are feeling emotionally exhausted, stressed and generally worn down. But why are we hitting the wall now? And what can we do about it? Ian Sample is joined again by Prof Carmine Pariante to discuss pandemic burnout and how to look after our mental health over the coming months. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
02/03/2117m 38s

A practical guide to tackling the climate crisis

The first UN climate change conference was held in 1995 in Berlin. More than two decades later, our planet remains on track for three degrees of warming above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century. The answer to avoiding this catastrophe is both simple and staggeringly complicated: drastically reducing and reversing the amount of carbon dioxide entering our atmosphere. How do we do this? Science correspondent Natalie Grover speaks to Prof Mike Berners-Lee, author of There is No Planet B, who has crunched the numbers on everything from carbon offsetting and green investments to e-bikes. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
25/02/2125m 4s

Did an ancient magnetic pole flip change life on Earth? – podcast

What would it be like if the Earth’s magnetic pole switched? Migrating animals and hikers would certainly need to reset their compasses, but could it play real havoc with life on Earth? Analysing the rings of an ancient tree pulled from a bog in New Zealand, researchers have been investigating what happened the last time north and south flipped – 42,000 years ago. Nicola Davis speaks to Prof Chris Turney about how it changed the chemistry of the atmosphere and, if combined with a period of lower solar activity, what impact this could have had on the environment and evolution. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
23/02/2127m 24s

Why do humans struggle to think of ourselves as animals?

The pandemic has demonstrated why humans are ultimately an impressive species. From monitoring the genetic evolution of Sars-CoV-2 to devising vaccines in record time, we have put our minds together to reduce the impact of Covid-19. Yet, the global spread of a new disease is a reminder that we are not invincible, and remain at the mercy of our biology and the natural world. Speaking to author Melanie Challenger about her new book How to Be Animal, Madeleine Finlay asks how we can come to terms with ourselves as animals and why it might do humanity some good. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
18/02/2123m 42s

Covid-19: why mix and match vaccines?

The Com-Cov trial run by the Oxford Vaccine Group in the UK will be testing the efficacy and safety of a ‘mix and match’ approach to immunisation. By giving some participants either the Pfizer/BioNTech or Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, and a second dose of the other, the trial aims to find out if combining different jabs offers sufficient protection. Sarah Boseley speaks to Dr Peter English about where this technique has been used in the past, why it could be beneficial, and how mixing vaccines actually works. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
16/02/2110m 56s

Covid-19: love in lockdown

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and for many couples this year will feel very different. Lockdowns, social distancing, and self-isolation have forced those in relationships to choose whether to be together all the time, or stay apart for potentially months on end. Linda Geddes speaks to Dr Deborah Bailey-Rodriguez about how couples have navigated their relationships during the pandemic. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
11/02/2116m 28s

What can the evolutionary history of turtles tell us about their future?

Turtles have been around for more than 200m years, and can be found almost everywhere on the planet. Yet, they are surprisingly uniform and many species around today are facing an uncertain future – at risk from trade, habitat destruction and the climate crisis. Looking at a new study investigating the evolutionary history of turtles, Age of Extinction reporter Phoebe Weston talks to Prof Bob Thomson about what his work can tell us about the factors shaping their diversity and how we can support turtles’ dwindling numbers. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
09/02/2115m 36s

From the archive: what's it like to live without smell?

For many people infected with the Sars-CoV-2 virus, the first sign of contracting the disease is a loss of smell and taste; something we reported on last May. Studies have now shown that months later an unlucky minority will still be lacking these senses – while for others they may have returned somewhat distorted. While scientists try to fathom what exactly causes this and what treatments could help, we return to the archives to explore what it’s like to live without a sense of smell. The episode was part of a special series from the Guardian called Brain waves exploring the science and emotion of our everyday lives. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
04/02/2130m 44s

Covid-19: what can we learn from Manaus?

The rainforest city of Manaus in Brazil was the first in the country to be struck by the pandemic. The virus rapidly spread, and by October last year it was estimated that 76% of the population had been infected – a number higher than the theoretical threshold for herd immunity. Yet, in January 2021, cases surged and the health system was once again overwhelmed, with hospitals running out of oxygen and doctors and nurses required to carry out manual ventilation. To find out what might be behind this second wave, Sarah Boseley speaks to the Guardian’s Latin America editor, Tom Phillips, and Dr Deepti Gurdasani, asking why Manaus has been hit twice and what it might mean for our understanding of immunity, new viral variants, and the path through the pandemic. This podcast was amended on 2nd February 2021 to correct errors in the scripting. We incorrectly stated that the city of Manaus is situated only by the Amazon River, and that the Amazon River flows into the Pacific Ocean. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
02/02/2118m 18s

Covid-19: What can astronauts teach us about coping in lockdown?

As we head into yet another month of lockdown in the UK, with hospitals overwhelmed, how do we cope with the monotony, isolation, boredom and stress? Science Weekly gets inspiration from the people who choose to put themselves through extreme situations – including astronauts, arctic research scientists and submariners. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
28/01/2118m 39s

What does history smell like?

What did London really smell like during the great stink of 1858? What odours wafted through the Battle of Waterloo? Were cities identifiable by the lingering aromas of the various commodities produced during the industrial revolution? It may not be possible to literally go back in time and give history a sniff, but a new project is aiming to identify and even recreate scents that would have assailed noses between the 16th and early 20th centuries. To find how to decipher the pongs of the past, Nicola Davis speaks to historian Dr William Tullett and heritage scientist Cecilia Bembibre. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
26/01/2117m 40s

What (non-Covid) science is coming up in 2021?

Ian Sample and producer Madeleine discuss what science, outside of the pandemic, they’ll be looking out for in 2021. Joined by Prof Gillian Wright and the Guardian’s global environment editor Jonathan Watts, they explore exciting space missions and critical climate change conferences. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
21/01/2128m 36s

Covid-19: how do you tweak a vaccine?

The emergence of more infectious variants of Sars-CoV-2 has raised questions about just how long our vaccines will remain effective for. Although there is little evidence that the current vaccines won’t work against the new variants, as the virus continues to mutate scientists are preparing themselves for having to make changes to the vaccines in response. Speaking to Dr Katrina Pollock, science correspondent Linda Geddes asks how we can tweak the vaccines against new variants, and how likely it is we’ll end up in a game of cat and mouse with the virus. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
19/01/2117m 37s

Covid-19: how and why is the virus mutating?

The new Covid variant, B117, is rapidly spreading around the UK and has been detected in many other countries. Although it is about 50% more infectious than previous variants, B117 does not seem to cause more severe disease or be immune to current vaccines. Yet it has raised concerns over how the virus may adapt to our antibodies and vaccines in the future. To explore these issues, the health editor, Sarah Boseley, speaks to Prof Ravi Gupta about how and why viruses mutate. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
14/01/2115m 5s

What are the new coronavirus variants and how do we monitor them?

Over the course of the pandemic, scientists have been monitoring emerging genetic changes to Sars-Cov-2. Mutations occur naturally as the virus replicates but if they confer an advantage – like being more transmissible – that variant of the virus may go on to proliferate. This was the case with the ‘UK’ or B117 variant, which is about 50% more contagious and is rapidly spreading around the country. So how does genetic surveillance of the virus work? And what do we know about the new variants? Ian Sample speaks to Dr Jeffrey Barrett, the director of the Covid-19 genomics initiative at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, to find out Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
12/01/2121m 31s

Looking up in wonder: humanity and the cosmos (part two)

There is something undeniably appealing about the cosmos that has kept humans staring upwards in awe – from our Palaeolithic ancestors to modern astronomers. Humans are natural stargazers, but with light pollution increasingly obscuring our view of the heavens, is our relationship with the night sky set to change? In the second of two episodes, Linda Geddes is joined by the author of The Human Cosmos, Jo Marchant, and the astronomer royal, Martin Rees, to explore humanity and the cosmos.. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
07/01/2123m 35s

Looking up in wonder: humanity and the cosmos (part one) – podcast

The history of humanity is intimately entwined with the cosmos. The stars have influenced religion, art, mathematics and science – we appear naturally drawn to look up in wonder. Now, with modern technology, our view of the cosmos is changing. It is in reachable distance of our spacecrafts and satellites, and yet because of light pollution we see less and less of it here on Earth. Joined by the author of The Human Cosmos, Jo Marchant, and the astronomer royal, Martin Rees, Linda Geddes explores our relationship with the night sky.. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
05/01/2119m 49s

Review of the year: uncovering the science of Covid-19 (part two)

This year, the Sars-CoV-2 virus has come to dominate both the headlines and our lives. In the second of two episodes reviewing the science of the pandemic so far, the Guardian’s health editor, Sarah Boseley, its science editor, Ian Sample, and producer Madeleine Finlay give their thoughts on what has happened over 2020, alongside professors Eleanor Riley, John Drury and Christina Pagel Review of the year: part one. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
31/12/2029m 29s

Review of the year: uncovering the science of Covid-19 (part one)

There have been a number of incredible science stories in 2020, from AI deciphering the facial expressions of mice to the discovery of a black hole just 1,000 light-years from Earth. Yet, it was the Sars-CoV-2 virus that came to dominate both the headlines and our lives. In the first of two episodes, health editor Sarah Boseley, science editor Ian Sample and producer Madeleine Finlay give their thoughts on what has happened over the past year, alongside professors Eleanor Riley, John Drury and Christina Pagel.. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
29/12/2028m 12s

Covid-19 vaccines: anti-vaxxers and conspiracy theories

As Covid-19 spread around the world, conspiracy theories about its origin, severity and prevention followed closely behind. Now attention has turned to vaccines. False claims circulated among anti-vaxxer groups include the theory that Covid vaccines are being used to implant microchips in people and that they will alter a person’s DNA. In the second of a two-part exploration into Covid vaccine scepticism, Nicola Davis hears from the Guardian’s UK technology editor, Alex Hern, and the researcher Joe Ondrak about how conspiracy theories emerge and spread, and if there’s anything we can do about them. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
24/12/2019m 50s

Covid-19 vaccines: why are some people hesitant? (part one)

Less than a year since Covid-19 was genetically sequenced, vaccinations against it have begun. Despite being a cause for celebration, the vaccines have been met with some public hesitancy. In the first of a two-part exploration into Covid-19 vaccine scepticism, Nicola Davis speaks to Dr Samantha Vanderslott and Dr Caitjan Gainty about why some people are apprehensive, and how much of a problem vaccine scepticism really is. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
22/12/2021m 48s

Why should we listen to birds? (part two)

In this second episode of our Age of Extinction takeover, Phoebe Weston and Patrick Greenfield explore how human noise is affecting birds, and what listening to birdsong can tell us about biodiversity. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
17/12/2022m 51s

Why should we listen to birds? (part one)

Our colleagues from the Age of Extinction project, Phoebe Weston and Patrick Greenfield, are back with two new episodes asking whether birdsong might be beneficial to both our mental and physical health – and if nature is so good for us, why aren’t we taking better care of it?. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
15/12/2022m 53s

Covid-19: the relationship between stress and health

As we head into the pandemic’s winter months, Natalie Grover speaks to Prof Kavita Vedhara about the continued impact of Covid-19-related stress on long-term mental health and how this might affect our ability to fight off infection. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
10/12/2018m 2s

Covid-19: getting public health messaging right

The alarming pattern of second waves of Covid-19 infection across the world, and the promise of vaccines on the horizon, has once again brought public health messaging into focus. So what has the pandemic taught us about what makes a successful programme? The Guardian’s health editor, Sarah Boseley, speaks to Prof Linda Bauld about how best to encourage people to change their behaviour in order to mitigate the spread of disease. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
08/12/2014m 35s

Deep Blue Notes: episode three

Wildlife recordist Chris Watson and sound artist Prof Tony Myatt conclude their three-part odyssey to the west coast of Mexico to record the songs of blue whales in the Sea of Cortez. In the port of Loreto, Chris and Tony visit a local organisation set up to protect local wildlife, and Chris talks to whale communication expert Dr Valeria Vergara. They also turn to spectral analysis to see if they managed to record blue whales in action. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
03/12/2030m 27s

Deep Blue Notes: episode two

Wildlife recordist Chris Watson and spatial audio sound artist Prof Tony Myatt continue on their three-part journey to the Sea of Cortez fishing for the song of the blue whale. Chris speaks to blue whale expert Dr Diane Gendron, and artists Diana Schniedermeier and Ina Krüger, who produce ocean sound installations. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
02/12/2020m 8s

Deep Blue Notes: episode one

Wildlife recordist Chris Watson and spatial audio sound artist Prof Tony Myatt begin a three-part journey to the Sea of Cortez hunting for the song of the largest, and possibly loudest, animal that has ever lived – the blue whale. It’s also an animal that Chris has never managed to record. Will this trip change that?. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
01/12/2021m 13s

Covid-19: how vaccines lead to immunity – podcast

With a number of Covid-19 vaccines seemingly on the way, Nicola Davis talks to Prof Eleanor Riley about how they might help the body’s defence mechanisms fight the virus. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
26/11/2015m 33s

A more accurate way of measuring the effect of computer games

The Guardian’s UK technology editor Alex Hern speaks to Prof Andy Przybylski from the Oxford Internet Institute about his new approach of looking at the impact of computer games on mental health. According to Prof Przybylski, this new approach is more objective – but it also depends on gaming companies being more transparent. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
24/11/2017m 21s

From the archive: an interview with Nobel laureate Sir Roger Penrose (part 2)

The second part of Ian Sample’s 2016 interview with Prof Sir Roger Penrose, which includes a quantum theory of consciousness and the age-old question of whether mathematics is invented or discovered. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
19/11/2018m 4s

From the archive: an interview with Nobel laureate Sir Roger Penrose (part 1)

In the first part of this episode from 2016, Ian Sample speaks with the acclaimed mathematician and physicist Prof Sir Roger Penrose about his then most recent book, Fashion, Faith, and Fantasy in the New Physics of the Universe. Warning of the potential dangers of dogmatic belief and unheralded faith, the recent Nobel laureate asks whether string theory has become too fashionable and warns of an overreliance on quantum mechanics. Part 2 coming on Thursday. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
17/11/2019m 37s

Covid-19: what can we learn from the London blitz?

Ian Sample speaks to Prof Edgar Jones about the comparative psychological impacts of the blitz bombings of London and the Covid-19 pandemic, including the role trust in government plays and what we might expect during the second wave of infections. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
12/11/2016m 37s

Covid-19: what's up with the coronavirus cough?

Linda Geddes speaks to Prof Jacky Smith about one of Covid-19’s most consistent symptoms: the persistent dry cough. As winter arrives in the northern hemisphere, how do we tell the difference between the possible onset of the virus and the kind of routine coughs normally experienced at this time of year?. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
10/11/2014m 46s

Investigating the historic eruption of Mount Vesuvius

When Mount Vesuvius erupted in AD79, the damage wreaked was catastrophic. Ash and pumice darkened the skies, and hot gas flowed from the volcano. Uncovering the victims, fated to lie frozen in time for 2,000 years, has shown they died in a range of gruesome ways. Nicola Davis speaks to Pier Paolo Petrone about his work analysing ancient inhabitants of Pompeii and nearby towns, and what it tells us about the risk people face today. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
05/11/2016m 37s

Covid-19: How do you make a vaccine?

With any future Covid-19 vaccine requiring its manufacturing process to be signed off as part of its regulatory approval for use on the general population, Madeleine Finlay talks to Dr Stephen Morris from the Future Vaccine Manufacturing Research Hub about how vaccines are made at the volume and speed required for a mass vaccination programme. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
03/11/2016m 16s

Journey into a black hole: part 2

They are among the most enigmatic phenomena in the universe, confounding physicists and mathematicians alike. Black holes pull in the matter around them and anything that enters can never escape. Yet they contain nothing at all. Guided by the physicist and author of the Black Hole Survival Guide, Janna Levin, Madeleine Finlay takes Science Weekly on an interstellar voyage to visit one of these incredible astrophysical objects. In the second of two episodes, the pair discuss spaghettification, white holes, Hawking radiation and whether we actually live inside a hologram. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
29/10/2018m 55s

Journey into a black hole: part 1

They are among the most enigmatic phenomena in the universe, confounding physicists and mathematicians. Black holes pull in the matter surrounding them and anything that enters can never escape. Yet they contain nothing at all. Guided by the physicist and author of Black Hole Survival Guide, Janna Levin, Madeleine Finlay takes Science Weekly on an interstellar voyage to visit one of these incredible astrophysical objects. In the first of two episodes, the pair discuss their target, Sagittarius A*, the supermassive black hole at the centre of our galaxy and the subject of this year’s Nobel prize in physics, and what happens when you reach the edge of a black hole. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
27/10/2014m 43s

From the archives: How do we save society?

With the coronavirus pandemic continuing to highlight health and economic inequalities, and the US election fast approaching, this week we return to the archive to explore how divisions in society arise and what we can do about them. In this episode from 2017, Ian Sample investigates where group splits come from, how we can connect to those we disagree with, and what could happen if we fail. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
22/10/2031m 41s

Covid-19: what can we learn from the HIV/Aids pandemic?

Prof Ravi Gupta’s career has informed HIV treatment and curative strategies in the UK and at the Africa Health Research Institute. His treatment of a London patient is, to date, only the second ever successful treatment of an HIV patient, where the person remains long-term virus free. Gupta talks to Sarah Boseley about how a career in HIV research is informing the testing and treatment for Covid-19 and what we can learn in any parallels between the two viruses. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
20/10/2019m 37s

How do animals undergo metamorphosis, and why? – podcast

Metamorphosis – where a creature remodels itself between life stages – is one of the most astounding and bizarre feats of biology. It’s also surprisingly common. Why do animals bother undertaking this huge transformational change, and how do they rebuild their bodies from one form to another? Natalie Grover investigates. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
15/10/2022m 52s

Covid-19: training dogs to sniff out the virus

What does a disease smell like? Humans might not have the answer, but if they could talk, dogs might be able to tell us. Able to sniff out a range of cancers and even malaria, canines’ extraordinary noses are now being put to the test on Covid-19. Nicola Davis hears from Prof Dominique Grandjean about exactly how you train dogs to smell a virus, and how this detection technique could be used in managing the spread of Covid-19. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
13/10/2013m 58s

Are the world's national parks failing nature? (part two)

In this second episode of our age of extinction takeover, Patrick Greenfield and Phoebe Weston explore the impact that conservation and national parks can have on Indigenous communities and the biodiversity surrounding them If you haven’t already, go back and listen to Tuesday’s episode on the history of national parks and some of the challenges they face. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
08/10/2019m 16s

Are the world's national parks failing nature? (part one)

In a special two-part takeover by colleagues from the age of extinction project, Patrick Greenfield and Phoebe Weston investigate whether national parks actually benefit the environment and biodiversity, or if there might be a better way of doing things. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
06/10/2021m 55s

Do smart assistants need a feminist reboot? Part 2

According to a UN study published last year, smart assistants with female voices are often programmed with contrite and demure responses to verbal abuse or harassment, entrenching harmful gender biases. In the second of two episodes, Alex Hern takes a look at the sexualisation of female AI and robots, what this means for how we treat them, and asks how we can give them a feminist reboot. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
01/10/2017m 18s

Do smart assistants need a feminist reboot? Part 1

From Rosie the Robot in the 1960s animated sitcom The Jetsons to Siri and Alexa today, technologies that perform the roles of housekeeper and secretary are often presented as female. What does the gendering of these machines say about our expectations of who should be doing this kind of work? In the first of two episodes exploring the world of fembots and female AI assistants, the Guardian’s UK technology editor, Alex Hern, examines whether smart assistants are reinforcing harmful gender stereotypes. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
29/09/2019m 38s

Covid-19: is it possible to predict how sick someone could get?

Nine months in, and with over 30 million people having been infected with Covid-19, we now know some of the main factors that put people at higher risk of a severe case of the disease, such as age and having other health problems. But there is still a lot to learn about why some people, and not others, become very ill from catching Sars-CoV-2. Nicola Davis takes a look at the researchers attempting to rapidly work out how to predict who is going to get very sick. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
24/09/2019m 33s

What does it mean to be alive? Paul Nurse on defining 'life'

Is it possible to define the biological, chemical and physical functions that separate cells, plants and even humans from inanimate objects? In his new book, Paul Nurse, Nobel prize winner and director of the Francis Crick Institute, addresses a question that has long plagued both philosophers and scientists – what does it really mean to be alive? Speaking to Madeleine Finlay, Paul delves into why it’s important to understand the underlying principles of life, the role of science in society, and what life might look like on other planets. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
22/09/2021m 41s

Covid-19 ethics: should we deliberately infect volunteers in the name of science? Part 2

Teams around the world are hard at work developing Covid-19 vaccines. While any potential candidate will need to be tested on thousands of volunteers to prove its safety and efficacy, some scientists have argued that the race to the finish line could be sped up by human challenge trials — where participants are infected with a special strain of the virus. Ian Sample delves into some of the misconceptions and hurdles inherent in this kind of research. In the second of two episodes, Ian explores the importance of rescue treatments, what happens if something goes wrong, and whether it would ever be morally permissible to deliberately infect those most at risk of Covid-19, like volunteer octogenarians. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
17/09/2023m 40s

Covid-19 ethics: Should we deliberately infect volunteers in the name of science? (part 1)

Would you be willing to have a dose of Sars-CoV-2 sprayed up your nose for medical research? For thousands around the world, the answer is yes. Eager volunteers have already signed up to take part in human challenge trials, where participants would be deliberately infected with the virus in order to better understand the disease, and rapidly develop a treatment or vaccine. But should such studies go ahead with a dangerous and relatively new virus? In the first of two episodes, alongside a panel of experts Ian Sample delves into some of the ethical questions of human challenge trials and asks where the balance of risks and benefits currently lies. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
15/09/2024m 57s

Covid-19: what happens when flu season hits? (part 2)

As the northern hemisphere heads into autumn and winter, cold and flu are beginning to spread and more people find themselves with coughs, fevers and a runny nose. With Covid-19, this brings new challenges. Should we quarantine at the first sign of the sniffles? Could co-infections of flu and Covid-19 make your symptoms worse? Do we have the capacity to test for more than one virus? In part 2 of our investigation into what happens when flu season hits, Ian Sample speaks to Prof Peter Horby about what it might mean for both individuals and medical professionals if multiple respiratory viruses are circulating, and how we can best prepare for a potential winter resurgence of Covid-19. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
10/09/2016m 27s

Covid-19: what happens when flu season hits? (part 1)

For those of us in the northern hemisphere, flu season is quickly approaching. This raises an important question: what will it mean for Covid-19? Could hospitals be overloaded? Is co-infection likely and could it make symptoms worse? Or, will transmission of Sars-CoV-2 prevent the spread of seasonal influenza? In the first of two parts, Ian Sample addresses the question of flu and Covid-19 by investigating how different respiratory viruses interact. Speaking with Prof Pablo Murcia, Ian explores the interplay when viruses meet – both on a population level, and on the human scale. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
08/09/2014m 20s

Covid-19: why do pandemics trigger civil unrest? – podcast

As countries entered lockdowns to mitigate the impact of Covid-19, many citizens came out to protest against measures such as social distancing, face masks and potential vaccination programmes. Demonstrations have subsequently erupted around around the world, with causes ranging from the Black Lives Matter movement to protests against inequality and corruption. Taking a look at some of the social psychology underpinning such action, Nicola Davis asks Prof Clifford Stott why pandemics can trigger social unrest, how disease outbreaks should be policed, and what Covid-19 might mean for community relationships. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
03/09/2018m 25s

The science of healthy eating: Why are we still getting it wrong?

According to a recent study, obesity increases the risk of dying of Covid-19 by nearly 50%. Governments around the world are now hoping to encourage their citizens to lose weight. But with so much complex and often contradictory dietary advice, as well as endless fads, it can be hard to know what healthy eating actually looks like. How many pieces of fruit and vegetables should you eat a day? Will cutting out carbs help you lose weight? Is breakfast really the most important meal of the day? Speaking to Tim Spector, a professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London about his new book, Spoon-Fed, Madeleine Finlay asks why we’re still getting food science wrong, and explores the current scientific evidence on snacking, calorie labels and ultra-processed foods. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
01/09/2019m 42s

From the archives: the fate of Arctic sea ice

As the Science Weekly team continue their summer break, we’re digging through the archives. Today’s episode takes us back to 2016, when Ian Sample explored the crisis of melting Arctic sea ice. Recently, this worrying phenomenon hit the headlines once again when a new model found that the Arctic could experience summers completely free of sea-ice as early as 2035. In our episode from the archive, Ian asks a host of experts what some of the potential ramifications might be of the total disappearance of Arctic sea ice. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
27/08/2032m 35s

From the archives: nudge theory and the psychology of persuasion

While the Science Weekly team take a summer break, we’re bringing you an episode from the archives – one that seems particularly pertinent as the pandemic continues and governments take a more prominent role in our day-to-day lives. Back in 2017, Ian Sample investigated how we’re constantly “nudged” to change how we act. Exploring the psychology, history and ethics of nudge theory, Ian spoke to the Harvard Law School professor Cass Sunstein and Dr David Halpern, one of the field’s founders, who is currently advising the UK government on nudging during the coronavirus outbreak. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
25/08/2034m 6s

Covid-19 ethics: digital contact tracing (part 2)

The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted many of the economic, health, and social disparities faced by minorities and those living in more deprived areas. Although track-and-trace apps have the potential to reduce the spread of Covid-19, there remain questions about what role digital contact-tracing systems might have in reducing – or increasing – inequality, and who an app will really work for. In the second part of a conversation about the ethics of track-and-trace apps, Ian Sample discusses these issues with Carly Kind and Seeta Peña Gangadharan. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
20/08/2023m 33s

Covid-19: behind the app — the ethics of digital contract tracing part 1

As a trial of the revised English coronavirus app gets under way, many of us will be watching closely to see what it can and cannot do, and whether it could help to contain Covid-19. But alongside issues of efficacy are other, deeper questions about what this technology means for the citizens who use it – today and in the future. Split over two episodes, Ian Sample talks to Carly Kind and Seeta Peña Gangadharan about data privacy, the involvement of Google and Apple, and if we should expect track-and-trace apps to become a normal part of our lives. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
18/08/200s

From the archives: the chemistry of crime fiction

The Science Weekly team are taking a summer break – well, some of them – and so we’re bringing you an episode from the archive. And not just any episode, one of Nicola Davis’s favourites. Back in 2017, Nicola sat down with with Dr Kathryn Harkup to discuss a shared love of crime fiction and the chemistry contained within their poisonous plots. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
13/08/2034m 4s

Covid-19: tracking the spread of a virus in real time

Central to infectious disease control is tracking the spread of a pathogen through the population. In Cambridge, UK, researchers are looking at genetic mutations in samples from Covid-19 patients to rapidly investigate how and where hospital transmissions are occurring. Dr Estée Török tells Nicola Davis what this real-time pathological detective work can reveal about the origins of an outbreak. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
11/08/2014m 23s

The fight over the Hubble constant

When it comes to the expansion rate of the universe, trying to get a straight answer isn’t easy. That’s because the two best ways of measuring what’s known as the Hubble constant are giving different results. As each method becomes increasingly accurate, the gap between widens. Is one of them wrong? Or is it time to rejig the Standard Model of Cosmology? Madeleine Finlay investigates the so-called ‘Hubble tension’ with Prof Erminia Calabrese. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
06/08/2019m 39s

Covid-19: does more testing always mean more cases?

Since the beginning of the pandemic, ‘test, test, test’ has been the key message from epidemiologists, infectious disease specialists and healthcare professionals alike. But how does a country know if it’s doing sufficient testing? Or that it’s catching enough of the asymptomatic cases? Nicola Davis speaks to Prof Rowland Kao about the positivity rate, a value that can help to answer some of these difficult questions. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
04/08/2012m 42s

How Red Sea 'supercorals' are resisting the climate crisis

Ian Sample speaks to marine biologist Prof Maoz Fine about his surprising research on the relationship between increasing ocean temperatures and the Red Sea’s coral reefs. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
30/07/2018m 49s

Covid-19: How risky is singing?

With evolving evidence on airborne transmission of Covid-19 and early super-spreading events linked to choir practices, musicians have been left wondering how risky it is to sing and play instruments in person. Investigating a listener question, Nicola Davis speaks to Prof Jonathan Reid about the science of aerosols and why he’s getting musicians to sing into funnels — in the middle of an operating theatre. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
28/07/2020m 7s

Are we in the midst of a new space race?

From Elon Musk’s SpaceX, to Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic and Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin – there is a growing interest in space exploration by some of the world’s least publicity-shy billionaires. But does the 2020 launch of the SpaceX Dragon 2 spacecraft really mark the beginning of a new privately financed space race? And what do recent international launches, such as the UAE’s Hope probe to Mars, say about changing geopolitical ambitions for space exploration? Ian Sample speaks to space policy veteran Prof John Logsdon about the past, present and future of global space policy. This description was amended on 24 July 2020 to correct an error in the name of project associated with Jeff Bezos, which we called Blue Horizon. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
23/07/2019m 23s

Covid-19: what can sewage tell us?

It may be a respiratory virus, but studies have repeatedly found traces of Covid-19 in the faeces of infected patients. Using this to their advantage, scientists are sampling untreated sewage from wastewater plants in an effort to track the virus. Hannah Devlin speaks to Andrew Singer about how what we flush down the toilet can help detect emerging outbreaks – days before patients begin presenting with symptoms. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
21/07/2014m 56s

Booming blooms: how algae are turning the alps pink

They are usually associated with toxic, murky lakes. But algae blooms are increasingly turning up in icy regions too. Hannah Devlin speaks to Prof Marian Yallop about the recent appearance of pink snow in the Italian alps, and what the growing numbers of algal blooms could mean for melting glaciers and ice sheets. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
16/07/2015m 41s

Covid-19: the relationship between antibodies and immunity

With antibodies having implications for both our understanding of previous coronavirus infections and potential future immunity, Nicola Davis talks to Prof Eleanor Riley about how best to test for them and asks whether antibodies are the only thing we should be looking for. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
14/07/2016m 43s

How many contactable alien civilisations are out there?

Could there really be other civilisations out there in the Milky Way? Nicola Davis talks to Prof Chris Conselice, whose recent work revises the decades-old Drake equation to throw new light on the possibility of contactable alien life existing in our galaxy. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
09/07/2017m 48s

Covid-19: Why are people suffering long-term symptoms?

Weeks and months after having a confirmed or suspected Covid-19 infection, many people are finding they still haven’t fully recovered. Emerging reports describe lingering symptoms ranging from fatigue and brain-fog to breathlessness and tingling toes. So why does Covid-19 cause lasting health problems? Ian Sample discusses some of the possible explanations with Prof Danny Altmann, and finds out how patients might be helped in the future. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
07/07/2015m 9s

Hubble at 30: a view into our cosmos

Thirty years ago, the Hubble space telescope was shuttled into orbit, and has since provided us with astonishing images and insights into the universe. Earlier this year, Hannah Devlin spoke to one of the astronauts who helped launch Hubble, Kathy Sullivan. The first American woman to walk in space, Sullivan describes her journey to becoming an astronaut, why Hubble was such a vital mission and why it continues to be so important today. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
02/07/2017m 33s

Covid-19: why R is a lot more complicated than you think

Over the last few months, we’ve all had to come to terms with R, the ‘effective reproduction number’, as a measure of how well we are dealing with the coronavirus outbreak. But, as Nicola Davis finds out from Dr Adam Kucharski, R is a complicated statistical concept that relies on many factors and, under some conditions, can be misleading. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
30/06/2013m 23s

The Durrington shafts: a remarkable discovery for Stonehenge's neighbour

Archaeologists surveying the land around Stonehenge have made a discovery that could change the way we think about our neolithic ancestors: a circle of deep shafts spanning 1.2 miles in diameter around Durrington Walls. Hannah Devlin speaks to Prof Vincent Gaffney about how he and his team made this incredible discovery and why the latest find is so remarkable. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
25/06/2014m 26s

Covid-19: how worried should smokers be?

With reports that there are lower rates of smokers being admitted to hospital with Covid-19 in France and trials to test whether nicotine patches can reduce the severity of infection, but also data showing that smokers are more likely to contract the disease and develop severe symptoms, what’s actually going on here? Sarah Boseley talks to Dr Nick Hopkinson to find out more. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
23/06/2012m 16s

How cephalopod cells could take us one step closer to invisibility

Watching the mesmerising patterns of squids, octopuses and cuttlefish has been the catalyst for much of Dr Alon Gorodetsky’s recent work, including his attempts to mimic their ability to become transparent. Nicola Davis talks to him about a recent paper where he engineered mammalian cells to share these optic properties - paving the way for exciting potential applications. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
18/06/2015m 8s

Covid-19: should we be concerned about air conditioning?

Following on from several listener questions about the role of air conditioning in spreading or dissipating Covid-19 in buildings and on public transport, Hannah Devlin asks Dr Lena Ciric whether we should be turning our AC systems on or off. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
16/06/2013m 38s

Hydrogen Icebergs in space? The mystery of 'Oumuamua

When a strange spinning cigar-shaped object was spotted travelling through our solar system in 2017, it ignited scientific speculation and debate. Ian Sample speaks to Darryl Seligman, lead researcher on a recent study seeking to unravel the mystery of ‘Oumuamua. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
11/06/2017m 33s

Covid-19: the psychology of physical distancing

As the world begins to unlock, many of us will be seeing friends and family again - albeit with guidelines on how close you can get to one another. But why is it more difficult to stay physically apart from friends and family than a stranger in a supermarket queue? Nicola Davis speaks to Prof John Drury about the psychology of physical distancing and why we like to be near those we feel emotionally close with. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
09/06/2012m 58s

The secret, sonic lives of narwhals

Narwhals may be shy and elusive, but they are certainly not quiet. Nicola Davis speaks to geophysicist Dr Evgeny Podolskiy about capturing the vocalisations of narwhals in an arctic fjord, and what this sonic world could tell us about the lives of these mysterious creatures. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
04/06/2016m 6s

Covid-19: is a second wave inevitable?

Ian Sample talks to Prof Carl Heneghan about the uncertainties in predicting future outbreaks of Covid-19 and what we can do to prevent them. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
02/06/2016m 7s

When did modern humans first arrive in Europe?

New archaeological discoveries in the Bacho Kiro cave in Bulgaria have revealed that modern humans co-existed with Neanderthals for several thousand years. Nicola Davis speaks to Prof Jean-Jacques Hublin about the excavations, and what their findings tell us about when modern humans first arrived in Europe. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
28/05/2015m 8s

Covid-19: the role of vitamin D

Sarah Boseley talks to Prof Susan Lanham-New about vitamin D and whether it could play a role in protecting us against Covid-19. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
27/05/2015m 50s

Covid-19: How do you calculate herd immunity?

Herd immunity represents the percentage of people in a population who need to be immune to a disease in order to protect those who aren’t. Early on in the pandemic, researchers estimated the herd immunity threshold for Covid-19 to be 60%. Following a question from a listener, Ian Sample speaks to Rachel Thomas to explore the maths and find out exactly how herd immunity is calculated. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
22/05/2013m 59s

The emotional rollercoaster of adolescent dogs

It’s an experience many dog owners have been through – their adolescent pooches appear to be more moody and rebellious. Now researchers have shown that dogs really do mimic human teenagers’ behaviour, becoming less responsive to instructions from their carer. To find out more about the difficult teenage doggy-years, Nicola Davis talks to Dr Lucy Asher about the study. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
21/05/2012m 18s

Covid-19: can we compare different countries?

Nicola Davis asks mathematician Kit Yates how useful global comparisons are when it comes to the coronavirus outbreak, given the huge differences in demographics and public health responses. And, as per a question from a listener, what the best metric is when doing such comparisons?. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
20/05/2014m 0s

Covid-19: are pandemics becoming more common?

Ian Sample talks to Prof Kate Jones about whether the current coronavirus pandemic is part of a wider picture of increasing animal-to-human virus transmission. Are we are looking at a future where outbreaks of new infectious diseases become more common?. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
19/05/2014m 58s

The microbe that protects mosquitos from malaria

Every year more than 200m new cases of malaria are reported. And despite the dramatic reduction in cases and deaths over the past two decades, novel treatments and prevention strategies are badly needed. Speaking to Dr Jeremy Herren in Nairobi, Kenya, Nicola Davis hears how a newly-discovered microbe might offer mosquitos protection from the parasite and in doing so, prevent its spread. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
14/05/2014m 9s

Covid-19: do we need more than one vaccine? Podcast

Hannah Devlin speaks to Prof Andrew Pollard about the work being done by different teams around the world to create a vaccine for Covid-19, and where his team at Oxford University fit into this international effort. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
13/05/2020m 8s

Covid-19: why are some people losing their taste and smell?

As the coronavirus pandemic swept around the globe, anecdotal reports began to emerge about a strange symptom: people were losing their sense of taste and smell. To find out whether this effect is really down to Sars-CoV-2, and if so, why, Ian Sample talks to Carl Philpott. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
12/05/2012m 37s

Uncovering the mysteries of the 'crazy beast' – Science Weekly podcast

As the coronavirus outbreak continues to be our focus on Science Weekly, we also want to try look at other science stories. In this episode, Nicola Davis speaks to Dave Krause about the 66-million-year-old fossil of a cat-sized mammal dubbed ‘crazy beast’. A giant in its day, we hear how this now extinct branch of mammals – known as Gondwanatherians – offers new insights into what could have been. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
07/05/2015m 24s

Covid-19: will my allergies make a difference?

As hay fever season approaches, Nicola Davis asks Prof Stephen Durham about the differences between the immune response to an allergen, such as pollen, and a pathogen, like Sars-CoV-2. Should those with allergies should be concerned about Covid-19?. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
06/05/209m 11s

Covid-19: the psychology of conspiracy theories

With false information linking the coronavirus to 5G telecoms or Chinese labs being widely shared on social media, Ian Sample speaks to social psychologist Dr Daniel Jolley about why the pandemic is such fertile ground for conspiracy theories. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
05/05/2015m 9s

Covid-19: What has the BCG vaccine got to do with it? – Science Weekly Podcast

Sarah Boseley talks to Prof Helen McShane about why there has been interest in the tuberculosis vaccine and whether it could play a role in protecting us against Covid-19. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
30/04/2012m 8s

Covid-19: why are women less likely to die?

Hannah Devlin speaks to Prof Sabra Klein about why women are much less likely to become seriously ill or die from Covid-19, and what the implications of this knowledge for future treatments might be. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
29/04/2015m 2s

Covid-19: what role might air pollution play? – Science Weekly Podcast

After a string of studies that highlight the possible link between air pollution and Covid-19 deaths, Ian Sample hears from Prof Anna Hansell about the complicated relationship between pollution, health and infection with Sars-CoV-2. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
28/04/2012m 30s

Covid-19: how do you find drugs to treat the disease? – Science Weekly Podcast

Hannah Devlin speaks to Dr Miraz Rahman about how to find drugs to treat a new disease like Covid-19, and discusses repurposing old drugs such as the anti-malaria medicine hydroxychloroquine. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
23/04/2012m 12s

Covid-19: how vulnerable are people with diabetes? – Science Weekly Podcast

Sarah Boseley speaks to Dr Dipesh Patel about the effects of Covid-19 on people with diabetes, including the role that glucose levels and a high BMI might play. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
22/04/2011m 38s

Covid-19: is seven days in isolation enough? – Science Weekly Podcast

How long should you remain in isolation if you have symptoms of Covid-19? It depends on who you ask. The UK government guidelines recommend seven days from the onset of symptoms, whereas the World Health Organization advises 14. To get to the bottom of this apparent disparity, Nicola Davis discusses viral shedding with Dr Charlotte Houldcroft, and asks what the evidence currently tells us about how long we stay infectious for. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
21/04/2013m 8s

Covid-19: what would immunity look like? – Science Weekly Podcast

Nicola Davis speaks to Dr Jenna Macciochi about something lots of listeners have written about; immunity to Covid-19. While the jury is still out, we hear how our bodies gain immunity to something and how immunity to other pathogens might give us clues about Sars-Cov-2. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
16/04/2012m 21s

Covid-19: how can social isolation affect us? – Science Weekly Podcast

As the lockdown in the UK looks set to continue, Ian Sample speaks to Prof Carmine Pariante about the physiological and psychological effects of social isolation. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
15/04/2014m 13s

Covid-19: how vulnerable are people with asthma? – Science Weekly Podcast

Nicola Davis speaks to Dr Andy Whittamore about the effects of Covid-19 on people with asthma and what they can do to protect themselves. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
14/04/2011m 58s

Covid-19: how do you lift a lockdown? – Science Weekly Podcast

Following the decision to end Wuhan’s lockdown this week, Hannah Devlin speaks to Dr Adam Kurcharski about the various aspects of lifting restrictive measures, including the importance of the timing and the role that testing could play. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
09/04/2014m 45s

Covid-19: how are African countries coping? – Science Weekly Podcast

Sarah Boseley speaks to Prof Trudie Lang about the outbreak on the continent and explores how a history of responding to Ebola and other public health emergencies could help. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
08/04/2013m 24s

Covid-19: what if I'm immunocompromised?

Hannah Devlin speaks to Dr Jenna Macciochi about how our immune systems fight off infections such as coronavirus, and – as per lots of your questions – what happens if we’re immunocompromised. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
07/04/2015m 27s

Covid-19: how does it affect pregnancy? – Science Weekly Podcast

Sarah Boseley speaks to Prof Sonja Rasmussen about how the virus might affect mothers who are expecting and their unborn child. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
02/04/200s

Covid-19: why is hand washing so effective? – Science Weekly Podcast

With scientists still racing to find treatments for Covid-19, Nicola Davis speaks with Prof Pall Thordarson about why soap is so effective at deactivating Sars-CoV-2 and how this differs from hand sanitiser.. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
01/04/2010m 46s

Covid-19: how do we test for it? – Science Weekly Podcast

Hannah Devlin speaks with Prof David Smith about the various ways in which clinicians can test whether or not someone is infected with Sars-CoV-2. And, following the recent announcement that the UK government has bought millions of antibody tests, explores what these might be able to tell us. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
31/03/2012m 50s

Covid-19: can ibuprofen make an infection worse? – Science Weekly Podcast

Nicola Davis speaks to Dr Ian Bailey about the current guidance on taking ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs during a Sars-CoV-2 infection. And, why there was concern about whether these medications could make symptoms of the disease worse. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
26/03/2011m 52s

Covid-19: how long can it survive outside the body? – Science Weekly Podcast

Sarah Boseley speaks to Prof Deenan Pillay about how the virus contaminates surfaces and why headlines about how long it can survive may be misleading. And, following a number of listener questions, we find out whether or not Sars-CoV-2 can survive in a swimming pool. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
24/03/209m 57s

Covid-19: how effective is social distancing? – Science Weekly Podcast

Ian Sample speaks to Prof Deirdre Hollingsworth about social distancing. What is it? How might it help to flatten the curve? And what are some of the big unknowns when it comes to predicting how effective it might be?. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
19/03/2013m 42s

Covid-19: why are there different fatality rates? – Science Weekly Podcast

Hannah Devlin speaks to Prof Paul Hunter about fatality rates; why different figures are being quoted across the media; how the rates are calculated; and is the fatality rate the only useful number to look at?. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
17/03/2011m 50s

A quest for meaning: Brian Greene on time and the cosmos - Science Weekly podcast

Investigating mind-bending concepts from string theory to quantum gravity has taken physicist Brian Greene on a journey through the universe and towards its ultimate demise. In his new book, Until the End of Time, Greene explores this cosmic impermanence and how we can still find meaning and purpose in human experience. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
13/03/2028m 28s

Covid-19: what happens once someone is infected? Science Weekly Extra

Following our first Covid-19 episode last week, we received an incredible response, with so many interesting new areas to explore. One of those was what exactly happens once someone is infected with this new virus. As Nicola Davis find outs, whilst scientists are still racing to figure the exact details out, insights can be gleaned from other viral infections like influenza. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
12/03/209m 43s

The Gene Gap: can we trust science to police itself? – Science Weekly podcast

This week on the podcast, we’re bringing you the third and final episode from our Common Threads series, this time about trust in science. In particular, we ask how past controversies have led many to question gene editing, science and medicine, and if by focusing on the past, we can move forward. To listen to episodes one and two, search ‘The Gene Gap: Common Threads’ wherever you get your podcasts. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
06/03/2040m 2s

Covid-19: where in the body does it infect us? – Science Weekly Extra

As the coronavirus, or Covid-19, outbreak continues to unfold, many of us have been left with questions about exactly what we do and don’t know. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be releasing extra episodes of Science Weekly exploring some of those questions with experts on the frontline. In today’s episode, Ian Sample investigates where the virus infects us when it enters our bodies, and what difference this makes to disease severity and transmissibility. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
05/03/2010m 17s

The Gene Gap: who decides what happens next? – Science Weekly podcast

Gene-editing technologies have the power to change life as we know it. This week on the podcast, we’re bringing you another episode from our Common Threads series, this time about power. Who has the authority to speak for our species and to make decisions? Are we well informed, and who holds the power to inform us? To listen to episodes one and three, search ‘The Gene Gap: Common Threads’ wherever you get your podcasts. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
28/02/2034m 41s

The Gene Gap: what makes us human? - Science Weekly podcast

Gene-editing technologies have the power to change life as we know it. This week on the podcast, we’re bringing you the first episode from our Common Threads series, part of an innovative new Guardian project called The Gene Gap. We’ll be talking about science but without the scientists – instead we’ll hear from the people who could be most affected by the promise of gene editing. This first episode explores identity. What makes us human? And what does it mean to be different in a world that strives for perfection? To listen to episodes two and three, search ‘The Gene Gap: Common Threads’ wherever you get your podcasts. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
21/02/2038m 17s

Exploring the start of the universe - Science Weekly podcast

What happened at the dawn of the universe, just trillionths of a second after the start of the big bang, remains a mystery. Revisiting these moments in his new book, At the Edge of Time, Dan Hooper explores many of the unknowns in cosmology. Hooper guides Ian Sample through the birth of our universe to its enigmatic constituents of dark matter and dark energy. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
14/02/2021m 48s

Ancient archaea: how life on Earth began - Science Weekly podcast

Around 3.5bn years ago the first forms of life emerged: bacteria and archaea. These so-called prokaryotes had the Earth to themselves for a very, very long time. Then, for some mysterious reason, another new microbial kingdom formed. Eukaryotic cells came into being and complex life began. But how and why did this happen? Hannah Devlin dives into the 12-year scientific odyssey that gives us an important piece of the puzzle. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
07/02/2024m 43s

The race to the deep – Science Weekly podcast

Sixty years ago, explorers first descended the 11,000 metres to the Challenger Deep of the Mariana Trench, the deepest known point in the ocean. In the intervening decades we have discovered more about this mysterious and peculiar environment and its inhabitants. Nicola Davis speaks to Dr Jon Copley about the race to the ocean floor and what is lurking down there in the deep.. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
31/01/2026m 19s

The Wuhan Coronavirus: what we know and don't know - Science Weekly podcast

A new virus, never before seen in humans, has emerged from the city of Wuhan in China. Since the start of the outbreak, the virus has spread to more than seven countries and more than 500 people have been infected. Hannah Devlin speaks to Prof Ian Jones about exactly what a coronavirus is. And we hear from epidemiologist Dr Rosalind Eggo about how scientists model the spread of novel viruses, often with very little information. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
24/01/2023m 18s

Psychology in an emergency: Science Weekly podcast

As the bushfires continue to rage across Australia, thousands of people have ended up face to face with the emergency. It’s hard to imagine how you would behave in a disaster like this. Would you panic? Or act quickly and be organised? More than 50 years of psychological and sociological evidence covering mass emergencies shows that people typically behave with cooperation and coordination. Nicola Davis speaks to John Drury, professor of social psychology at the University of Sussex, about why this is, and hears from Guardian Australia’s deputy culture editor, Stephanie Convery, about the fires. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
17/01/2026m 32s

Roy Baumeister on the power of negativity – Science Weekly podcast

Roy Baumeister is a social psychologist whose work focuses on the role of negativity in our perceptions. Together with US journalist John Tierney he is the author of a new book, The Power of Bad: How the Negativity Effect Rules Us and How We Can Rule It. Sitting down with Ian Sample, Baumeister talks about how he became interested in negativity and how we may be able to combat its impact on the way we view the world. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
10/01/2022m 36s

Happy New Year from the Science Weekly podcast

Happy New Year from the Science Weekly team. There is no new episode this week as we all take a festive break. The team will be back with a new episode on Friday 10 January. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
03/01/2036s

Happy Christmas from the Science Weekly podcast

Happy Christmas from the Science Weekly team. There is no new episode this week as we all take a festive break. The team will be back with a new episode on Friday 10 January. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
27/12/1936s

A year of science reporting – Science Weekly podcast

For the final science weekly of 2019 the Guardian’s Science team – Hannah Devlin, Ian Sample and Nicola Davis – talk through their top stories of the year including black holes, rebooted brains and seagulls. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
20/12/1922m 35s

Pioneering ketamine treatments: depression – Science Weekly podcast

Ketamine might sound like an unlikely candidate for treating addiction and depression. But a growing number of scientists believe the drug could help. In the second part of this Science Weekly mini series, Hannah Devlin speaks to another expert using ketamine in their work: a psychiatrist who has been conducting research on the use of ketamine for treating depression for several years. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
13/12/1920m 12s

Pioneering Ketamine treatments: alcohol dependency – Science Weekly podcast

Ketamine might sound like an unlikely candidate for treating addiction and depression. But a growing number of scientists believe the drug could help. Over the next two episodes of Science Weekly, Hannah Devlin speaks to two experts who are using ketamine in their work in very different ways. In this episode, we’re focusing on alcohol dependency and the findings that a single dose of Ketamine could positively impact on heavy drinkers. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
06/12/1919m 23s

Amy Dickman on her life of big cat conservation - Science Weekly podcast

Dr Amy Dickman is an internationally renowned conservation biologist. She’s dedicated her life to saving big cats in the wild, working in Africa for over 20 years on carnivore ecology and how to resolve human-wildlife conflict. Amy talks to Nicola Davis about her career trying to bring a halt to the decline in big cat populations, including the role that trophy hunting might play. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
29/11/1923m 17s

Up early or lying in: why we need different amounts of sleep – Science Weekly podcast

Requiring minimal amounts of sleep is sometimes seen as a badge of honour. But for many of us, being able to actually function is a different matter altogether. So why is it that some people seem to need more or less sleep? And what are some of the ramifications if we don’t get enough? Hannah Devlin speaks to two experts whose work is bringing new understanding to our sleeping behaviours. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
22/11/1917m 36s

Callum Roberts on a life spent diving on coral reefs – Science Weekly podcast

Callum Roberts is a British oceanographer, author and one of the world’s leading marine biologists. Sitting down with Ian Sample, Callum talks about his journey into exploring marine habitats, his subsequent work observing the world’s coral reefs and how, despite the urgent threat posed to the majority of these densely populated habitats, he still maintains an almost unswerving optimism for the future of his profession and of coral reefs in general. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
15/11/1922m 7s

Taking on Eysenck: one man's mission to challenge a giant of psychology – Science Weekly podcast

In 1992, Anthony Pelosi voiced concerns in the British Medical Journal about controversial findings from Hans Eysenck – one of the most influential British psychologists of all time – and German researcher Ronald Grossarth-Maticek. Those findings claimed personality played a bigger part in people’s chances of dying from cancer or heart disease than smoking. Almost three decades later, Eysenck’s institution have recommended these studies be retracted from academic journals. Hannah Devlin speaks to Pelosi about the twists and turns in his ultimately successful journey. And to the Guardian’s health editor, Sarah Boseley, about how revelations from tobacco industry documents played a crucial role. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
08/11/1928m 19s

Artificial wombs and the promise for premature babies - Science Weekly podcast

In October, a team of Dutch researchers were awarded a grant of €2.9m to develop a working prototype of an artificial womb for use in the clinic. But they are not the only ones working on this kind of technology. In 2017, a team in Philadelphia created the ‘biobag’, which could sustain premature lambs. Both teams hope their artificial wombs could allow premature babies to continue to develop as they would in a real womb, improving their chance of survival. Nicola Davis asks: What does current neonatal intensive care look like? Would an artificial womb really offer benefits? And what ethical and legal implications could arise if the technology is pursued?. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
01/11/1931m 38s

Inside the mind of the bullshitter: Science Weekly podcast

In 1986, philosopher Harry G Frankfurt wrote: “One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit.” This was the opening line of his seminal essay (later a book), On Bullshit, in which Frankfurt put forward his theory on the subject. Three decades later, psychologists are finally getting to grips with what might be going on in the minds of those who dabble in the dark arts of BS. Ian Sample asks two such psychologists what we can do to fight back. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
25/10/1929m 57s

Stuart Russell on why now is the time to start thinking about superintelligent AI - Science Weekly podcast

Prof Stuart Russell wrote the book on artificial intelligence. Literally. But that was back in 1995, when the next few decades of AI were uncertain, and, according to him, distinctly less threatening. Sitting down with Ian Sample, Russell talks about his latest book, Human Compatible, which warns of a dystopian future in which humans are outsmarted by machines. But how did we get here? And what can we do to make sure these machines benefit humankind?. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
18/10/1924m 59s

The dangers of DIY genetic testing – Science Weekly podcast

Whether for ancestry or health, millions of us are choosing to have our genetic fingerprints analysed by using direct-to-consumer kits from private companies. But can the results of these tests be trusted in a clinical setting? Senior doctors have called for a crackdown on home genetic-testing kits and this week, Hannah Devlin finds out why. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
11/10/1928m 26s

Cleaning up our air – Science Weekly podcast

An estimated 7 million people die every year from exposure to polluted air. Nicola Davis looks at the science behind air pollution and at the policies to tackle it. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
04/10/1933m 5s

The menopause: a new treatment for hot flushes? – Science Weekly podcast

Despite being something that will affect half the world’s population, the menopause, and how it can lead to things such as hot flushes, has historically been a bit of a ‘black box’ for scientists. But thanks to new insights from animal research, a much-needed alternative to hormone replacement therapy could be just around the corner. Hannah Devlin investigates. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
27/09/1921m 45s

'Nature is quantum from the start': Sean Carroll, many worlds, and a new theory of spacetime – Science Weekly podcast

Ian Sample speaks to the theoretical physicist Sean Carroll about his mission to demystify quantum mechanics. It won’t be easy, though, as Carroll’s favoured interpretation of this fundamental theory – the ‘many worlds’ interpretation – results in a possibly infinite number of parallel universes. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
20/09/1926m 42s

How to find life beyond Earth - Science Weekly podcast

As scientists at University College London announce the discovery of water in the atmosphere of a potentially habitable ‘super Earth’, Ian Sample explores our prospects for finding life beyond our own planet. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
13/09/1935m 18s

How to stop MS in its tracks – Science Weekly podcast

Ian Sample visits Professor Richard Reynolds at the MS Society tissue bank to hear how research on brains of patients who died with multiple sclerosis is leading to novel insights and new treatments. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
06/09/1935m 11s

Soundscape ecology with Bernie Krause - Science Weekly podcast

Do you know what noise a hungry sea anemone makes? Soundscape ecologist Bernie Krause does. Armed with over 5,000 hours of recordings, he takes Ian Sample on a journey through the natural world and demonstrates why sound is a powerful tool for conservation First broadcast on 15 June 2018. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
30/08/1926m 40s

Oceans of Noise: Episode Three – Science Weekly

During our summer break, we’re revisiting the archives. Today, Wildlife recordist Chris Watson concludes this three-part journey into the sonic environment of the ocean, celebrating the sounds and songs of marine life and investigating the threat of noise pollution First released: 03/05/2019. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
23/08/1936m 35s

Oceans of Noise: Episode Two – Science Weekly podcast

During our summer break, we’re revisiting the archives. Today, Wildlife recordist Chris Watson presents the second instalment of a three-part journey into the sonic environment of the ocean, celebrating the sounds and songs of marine life and investigating the threat of noise pollution First released: 03/05/2019. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
16/08/1928m 52s

Oceans of Noise: Episode One – Science Weekly podcast

During our summer break, we’re revisiting the archives. Today, Wildlife recordist Chris Watson begins a three-part journey into the sonic environment of the ocean, celebrating the sounds and songs of marine life and investigating the threat of noise pollution First released: 03/05/2019. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
09/08/1934m 34s

The psychology of climate science denial – Science Weekly podcast

We revisit the archive as Ian Sample looks at why some people continue to deny anthropogenic global heating, despite the scientific evidence. Could better communication be the key? And what tips can scientists and journalists take from political campaigns?. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
02/08/1935m 27s

The interplay between gender and autism spectrum disorder – Science Weekly podcast

The Science Weekly team are taking a bit of a break so we’ll be revisiting some of our favourite shows from the archive. Including this one from 2017, when Nicola Davis looked at why so many women with autism are misdiagnosed and how this issue resonates with broader ideas of neurodiversity. We also hear from a listener about how this episode affected her life.. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
26/07/1929m 9s

Mercury 13: the forgotten women of the space race - Science Weekly podcast

As the space race heated up in the 1960s, 13 aviators passed the same tests as Nasa’s first astronauts, later going on to be called the Mercury 13. But because they were women, Nasa wouldn’t even consider them. One of those women was Wally Funk, who joins Nicola Davis and author Sue Nelson this week as they discuss what could and should have been. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
19/07/1930m 5s

Dark Patterns: the art of online deception – Science Weekly podcast

Have you ever been caught out online and subscribed to something you didn’t mean to? Ian Sample has and so he tasked Jordan Erica Webber with finding out how companies play on our psyches to pinch our pennies and what we can do about it. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
12/07/1926m 45s

Cross Section: Giles Yeo – Science Weekly podcast

Why do some of us pile on the pounds, while others seem to get away with it? Hannah Devlin speaks to Dr Giles Yeo about some of the latest findings from the field of obesity research – from the role of our genes and how heritable our weight is, to how, as a society, we’ve become overweight and what we can do about it.. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
05/07/1926m 14s

What happens when we can't test scientific theories? – Science Weekly podcast

String theory gained traction 35 years ago but scientists have not found any evidence to suggest it is correct. Does this matter? And should it be tested? Ian Sample debates this with Eleanor Knox, David Berman and Peter Woit. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
28/06/1926m 34s

150 years of the periodic table – Science Weekly podcast

Nicola Davis invites Prof Brigitte Van Tiggelen and Dr Peter Wothers on to the podcast to look at how the periodic table took shape and asks whether it might now be in jeopardy. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
21/06/1924m 52s

The fight against HIV: then and now – Science Weekly podcast

Earlier this year, the UK government announced it wanted to end new HIV transmissions in England by 2030. Hannah Devlin looks at the history of the epidemic, including its impact on the gay community, recent promising drug trials and whether Britain can meet its target. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
14/06/1926m 9s

Cross Section: Frans de Waal – Science Weekly podcast

What can we learn from chimps when it comes to politics and power? Ian Sample meets the leading primatologist Prof Frans de Waal of Emory University to discuss good leadership and what we can learn from our closest living relatives.. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
07/06/1928m 10s

Tomorrow's weather forecast: fair with a good chance of improvement – Science Weekly podcast

Science Weekly joins forces with our sister technology podcast, Chips with Everything, to look at the future of weather forecasting. Graihagh Jackson finds out how accurate predictions currently are, while Jordan Erica Webber discusses how street cameras and connected cars could improve the forecast further. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
31/05/1926m 45s

Cross Section: Hiranya Peiris – Science Weekly podcast

What happened before the Big Bang? This is one of the hardest questions scientists are trying to answer, but Prof Hiranya Peiris is not daunted by the challenge. Hannah Devlin invited Peiris on the podcast to discuss the origins of our universe. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
24/05/1925m 16s

Are alternative meats the key to a healthier life and planet? – Science Weekly podcast

How do protein substitutes compare with the real deal? Graihagh Jackson investigates by speaking to dietician Priya Tew, the Guardian’s Fiona Harvey and author Isabella Tree. This podcast was amended on 18 May 2019. An earlier version incorrectly claimed that Vitamin B12 is also known as Folate or Folic Acid. Whilst Folate/Folic Acid is also a B Vitamin, it is not Vitamin B12.. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
17/05/1930m 9s

The problem with sex – Science Weekly podcast

Access to help for sexual problems is patchy and many fear the consequences of cuts to sexual health services could be profound. Nicola Davis investigates Please note: this podcast contains discussion of sexual abuse. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
10/05/1934m 13s

Oceans of Noise: Episode Three – Science Weekly podcast

Wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson concludes a three-part journey into the sonic environment of the ocean examining the possible threats caused to marine life by noise pollution. In this final episode he looks at solutions and discovers an unlikely role for sound artists such as himself. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
03/05/1934m 56s

Oceans of Noise: Episode Two – Science Weekly podcast

Wildlife recordist Chris Watson is joined by award-winning sound artist Jana Winderen on a voyage around Norway’s Austevoll islands, aboard a research vessel recording the grunting of spawning cod. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
03/05/1929m 9s

Oceans of Noise: Episode One – Science Weekly podcast

Wildlife recordist Chris Watson begins a three-part journey into the sonic environment of the ocean, celebrating the sounds and songs of marine life and investigating the threat of noise pollution. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
03/05/1934m 52s

Black holes: seeing 'the unseeable' – Science Weekly podcast

Using a global network of telescopes, scientists have managed to capture an image of a black hole for the first time. Hannah Devlin investigates why it’s more than just a pretty picture. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
26/04/1926m 36s

Cross Section: Barry Smith - Science Weekly podcast

Coffee is a drink adored the world over. But have you ever wondered why a fresh brew smells better than it tastes? Prof Barry Smith has spent his career pondering how the senses work together to produce flavour perception and so Graihagh Jackson invited him into the studio to talk taste. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
19/04/1923m 16s

Why fast fashion should slow down – Science Weekly podcast

Science Weekly teams up with the Chips with Everything podcast to examine the environmental price tag of our throwaway culture and explore how technology could help the clothing industry follow a more sustainable model. Graihagh Jackson and Jordan Erica Webber present. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
12/04/1925m 26s

Cross Section: David Spiegelhalter – Science Weekly podcast

Prof Sir David Spiegelhalter has a passion for statistics but some argue this type of number crunching is losing its influence and its ability to objectively depict reality. Nicola Davis and Ian Sample investigate how significant statistics are in today’s ‘post-truth’ world. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
05/04/1923m 56s

Vitamania: should we all be popping vitamin pills? – Science Weekly podcast

With almost half of British adults taking a daily vitamin, Graihagh Jackson and guests examine our love of supplements - including recent announcments about fortifying flour with folic acid. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
22/03/1921m 0s

Blood: the future of cancer diagnosis? – Science Weekly podcast

Could a simple blood test catch cancer before symptoms appear? Nicola Davis goes beyond the hype and investigates the future of blood diagnostics and cancer. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
22/03/1917m 16s

Cross Section: Matt Parker - Science Weekly podcast

Happy International Pi Day. To celebrate, Hannah Devlin is joined by the mathematician and comedian Matt Parker to discuss maths anxiety, how much today’s world relies on number crunching and what happens when we get it wrong. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
15/03/1922m 17s

Gender data gap and a world built for men

Today is International Women’s Day, and so Science Weekly teams up with the Guardian’s tech podcast, Chips with Everything. Nicola Davis and Jordan Erica Webber look at the repercussions of a male-orientated world – from drugs that don’t work for women to VR headsets that give them motion sickness. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
08/03/1924m 54s

Farewell to Nasa's Mars rover Opportunity – Science Weekly podcast

Nicola Davis bids a fond farewell to the Mars rover Opportunity after Nasa declared the mission finally over, 15 years after the vehicle landed on the red planet.. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
01/03/1925m 19s

Do we need another massive particle collider? Science Weekly podcast

With the Large Hadron Collider reaching its upper limits, scientists around the world are drawing up plans for a new generation of super colliders. Ian Sample weighs up whether or not the potential new discoveries a collider may make will justify the cost of building them.. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
22/02/1930m 2s

Cross Section: Paul Davies – Science Weekly podcast

Nicola Davis talks to the theoretical physicist Paul Davies, who has been trying to find the solution to one of humankind’s trickier questions – what is life?
15/02/1923m 26s

Where on earth is North? - Science Weekly podcast

Earth’s north magnetic pole wandering so quickly in recent decades that this week, scientists decided to update the World Magnetic Model, which underlies navigation for ships and planes today. Ian Sample looks at our relationship with the magnetic north.
08/02/1922m 22s

Cross Section: Jo Dunkley – Science Weekly podcast

Jo Dunkley is a professor of physics and astrophysical sciences at Princeton University. Hannah Devlin talks to her about what it’s like to work on the Atacama Cosmology Telescope in Chile, where they need to bring oxygen tanks for safety.
01/02/1924m 8s

Toxic legacy: what to do with Britain's nuclear waste – Science Weekly podcast

The UK has a problem and it isn’t going to go away anytime soon. But what to do about it? This week Geoff Marsh explores plans to bury the UK’s nuclear waste deep underground
25/01/1931m 31s

How do we define creativity? - Science Weekly podcast

In our latest collaboration, Ian Sample teams up with Jordan Erica Webber of Chips with Everything to look at why artwork produced using artificial intelligence is forcing us to look at how we define creativity
18/01/1924m 55s

Exploring the far side of the moon – Science Weekly podcast

Hannah Devlin looks at why there is renewed interest in lunar exploration following the Chinese Chang’e 4 adventure on the far side of the moon
11/01/1925m 23s

Did a supervolcano cause the dinosaurs' demise? – Science Weekly podcast

Some scientists are beginning to question whether it really was an asteroid impact that led to the dinosaurs’ extinction – instead, they think it may have been a supervolcano in India. Graihagh Jackson investigates
04/01/1925m 46s

Cross Section: Hannah Fry – Science Weekly podcast

Dr Hannah Fry won the Christopher Zeeman medal in August for her contributions to the public understanding of the mathematical sciences. Ian Sample has invited her on the podcast to discuss her love of numbers. Plus, he asks, can we really use this discipline to predict human behaviour?
28/12/1822m 44s

Cross Section: Dame Jane Francis - Science Weekly podcast

Prof Dame Jane Francis knows Antarctica better than most: she’s spent the majority of her career researching this icy landscape. Ian Sample talks to her about what it’s like to camp in Antarctica and what her findings can tell us about our future on this planet
21/12/1823m 32s

Oh my: a psychological approach to awe – Science Weekly podcast

Nicola Davis asks what’s behind one of humanity’s most powerful and possibly evolutionarily important emotions
14/12/1828m 30s

Gene-edited babies: why are scientists so appalled? – Science Weekly podcast

Last week Dr He Jiankui announced he had created the world’s first gene-edited babies. Hundreds of Chinese scientists have signed a letter condemning the research. Hannah Devlin delves into why He’s research has caused such uproar
07/12/1822m 51s

Cross Section: Tim Peake - Science Weekly podcast

Tim Peake beat 8,172 applicants for a spot on the European Space Agency’s astronaut training programme. Ian Sample talks to him about the selection process and the intensive training he went through
30/11/1824m 46s

Can we trust artificial intelligence lie detectors? – Science Weekly podcast

Liar liar, pants on fire? In this collaboration between the Guardian’s Science Weekly and Chips with Everything podcasts, we explore whether it will ever be possible to build intelligent machines to detect porky pies
23/11/1826m 54s

Can we trust AI lie detectors? Chips with Everything podcast

In this collaboration between the Guardian’s Science Weekly and Chips with Everything podcasts, we explore whether we will ever be able to build an intelligent machine to detect our lies. And if we did, could we trust it?
23/11/1826m 56s

Treating cancer: what role could our diet play? - Science Weekly podcast

Food is an essential part of everyone’s life but how does what we eat affect our health? Could we eat to treat our illnesses? Top oncologists from around the world are beginning to study the role of diet in cancer treatment and early results look promising. Hannah Devlin investigates.
16/11/1819m 10s

Cross Section: Sir Venki Ramakrishnan – Science Weekly podcast

Nicola Davis sits down with Nobel prize-winning scientist Sir Venki Ramakrishnan to discuss the competition he faced in the race to discover the ribosome – AKA the gene machine. Is competition good for science, or would a collaborative approach be better?
09/11/1819m 40s

What role should the public play in science? - Science Weekly podcast

There are concerns that a science journal may revise a paper amid pressure from activists. What role should the public play and should science have boundaries to protect its integrity? Ian Sample presents. Since publishing, we received complaints. We value this feedback and we would like to highlight: The intention was to look at the relationship between science and the public. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (aka. myalgic encephalomyelitis) was intended as an example of the broader theme We are awaiting a decision from Cochrane Review about the paper to inform any editorial decision The response from Cochrane’s Editor we quoted from a Reuters piece was a part inclusion of this statement The episode included two authors of the PACE trial. The trial is considered controversial and has received criticisms. It has not been retracted Since publishing, the complainant has been named by Cochrane. And the details of the complaints have been made publicly available. Read them here. Updated: 23/07/19
02/11/1825m 24s

What role should the public play in science? - Science Weekly podcast

There are concerns that a science journal may revise a paper amid pressure from activists. What role should the public play and should science have boundaries to protect its integrity? Ian Sample presents. Since publishing, we received complaints. We value this feedback and we would like to highlight: The intention was to look at the relationship between science and the public. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (aka. myalgic encephalomyelitis) was intended as an example of the broader theme The response from Cochrane’s Editor we quoted from a Reuters piece was a part inclusion of this statement The episode included two authors of the PACE trial. The trial is considered controversial and has received criticisms. It has not been retracted Since publishing, the complainant has been named by Cochrane. And the details of the complaints have been made publicly available. Read them here. Updated: 07/08/19
02/11/1827m 39s

Falling fertility: lessons learned from Botswana – Science Weekly podcast

Fifty years ago, the average woman in Botswana had seven children. Now she will have fewer than three. Enabling women to control their fertility has had huge ramifications for their health, education and employment – could President Trump’s ‘ global gag rule’ threaten this? Nicola Davis travels to Botswana to investigate
26/10/1824m 5s

Mars is barred: why we shouldn't go to the red planet – Science Weekly podcast

Elon Musk believes we should colonise Mars to ensure the survival of the human race. But is this reasoning compelling enough? Hannah Devlin ponders the case against setting our sites on Mars
19/10/1827m 38s

A step in the right direction: could implants help people walk again? – Science Weekly podcast

Four people with paraplegia were recently implanted with electrodes in their lower backs. They all regained movement below their injuries, and two walked again. This week Nicola Davis investigates this technique – epidural stimulation – and other approaches for treating spinal cord injuries
12/10/1825m 55s

The weight is over: will kilograms get an upgrade? – Science Weekly podcast

On 16 November, scientists vote on whether to update the way we measure the kilogram. This week, Ian Sample investigates the history of the metric system, and finds out how universal constants might now make it more robust
05/10/1825m 50s

Cross section: Mark Miodownik – Science Weekly podcast

What can a materials scientist learn from artists? How do you make robotic trousers? And what should we do about plastics? Hannah Devlin sits down with Mark Miodownik to find out
28/09/1834m 14s

Opioid addiction: can the UK curb the looming crisis? – Science Weekly podcast

The US has been in the grip of an ‘opioid epidemic’ since the 1990s, and now a rise in opioid prescriptions and deaths is being seen across the pond. Ian Sample investigates and asks: what can we do the curb the looming crisis?
21/09/1825m 32s

Are fungi the secret to a sweet sounding violin? – Science Weekly podcast

From making violins sound beautiful, to beer and bread, to creating life-saving medicine, fungi have an array of very useful attributes. This week, a report demonstrates just how little we know about this kingdom of life and what we are set to gain if we tap into fungi as a resource. Hannah Devlin investigates.
14/09/1827m 4s

Could a new force of nature reveal the universe's dark side? – Science Weekly podcast

We can see only 4% of the observable universe – the rest is made up of invisible ‘dark matter’ and ‘dark energy’. Now scientists are looking for a postulated force of nature that could open a door to the dark side. Ian Sample investigates
07/09/1822m 28s

Conservation: there will (not) be blood - Science Weekly podcast

Invasive species have been blamed for wiping out native populations. Conservationists face a hard choice: should they kill one species to save another? The answer is often yes. Nicola Davis explores this dilemma and asks whether there’s a more compassionate approach
31/08/1821m 10s

Huntington's disease: the price paid for our big brains? – Science Weekly podcast

This degenerative illness has a few genetic quirks which scientists believe could cause secondary health benefits. Emerging research suggests that people with Huntington’s are less sickly, don’t get cancer as often and even have more brain cells. Hannah Devlin investigates.
24/08/1826m 52s

Heatwaves: the next silent killer? - Science Weekly podcast

Heatwaves have ravaged much of the northern hemisphere, causing wildfires, destruction and death. Some are blaming heat stress for an increase in chronic kidney disease in Central America. Graihagh Jackson investigates the causes and health effects of heatwaves
17/08/1821m 12s

Biomimicry: Does nature do it better?

In this special collaboration between the Guardian’s Science Weekly and Chips with Everything podcasts, we explore why it’s so hard to mimic nature
10/08/1824m 57s

Tricky taxonomy: the problems with naming new species – Science Weekly podcast

Species are hard to define, as they don’t fit neatly into the categories that science wants to put them into. But increasingly, people are naming new species without enough evidence to suggest they are indeed a separate taxon. Graihagh Jackson investigates why so-called taxonomic vandalism is on the rise and what we can do about it
03/08/1824m 23s

In vitro fertilisation: 40 years on – Science Weekly podcast

This week, the world’s first IVF baby turned 40. The procedure has come a long way since 1978, and more than 6 million IVF babies have now been born. But should we be concerned about the rising numbers of fertility treatments? And are we becoming less fertile? Hannah Devlin investigates
27/07/1827m 13s

The dark side of happiness – Science Weekly podcast

Happiness means something different to all of us, be it contentment, pleasure or joy. But could pursuing it leave us sad instead? Nicola Davis explores the science and psychology of happiness
20/07/1828m 38s

From Ebola to Nipah: are we ready for the next epidemic? – Science Weekly podcast

The 2014 Ebola outbreak killed over 10,000 people before it was eventually brought under control. As new infectious diseases appear around the world, what can we learn from past outbreaks to better prepare ourselves?
13/07/1827m 25s

Did dinosaurs stop to smell the flowers? – Science Weekly podcast

Is it true that dinosaurs had a role to play in the emergence of flowers? Nicola Davis investigates whether herbivores caused plants to blossom
06/07/1829m 49s

Slice of PIE: a linguistic common ancestor – Science Weekly podcast

Nicola Davis explores Proto-Indo-European, the hypothetical common ancestor of modern Indo-European languages and asks, where did it come from? How and why did it spread? And do languages evolve like genes?
29/06/1829m 41s

Gene-edited pigs: can we engineer immunity? – Science Weekly podcast

Pigs have been rendered immune to a disease that has cost billions. Hannah Devlin questions whether this could be the future of eliminating debilitating and costly viruses in livestock
22/06/1824m 23s

Soundscape ecology with Bernie Krause – Science Weekly podcast

Do you know what noise a hungry sea anemone makes? Soundscape ecologist Bernie Krause does. Armed with over 5,000 hours of recordings, he takes Ian Sample on a journey through the natural world and demonstrates why sound is such a powerful tool for conservation
15/06/1827m 2s

The psychological effects of inequality – Science Weekly podcast

Wealth inequality has skyrocketed in the UK, as has anxiety, stress and mental illness. Could the two be linked? Richard Lea investigates
08/06/1828m 9s

Finding a voice: why we sound unique – Science Weekly podcast

Each and everyone of us has a voice that is unique. As a result, we make a lot of assumptions about someone from just the way they speak. But are these judgements fair? And what if they’re wrong? Nicola Davis explores
01/06/1826m 29s

Radiophobia: why do we fear nuclear power? – Science Weekly podcast

Nuclear energy is back on the UK government’s agenda. However, concerns about safety have plagued this technology for decades. Given it kills less people than wind, coal or gas, why are we so radiophobic? Ian Sample investigates.
25/05/1825m 46s

Why is asbestos still killing people? – Science Weekly podcast

Every year, more people die from asbestos exposure than road traffic accidents in Great Britain. Many countries still continue to build with this lethal substance – but why? Hannah Devlin investigates
18/05/1825m 36s

Growing brains in labs – Science Weekly podcast

This week: Hannah Devlin explores how scientists are growing human brains in labs. Why are they so keen to explore the possibilities? What are the ethical concerns being raised by experts?
11/05/1830m 37s

Cross Section: Carlo Rovelli – Science Weekly podcast

Guest host Richard Lea reimagines time with theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli. What is time, after all? Should we be thinking about it differently?
04/05/1834m 5s

The curious case of the dodo – Science Weekly podcast

This week: Nicola Davis investigates the death by fowl play of one of the world’s most famous dodo specimens. So what do we know about the dodo as a species? And what questions does this murder case raise?
27/04/1829m 19s

The science behind why we fight – Science Weekly podcast

This week, Ian Sample asks: why do humans fight? Can science tell us anything about what drives us to violence?
20/04/1828m 51s

Alternative medicine and its sceptics – Science Weekly podcast

This week, Hannah Devlin asks: what are sceptics of alternative medicine saying about its rise? And what can their thoughts tell us about how the scientific sceptic movement is approaching the conversation?
13/04/1830m 36s

A Neuroscientist Explains: how we read words

For our final episode of this series, Daniel Glaser (with a little misguided help from his producer Max) attempts to unpick what the brain does – and doesn’t do – when we read
09/04/1834m 33s

What our teeth tell us about our evolutionary past – Science Weekly podcast

This week, Nicola Davis asks: what clues do our teeth hold about our species? And what can they tell us about our past?
06/04/1828m 16s

A Neuroscientist Explains: where perception ends and hallucination begins

When it comes to perceiving the world around us, how much of it is due to ‘bottom-up’ sensory data and how much comes from the ‘top-down’ predictions we make? Most importantly; how can the delicate dance between the two lead to hallucinations?
02/04/1837m 43s

The trouble with science - Science Weekly podcast

Scientists are tasked with helping us understand our world. When the science is right, they help move humanity forward. But what about when science is wrong?
30/03/1826m 45s

Inside the secret life of the teenage brain – Science Weekly podcast

Hannah Devlin speaks to neuroscientist Prof Sarah-Jayne Blakemore about her groundbreaking research into the adolescent brain
23/03/1828m 58s

A Neuroscientist Explains: how whooping increases your enjoyment

Daniel Glaser explores the complex relationship between mind and body when it comes to emotion
23/03/1828m 27s

A Neuroscientist Explains: psychology's replication crisis – podcast trailer

In episode three of the second season of A Neuroscientist Explains, Daniel Glaser revisits a weekly column that saw him roped into what is now being called a crisis for psychology and further afield
20/03/181m 7s

What do the chemical signatures of deadly nerve agents tell us about their origins? – Science Weekly podcast

Ian Sample talks to two fellow Guardian reporters and a professor of environmental toxicology about the Salisbury spy poisoning
16/03/1827m 8s

A Neuroscientist Explains: the origins of social behaviour – podcast trailer

In episode two of the second season of our A Neuroscientist Explains podcast, Daniel Glaser explores the evolutionary origins of social conformity
15/03/181m 11s

Is it possible to enhance and rewire the adult brain? – Science Weekly podcast

Nicola Davis asks: can we increase the window of brain plasticity in the later stages of life? And what do we know about the implications of doing so?
09/03/1825m 46s

A Neuroscientist Explains: is the internet addictive?

Dr Daniel Glaser is back. To kick off season two he asks whether there is a connection between reward and addiction. And can we really get addicted to Twitter?
05/03/1835m 48s

Cross Section: Steven Pinker – Science Weekly podcast

We ask Prof Steven Pinker whether today’s doom and gloom headlines are a sign we’re worse off than in centuries gone by, or if human wellbeing is at an all-time high
02/03/1837m 40s

A Neuroscientist Explains: season two trailer

Dr Daniel Glaser and Producer Max are back for a second season of A Neuroscientist Explains – and this time they’re going it alone!
27/02/181m 18s

What happened to US diplomats in Cuba? – Science Weekly podcast

Ian Sample delves into a preliminary study of US embassy staff said to have been targeted by an energy source in Cuba. With no unifying explanation, what do scientists think happened?
23/02/1827m 5s

E-cigarettes and the burning issues around vaping - Science Weekly podcast

Ian Sample asks: how safe is vaping? Can it help people stop smoking? And should it be available via a doctor’s prescription?
16/02/1831m 2s

Culture and the mind: a new theory of human intelligence – Science Weekly podcast

What role might culture play in intelligence? And how does human culture differ from culture found in other animals? Nicola Davis explores our evolutionary history
07/02/1840m 34s

Why is the flu so bad this year? - Science Weekly podcast

Hannah Devlin explores why 2018 is such a bumper year for seasonal flu and asks how scientists are trying to fight back
01/02/1832m 59s

Questioning AI: does artificial intelligence need an off switch? - Science Weekly podcast

Our final mini-series episode asks what impact might AI have on society – and who decides when to turn it off?
24/01/1840m 58s

Questioning AI: what can scientists learn from artificial intelligence? – Science Weekly podcast

In this episode of our new mini-series, Ian Sample explores how AI is providing insights into cancer diagnosis, intelligence, and physics
17/01/1833m 21s

Questioning AI: what kind of intelligence will we create? – Science Weekly podcast

In the second episode of this mini-series, Ian Sample asks if human-level intelligence is what we should be aiming for. And can we replicate something we can’t even define?
10/01/1838m 14s

Questioning AI: what are the key research challenges? – Science Weekly podcast

In the first episode of our Questioning Artificial Intelligence mini-series, Ian Sample explores some of the key hurdles for machine learning, including reasoning and social intelligence
04/01/1835m 24s

Frankenpod 200: celebrating Mary Shelley’s masterpiece - Science Weekly podcast

Two hundred years after the publication of Frankenstein, how relevant are the themes and concerns of Shelley’s gothic tale to today’s readers?
27/12/1734m 27s

DIY Crispr: biohacking your own genome – Science Weekly podcast

With do-it-yourself Crispr kits now available online, Hannah Devlin asks if it’s really possible to edit your own DNA, is it safe and how should it be regulated?
20/12/1733m 26s

Poles apart: how do we save society? - Science Weekly podcast

Divisions between left and right, young and old, metropolitan and rural have never been greater. How can we connect with those we disagree with? And what happens if we fail?
13/12/1732m 0s

Fighting infection: from Joseph Lister to superbugs - Science Weekly podcast

Nicola Davis explores the origins of antiseptic surgery and asks what we might learn from its founding father about taking on today’s biggest healthcare threats
06/12/1733m 7s

Cross Section: Sophie Scott - Science Weekly Podcast

Where did human language come from? What role does it serve? And how might emojis and GIFs enhance human interaction?
29/11/1731m 37s

Healthy body, healthy mind: a new approach for mental disorders - Science Weekly podcast

What role might the immune system play in mental illness? And how might this challenge long-held beliefs about the divide between body and brain?
22/11/1728m 8s

Tomorrow's technology: from asteroid mining to programmable matter – Science Weekly podcast

Ian Sample looks to the future and asks what might the technologies of tomorrow look like? And how might they change our world?
15/11/1730m 42s

Running smart: the science of completing a marathon – Science Weekly podcast

Hannah Devlin discusses the limits of human performance with sports scientist Professor John Brewer and amateur marathon runner Vicky Solly
08/11/1731m 31s

How does socioeconomic position affect our health? - Science Weekly podcast

This week, Ian Sample and Nicola Davis explore the complex relationship between poverty, stress, and life expectancy
01/11/1728m 15s

Science, comedy, and society: Brian Cox and Robin Ince answer your questions

In this week’s Science Weekly podcast, Nicola Davis asks two of popular science’s best known stars a host of pressing questions. What role should scientists play in society? What might the future hold for humanity? And will we ever build Northampton on Mars?
25/10/1732m 55s

Decisions, decisions: the neuroscience of how we choose – Science Weekly podcast

Ian Sample speaks with two members of an ambitious project that hopes to crack one of neuroscience’s biggest mysteries
18/10/1726m 47s

The Party: how can gender affect autism spectrum disorders? – Science Weekly podcast

Why are so many women with autism often misdiagnosed? And how does this issue resonate with broader ideas of neurodiversity?
12/10/1724m 22s

From zero to infinity: a brief history of counting – Science Weekly podcast

Nicola Davis is joined by mathematician Marcus du Sautoy to explore zero, infinity and everything in between
04/10/1728m 48s

Childhood cancer survivors: a unique perspective – Science Weekly podcast

What does later life look like for the growing population of childhood cancer survivors? And how might their experiences change the way we treat this group of diseases?
27/09/1723m 58s

The cybercrime arms race: fighting back against the hackers - Science Weekly podcast

Nicola Davis speaks with two experts on the frontline of cybercrime to find out how the changing digital landscape is leaving us all vulnerable to cyber attacks
20/09/1728m 25s

Statistical vigilantes: the war on scientific fraud – Science Weekly podcast

Hannah Devlin delves into the case of a shamed Japanese scientist to explore how statistical malpractice is damaging science - whether employed knowingly or not
14/09/1727m 48s

The grey zone: reaching out to patients with disorders of consciousness

In this edition of Science Weekly, Ian Sample explores whether it is possible to communicate with those in a ‘vegetative’ state – and what are the ethical and legal ramifications?
06/09/1726m 12s

Plastics: a villainous material? Or a victim of its own success? – Science Weekly podcast

Nicola Davis delves into the world of plastics to find out exactly how and why they became so widespread, and what can now be done to curtail the ever-present problems they can cause
30/08/1732m 59s

Being human in the age of artificial intelligence - Science Weekly podcast

Ian Sample speaks with Prof Max Tegmark about the advance of AI, the future of life on Earth, and what happens if and when a ‘superintelligence’ arrives
23/08/1728m 32s

Cross Section: Dame Stephanie Shirley – Science Weekly podcast

Hannah Devlin speaks with the IT pioneer about her life as a woman in tech, having a son with autism, and how it all led to her later role as a philanthropist
16/08/1726m 17s

Editing the embryo: removing harmful gene mutations - Science Weekly podcast

Hannah Devlin explores the science and ethics behind a landmark study that successfully edited the genomes of developing embryos. How did they do it? What did they hope to achieve? And, further down the line, what kind of doors might research like this open?
10/08/1727m 27s

A peek behind the cosmic curtain: Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw answer your questions

Science Weekly hosts the authors of Universal: a guide to the cosmos for a special live recording answering questions about the big bang, the multiverse and more
02/08/1732m 52s

Minds and machines: can we work together in the digital age? - Science Weekly podcast

Ian Sample sits down with Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson to discuss the future of the workplace and the role artificial intelligence will play
26/07/1732m 9s

Science Weekly live: call for listener's questions - Science Weekly podcast

This Thursday, we’ll be recording a very special Q&A episode with Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw and we want your questions!
25/07/171m 54s

Hearing voices: the science of auditory verbal hallucinations - Science Weekly podcast

What can advances in neuroscience and psychology reveal about this age-old phenomenon? And how might digital avatars help patients answer back?
19/07/1728m 34s

Big data: what can the internet tell us about who we really are? – Science Weekly podcast

In an age where Google sees trillions of searches a year, what can our usage of it reveal? How accurate are these ‘big data’ representations? And how might this all be used for the greater good?
12/07/1730m 3s

A history of human creativity: the good, the bad, and the ugly – Science Weekly podcast

Ian Sample delves into our evolutionary past to explore the role creativity and collaboration may have played in early human societies
06/07/1728m 34s

Cross section: Athene Donald – Science Weekly podcast

Hannah Devlin sits down with experimental physicist Athene Donald to explore her work in polymers and role as an advocate for gender equality in science
28/06/1731m 4s

Out with the old: new treatment on cell ageing process – Science Weekly podcast

Ian Sample explores research on cellular senescence and the role this therapeutic approach can play in age-related diseases and health issues
21/06/1731m 35s

Face value: the science of first impressions – Science Weekly podcast

Hannah Devlin delves into the world of human faces and asks: how does the brain process them? And how do faces affect our ideas about people?
16/06/1734m 40s

Solar spacecraft: two missions to the sun - Science Weekly podcast

Nicola Davis speaks with two scientists about their respective missions to the sun - what burning questions do they hope to answer? And what are some of the obstacles?
11/06/1731m 22s

Cross Section: Robbert Dijkgraaf – Science Weekly podcast

This week, Nicola Davis sits down with mathematical physicist Professor Robbert Dijkgraaf to discuss The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge
04/06/1730m 44s

The Bell-Beaker folk - Science Weekly podcast

Hannah Devlin looks at a genome study that may explain the spread of bell-shaped pottery beakers across Europe 4,500 years ago
28/05/1718m 18s

Is graphene really worth the hype – science weekly

Nicola Davis investigates what makes graphene the ‘wonder material’ and whether it can bring commercial success to the UK
21/05/1730m 32s

Science weekly: can we cure Alzheimer's?

Alzheimer’s disease affects millions of people worldwide. But despite decades of research costing hundreds of millions of dollars, we have no cure. Why?
14/05/1727m 59s

Erica answers: responses from an android - Science Weekly podcast

Erica - the world’s ‘most beautiful and intelligent’ android - responds to people’s questions about her memories, superintelligence, and the future of humanity
03/05/1716m 33s

How Artificial Intelligence will change the world: a live event - Science Weekly podcast

Recorded in front of a live audience as part of our Brainwaves series, Ian Sample asks a group of experts how AI will change our social landscape - for better or worse
27/04/1747m 46s

Breakthrough Starshot: getting to Proxima Centauri b – Science Weekly podcast

Hannah Devlin explores the Breakthrough Starshot Initiative, which aims to use lasers to propel spherical sails to Alpha Centauri - our closest star system - over four light years away
20/04/1734m 48s

The evolution of reason: a new theory of human understanding – Science Weekly podcast

Ian Sample and Nicola Davis delve into the world of reason and ask why do we have it? How does it work? And what insights might our evolutionary past provide?
13/04/1739m 48s

First Impressions: what can babies see? - Science Weekly Podcast

What can we see when we’re born? How does this develop with time? And how can our culture and language affect the way we perceive the world around us?
11/04/1731m 14s

Cross Section: Lawrence Krauss - Science Weekly podcast

Nicola Davis asks theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and science communicator Professor Lawrence Krauss about the secrets of the universe
05/04/1728m 55s

Built on bones: the history of humans in the city - Science Weekly podcast

Ian Sample and bioarchaeologist Brenna Hassett explore the history of our relationship with an urban lifestyle – the good, the bad, and the ugly
28/03/1731m 46s

Cryogenic preservation: from single cells to whole organs – Science Weekly podcast

Hannah Devlin looks at recent advances in the field of cryopreservation and asks how close we are to applying these technologies to whole organs
22/03/1729m 41s

How to write a successful science book – Science Weekly podcast

To celebrate the announcement of the 2017 Wellcome Book Prize shortlist, Hannah Devlin asks three of its featured authors about the secrets to writing a successful science book
15/03/1728m 48s

Is it time for an update to evolutionary theory? - Science Weekly podcast

The extended evolutionary synthesis is controversially proposed as an update to evolutionary theory as we know it. Nicola Davis explores the arguments
08/03/1742m 16s

Exoplanets orbiting Trappist-1 and the search for life – Science Weekly podcast

Hannah Devlin explores the research behind the recent announcement of seven Earth-size planets and asks how we might probe their nature, including a suitability for life Exoplanet discovery: seven Earth-sized planets found orbiting nearby star
01/03/1723m 25s

A neuroscientist explains: teaching morality to robots

Dr Daniel Glaser delves into the murky world of Artificial Intelligence and asks whether true intelligence can exist without an understanding of morality
26/02/1731m 59s

Nudge theory: the psychology and ethics of persuasion - Science Weekly podcast

This week, Ian Sample explores the psychology behind ‘nudging’, its usage by governments, and some of the ethical quandaries involved
22/02/1735m 30s

A neuroscientist explains: magnetic resonance imaging

Dr Daniel Glaser explores the history and science behind a well known method of brain imaging, including a trip for producer Max into an MRI scanner
19/02/1748m 43s

Poison tales: the chemistry of crime fiction – Science Weekly podcast

Nicola Davis sits down with Dr Kathryn Harkup to discuss a shared love of crime fiction and the chemistry contained within their poisonous plots
15/02/1735m 8s

A neuroscientist explains: listener's emails about empathy

Responding to some of our listener’s emails, Dr Daniel Glaser ponders whether dogs have a Theory of Mind, the neuroscience behind bilingualism, and the value of introspection
14/02/1712m 37s

A neuroscientist explains: how we perceive the truth

Dr Daniel Glaser explores what the wiring of the brain can tell us about how we perceive the world
12/02/1733m 31s

Is emergent quantum mechanics grounded in classical physics? - Science Weekly podcast

Does strange quantum behaviour emerge from run-of-the-mill classical physics? If so, what does this tell us about the fundamental nature of reality?
09/02/1738m 56s

A neuroscientist explains: listener's emails about memory

Responding to some of our listener’s emails, Dr Daniel Glaser explores the role of photographs for recall, and the vividness of musical memory
08/02/178m 54s

A neuroscientist explains: the need for ‘empathetic citizens’

What is the neuroscience behind empathy? When do children develop it? And can it be taught?
05/02/1737m 14s

Cross Section: Uta Frith – Science Weekly podcast

Nicola Davis sits down with Professor Uta Frith to talk autism, passion, rebellion and the role of women in science
01/02/1733m 52s

A neuroscientist explains: how the brain stores memories

How do brains and computers differ when it comes to memory storage? And what clues can we get from the ageing brain?
29/01/1734m 14s

The narcissistic scientist: big brain, big head? – Science Weekly podcast

How prevalent is narcissism in science? Has this changed over time? And how could it threaten the fundamental pillars of science?
25/01/1725m 6s

A neuroscientist explains: how music affects the brain

In the first episode of this new podcast, Dr Daniel Glaser asks what effect does music have on our brains? And how can it be harnessed for therapy?
22/01/1740m 36s

Communicating climate change: a psychoanalysis – Science Weekly podcast

What is the psychology behind climate change denial? Can it be overcome? And what communication tips can scientists take from political campaigns?
19/01/1735m 39s

Universal grammar: are we born knowing the rules of language? – Science weekly podcast

Do all human languages share a universal grammar? And can science shed light on a schism that’s divided the world of linguistics for over half a century?
11/01/1729m 21s

Stephen Hawking at 75: a brief history – Science Weekly podcast

The origin of the universe, the distribution of galaxies, and the nature of black holes – it’s all in a day’s work for one of the most prominent scientists of all time
08/01/1736m 21s

Recast: Us and Them - Science Weekly podcast

Are we biologically primed to fear outsiders? And can science help us bridge the divide when conflicts arise?
27/12/1632m 31s

Juno probe's Jupiter mission update - Science Weekly podcast

What has Juno revealed since it dropped into Jupiter’s orbit earlier this year? And how is the probe holding up against the solar system’s largest gas giant?
20/12/1627m 43s

The male contraceptive pill: how close are we? – Science Weekly podcast

Over 100 million women around the world use the female contraceptive pill. But why isn’t there a male alternative? And are the barriers to its creation scientific or social?
14/12/1627m 45s

Cross Section: Neil deGrasse Tyson – Science Weekly podcast

What first attracted one of the world’s foremost astrophysicists to the night sky? Are we alone in the universe? And how can scientific thinking benefit us all?
07/12/1633m 26s

Big Unknowns: can we stop ageing? – Science Weekly podcast

With advances in medicine, science, and technology allowing humans to live longer than ever, can we finally crack the code of ageing and stop it altogether?
29/11/1634m 21s

Big Unknowns: what is dark matter? – Science Weekly podcast

Matter as we know it accounts for less than 5% of the known universe - the rest remains something of a mystery
22/11/1630m 49s

Big Unknowns: is free will an illusion? – Science Weekly podcast

Free will has been debated by philosophers and theologians for centuries. Neuroscientists and psychologists have now entered the fray - but what new light can they shed? And just how free are we when it comes to “free” will?
15/11/1632m 0s

Big Unknowns: how did life begin? – Science Weekly podcast

According to our best estimates, life first appeared on planet Earth around 3.8bn years ago. But what happened leading up to it? What conditions were necessary? And what is ‘life’ anyway’?
08/11/1639m 3s

Big Unknowns Series 2 trailer - the Science Weekly podcast

How did life begin? Is free will an illusion? Where’s all the dark matter? And can we live forever? These are some of science’s big unknowns and in this returning mini-series, we’re going to pull some of them apart
04/11/163m 27s

Cross Section: Mike Massimino – Science Weekly podcast

Like many kids, Mike Massimino dreamed of becoming an astronaut. Against all odds, he turned that dream into reality. This is his story
01/11/1640m 43s

Ethics and genetics: opening the book of life – Science Weekly podcast

When it comes to the ethics of genetic technologies who decides how far we should go in our pursuit for perfection?
25/10/1637m 15s

False memories: from the lab to the courtroom - Science Weekly podcast

How much of our memory is fictitious? And how is this psychological research now being applied to the world of eyewitness testimony and victim statements?
18/10/1629m 45s

The quest for a theory of everything – Science Weekly podcast

In the race for a unifying ‘theory of everything’ two frontrunners are miles ahead. But what will win? String theory? Loop quantum gravity? Or something else entirely?
11/10/1632m 0s

Weapons of math destruction: how big data and algorithms affect our lives

In this special collaboration between the Guardian’s Science Weekly and Chips with Everything podcasts, we explore how big data and algorithms affect our lives - for better and worse
04/10/1625m 46s

The eureka moment: how scientists learn to trust their gut

In the final episode of Brain waves, Dr Kevin Fong and Nathalie Nahai move from the science of emotion to the emotion of science. We learn about the years of research behind a flash of inspiration – and ask where the stereotype of the unemotional scientist came from
29/09/1631m 11s

The man who lost touch – Science Weekly podcast

What happens without proprioception, our innate ability to know where and how our body is moving through space? And what can we learn from those who have lost it?
27/09/1624m 54s

Express yourself: how music plays with our emotions

In the fourth instalment of Brain waves, Dr Kevin Fong and Nathalie Nahai explore the power that music has to trigger our emotions, and ask if there’s an evolutionary function behind it all. Plus, why do sad songs say so much?
22/09/1632m 6s

Cross Section: Sir Roger Penrose – Science Weekly podcast

Has string theory become too fashionable? Do we place too much faith in quantum mechanics? And does mathematics exist in the external objective world?
20/09/1639m 58s

Fever pitch: how sport hacks your emotions - Brain Waves podcast

In the third episode of Brain waves, Dr Kevin Fong and Nathalie Nahai discover how our love of sport evolved out of ancient emotional experiences and ask how modern stadiums are designed to maximise sensation. Plus, we meet the world’s first “thrill engineer”
15/09/1625m 47s

The nature of intelligence - Science Weekly podcast

How do we define intelligence? How do we decide which animals possess it? And why are some people so uncomfortable with the idea of intelligence and consciousness existing outside the world of Homo sapiens?
13/09/1630m 10s

Scents and sensibility: what's it like to live without smell?

In the second instalment of Brain waves, Dr Kevin Fong and Nathalie Nahai explore what it’s like to live without smell. Plus, can a multisensory chef help anosmiac Lucy Mangan appreciate the joy of food?
08/09/1629m 33s

The fate of Arctic sea ice – Science Weekly podcast

The extent of the Arctic sea ice continues to drop, but how accurate are the predictions that measure it? And what could happen if it finally disappears?
06/09/1632m 4s

Brain waves: the science of emotion

What is love – and what does it have to do with meeting a bear in the woods? In the first of a five-part series, Dr Kevin Fong and Nathalie Nahai unpick the causes of emotions. But where’s the best place to start – history, culture, society or our bodies?
01/09/1635m 8s

The secret lives of cities

Are cities anything more than the bricks, mortar, and steel that make them up? And what role can science and technology play in the cities of tomorrow?
28/08/1637m 11s

Big unknowns: what will become of us?

What does the future hold for humanity? And can we ever really know? Join us for a journey into the unknown
21/08/1631m 25s

Big unknowns: is time an illusion? – Science Weekly podcast

Is time a figment of the human mind or the most fundamental of phenomena? And what do the physical laws of nature reveal about its mysteries?
12/08/1634m 29s

Big unknowns: what is consciousness?

What does it mean to be you? And how can science unpick the age-old debates around conscious experience? Join us for a journey into the unknown
05/08/1640m 0s

Big unknowns: is our universe infinite?

Does our universe go on forever? Or does it have boundaries? And what clues can science uncover? Join us for a journey into the unknown
29/07/1629m 44s

Us and Them: are we biologically primed to fear outsiders? - Science Weekly podcast

Is there a biological basis for human division? And can science help us bridge the divide when conflicts arise?
22/07/1631m 1s

What is the future of touch? - Science Weekly podcast

We get a feel for how the latest advances in haptic technologies are bringing us all closer together
15/07/1621m 11s

The Juno probe: unearthing Jupiter’s past - Science Weekly podcast

After five years and 1.4bn miles, the Nasa spacecraft has arrived at its final destination, but what is this plucky little probe hoping to find?
08/07/1620m 18s

Do we want robots to be like humans?

Should machines have a concrete Mr Spock-like regard for logic or are there times when the best decision is a more human one?
01/07/160s

The search for planet Earth's twin

Ian Sample talks to Stuart Clarke about his new book exploring exoplanets and alien worlds, and how to find another Earth
24/06/1632m 12s

Second chance saloon: the power of old ideas

Why do ideas discarded for centuries, like electric cars, return to the cutting edge of science and technology?
17/06/1637m 16s

The future of gene research

How does our genetic makeup help or hinder our chances in life? And as our ability to unravel DNA becomes more powerful, what are the implications?
10/06/1631m 15s

The truth about radiation

Why do we fear radiation? Is it because so much about it is still unknown, or that it’s often invisible to us? Timothy Jorgensen of Georgetown University explains
03/06/1630m 26s

The ethics of growing human embryos in the lab

Should the current 14 day limit for growing human embryos in the lab be extended in light of recent breakthroughs?
27/05/1636m 13s

The psychology of money

How does money change our thinking, feelings and behaviour? Claudia Hammond joins the podcast team to teach us how to take control of our cash
20/05/1632m 23s

The truth of the tyrannosaurus

As we continue to discover new species of this huge dinosaur, is our understanding of it changing?
13/05/1641m 2s

How do human voices work?

What makes our speaking voices so distinctive and so recognisable? How can we transform the way we use our voice?
06/05/1639m 6s

Revolutionary! Why was 1700s France such a fertile time for science? - Science Weekly podcast

Steve Jones on science at the time of the French revolution - and why scientists were among the first to be sent to the guillotine
29/04/1634m 12s

The Science of Shakespeare - Science Weekly podcast

This week on Science Weekly we delve into a world not commonly ventured into by us scientists... Shakespeare
23/04/1645m 14s

How harmful is cannabis?

What has convinced some researchers that the risks of heavy cannabis use now warrant public health campaigns to warn people of potential harm?
15/04/160s

What are the rules that regulate life on Earth? - Science Weekly podcast

Biologist Sean B. Carroll, author of The Serengeti Rules, discusses the logic underpinning life
08/04/1626m 8s

What happens inside the sun?

Professor Lucie Green explains why we should think of the sun as ‘ringing like a bell’ and why its sound is so important to the study of our star
01/04/1629m 52s

How do placebos work? The science of mind over body

Jo Marchant, science journalist and author of Cure, reveals the powerful and unexpected ways in which the mind can have a role in healing
25/03/1628m 59s

How do our genes actually work? Podcast

How much of our genome is actually doing useful stuff? And what do our genes actually tell our cells to do? We guide you through the basics of genetics
18/03/1632m 38s

The world's longest running human study turns 70

As the first batch of the best studied humans on the planet turn 70, we speak to Helen Pearson, whose book The Life Project explores this huge birth-cohort study
11/03/1633m 27s

The rise and fall of Concorde and supersonic passenger flight

Why did supersonic passenger flight end when Concorde retired in 2003? Could we still see a new generation of supersonic aircraft?
04/03/1652m 40s

A proper mouthful: how do we prevent food fraud? Podcast

From fake eggs to horsemeat burgers, food fraud is common, but hard to detect. How can we be sure that what we’re eating is the real thing?
26/02/1629m 4s

The end of chronic pain? podcast

Scientists at University College London have made a discovery which makes mice pain-free, and have reversed painlessness in a woman with a rare condition.
19/02/1631m 21s

Ben Miller on the search for alien life

Why are we so fascinated by the idea that we aren’t alone in the universe?
12/02/1628m 21s

The amazing designs of Leonardo Da Vinci

On the eve of a major new Science Museum exhibition, we look at Leonardo’s designs, and consider his influence on modern robotics and aeronautics
05/02/1629m 55s

What makes a good con artist? Podcast

How does the brain of the con artist differ from the rest of us? And how could some of their skills be redeployed for the greater good?
29/01/1628m 45s
-
-
Heart UK
Mute/Un-mute