Instant Genius

By Immediate media

Listen to a podcast, please open Podcast Republic app. Available on Google Play Store.


Category: Science

Open in Apple Podcasts


Open RSS feed


Open Website


Rate for this podcast

Subscribers: 487
Reviews: 0

Description

Whether you’re curious about getting healthy, the Big Bang or the science of cooking, find out everything you need to know in under 30 minutes with Instant Genius. The team behind BBC Science Focus Magazine talk to world-leading experts to bring you a bite-sized masterclass on a new subject each week.


New episodes are released every Monday and Friday and you can subscribe to Instant Genius on Apple Podcasts to access all new episodes ad-free and all old episodes of Instant Genius Extra.



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.


Episode Date
Faecal transplants, with Dr Benjamin Mullish
24:41
The Food and Drink Administration in the States has recently recommended the use of faecal transplants to treat various bacterial infections. We spoke to Dr Benjamin Mullish, a researcher at Imperial College London’s Department of Metabolism, Digestion and Reproduction, about this promising new technique.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Oct 02, 2022
The future of self-driving cars, with Jack Stilgoe
29:03

Jack Stilgoe, a professor of science and technology policy, talks us through the future of self-driving cars, upcoming changes to the law surrounding them, and how they could change society.




Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Sep 29, 2022
The heart, with Sian Harding
34:11
Sian Harding, author of The Exquisite Machine: The new science of the heart, explains how the heart works, how to keep it healthy and the future of research into this essential organ.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Sep 25, 2022
Jupiter in opposition, with Dr Jonathan Nichols
33:13
On Monday 26 September, Jupiter will make its closest approach to Earth for 59 years, giving astronomers and stargazers a unique opportunity to observe and study the planet. To mark this moment, we spoke to planetary scientist Dr Jonathan Nichols from Leicester University, to understand the significance of this cosmological event and find out how new research is rewriting what we know about the enigmatic giant in our midst.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Sep 22, 2022
Spider season, with Prof Adam Hart
23:41
It’s that time of year again when we start to notice spiders coming into our homes. But what is the cause of this so-called ‘spider season’ and can any UK spiders actually cause us harm? Entomologist Prof Adam Hart from the University of Gloucester gives us the lowdown.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Sep 18, 2022
NASA’s DART asteroid deflection mission, with Tim Gregory
14:10
Geologist and chemist Tim Gregory tells us what to look out for when NASA’s DART spacecraft completes its year-long journey and crashes into an asteroid.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Sep 15, 2022
Dung beetles, with Sally-Ann Spence
30:38
Dung beetles are incredibly important insects. They keep fields clean by munching through dung, help aerate soil, and act as a food source for various animals. Dung beetle expert Sally Ann Spence tells us all about these little insects, reveals where you can find them, and explains why we should look after them.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Sep 11, 2022
Artemis’s First Launch, with Libby Jackson
35:08
Over the last couple of weeks Artemis has had two failed attempts at its first launch. Libby Jackson, the Exploration Science Manager for the UK space agency explains what went wrong, why failures are all part of the process and what’s in store for us all when we finally make it back to the moon.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Sep 08, 2022
Space weather, with Sean Elvidge
22:19
Jason Goodyer talks with Sean Elvidge on everything you need to know about weather in space.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Sep 04, 2022
Bringing back the Tasmanian tiger from extinction, with Helen Pilcher
45:31
When we bring back a species after it’s gone extinct, are we bringing back the real thing? Would we create a woolly mammoth or a hairy elephant? Biologist Helen Pilcher explains whether we can really bring back species from the dead, and how the research could help us protect species under threat of extinction.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Sep 01, 2022
The science of James Bond gadgets, with Kathryn Harkup
34:10
Kathryn Harkup, author of Superspy Science, talks us through the science of the craziest gadgets, schemes and fatalities in the James Bond series.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Aug 29, 2022
How plants solve crimes, with Prof David Gibson
26:29
 You can’t escape plant matter. It’s everywhere. That’s why forensic botany – the study of plants to help investigate crime – is so powerful. Professor David Gibson explores how true crime cases have been solved using plants, algae, fungi and more.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Aug 26, 2022
Future of artificial intelligence, with Kate Darling
28:07
Dr Kate Darling, a researcher specialising in human-robot interaction at the MIT Media Lab talks to us about artificial intelligence and tells us why we don’t need to worry about a robot uprising.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Aug 22, 2022
Life on Mars, with Lewis Dartnell
31:44
Lewis Dartnell, an astrobiologist and research scientist and the University of Westminster, explains what we might find in the search for life on Mars.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Aug 18, 2022
What has caused the heatwave and drought, with Prof Dann Mitchell
14:44
Prof Dann Mitchell, a climate scientist at the University of Bristol, reveals what has caused the current heatwave and drought, and what the future outlook could be.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Aug 14, 2022
Drought, with Kevin Hiscock
28:03
Kevin Hiscock, a professor of environmental sciences at the University of East Anglia, unpacks the problems the UK is facing with drought and how to tackle them.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Aug 11, 2022
Instant Genius Update
0:42
We are now giving you double Instant Genius each week! From Monday 8th August 2022 you'll get a new episode from us every Monday and Friday. For those subscribed via Apple Podcasts Subscription service you will now receive all new Instant Genius episodes completely ad free.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Aug 07, 2022
Seashells with Dr Helen Scales
27:37

Marine biologist, broadcaster and author Dr Helen Scales tells us all about seashells, where to find them, and what they can reveal about their inhabitants.





Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Aug 07, 2022
Inside the mind of a bee, with Prof Lars Chittka
37:58

How smart can an insect be? Lars Chittka, a professor of sensory and behavioural ecology and Queen Mary, University of London unpacks the incredible depth of intelligence exquisitely packed into the mind of a bee.


Once you’ve mastered the basics with Instant Genius, dive deeper with Instant Genius Extra, where you’ll find longer, richer discussions about the most exciting ideas in the world of science and technology. Only available on Apple Podcasts.



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Jul 31, 2022
Deepfakes, with Sam Gregory
20:08
Technologist Sam Gregory explains what deepfakes are and why they have seen a sudden rise.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Jul 25, 2022
The evolution of human childhood, with Dr Brenna Hassett
26:57

Anthropologist Brenna Hassett, author of Growing Up Human, explains why our super-long childhood is so weird compared to the rest of the animal kingdom.


Once you’ve mastered the basics with Instant Genius, dive deeper with Instant Genius Extra, where you’ll find longer, richer discussions about the most exciting ideas in the world of science and technology. Only available on Apple Podcasts.



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Jul 17, 2022
The science of crabs, with Peter Davie
32:57

Marine ecologist Peter Davie, author of Crabs: A Global Natural History, tells us about the biology and behaviour of these crustaceans.


Once you’ve mastered the basics with Instant Genius, dive deeper with Instant Genius Extra, where you’ll find longer, richer discussions about the most exciting ideas in the world of science and technology. Only available on Apple Podcasts.



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Jul 10, 2022
Meteorites, with Dr Tim Gregory
26:44

Cosmochemist Dr Tim Gregory tells us about the exciting science of space rocks.


Once you’ve mastered the basics with Instant Genius, dive deeper with Instant Genius Extra, where you’ll find longer, richer discussions about the most exciting ideas in the world of science and technology. Only available on Apple Podcasts.


Produced by the team behind BBC Science Focus Magazine. Visit our website: sciencefocus.com



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Jul 03, 2022
Animal senses, with Ed Yong
25:57

Science writer Ed Yong tells us about the staggering diversity of animal senses, from dogs’ powerful sense of smell to birds’ incredible colour vision.


Once you’ve mastered the basics with Instant Genius, dive deeper with Instant Genius Extra, where you’ll find longer, richer discussions about the most exciting ideas in the world of science and technology. Only available on Apple Podcasts.


Produced by the team behind BBC Science Focus Magazine. Visit our website: sciencefocus.com



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Jun 26, 2022
Sloths, with Dr Rebecca Cliffe
31:21

Dr Rebecca Cliffe, founder and executive director of the Sloth Conservation Foundation, busts the myths around these loveable animals and explains just how bizarre their biology is.


Once you’ve mastered the basics with Instant Genius, dive deeper with Instant Genius Extra, where you’ll find longer, richer discussions about the most exciting ideas in the world of science and technology. Only available on Apple Podcasts.


Produced by the team behind BBC Science Focus Magazine. Visit our website: sciencefocus.com



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Jun 19, 2022
Bitcoin, with Brett Scott
21:34

Brett Scott, author of Cloudmoney, explains how cryptocurrencies work, and why he believes Bitcoin will never be a true currency.


Once you’ve mastered the basics with Instant Genius, dive deeper with Instant Genius Extra, where you’ll find longer, richer discussions about the most exciting ideas in the world of science and technology. Only available on Apple Podcasts.


Produced by the team behind BBC Science Focus Magazine. Visit our website: sciencefocus.com



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Jun 12, 2022
COVID numbers, with Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter
24:27

What story do the statistics tell about the pandemic? Sir David Spiegelhalter, the non-executive director the UK Statistics Authority, explores what lessons we’ve learned over the last two years.


Once you’ve mastered the basics with Instant Genius, dive deeper with Instant Genius Extra, where you’ll find longer, richer discussions about the most exciting ideas in the world of science and technology. Only available on Apple Podcasts.


Produced by the team behind BBC Science Focus Magazine. Visit our website: sciencefocus.com



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Jun 05, 2022
The science of dreams, with Sidarta Ribeiro
29:08

Neuroscientist Sidarta Ribeiro speaks to us about what is going on in our brains when we dream.


Once you’ve mastered the basics with Instant Genius, dive deeper with Instant Genius Extra, where you’ll find longer, richer discussions about the most exciting ideas in the world of science and technology. Only available on Apple Podcasts.


Produced by the team behind BBC Science Focus Magazine. Visit our website: sciencefocus.com



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

May 29, 2022
The body clock, with Prof Russell Foster
29:45

Neuroscientist Prof Russell Foster explains how our circadian rhythms control functions throughout our entire bodies.


Once you’ve mastered the basics with Instant Genius, dive deeper with Instant Genius Extra, where you’ll find longer, richer discussions about the most exciting ideas in the world of science and technology. Only available on Apple Podcasts.


Produced by the team behind BBC Science Focus Magazine. Visit our website: sciencefocus.com



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

May 22, 2022
Dog intelligence, with Jules Howard
33:37

Zoologist Jules Howard, author of the new book Wonderdog, tells us how smart our pet pooches really are.


Once you’ve mastered the basics with Instant Genius, dive deeper with Instant Genius Extra, where you’ll find longer, richer discussions about the most exciting ideas in the world of science and technology. Only available on Apple Podcasts.


Produced by the team behind BBC Science Focus Magazine. Visit our website: sciencefocus.com



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

May 15, 2022
The first stars in the Universe, with Dr Emma Chapman
23:18

Physicist Dr Emma Chapman tells us everything we know – and everything we don’t – about the first stars to exist after the Big Bang.


Once you’ve mastered the basics with Instant Genius, dive deeper with Instant Genius Extra, where you’ll find longer, richer discussions about the most exciting ideas in the world of science and technology. Only available on Apple Podcasts.


Produced by the team behind BBC Science Focus Magazine. Visit our website: sciencefocus.com



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

May 08, 2022
Lichens, with Kerry Knudsen
22:34

Lichenologist Kerry Knudsen, from the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, tells us all about the biology of lichens.


Once you’ve mastered the basics with Instant Genius, dive deeper with Instant Genius Extra, where you’ll find longer, richer discussions about the most exciting ideas in the world of science and technology. Only available on Apple Podcasts.


Produced by the team behind BBC Science Focus Magazine. Visit our website: sciencefocus.com



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

May 01, 2022
The origins of religion, with Robin Dunbar
34:53

Robin Dunbar, a professor of evolutionary psychology, explains why spirituality and religion took root in early humans.


Once you’ve mastered the basics with Instant Genius, dive deeper with Instant Genius Extra, where you’ll find longer, richer discussions about the most exciting ideas in the world of science and technology. Only available on Apple Podcasts.


Produced by the team behind BBC Science Focus Magazine. Visit our website: sciencefocus.com



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Apr 24, 2022
Sound in the animal kingdom, with David George Haskell
29:33

Biologist David George Haskell, author of Sounds Wild and Broken, explains how and why the animal kingdom evolved to communicate by sound.

Once you’ve mastered the basics with Instant Genius, dive deeper with Instant Genius Extra, where you’ll find longer, richer discussions about the most exciting ideas in the world of science and technology. Only available on Apple Podcasts. Produced by the team behind BBC Science Focus Magazine. Visit our website: sciencefocus.com



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Apr 17, 2022
Corals, with Dr Jamie Craggs
19:23

Coral expert Dr Jamie Craggs tells us all about the biology of corals and reveals why they are so important for the planet.

Once you’ve mastered the basics with Instant Genius, dive deeper with Instant Genius Extra, where you’ll find longer, richer discussions about the most exciting ideas in the world of science and technology. Only available on Apple Podcasts. Produced by the team behind BBC Science Focus Magazine. Visit our website: sciencefocus.com



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Apr 10, 2022
Oral Health, with Dr Kami Hoss
34:59

Dentist Dr Kami Hoss explains how to take care of our teeth, debunking myths about plaque, cavities, fluoride and more.

Once you’ve mastered the basics with Instant Genius, dive deeper with Instant Genius Extra, where you’ll find longer, richer discussions about the most exciting ideas in the world of science and technology. Only available on Apple Podcasts. Produced by the team behind BBC Science Focus Magazine. Visit our website: sciencefocus.com



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Apr 03, 2022
The animal kingdom’s mathematicians, with Brian Butterworth
20:52
Brian Butterworth, author of Can Fish Count, explains how animals approach counting and mathematics, and how they are more like humans than you might expect. Once you’ve mastered the basics with Instant Genius, dive deeper with Instant Genius Extra, where you’ll find longer, richer discussions about the most exciting ideas in the world of science and technology. Only available on Apple Podcasts. Produced by the team behind BBC Science Focus Magazine. Visit our website: sciencefocus.com

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Mar 27, 2022
Blood sugar and your health, with Jessie Inchauspé
20:14
Jessie Inchauspé, author of Glucose Revolution, explains how spikes in our blood sugar are affecting how well we function on a day-to-day basis, and even speeding up the ageing process. Once you’ve mastered the basics with Instant Genius, dive deeper with Instant Genius Extra, where you’ll find longer, richer discussions about the most exciting ideas in the world of science and technology. Only available on Apple Podcasts. Produced by the team behind BBC Science Focus Magazine. Visit our website: sciencefocus.com

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Mar 21, 2022
The Neuroscience of Grief, with Mary-Frances O’Connor
26:43
Neuroscientist and psychologist Mary-Frances O’Connor explains the latest thinking on what happens to our brains when we experience grief and loss. Once you’ve mastered the basics with Instant Genius, dive deeper with Instant Genius Extra, where you’ll find longer, richer discussions about the most exciting ideas in the world of science and technology. Only available on Apple Podcasts. Produced by the team behind BBC Science Focus Magazine. Visit our website: sciencefocus.com

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Mar 14, 2022
Hyenas with Prof Adam Hart
24:56
Prof Adam Hart explains why zoologists find Hyenas so fascinating, why they're so unlike other mammals and how having a few hyenas around isn't such a bad thing. Once you’ve mastered the basics with Instant Genius, dive deeper with Instant Genius Extra, where you’ll find longer, richer discussions about the most exciting ideas in the world of science and technology. Only available on Apple Podcasts. Produced by the team behind BBC Science Focus Magazine. Visit our website: sciencefocus.com

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Mar 07, 2022
How biology got females wrong, with Lucy Cooke
28:23
Zoologist Lucy Cooke explains how biologists often overlook the female animal when it comes understanding the sexes in the natural world. She dispels some of the most stubborn myths that surround the female of the species and reveals what happened when a robot grouse went looking for love. Once you’ve mastered the basics with Instant Genius, dive deeper with Instant Genius Extra, where you’ll find longer, richer discussions about the most exciting ideas in the world of science and technology. Only available on Apple Podcasts. Produced by the team behind BBC Science Focus Magazine. Visit our website: sciencefocus.com

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Feb 28, 2022
Preparing for disaster, with Michał Zalewski
20:16
Computer security expert Michał Zalewski explains what disasters we should be preparing for, and what simple, straight-forward things we can do to have the biggest impact. Once you’ve mastered the basics with Instant Genius, dive deeper with Instant Genius Extra, where you’ll find longer, richer discussions about the most exciting ideas in the world of science and technology. Only available on Apple Podcasts. Produced by the team behind BBC Science Focus Magazine. Visit our website: sciencefocus.com

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Feb 21, 2022
The metaverse, with Prof David Reid
18:44
Virtual reality expert Prof David Reid explains the metaverse – a new form of internet focused on interactivity that we could all be experiencing very soon. Once you’ve mastered the basics with Instant Genius, dive deeper with Instant Genius Extra, where you’ll find longer, richer discussions about the most exciting ideas in the world of science and technology. Only available on Apple Podcasts. Produced by the team behind BBC Science Focus Magazine. Visit our website: sciencefocus.com

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Feb 14, 2022
Mindwandering, with Moshe Bar
37:09
Cognitive neuroscientist Moshe Bar explains what the brain does when it goes wandering and how you can use the act of mindwandering – or daydreaming as some might call it – to give your mood and creativity a boost. Once you’ve mastered the basics with Instant Genius, dive deeper with Instant Genius Extra, where you’ll find longer, richer discussions about the most exciting ideas in the world of science and technology. Only available on Apple Podcasts. Produced by the team behind BBC Science Focus Magazine. Visit our website: sciencefocus.com

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Feb 07, 2022
Crows, rooks and ravens, with Dr Kaeli Swift
25:15
Ornithologist Dr Kaeli Swift tells us all about corvids, from their lifestyle and intelligence to how you can befriend a crow. Once you’ve mastered the basics with Instant Genius, dive deeper with Instant Genius Extra, where you’ll find longer, richer discussions about the most exciting ideas in the world of science and technology. Only available on Apple Podcasts. Produced by the team behind BBC Science Focus Magazine. Visit our website: sciencefocus.com

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Jan 31, 2022
The science of Intimacy, with Dr Michelle Drouin
35:29
Psychologist Dr Michelle Drouin, author of Out of Touch: How to Survive an Intimacy Famine, explains why intimacy, both physical and emotional, is essential for our mental health. Once you’ve mastered the basics with Instant Genius, dive deeper with Instant Genius Extra, where you’ll find longer, richer discussions about the most exciting ideas in the world of science and technology. Only available on Apple Podcasts. Produced by the team behind BBC Science Focus Magazine. Visit our website: sciencefocus.com

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Jan 24, 2022
Breathing, your hidden superpower, with James Nestor
29:54
Science journalist James Nestor explains why so many of us are breathing wrong, and why it matters. Once you’ve mastered the basics with Instant Genius, dive deeper with Instant Genius Extra, where you’ll find longer, richer discussions about the most exciting ideas in the world of science and technology. Only available on Apple Podcasts. Produced by the team behind BBC Science Focus Magazine. Visit our website: sciencefocus.com

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Jan 17, 2022
The origin and evolution of mammals, with Dr Elsa Panciroli
28:35
Palaeontologist Dr Elsa Panciroli takes us 300 million years back in time to an age long before the rise of the dinosaurs to chart the evolution of some of our most ancient ancestors.Once you’ve mastered the basics with Instant Genius, dive deeper with Instant Genius Extra, where you’ll find longer, richer discussions about the most exciting ideas in the world of science and technology. Only available on Apple Podcasts.Produced by the team behind BBC Science Focus Magazine. Visit our website: sciencefocus.com

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Jan 10, 2022
Gut health, with Dr Megan Rossi
23:10
Dietician and nutritionist Dr Megan Rossi explains why your gut health is important, and how you can improve it without cutting out your favourite foods.Once you’ve mastered the basics with Instant Genius, dive deeper with Instant Genius Extra, where you’ll find longer, richer discussions about the most exciting ideas in the world of science and technology. Only available on Apple Podcasts.Produced by the team behind BBC Science Focus Magazine. Visit our website: sciencefocus.com

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Jan 03, 2022
The science of ageing, with Dr Andrew Steele
24:41
Dr Andrew Steele, computational biologist and author of Ageless, explains what happens in our bodies as we get older, and why some species don’t seem to age at all.Once you’ve mastered the basics with Instant Genius, dive deeper with Instant Genius Extra, where you’ll find longer, richer discussions about the most exciting ideas in the world of science and technology. Only available on Apple Podcasts.Produced by the team behind BBC Science Focus Magazine. Visit our website: sciencefocus.com

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Dec 27, 2021
The James Webb Space Telescope, with Stuart Clark
27:14
Astronomer and science journalist Stuart Clark tells us everything we need to know about the most important, high-risk space mission of the decade. Once you’ve mastered the basics with Instant Genius, dive deeper with Instant Genius Extra, where you’ll find longer, richer discussions about the most exciting ideas in the world of science and technology. Only available on Apple Podcasts. Produced by the team behind BBC Science Focus Magazine. Visit our website: sciencefocus.com

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Dec 20, 2021
Algae, with Ruth Kassinger
24:52

Science writer Ruth Kassinger, author of Bloom: From Food to Fuel, The Epic Story of How Algae Can Save Our World, tells us everything we need to know about this bizarre organism, from the animal that grows algae in its fur to why we should be including it in our diet.


Once you’ve mastered the basics with Instant Genius, dive deeper with Instant Genius Extra, where you’ll find longer, richer discussions about the most exciting ideas in the world of science and technology. Only available on Apple Podcasts.


Produced by the team behind BBC Science Focus Magazine. Visit our website: sciencefocus.com



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Dec 13, 2021
Consciousness and comas, with Dr Adrian Owen
31:19

Cognitive neuroscientist Dr Adrian Owen explains how he’s been able to communicate with patients in vegetative states and comas, and what consciousness is like for a patient in this condition.


Once you’ve mastered the basics with Instant Genius, dive deeper with Instant Genius Extra, where you’ll find longer, richer discussions about the most exciting ideas in the world of science and technology. Only available on Apple Podcasts.


Produced by the team behind BBC Science Focus Magazine. Visit our website: sciencefocus.com



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Dec 06, 2021
Eating for your brain, with Kimberley Wilson
32:07

Kimberley Wilson, a psychologist, nutrition expert and Great British Bake Off finalist, explains what we should eat to keep our brains healthy.


Once you’ve mastered the basics with Instant Genius, dive deeper with Instant Genius Extra, where you’ll find longer, richer discussions about the most exciting ideas in the world of science and technology. Only available on Apple Podcasts.


Produced by the team behind BBC Science Focus Magazine. Visit our website: sciencefocus.com



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Nov 29, 2021
Gravity, with Marcus Chown
28:18

Science writer Marcus Chown tells us everything we need to know about gravity, from Isaac Newton’s apple falling from a tree to Einstein’s general relativity.


Once you’ve mastered the basics with Instant Genius, dive deeper with Instant Genius Extra, where you’ll find longer, richer discussions about the most exciting ideas in the world of science and technology. Only available on Apple Podcasts.


Produced by the team behind BBC Science Focus Magazine. Visit our website: sciencefocus.com



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Nov 22, 2021
Brain myths with Dr Lisa Feldman-Barrett
28:11

Lisa debunks some common misconceptions about the brain and explains how our grey matter really works.


Once you’ve mastered the basics with Instant Genius, dive deeper with Instant Genius Extra, where you’ll find longer, richer discussions about the most exciting ideas in the world of science and technology. Only available on Apple Podcasts.


Produced by the team behind BBC Science Focus Magazine. Visit our website: sciencefocus.com



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Nov 15, 2021
Dog behaviour, with Mat Ward
31:55

Mat Ward, author of What Dogs Want, debunks the myths of dog behaviour, and explains how to get your pup ready for your return to the office.


Once you’ve mastered the basics with Instant Genius, dive deeper with Instant Genius Extra, where you’ll find longer, richer discussions about the most exciting ideas in the world of science and technology. Only available on Apple Podcasts.


Produced by the team behind BBC Science Focus Magazine. Visit our website: sciencefocus.com



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Nov 08, 2021
Health hacks, with Dr Michael Mosley
30:24

Dr Michael Mosley, host of the podcast Just One Thing, explains the simple lifestyle changes we can all make to improve our health and wellbeing.


Once you’ve mastered the basics with Instant Genius, dive deeper with Instant Genius Extra, where you’ll find longer, richer discussions about the most exciting ideas in the world of science and technology. Only available on Apple Podcasts.


Produced by the team behind BBC Science Focus Magazine. Visit our website: sciencefocus.com



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Nov 01, 2021
UK wildlife, with Chris Packham and Megan McCubbin
31:59

The presenters of Autumnwatch and Chris and Meg's Wild Summer tell us about all the different types of wildlife you can see right here in the UK.


Once you’ve mastered the basics with Instant Genius, dive deeper with Instant Genius Extra, where you’ll find longer, richer discussions about the most exciting ideas in the world of science and technology. Only available on Apple Podcasts.


Produced by the team behind BBC Science Focus Magazine. Visit our website: sciencefocus.com



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Oct 24, 2021
Psychology of evil, with Dr Julia Shaw
34:41

Criminal psychologist Dr Julia Shaw tells us how false memories can sway a trial and whether evil truly exists.


Once you’ve mastered the basics with Instant Genius, dive deeper with Instant Genius Extra, where you’ll find longer, richer discussions about the most exciting ideas in the world of science and technology. Only available on Apple Podcasts.


Produced by the team behind BBC Science Focus Magazine. Visit our website: sciencefocus.com



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Oct 17, 2021
Mental Shortcuts, with Prof Marcus du Sautoy
33:48

Professor of mathematics Marcus du Sautoy reveals how thinking like a mathematician can help you make better decisions in all aspects of life.


Once you’ve mastered the basics with Instant Genius, dive deeper with Instant Genius Extra, where you’ll find longer, richer discussions about the most exciting ideas in the world of science and technology. Only available on Apple Podcasts.


Produced by the team behind BBC Science Focus Magazine. Visit our website: sciencefocus.com



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Oct 10, 2021
Endangered foods, with Dan Saladino
28:16

Food journalist Dan Saladino tells us all about endangered foods, and what we could stand to lose if these foods disappear.


Once you’ve mastered the basics with Instant Genius, dive deeper with Instant Genius Extra, where you’ll find longer, richer discussions about the most exciting ideas in the world of science and technology. Only available on Apple Podcasts.


Produced by the team behind BBC Science Focus Magazine. Visit our website: sciencefocus.com



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Oct 03, 2021
Poisons, with Dr Raychelle Burks
29:59

Chemist Dr Raychelle Burks tells us all about poisons, from how to tell what substance was used, to whether there are any poisons that are undetectable.


Once you’ve mastered the basics with Instant Genius, dive deeper with Instant Genius Extra, where you’ll find longer, richer discussions about the most exciting ideas in the world of science and technology. Only available on Apple Podcasts.


Produced by the team behind BBC Science Focus Magazine. Visit our website: sciencefocus.com



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Sep 26, 2021
The nature of time, with Colin Stuart
27:54

Astronomy author and speaker Colin Stuart explains why time has an arrow, its intimate relationship with space, and why it's impossible to go back in time and kill Hitler.


Once you’ve mastered the basics with Instant Genius, dive deeper with Instant Genius Extra, where you’ll find longer, richer discussions about the most exciting ideas in the world of science and technology. Only available on Apple Podcasts.


Produced by the team behind BBC Science Focus Magazine. Visit our website: sciencefocus.com



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Sep 19, 2021
CRISPR, with Prof Fyodor Urnov
29:49

Prof Fyodor Urnov tells us how CRISPR is already changing the lives of people with genetic disorders, and why it’s essential that gene editing therapies are accessible to all.


Once you’ve mastered the basics with Instant Genius, dive deeper with Instant Genius Extra, where you’ll find longer, richer discussions about the most exciting ideas in the world of science and technology. Only available on Apple Podcasts.


Produced by the team behind BBC Science Focus Magazine. Visit our website: sciencefocus.com



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Sep 12, 2021
Science denial, with Lee McIntyre
30:49

Lee tells us about why science denial is on the rise, from flat-Earthers to anti-vaxxers, and where conspiracy theories come from in the first place.


Once you’ve mastered the basics with Instant Genius, dive deeper with Instant Genius Extra, where you’ll find longer, richer discussions about the most exciting ideas in the world of science and technology. Only available on Apple Podcasts.


Produced by the team behind BBC Science Focus Magazine. Visit our website: sciencefocus.com



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Sep 05, 2021
The decline of the insects, with Prof Dave Goulson
28:51

Entomologist Dave Goulson is the author of Silent Earth: Averting the Insect Apocalypse. He tells us how we can save the bugs and why they’re so important.


Once you’ve mastered the basics with Instant Genius, dive deeper with Instant Genius Extra, where you’ll find longer, richer discussions about the most exciting ideas in the world of science and technology. Only available on Apple Podcasts.


Produced by the team behind BBC Science Focus Magazine. Visit our website: sciencefocus.com



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Aug 29, 2021
Migraines, with Dr Katy Munro
29:23

Headache specialist, author and podcast host Dr Katy Munro tells us what goes on in your body during a migraine.


Once you’ve mastered the basics with Instant Genius, dive deeper with Instant Genius Extra, where you’ll find longer, richer discussions about the most exciting ideas in the world of science and technology. Only available on Apple Podcasts.


Produced by the team behind BBC Science Focus Magazine. Visit our website: sciencefocus.com



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Aug 22, 2021
Procrastination, with Dr Fuschia Sirios
23:55

Dr Fuschia Sirios, well-being researcher from The University of Sheffield, unpacks the psychology of procrastination – from why we do it, to how to stop.


Once you’ve mastered the basics with Instant Genius, dive deeper with Instant Genius Extra, where you’ll find longer, richer discussions about the most exciting ideas in the world of science and technology. Only available on Apple Podcasts.


Produced by the team behind BBC Science Focus Magazine. Visit our website: sciencefocus.com



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Aug 15, 2021
Childhood, with Dr Emma Byrne
21:01

Dr Emma Byrne, author of How to Build a Human, tells us about the hidden science of childhood.


Once you’ve mastered the basics with Instant Genius, dive deeper with Instant Genius Extra, where you’ll find longer, richer discussions about the most exciting ideas in the world of science and technology. Only available on Apple Podcasts.


Produced by the team behind BBC Science Focus Magazine. Visit our website: sciencefocus.com



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Aug 08, 2021
Calories, with Dr Giles Yeo
27:55

Trust Me, I’m a Doctor’s Giles Yeo tells us about the history of calorie counting and whether there’s such thing as ‘good’ and ‘bad’ calories.


Once you’ve mastered the basics with Instant Genius, dive deeper with Instant Genius Extra, where you’ll find longer, richer discussions about the most exciting ideas in the world of science and technology. Only available on Apple Podcasts.


Produced by the team behind BBC Science Focus Magazine. Visit our website: sciencefocus.com



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Aug 01, 2021
Sleep, with Dr Matthew Walker
28:22

Dr Matthew Walker, professor of neuroscience, tells us about how sleep evolved and what happens when we don’t get enough.


Once you’ve mastered the basics with Instant Genius, dive deeper with Instant Genius Extra, where you’ll find longer, richer discussions about the most exciting ideas in the world of science and technology. Only available on Apple Podcasts.


Produced by the team behind BBC Science Focus Magazine. Visit our website: sciencefocus.com



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Jul 25, 2021
The science of pain, with Dr Monty Lyman
30:31

Dr Monty Lyman, author of The Painful Truth, tells us what pain really is, how the placebo effect works, and why our emotions have a huge effect on the pain we feel.


Once you’ve mastered the basics with Instant Genius, dive deeper with Instant Genius Extra, where you’ll find longer, richer discussions about the most exciting ideas in the world of science and technology. Only available on Apple Podcasts.


Produced by the team behind BBC Science Focus Magazine. Visit our website: sciencefocus.com



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Jul 18, 2021
Forensic anthropology, with Prof Sue Black
32:33

Prof Sue Black explains the science behind identifying a body at a crime scene. Warning: This episode contains a frank and academic discussion about forensic investigation – how it works and what clues a dead body might leave behind – which some listeners may find uncomfortable.


Once you’ve mastered the basics with Instant Genius, dive deeper with Instant Genius Extra, where you’ll find longer, richer discussions about the most exciting ideas in the world of science and technology. Only available on Apple Podcasts.


Produced by the team behind BBC Science Focus Magazine. Visit our website: sciencefocus.com



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Jul 11, 2021
Personality change, with Dr Christian Jarrett
24:46

Cognitive neuroscientist Dr Christian Jarrett tells us all about what forms personality traits – and the simple ways to change yours.


Once you’ve mastered the basics with Instant Genius, dive deeper with Instant Genius Extra, where you’ll find longer, richer discussions about the most exciting ideas in the world of science and technology. Only available on Apple Podcasts.


Produced by the team behind BBC Science Focus Magazine. Visit our website: sciencefocus.com



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Jul 04, 2021
Hidden geometry, with Jordan Ellenberg
30:36

Mathematician Jordan Ellenberg tells us about his book, Shape, and why geometry is about so much more than triangles and circles.


Once you’ve mastered the basics with Instant Genius, dive deeper with Instant Genius Extra, where you’ll find longer, richer discussions about the most exciting ideas in the world of science and technology. Only available on Apple Podcasts.


Produced by the team behind BBC Science Focus Magazine. Visit our website: sciencefocus.com



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Jun 27, 2021
The Neanderthals, with Dr Rebecca Wragg Sykes
36:38

Dr Rebecca Wragg Sykes tells us all about Neanderthals, and reveals how they continue to shape our view about deep human history.


Once you’ve mastered the basics with Instant Genius. Dive deeper with Instant Genius Extra, where you’ll find longer, richer discussions about the most exciting ideas in the world of science and technology. Only available on Apple Podcasts.


Produced by the team behind BBC Science Focus Magazine. Visit our website: https://www.sciencefocus.com/



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Jun 20, 2021
The golden age of dinosaur discovery, with Prof Steve Brusatte
34:08

Prof Steve Brusatte tells us how the latest findings in palaeontology have turned our picture of dinosaurs on its head.


Once you’ve mastered the basics with Instant Genius, dive deeper with Instant Genius Extra, where you’ll find longer, richer discussions about the most exciting ideas in the world of science and technology. Only available on Apple Podcasts.


Produced by the team behind BBC Science Focus Magazine. Visit our website: https://www.sciencefocus.com/



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Jun 17, 2021
The Big Bang, with Prof Jim Al-Khalili
16:30

Jim Al-Khalili, a theoretical physicist and Professor of Public Engagement in Science, tells us about the origins of the Universe.


Once you’ve mastered the basics with Instant Genius, dive deeper with Instant Genius Extra, where you’ll find longer, richer discussions about the most exciting ideas in the world of science and technology. Only available on Apple Podcasts.


Produced by the team behind BBC Science Focus Magazine. Visit our website: https://www.sciencefocus.com/



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Jun 16, 2021
Your brain chemistry and you, with Ginny Smith
32:30

Science journalist and presenter Ginny Smith tells us about the chemicals that run your brain.


Once you’ve mastered the basics with Instant Genius, dive deeper with Instant Genius Extra, where you’ll find longer, richer discussions about the most exciting ideas in the world of science and technology. Only available on Apple Podcasts.


Produced by the team behind BBC Science Focus Magazine. Visit our website: https://www.sciencefocus.com/



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Jun 15, 2021
The science of cooking, with Dr Stuart Farrimond
24:08

Food scientist, doctor and TV presenter Stuart Farrimond tells us about how you can use science to upgrade your cooking.


Once you’ve mastered the basics with Instant Genius, dive deeper with Instant Genius Extra, where you’ll find longer, richer discussions about the most exciting ideas in the world of science and technology. Only available on Apple Podcasts.


Produced by the team behind BBC Science Focus Magazine. Visit our website: https://www.sciencefocus.com/



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Jun 14, 2021
The end of the Universe, with Dr Katie Mack
32:47

Theoretical astrophysicist, author and one of Twitter’s most-followed scientists Dr Katie Mack tells us about the Universe's ultimate fate.


Once you’ve mastered the basics with Instant Genius, dive deeper with Instant Genius Extra, where you’ll find longer, richer discussions about the most exciting ideas in the world of science and technology. Only available on Apple Podcasts.


Produced by the team behind BBC Science Focus Magazine. Visit our website: https://www.sciencefocus.com/



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Jun 13, 2021
Welcome to Instant Genius
0:42
The podcast that gives you the chance to be an expert in everything.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

May 31, 2021
How AI and androids could shape the music of the future
23:07

While Daft Punk may have sadly split, machine-created music may be about to skyrocket in popularity. Not only are artificial intelligence neural networks now capable of creating original melodies, but scientists are also developing robots capable of playing – and improvising – live music.

So, will AI and androids soon top the charts? And could they even replace human musicians entirely?

On this week's episode of the Science Focus Podcast, Prof Nick Bryan-Kinns, director of the Media and Arts Technology Centre at Queen Mary University of London, joins staff writer Thomas Ling to explain groundbreaking new music technology.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

May 24, 2021
Could 'counterfactuals' solve the biggest problems in physics?
26:17

Most laws of physics tell us what must happen. Throw a ball in the air and it will come back down. But physicist Chiara Marletto, a Research Fellow at the University of Oxford, says that laws like this only tell us part of the story.

She believes that the rest lies in 'counterfactuals': things that could be.

In her new book, The Science of Can and Can’t (£20, Allen Lane), she explains how these counterfactual properties could solve many of science’s biggest outstanding problems.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

May 17, 2021
What happens to you after 40 days with no natural light?
34:35

Around two months ago, a group of 15 people – scientists, explorers and medics – travelled deep into a cave in the south of France. The expedition descended to a point so deep that natural light could not reach them, and there the team stayed for 40 days and 40 nights without clocks, phones or anyway of telling the time.

The project’s goal was to understand what happens to our brains and bodies when we’re deprived of an external measure of time and they hoped to discover how a group of people could adapt to such an extreme situation.

Just two weeks ago, that team emerged from the cave, and Christian Clot, the expedition’s leader and the designer of the DEEP TIME mission, joins editor Daniel Bennett on this week's episode of the Science Focus Podcast to talk about what the experiment discovered, how the expedition changed him and what ultimately happened when the team returned to the surface.

Let us know what you think of the Science Focus Podcast by filling out our survey. By submitting it, you enter the prize draw to win one of seven £100 Voucher Express Gift Cards. It should take no more than five minutes. UK residents only. Full T&Cs.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

May 10, 2021
Why do humans make music?
24:20

Our lives are full of music, from the songs we sing along to on the radio to the orchestral scores that bring a film to life. But why is it that humans love to make music, and how did it evolve in the first place?

Musicologist Prof Michael Spitzer, author of the new book The Musical Human (£30, Bloomsbury), joins BBC Science Focus online assistant Sara Rigby on this week’s episode to explain.

Let us know what you think of the Science Focus Podcast by filling out our survey. By submitting it, you enter the prize draw to win one of seven £100 Voucher Express Gift Cards. It should take no more than 5 minutes. UK residents only. Full T&Cs.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:




Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

May 03, 2021
The future of human flight, with real-life Iron Man Richard Browning
24:44

In this week's episode of the Science Focus Podcast, we talk to the "real-life Iron Man" – not Marvel's Tony Stark, but inventor Richard Browning.

He’s the creator of the ‘Jet Suit’, which can fly one person through the air at speeds of 135km/h. He’s also founder and chief test pilot of Gravity Industries and author of new book Taking on Gravity (£20, Bantam Press).

He explains his quite literal rise to success – and the future of human flight.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Apr 26, 2021
Why realistic humanoid robots need to learn to lip-sync
27:03

In this week's episode of the Science Focus Podcast, commissioning editor Jason Goodyer speaks to Dr Carl Strathearn, a research fellow at the School of Computing at Edinburgh Napier University.

He's currently conducting research on realistic humanoid robots, specifically on more realistically synchronising their speech and mouth movements.

He tells us about how to get robots out of the Uncanny Valley, why the way a robot looks is so important, and why Data from Star Trek is an inspiration for his work.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Apr 19, 2021
How to understand statistics in the news and when to trust them
1:03:15

In this week's episode of the Science Focus Podcast, editor Daniel Bennett speaks to Tom Chivers and David Chivers.

Tom is a veteran science journalist and author and David is lecturer in economics at the University of Durham. As well as a surname, they share a passion for statistics, or more precisely for the way that numbers are used and presented in the media. Together they’ve written a new book: How to Read Numbers: A Guide to Statistics in the News and Knowing When to Trust Them.

They talk to Daniel about how to understand the sometimes confusing stats surrounding health and risk, how to spot a suspicious claim when you see one, and how to think about the current concerns surrounding the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Apr 12, 2021
The bizarre biology of the mantis shrimp
19:42

What is your favourite animal? If you know anything about the mantis shrimp, it might well be your top pick. Dwelling in shallow tropical waters, these mysterious predators not only wield one of the strongest punches in nature, but also a one-of-a-kind visual system that scientists are only just making sense of.

One of these scientists is Dr Martin How from the University of Bristol. He joins us on this week's episode of the Science Focus Podcast to reveal more about mantis shrimp and their remarkable abilities.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Apr 05, 2021
The creator of Bellingcat on using the internet to investigate global affairs
41:54

In this episode of the Science Focus Podcast, we speak to Elliot Higgins, the founder of Bellingcat. If you haven’t heard that name before, then you might be surprised to know that Bellingcat is behind some of the biggest news revelations of the decade.

They use social media and information freely available online to carry out what they call open source investigation.

Their work has uncovered the use of chemical weapons in Syria, identified suspects in the Skripal poisoning in Salisbury and identified the people responsible for downing flight MH17 over Ukraine.

Eliot speaks to editor Dan Bennett about his new book, We Are Bellingcat (£20, Bloomsbury), which tells the story of how a group of amateur hobbyists ended up taking on Russian spies.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Mar 29, 2021
Prof Avi Loeb on what 'Oumuamua tells us about the problem with modern physics
42:09

In 2017, the Pan-STARRS telescope in Hawaii spotted an interstellar object passing by Earth for the first time. Shortly after, Harvard’s Prof Avi Loeb was met with a backlash from the scientific community for suggesting it could be of alien origin.

Now, several years on, he has written a book, Extraterrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth, outlining why we still can’t out rule the possibility, and why scientists should always keep an open mind.

We speak to Avi on this week's episode of the Science Focus Podcast. He tells us why he believes the object, 'Oumuamua, was of alien origin, and what problems this reveals about the way modern physics is conducted.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Mar 22, 2021
Meet the computer scientist teaching an AI to play Dungeons and Dragons
35:53

Many of us have had a one-to-one interaction with artificial intelligence. Whether that’s through an automated chat service for customer service, or trying our hand at beating an AI built to play chess. But these experiences aren’t flawless, they’re not as smooth as our interactions with other human beings.

One researcher trying to improve the language abilities of AI is Lara Martin, a postdoc at the University of Pennsylvania. More specifically, Lara is trying teach AI to tell stories.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:




Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Mar 15, 2021
International Women’s Day: The forgotten female scientists of history
36:52

Today is International Women’s Day, and in this episode of the Science Focus Podcast, online assistant Sara Rigby talks to science historians Anna Reser and Leila McNeill, authors of Forces of Nature: The Women who Changed Science (£20, Frances Lincoln).

They tell us about the women who engaged in science throughout history but don’t always get remembered – the midwives, the astronomers, and the wives and sisters.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Mar 08, 2021
How to maximise your motivation, according to a neuroscientist
26:06

As the UK enters its 13th month of lockdown restrictions and home-working, many surveys cite a slump in mental wellbeing and general productivity.

But are there any scientific ways we can maximise our motivation and prevent procrastination?

In this episode of the Science Focus Podcast, neuroscientist Dr Gabija Toleikyte, author of Why the F*ck Can't I Change, tells us all about it.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Mar 01, 2021
Inside the February issue with the BBC Science Focus team
32:01

In this episode of the Science Focus Podcast, we chat through the February 2021 issue of the magazine, which is on sale now.

Managing editor Alice Lipscombe-Southwell opens the episode by telling us why it's so important artificial intelligence learns how to tell stories.

Next up is editor Dan Bennett, who tells us about the world’s first airport for drones and flying cars, which is opening in Coventry, UK.

Finally, commissioning editor Jason Goodyer tells about the latest developments in the study of dark matter.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:




Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Feb 21, 2021
Mental health and your brain: What happens when it goes wrong
46:43

In the UK, one in four people experience a mental health problem each year. The reality of living with common problems like depression and anxiety is increasingly well-known.

But how much do you actually know about what’s going on in your brain when your mental health suffers?

Neuroscientist Dean Burnett, author of the new book Psycho-logical, tells us all about it on this episode of the Science Focus Podcast.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Feb 15, 2021
Why rewilding success stories make us hopeful for the future
24:08

There are few places left on Earth that have been untouched by humans, and biodiversity is being lost at an unprecedented rate.

Luckily, there are ambitious rewilding programmes around the world that aim to fix this by returning land to nature.

In this week's episode of the Science Focus Podcast, we speak to Dr Andrea Perino, a scientist from the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research and an expert on rewilding. She tells us about the benefits of rewilding, whether it's acres of forest or just a tiny patch in your back garden.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:




Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Feb 08, 2021
The psychology of the sea shanty: Why work songs are such earworms
19:37

2021 has got off to a strange start, with a surprising trend sweeping the internet: sea shanties. This ancient genre of music has exploded in popularity in recent weeks, thanks to people on social media singing them, sharing them and adding their own twists.

In fact, they’ve become so popular that Bristol-based shanty band The Longest Johns have entered the top 40 in the UK singles chart.

Naturally, we here at BBC Science Focus wanted to know what it was about sea shanties that makes them so catchy. So this week, we spoke to Professor Catherine Loveday of the University of Westminster. She’s a neuropsychologist who specialises in music.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Feb 01, 2021
Team talk: Beating pandemic burnout, the seasons of you and a daring giraffe rescue
27:51

In this episode of the Science Focus Podcast, we chat through the January 2021 issue of the magazine, which is on sale now.

Editor Dan Bennett opens the episode by talking about new research that suggests that rather than following a pattern of spring, summer, autumn and winter, our bodies may have their own seasonal fluctuations that don’t match the calendar.

Next up is managing editor Alice Lipscombe-Southwell, who tells us about how we can beat the pandemic burnout.

Finally, commissioning editor Jason Goodyer tells the story of a daring rescue of endangered giraffes from an island where food is slowly running out.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Jan 25, 2021
Why you can’t multitask (and why that’s a good thing)
45:15

Humans' ability to turn thoughts into actions has enabled us to change the world. But we've never been great at getting two things done at once.


Understanding how our brain helps us achieve our goals through something called executive function, or cognitive control, can explain why we're so bad at multitasking.


According to neuroscientist Prof David Badre, when we're armed with this knowledge we can begin to work together to become a better society. Badre's new book, On Task (£25, Princeton University Press) explains the mechanisms behind cognitive control.


In this episode of the Science Focus Podcast we speak to Badre to find out more about how our brains work.


Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.


Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Jan 18, 2021
How virtual reality is helping patients with phobias, anxiety disorders and more
34:42

In the New Year issue, we cover the biggest ideas that you need to understand in 2021, and in the past few episodes of the podcast we’ve been talking to the experts who will explain these ideas in their own words.


For the next in the series, we speak to Daniel Freeman, a Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Oxford. Daniel has been working with VR technology since 2001 and is a founder of Oxford VR, a University of Oxford spinout company.


He tells us about using virtual reality to treat mental health problems.


Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.



Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:




Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Jan 11, 2021
How a scientist used viruses to save her husband’s life from a superbug
45:03

In this week's episode of the Science Focus Podcast, we're joined by AIDS researcher Professor Steffanie Strathdee.

In 2015, Strathdee's husband was infected by superbug that was resistant to every antibiotic that the doctors could throw at it, but she was able to save his life with an experimental treatment made of viruses found in sewage.

In the New Year issue of BBC Science Focus Magazine, we cover the biggest ideas that you need to understand in 2021. This episode is one of a series in which we talk to the experts who will explain these ideas in their own words.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Jan 04, 2021
Marcus Chown: Does the Big Bang really explain our Universe?
46:30

In the New Year issue of BBC Science Focus Magazine, we cover the biggest ideas that you need to understand in 2021. Over the next few episodes of the Science Focus Podcast, we’ll be talking to the experts who will explain these ideas in their own words.

In this episode, we talk to science writer Marcus Chown, who tells us all about the major problems in our current understanding of cosmology. We discuss the Big Bang, dark matter, inflation, and what we still don't know about the formation of our Universe.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:




Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Dec 28, 2020
End of year roundup: The non-COVID science that brought us joy in 2020
42:04

It’s been a long and strange year, and most of our attention has been focussed on the coronavirus. So, in this bonus episode of the Science Focus Podcast, the team talks about this year’s most interesting science that has nothing to do with COVID.

We start off by talking about our favourite scientific developments of the year, and then we discuss the books and documentaries that we’ve loved.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:




Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Dec 24, 2020
Prof John Drury: The psychology of lockdowns
25:20

In this week's episode of the Science Focus Podcast, we talk to Prof John Drury, a behavioural psychologist based at the University of Sussex who specialises in studying crowds and collective behaviour.

The UK recently came out of the second COVID-19 lockdown, and went into a new three-tier system, with much of the country still in in the strictest tier.

John tells us about why people respond to the restrictions differently, how to ensure people follow the rules, and what the long-term effects the lockdowns will have on our psychology.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:




Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Dec 21, 2020
Dr Pete Etchells: Do video games encourage gambling behaviour?
40:59

This week on the Science Focus Podcast, we're joined by Dr Pete Etchells, a professor of psychology with a particular interest how video games affect our mood and behaviour.

Pete is also the author of the book Lost in a Good Game which explores why we love video games, and what they do for us.

Today we’re talking about the relationship between gambling and video games: what we know and what don’t. We want you to help us with the research, so if you want to get involved in a real-life scientific study that could shape the conversation around gaming and gambling, stayed tuned and listen in for details at the end.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:




Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Dec 14, 2020
Christmas Lectures 2020: How can we look after our planet?
33:25

Started by Michael Faraday in 1825, and now broadcast on national television, the Christmas lectures bring a science topic to our screens over three nights every year. The series of lectures has always been held within the Royal Institution in London, but this year, of course, is going to be slightly different.

In this week's episode, editorial assistant Amy Barrett is joined today by three expert scientists, Tara Shine, Chris Jackson and Helen Czerski, who are going to be presenting the 2020 Christmas lectures, titled Planet Earth: A User's Guide.

In lecture one, geologist Chris Jackson will reveal our Earth's climate story through the rocks and the fossil record. In lecture two, physicist and oceanographer Helen Czerski will talk about the part our oceans play in the climate crisis. And in lecture three, environmental scientist Tara Shine will talk about carbon emissions and what we're really breathing in.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Dec 07, 2020
Inside the December issue with the BBC Science Focus team
32:03

In this episode of the Science Focus Podcast, we chat through the December 2020 issue of the magazine, which is on sale now.

The issue is all about the search for extraterrestrial life, so managing editor Alice Lipscombe-Southwell starts us off by telling us about the most promising places in our Solar System to search for alien life.

Commissioning editor Jason Goodyer tells us about a new drug delivery system that draws inspiration from parasitic hookworms, and then editorial assistant Amy Barrett brings us back around to ET by discussing why we want to believe in aliens.

We close the podcast with details of our exciting new competition, judged by comedian and author Dara Ó Briain.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Nov 30, 2020
Genes and heredity - Everything you ever wanted to know about... the biology of life with Sir Paul Nurse
20:54

For this instalment in the Everything you ever wanted to know about... series, we’ve sourced questions from Google, our listeners and the Science Focus team to put to experts and help you understand key ideas in science, in short episodes.

This week, we're joined by geneticist Sir Paul Nurse, the Director of the Francis Crick Institute in London and one of the recipients of the 2001 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, which he shared with Leland Hartwell and Timothy Hunt.

Paul has recently published a book that helps readers understand biology, called What is Life? (£9.99, David Fickling Books). He shared some of the concepts from the books with us over two quick-fire episodes.



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Nov 25, 2020
Cells - Everything you ever wanted to know about... the biology of life with Sir Paul Nurse
21:55

For this instalment in the Everything you ever wanted to know about... series, we’ve sourced questions from Google, our listeners and the Science Focus team to put to experts and help you understand key ideas in science, in short episodes.

This week, we're joined by geneticist Sir Paul Nurse, the Director of the Francis Crick Institute in London and one of the recipients of the 2001 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, which he shared with Leland Hartwell and Timothy Hunt.

Paul has recently published a book that helps readers understand biology, called What is Life? (£9.99, David Fickling Books). He shared some of the concepts from the books with us over two quick-fire episodes.



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Nov 23, 2020
Dr Douglas Vakoch: Should we try to contact aliens?
27:42

In this week’s episode, I’m talking to Dr Douglas Vakoch, President of Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence, or METI.

We talk about whether we should be broadcasting messages into space to signal our existence to intelligent alien species.

We also discuss how we could create a message that an unknown species of alien could understand.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Nov 16, 2020
Exploring the deep sea - Everything you ever wanted to know about... the deep sea with Dr Jon Copley
26:53

Our guest this week is Dr Jon Copley. Jon is a marine biologist, specialising in the deep sea. He went on the first mini sub dive to the world’s deepest hydrothermal vents, 5km down on the ocean floor, and also took part in the firs minisub dives to 1km deep in the Antarctic.

Jon is also a science communicator and writer, who worked as a science advisor on the iconic BBC series Blue Planet II. He is also an associate professor of ocean exploration and public engagement at the University of Southampton. In 2019, he also published fantastic book called Ask an Ocean Explorer which tells you all about the ocean in 25 questions.

Over three quick-fire episodes, Jon tells BBC Science Focus managing editor Alice Limpscombe-Southwell about the bizarre life found on the ocean floor, the habitats where they thrive, and what it's like to explore the deep sea in a submarine.



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Nov 13, 2020
Deep sea habitats - Everything you ever wanted to know about... the deep sea with Dr Jon Copley
32:49

Our guest this week is Dr Jon Copley. Jon is a marine biologist, specialising in the deep sea. He went on the first mini sub dive to the world’s deepest hydrothermal vents, 5km down on the ocean floor, and also took part in the firs minisub dives to 1km deep in the Antarctic.

Jon is also a science communicator and writer, who worked as a science advisor on the iconic BBC series Blue Planet II. He is also an associate professor of ocean exploration and public engagement at the University of Southampton. In 2019, he also published fantastic book called Ask an Ocean Explorer which tells you all about the ocean in 25 questions.

Over three quick-fire episodes, Jon tells BBC Science Focus managing editor Alice Limpscombe-Southwell about the bizarre life found on the ocean floor, the habitats where they thrive, and what it's like to explore the deep sea in a submarine.



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Nov 11, 2020
Deep sea creatures - Everything you ever wanted to know about... the deep sea with Dr Jon Copley
39:09

Our guest this week is Dr Jon Copley. Jon is a marine biologist, specialising in the deep sea. He went on the first mini sub dive to the world’s deepest hydrothermal vents, 5km down on the ocean floor, and also took part in the firs minisub dives to 1km deep in the Antarctic.

Jon is also a science communicator and writer, who worked as a science advisor on the iconic BBC series Blue Planet II. He is also an associate professor of ocean exploration and public engagement at the University of Southampton. In 2019, he also published fantastic book called Ask an Ocean Explorer which tells you all about the ocean in 25 questions.

Over three quick-fire episodes, Jon tells BBC Science Focus managing editor Alice Limpscombe-Southwell about the bizarre life found on the ocean floor, the habitats where they thrive, and what it's like to explore the deep sea in a submarine.



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Nov 09, 2020
The Science Focus team: What's inside November's issue?
43:30

In this episode of the Science Focus Podcast we chat through the November 2020 issue of the magazine, which is on sale now.


Editor Dan Bennett explains why, this month, we’re focusing on food myths. Scientist and writer Professor Tim Spector penned our cover feature to reveal the fact and the fiction surrounding diet and nutrition, and some of his research may have results that surprise you.


Talking about the amazing variety of our ocean’s other-worldly sea slugs is managing editor Alice Lipscombe-Southwell. These small marine animals might sport cute faces and bright colours, but they’re armed with an array of deadly defences too.


Commissioning editor Jason Goodyer digs into our piece about algorithms, which asks, what went wrong with the A Level results algorithm? And online assistant Sara Rigby scrutinises the stats around plug-in hybrid cars to find out if they’re as eco-friendly as marketed.


Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.


Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Nov 02, 2020
Prof Linda Scott: Why is there still economic inequality between men and women?
40:47

In this week’s episode of the Science Focus Podcast, we talk to Professor Linda Scott, an expert in women’s economic development and Emeritus DP World Chair for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Oxford.

Her book, The Double X Economy, has been shortlisted for the Royal Society Science Book Prize 2020. In it, she argues that when we economically empower women, we all succeed.

Linda tells us about her work in women's economics, why the number of women joining the workforce is slowing down, and her idea for an '80 per cent Christmas' to close the gender pay gap.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Oct 26, 2020
Everything you ever wanted to know about… cancer with Dr Kat Arney
42:02

In this week's episode of the Science Focus Podcast, we talk to Dr Kat Arney about cancer. 

Kat is a science writer and broadcaster, and founder of the science communication consultancy First Create The Media. Her book, Rebel Cell is out now.

She reveals how tissue becomes a tumour, how cells migrate to help cancer spread, and what scientists are doing right now to better understand the disease.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Oct 19, 2020
Hugo Zeberg: How could Neanderthal genes affect COVID-19?
13:06

In this week's episode of the Science Focus Podcast, we talk to Hugo Zeberg, a geneticist working at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. 

Hugo has just published a paper that suggests those of us with a certain set of genes inherited from Neanderthals may suffer from more severe effects of COVID-19.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

This podcast was supported by brilliant.org, helping people build quantitative skills in maths, science, and computer science with fun and challenging interactive explorations.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Oct 12, 2020
Matt Parker, Helen Arney and Steve Mould: What links coffee, snowflakes and frogs?
51:29

Today‘s podcast episode is a special one, with not one, not two, but three fantastic guests. We’ve teamed up with the three spoken nerds – Matt Parker, Steve Mould and Helen Arney – to bring you an episode of unnecessary details all about… ice.


Steve explains how instant coffee is made, Matt gets irate about eight-pointed 'snowfakes' and Helen talks cryonic freezing.


To hear more from the three spoken nerds, check out their new Podcast Of Unnecessary Detail.


The song was “You And Me And Walt Disney”, produced by Helen Arney and Olly the Octopus and you can download it for free along with all the songs from Unnecessary Detail podcasts at helenarney.bandcamp.com


Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.


This podcast was supported by brilliant.org, helping people build quantitative skills in maths, science, and computer science with fun and challenging interactive explorations.


Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Oct 06, 2020
Merlin Sheldrake: How have fungi shaped the world?
38:00

The fungal kingdom is vast, and yet much of it remains unknown to us – it’s estimated that only about 6 per cent of all fungal species have, so far, been described.


But if fungi are all around us, why do we only know the names of a few? We might use yeast in baking, mushrooms in our cooking, or have been treated with penicillin, but biologist Merlin Sheldrake says there is much more wonder to be found in understanding our fungal friends better.


His new book, Entangled Life, reveals the complexity of the fungal world. In it, he describes the fungal networks that connect trees and plants in something called the Wood Wide Web, and explains how fungi were crucial to the creation of the world we see around us today.


We spoke to Merlin about this strange and wondrous lifeform.


Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.



This podcast was supported by brilliant.org, helping people build quantitative skills in maths, science, and computer science with fun and challenging interactive explorations.


Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:




Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Sep 28, 2020
Sue Black: What stories do our skeletons tell?
44:32

In today’s episode, we’re chatting to Professor Sue Black, an anatomist and forensic anthropologist. You might’ve seen characters doing her job on television, in shows like NCIS or Silent Witness – although, they’re not quite an accurate portrayal, as you’ll find out.


Over the course of her career, Sue has worked with the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the United Nations, helping to identify victims and perpetrators from only sections of their bodies – perhaps a finger found in a bin bag, or the back of an assaulter’s hand caught on film. Her work has taken her to places such as Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Iraq.


She talks to us about how science helps her piece together fragmented parts of a human jigsaw. This episode contains some graphic content, including descriptions of criminal acts and dissection, that some listeners might find upsetting.


Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.



This podcast was supported by brilliant.org, helping people build quantitative skills in maths, science, and computer science with fun and challenging interactive explorations.


Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Sep 21, 2020
Professor Trevor Cox: Was Stonehenge an ancient acoustic chamber?
29:11

For decades, Stonehenge, the mysterious prehistoric circle of stones built on the Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, has left scientists scratching their heads. Who exactly built it and what was it used for?

In the latest attempt to get to the bottom of this mystery, a team of engineers based at the University of Salford have 3D-printed a scale model of the ancient monument in order to investigate the effect its unique structure would’ve had on conversations, rituals, and even music.

We spoke to Professor Trevor Cox, the acoustic engineer heading up the study, to find out more.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

This podcast was supported by brilliant.org, helping people build quantitative skills in maths, science, and computer science with fun and challenging interactive explorations.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Sep 14, 2020
Dr Julia Shaw: Why do we do bad things?
42:48

Everyone does bad things. We know deep down are wrong, but we do them anyway. Sometimes, people do things so bad that we call them evil.

Criminal psychologist Dr Julia Shaw says there’s no such thing as evil. In her book Making Evil, she argues that we should ditch the idea altogether, and try to understand so-called “evil” people.

In this week’s episode of the Science Focus Podcast, she talks about psychopaths, mental illness and why we do bad things.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

This podcast was supported by brilliant.org, helping people build quantitative skills in maths, science, and computer science with fun and challenging interactive explorations.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Sep 07, 2020
James Hamblin: Should we all stop showering?
36:04

We know how important good hygiene is. It protects us from viral infections and diseases, but what if, by washing, soaping and scrubbing, we’re actually damaging our health?


Dr James Hamblin, journalist and professor of public health, stopped showering five years ago. In his new book, Clean (£16.99, Bodley Head), he reveals how our skin is affected by the products we apply. The overuse of soap and cosmetic products – sold to us with the promise of caring for our skin – might even be causing some of the ailments we’re using them to try to treat.


It hasn’t always been this way. Historically, humans have gone from seeing bathing as something vaguely sinful and reserved for the wealthy, to a daily necessity that, if neglected, is a huge social blunder.


According to James, it’s time for a whole new perspective on cleaning. One that starts with a personal reflection of our relationship with our body.


Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.



This podcast was supported by brilliant.org, helping people build quantitative skills in maths, science, and computer science with fun and challenging interactive explorations.


Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Aug 31, 2020
Katie Mack: How will the Universe end?
39:59

The end of the Universe may be a common feature in science fiction, but this one isn’t a crisis that can be averted by a team of superheroes. The Universe really will come to an end one way or another, and we have an idea how – five ideas, actually.

In this week’s episode of the Science Focus Podcast, astrophysicist Dr Katie Mack talks to us about the future of the cosmos. She dives into these five possible apocalypses, from the Universe gradually fading out to the ‘quantum bubble of death’.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

This podcast was supported by brilliant.org, helping people build quantitative skills in maths, science, and computer science with fun and challenging interactive explorations.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:




Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Aug 24, 2020
Rana el Kaliouby: What if computers could read our emotions?
34:48

For many, the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown restrictions has isolated us from the people we love, reducing our social life to screens and Zoom meetings. But even with the added visual, communicating online still isn’t as straightforward as being in-person. It can feel like jokes fall flat when everyone has their microphone off, and the jittering of poor signal can make anyone’s face hard to read.


But what if our computers could read and respond to our emotions? If the engagement of a virtual meeting could be shown on-screen to generate a buzz like the one of a live audience?


That’s just one possibility of a future with emotionally intelligent machines. Researcher and CEO Rana el Kaliouby believes that by teaching computers to read facial expressions, they could detect early signs of Parkinson’s, prevent drivers from getting behind the wheel when tired, or help teachers design educational programmes that keep kids engaged.


Rana speaks to us about making machines empathetic, being named by Forbes as one of America's top 50 women in tech, and how her research into human emotions has affected her personal life.



This podcast was supported by brilliant.org, helping people build quantitative skills in maths, science, and computer science with fun and challenging interactive explorations.


Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:




Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Aug 17, 2020
Dr Rachel Brown: Why are some COVID-19 patients suffering from neurological complications?
24:16

A recent study carried out at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, UCLH, on confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients has found neurological complications of the virus can, in some rare cases include delirium, brain inflammation, stroke and nerve damage.

We spoke to Dr Rachel Brown, an MRC Clinical Research Training Fellow involved with the study to find out more.

This podcast was supported by brilliant.org, helping people build quantitative skills in maths, science, and computer science with fun and challenging interactive explorations.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:

COVID-19 could cause delirium, brain inflammation and stroke

A study carried out on a small number of confirmed or suspected Covid-19 patients at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery has linked the coronavirus to a number of neurological conditions.

Can you tell us about your research?

COVID-19 is still predominantly a respiratory illness, but in a small subset of patients we’ve been seeing neurological symptoms and syndromes.

Some of the early studies from Wuhan showed that around a third of patients were having neurological symptoms. In those early descriptions a lot of the symptoms that people were describing included things like headache and dizziness, loss of smell and things that could just really be attributed to viral illness.

As we gained more experience, we noticed other cases appearing that looked a little bit different. We have information from...


Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Aug 10, 2020
The Urban Birder: What wildlife can city-dwellers see?
45:47

Many of us have found solace in nature over the last few months, relishing our time outdoors, especially when it was limited to one form of exercise a day. A recent report by the RSPB found that people see access to nature as being important for health and wellbeing during and in recovery from the coronavirus crisis.

One man who has always been connected to the natural world is David Lindo. Known by most as the Urban Birder, David is a champion for the wellbeing benefits of wildlife, encouraging us all to get outside and see what we can find, be it in the garden, the city, or the countryside.

In this week’s episode of the Science Focus Podcast, David tells us about the human benefits of biodiversity, the need for conservation education, and diversity within the birding community.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

This podcast was supported by brilliant.org, helping people build quantitative skills in maths, science, and computer science with fun and challenging interactive explorations.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:

Aug 03, 2020
Dr Michael Mosley: Why is sleep so important?
33:27

If, like us, you love to read a good science book, (and thanks to this podcast we’ve read a fair few over the years), you’ll probably recognise the feeling of having more questions about its subject at the end of the book than before you even turned page one.


It’s because of this that we decided to launch the Science Focus Book Club, where we pick out what we think is an excellent, thought provoking science book and ask your questions to its author.


You can sign up for the newsletter to find out which book is coming up next, but to give you a taster, in May, our legion of science book fans read Fast Asleep, by Science Focus columnist and BBC presenter Dr Michael Mosley.


In this week’s podcast we’ve selected a few of our favourite Q&As where he explains everything you need to know about sleep; from what it is, why we need it and how to get more of it.


Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.



This podcast was supported by brilliant.org, helping people build quantitative skills in maths, science, and computer science with fun and challenging interactive explorations.


Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Jul 27, 2020
Ritu Raman: Can you build with biology?
28:16

If I asked you to build a robot, the first materials you would probably reach for would be some metal bits and plastic bobs.

However, mechanical engineer Ritu Raman designs machines made with biological material, and has created all manner of wonderful machines, including a walking robot made with muscle tissue.

In this week’s episode of the Science Focus Podcast, she tells us about how to integrate biology into engineering and what these remarkable devices can do that traditional machines can’t.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

This podcast was supported by brilliant.org, helping people build quantitative skills in maths, science, and computer science with fun and challenging interactive explorations.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Jul 20, 2020
Project Discovery: Could computer games help find a cure for COVID-19?
43:23

In a previous episode of the Science Focus Podcast, we discovered how a team of scientists harnessed the combined power of hundreds of thousands of players of the massively multiplayer online game Eve Online to help in the search for exoplanets.

Now, the next phase of this programme, called Project Discovery, is turning its sights from the stars to the coronavirus pandemic.

This week we speak to scientists Ryan Brinkman and Jerome Waldispuhl, and Project Discovery’s creator Atilla Szantner about why they intend to turn gamers into citizen scientists to help find a cure for COVID-19.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

This podcast was supported by brilliant.org, helping people build quantitative skills in maths, science, and computer science with fun and challenging interactive explorations.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Jul 13, 2020
Dr Jacob Bleacher: Why do we need to go back to the Moon?
32:40

In 1969, Apollo astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first people ever to walk on the Moon, a feat over the next three and a half years only 10 other space explorers would go on to achieve.

Now it has taken nearly 50 years, but NASA once again has ambitions to land the first woman and the next man on the Moon by 2024.

The Artemis Program is a wide-reaching effort by numerous space agencies and led by NASA, with ambitions to not only put human feet on the lunar surface but to build a permanent base there, with a lunar space station in orbit around the Moon.

To find out more, this week we speak to Dr Jacob Bleacher, Chief Exploration Scientist for human exploration at NASA, about how we are going to get there, what effect deep space will have on the astronauts, and why now is the time to go back to the Moon.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

This podcast was supported by brilliant.org, helping people build quantitative skills in maths, science, and computer science with fun and challenging interactive explorations.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:

Jul 06, 2020
Subhadra Das: What part has science played in racism?
30:44

Not so long ago, English scientists believed that they could study differences between people and that certain ethnicities were ‘better’ or ‘worse’ than others – of course, white Europeans were put at the top of any list.

In the 19th Century, anthropologist and statistician Francis Galton took this even further when he coined the term ‘eugenics’, the idea that science could better the human race by promoting the spread of certain genes, deemed ‘good’, and by halting the distribution of those deemed bad.

While these Victorian ideas have since been refuted and discarded by the scientific community, there are those in society that turn to race science in an attempt to justify their bigotry and racism.

Subhadra Das has spent the last eight years as a museum curator for the science collections at University College London, specialising in the history of scientific racism and the history of eugenics.

She tells us how Francis Galton’s idea spread through Victorian society, and why it’s important to understand science’s racist history in order for us to move forward.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

This podcast was supported by brilliant.org, helping people build quantitative skills in maths, science, and computer science with fun and challenging interactive explorations.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:

Jun 29, 2020
Brendan Walker: Where is the best place to sit on a rollercoaster?
46:36

Brendan Walker originally trained and worked as an aeronautical engineer, but now has a far more thrilling job title, quite literally - he’s a thrill engineer.

He’s been working with theme parks to help create the most exciting rollercoasters, using design principles to craft extreme, human emotional experiences to the rides.

He tells us why people have a love/hate relationship with rollercoasters, the fine line between fun and fear, how to get your thrills in lockdown and most importantly, where the best place to sit on a rollercoaster might be.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

This podcast was supported by brilliant.org, helping people build quantitative skills in maths, science, and computer science with fun and challenging interactive explorations.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Jun 22, 2020
Leonard Mlodinow: How did Stephen Hawking make science accessible?
25:42

Two years to the day the great physicist Professor Stephen Hawking was interred at Westminster Abbey, and at the time of his death, we spoke to one of the people that knew him best, Leonard Mlodinow.

Leonard is an American theoretical physicist who worked with Stephen on the books The Grand Design and A Briefer History of Time, and his own book chronicling their time together, Stephen Hawking: A Memoir of Friendship and Physics (£20, Allen Lane), will be released in September this year.

In this republished interview he speaks with BBC Science Focus editor Daniel Bennett about writing together, his qualities, and what they did when they weren’t talking physics.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

This podcast was supported by brilliant.org, helping people build quantitative skills in maths, science, and computer science with fun and challenging interactive explorations

Read more about Professor Stephen Hawking:

 



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Jun 15, 2020
Pragya Agarwal: When does bias become prejudice?
40:53

No matter how open-minded we consider ourselves to be, all of us hold biases towards other people.

Dr Pragya Agarwal is a behavioural and data scientist, ex-academic, and a freelance writer and journalist, who runs a research gender equality think tank The 50 Percent Project.

Her new book, Sway: Unravelling Unconscious Bias (£16.99, Bloomsbury Sigma), unravels the way our implicit or 'unintentional' biases affect the way we communicate and perceive the world, and how they affect our decision-making, even in life and death situations.

In this week’s podcast, she explains where these biases come from and why it’s important for us to recognise and unlearn them to help make the world a better, fairer place.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Jun 08, 2020
Anthony David: Why is there still such stigma around mental health?
36:41

Mental health has become a hot topic in recent years, with campaigns asking us to be kind on social media and to reach out to friends who are struggling.

It seems now more than ever, we have a better understanding of what it means when someone is struggling with their mental health, but despite this, some people feel that the stigma surrounding it stops them from getting the help they need.

Professor Anthony David is a neuropsychiatrist at University College London, whose book Into the Abyss (£14.99, Oneworld) tells the stories of patients he has treated and what their cases have taught him.

He speaks to our editorial assistant Amy Barrett about why this stigma exists and whether it’s getting any better.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Jun 01, 2020
Luck, the paranormal and the Moon landings - Everything you ever wanted to know about…. illusions, magic and the paranormal
27:39

Our guest Prof Richard Wiseman is a spectacularly creative scientist who started off his career as a magician before becoming a psychologist. Over the last few decades, Richard has studied the art of deception, parapsychology and the concept of good luck alongside many other aspects of the human mind.

Richard has a hugely popular YouTube channel called Quirkology, with a mere 2.15m subscribers and has written a book called Shoot For The Moon (£20, Quercus), which takes a closer look at the psychology that achieved the Moon landings.

Over two quickfire, 30-minute episodes, Richard tells BBC Science Focus magazine editor Daniel Bennett how to make himself luckier, whether magicians make the best psychologists and why the stories we tell ourselves matter.

And if you enjoyed this episode and want to learn more, check out any of Richard’s books at richardwiseman.wordpress.com or follow him on Twitter @RichardWiseman.



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

May 28, 2020
Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac: Has climate change determined our future?
42:43

Christiana Figueres is the former Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, and it was her work that led to its members signing the 2015 Paris agreement.

Together with Tom Rivett-Carnac, she created Global Optimism, an organization focused on bringing about environmental and social change.

Their book, The Future We Choose (£12.99, Bonnier), reveals that we are on the precipice of two futures: one where net-zero emissions is achieved, and one where it is not, and this week they’re talking to our editorial assistant Amy Barrett about the Paris Climate Agreement, why we need to reduce carbon emissions, and how we all have a role to play in combating climate change.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

May 26, 2020
Illusions and Magic - Everything you ever wanted to know about... illusions, magic and the paranormal, episode 1
24:06

Our guest Prof Richard Wiseman is a spectacularly creative scientist who started off his career as a magician before becoming a psychologist. Over the last few decades, Richard has studied the art of deception, parapsychology and the concept of good luck alongside many other aspects of the human mind.

Richard has a hugely popular YouTube channel called Quirkology, with a mere 2.15m subscribers and has written a book called Shoot For The Moon (£20, Quercus), which takes a closer look at the psychology that achieved the Moon landings.

Over two quickfire, 30-minute episodes, Richard tells BBC Science Focus magazine editor Daniel Bennett how to make himself luckier, whether magicians make the best psychologists and why the stories we tell ourselves matter.

And if you enjoyed this episode and want to learn more, check out any of Richard’s books at richardwiseman.wordpress.com or follow him on Twitter @RichardWiseman.



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

May 21, 2020
Elisa Raffaella Ferrè: What happens to the brain in space?
31:47

Here on Earth, we take the force of gravity for granted. For years, researchers have neglected to study its influence because of this very reason, but with commercial spaceflight on the horizon, researchers are now racing to discover what living off-Earth might do to our bodies and our brains.

In this week’s episode, we hear from psychologist Dr Elisa Raffaella Ferrè.

She explains how her studies are revealing the impact of gravity on our cognition through her experiments in a zero-g environment aboard the so-called ‘Vomit Comet’– the aircraft used to train astronauts for the weightlessness in space.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:




Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

May 18, 2020
Sonia Contera: How will nanotechnology revolutionise medicine?
36:08

This week we talk to one of the world’s leading pioneers in the field of nanotechnology, Sonia Contera.

Nanotechnology is the application of science at a truly nano scale. To put that in perspective, if a nanometre were the size of a cup of tea, a meter would cover the diameter of the whole Earth.

Being able to control the world at such an intricate level has the potential to revolutionise medicine - enabling us to target cancer cells, deliver drugs and fight antibiotic resistance – but how do we create technology to that size?

Sonia talks to our editorial assistant Amy Barret about how her work in nanotechnology began, building proteins unknown to nature, and why going nano is nothing like in the movies.

Her book Nano Comes To Life (£22, Princeton University Press), is out now.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

May 11, 2020
Neil Shubin: How do big changes in evolution happen?
35:34

The first time a fish crawled out of the water and onto land, it was a turning point that led to brand new kinds of life. But this couldn’t happen on its own: that fish would have needed both lungs and legs.

Neil Shubin, evolutionary biologist and author of Some Assembly Required (£18.99, Oneworld), says that fish didn’t evolve these traits to help them live on land. In fact, the reason they could live on land was that they repurposed the body parts they had already.

The same remarkable changes have happened all through evolutionary history, from the first vertebrate life to the first flying dinosaurs.

He speaks to our Online assistant Sara Rigby.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

May 04, 2020
Your questions – Everything You Wanted To Know About…Physics, episode six
32:29
Prof Jim Al-Khalili answers listeners’ questions about physics, the Universe and everything else.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Apr 29, 2020
Mysteries in physics – Everything You Wanted To Know About…Physics, episode five
29:56
Prof Jim Al-Khalili reveals some of the biggest unsolved mysteries. We talk about the plausibility of time travel, whether there are multiple universes and what we need to discover a ‘theory of everything’.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Apr 28, 2020
Energy – Everything You Wanted To Know About…Physics, episode four
27:08
Prof Jim Al-Khalili tackles thermodynamics – the study of energy. Together, we unravel the idea of entropy, talk about the direction of time and muse upon the inevitable heat death of the Universe.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Apr 27, 2020
Quantum physics – Everything You Wanted To Know About…Physics, episode three
30:09
Prof Jim Al-Khalili demystifies the strange world of quantum physics. We discuss the key experiments, how quantum effects play out in the real world and, of course, Schrödinger's infamous cat.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Apr 26, 2020
Space & Time – Everything You Wanted To Know About…Physics, episode two
34:22
Prof Jim Al-Khalili helps us get to grips with the big concepts in cosmology. We talk space time, relativity and, of course, the end of the Universe.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Apr 25, 2020
The Fundamentals – Everything You Wanted to Know About…Physics, episode one
34:32
Prof Jim Al-Khalili breaks down the building blocks of the Universe and reveals what simplicity, beauty and elegance have to do with physics.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Apr 24, 2020
Everything You Wanted To Know About Physics, with Prof Jim Al-Khalili
1:23
Let your curiosity run wild. No question is off-limits in this new podcast series from the team behind BBC Science Focus magazine. In Everything You Wanted To Know About… world-leading experts answer Google’s most searched for queries and tackle questions from our listeners.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Apr 22, 2020
Sandro Galea: What is the difference between health and medicine?
33:00

This week we talk to the Sandro Galea, Dean of the school of public health at Boston University.

His book, called Well: What We Need to Talk About When We Talk About Health (£18.99, OUP) takes a deep look at the differences between health and medicine, and looks at how everything from the environment, taxation, education and even luck plays a part in the overall health of a nation.

Speaking before the coronavirus pandemic, he explains the surprising factors that influence public health, which countries are doing it well, and why he felt he had to write this book.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:




Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Apr 20, 2020
Toby Ord: What are the odds civilisation will survive the century?
32:50

This week we talk to the philosopher Toby Ord about the end of civilisation as we know it.

Ok, it’s not all doom and gloom. As Toby says, he’s an optimistic person, but in his new book The Precipice (£25, Bloomsbury) he explains why we’re at a point in time where we, as a species, are teetering on the edge of extinction.

We discuss how much potential us homo sapiens have, what’s putting our continued survival at risk, how civilisation as we know it could come to an end, and what are the odds we’ll see out the century.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Apr 06, 2020
Anthony Warner: Are we really too fat?
44:28

In this week's Science Focus Podcast chef and author of the book The Truth About Fat: Why Obesity is Not that Simple (£9.99, Oneworld), Anthony Warner chews the fat about, well, fat.

Pretty much all of us have been tempted at some point in our lives to shed some weight around our midriff, especially when we see our BMI creeping over 25, but what does this actually mean, and is it really a reliable measure of general health?

He speaks to our editorial assistant Amy Barrett about why the body needs fat, what influences our body shape, and why there is so much stigma about being obese.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Mar 30, 2020
Camilla Pang: How can science guide my life?
36:11

Dr Camilla Pang is a bioinformatician, who was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder when she was eight years old.

Her first book, Explaining Humans (£14.99, Viking), is a guide to navigating life, love and relationships using the lessons she’s learned in her scientific career so far.

In it she draws on examples from how the different proteins in the human body can reflect the different roles in a social group, to the way how light refracts through a prism helping her to break down fear into something manageable.

In this episode of the Science Focus Podcast, she discusses her current work using disease and cancer data, along with machine learning methods, to find patterns that can be used in healthcare and lead to the development of therapies.

She also explains how her neurodiversity has affected the way she works.

If you have a burning science question you want an expert to answer, send them to us on twitter at @sciencefocus, and we may answer them in a future episode.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Mar 23, 2020
Kevin Fong: What happened to Apollo 13?
34:33

This week we catch up with Kevin Fong about the new series of his award-winning podcast 13 Minutes to the Moon.

Whereas the first series celebrated the 50th anniversary of one of humanity’s greatest scientific achievements, the Moon landing, the new season follows what could have been one of our worst disasters – an explosion aboard the spacecraft Apollo 13.

We discuss what happened on this ill-fated mission, how it impacted the astronauts and staff at Mission Control, and whether catastrophe at space could ever happen again.

If you have a burning science question you want an expert to answer, send them to us on twitter at @sciencefocus, and we may answer them in a future episode.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:




Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Mar 16, 2020
Aleks Krotoski: What happens to your data when you die?
41:55

What happens to all your digital data once you die? We ask social psychologist, host of BBC Radio 4's Digital Human and BBC Science Focus columnist Aleks Krotoski about life after death, and she enlightens us on how much digital data is really out there, the value of virtual gravestones and why big data firms really don’t care if you’re alive or dead.

If you have a burning science question you want an expert to answer, send them to us on twitter at @sciencefocus, and we may answer them in a future episode.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:




Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Mar 09, 2020
Professor Fay Dowker: What is the problem of quantum gravity?
51:13

This week, we’re going on a search for the theory of everything.

The two main theories of physics are at odds with one another. Einstein's general relativity explains gravity, but it contradicts quantum theory: how we understand matter, atoms and particles.

Theoretical physicist at Imperial College London Professor Fay Dowker has been working on a solution to this quantum gravity problem, and tells us why the theories are incompatible, and how she plans to bring them together.

If you have a burning science question you want an expert to answer, send them to us on twitter at @sciencefocus, and we may answer them in a future episode.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Mar 02, 2020
Jim Davies: How do you use your imagination?
36:10

Imagine, just for one moment, that you’re flying. What can you see? How high up are you? Can you feel the rush of wind in your face? Keep these thoughts in mind while you listen to this week's podcast.

Your imagination is a strange old thing, with some people experiencing vivid senses while some struggle to picture anything at all. In this episode, we speak to Jim Davies, whose book, Imagination: The Science of Your Mind's Greatest Power (£21.99, Pegasus), sheds light on this mysterious function of the brain.

As you can imagine, we go deep into the neuroscience of conjuring up mental images, but we also find out why your memory doesn’t need to be perfect, the joys of playing video games after a bad day, the benefits of imaginary friends, and, rather bizarrely, how to make a better door.

If you have a burning science question you want an expert to answer, send them to us on twitter at @sciencefocus, and we may answer them in a future episode.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:




Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Feb 24, 2020
Mark Miodownik: Are biodegradable plastics really better than traditional plastic?
31:50

You’ve probably bought something from a corner shop and taken it home in a plastic bag that says it’s biodegradable, or eaten takeaway food with a compostable fork.

But when you’re done with your bag or your fork, what do you do with them? Can you put them in your food waste bin, your compost heap, or even the recycling bin?

To find out, we spoke to materials scientist Professor Mark Miodownik. Mark is leading the Big Compost Experiment, a nationwide citizen science experiment to explore whether home-compostable plastics really do compost in your garden.

If you sent us a question for Mark, listen out for his answer towards the end of the episode.

If you have a burning science question you want an expert to answer, send them to us on twitter at @sciencefocus, and we may answer them in a future episode.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Feb 17, 2020
Dr Erin Macdonald: Is there any science in Star Trek?
26:10

This week we’re boldly going where no Science Focus Podcast has gone before.

Dr Erin Macdonald is the new science consultant for the Star Trek franchise. With the release of Star Trek: Picard on Amazon Prime, she takes us through the science of both the new and classic series.

She tells our production assistant and resident Trekkie Holly Spanner about supernovae, what a science consultant really does, and whether warp drive is possible.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Feb 13, 2020
Adam Rutherford: Can science ever be rid of racism?
36:06

Adam Rutherford is a geneticist at the University College London, which has one of the most prestigious population, genetics and evolution departments in the world.

However, the university was also the home of ideas such as eugenics and race science.

Times have changed, and although our current understanding of genetics and biology should have consigned them to history, these insidious ideas are making their way back into the mainstream.

In his new book, How to Argue with a Racist (£12.99, Weidenfeld & Nicolson), Adam wants to show his readers that what we understand as race doesn’t really hold up with the genomic data, why professional sport is not a particularly good data set for studying race, and whether we can ever truly remove racism from science.

He speaks to our editorial assistant Amy Barrett.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Feb 06, 2020
Ross Barnett: Why should we be interested in prehistoric animals that aren’t dinosaurs?
39:38

In this week's episode of the Science Focus Podcast we’re investigating long-extinct animals. No, not dinosaurs, they get plenty enough coverage already. Instead, we’re going to look at creatures that lived in the Pleistocene era, a period of time that covered the last known ice age.

During this period enormous creatures roamed the Earth, with some surprising animals making what we now know as the British Isles their home.

What makes these often-enormous animals so interesting is that they lived side-by-side humans and other early human species, which means we have more than just fossilised bone fragments to learn from - we have cave art, sculpture, tools and even cooking utensils that we can use to build our understanding.

Ross Barnett is a palaeontologist, whose recent book The Missing Lynx: The Past and Future of Britain's Lost Mammals (£16.99, Bloomsbury Wildlife) explores the story of Britain’s lost megafauna.

He speaks to our online assistant Sara Rigby about Britain’s biggest beasts, humans’ role in their extinction, and what they can teach us about the future of conservation.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:




Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Jan 30, 2020
Samantha Alger: What can we do to save the bees?
41:35

We all appreciate the buzz of the humble bee in the garden, however, not a summer goes past without hearing news that our bee population is under threat, with the finger usually pointing at habitat loss or chemicals containing neonicotinoids.

But in reality, there are a whole host of reasons why our vital bee population is in decline.

And given they provide pollination services for every one in three bites of the food we eat, their survival is critical to our very way of life.

In this episode of the Science Focus Podcast, University of Vermont environmental scientist and pollination specialist Samantha Alger talks about her work uncovering the secret life of bees, what is causing the decline in bee numbers, and what we can do so save them.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:




Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Jan 23, 2020
Marcel Danesi: Why do we want to believe lies?
23:28

We all love a good story, and sometimes a lie is more interesting to hear than the truth, but there is more to it than spinning a good yarn.

According to Marcel Danesi, linguist and author of the book The Art of the Lie (£11.95, Prometheus Books), throughout history certain ‘Liar Princes’ have perfected the art of lying to gain fame, fortune and notoriety.

In this week’s podcast, he explains what makes them so effective at this so-called ‘Machiavellian intelligence’, what happens in the brain when we twist the truth, and why we’re all liars in one way or another.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:




Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Jan 16, 2020
Dr Becky Smethurst: How do you actually find a black hole?
46:57

By day Dr Becky, is an astrophysicist, unravelling the mysteries of supermassive black holes, but by night entertains science buffs like us on her YouTube channel.

In this week's episode of the Science Focus Podcast she explains how to find a black hole (and why they’re actually incredibly bright), what an astrophysicist does all day, and why flooding YouTube with scientists is the best way to counteract disinformation and bogus theories.

Her book Space: 10 Things You Should Know (£9.99, Orion), is out now and you can read an extract from it here.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Jan 09, 2020
Hannah Fry: How much of our lives is secretly underpinned by maths?
25:58

Hopefully by now the last crumbs of mince pie will be wiped clean and Grandad has woken up from his Christmas day nap.

If you’re anything like us, that period between Christmas and New Year means only one thing – lazing in front of the TV and watching the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures. This institution has been sharing the wonders of science and entertaining children and adults alike for generations, and this year’s host hopes this year will be no different.

Our editorial assistant Amy Barret sat down with Hannah Fry, only the fourth mathematician to deliver one of the lectures, who’ll be showing the audience how maths secretly underpins much of the world around us in her lecture series called Secrets and Lies, broadcast on BBC Four on 26-28 December at 20:00.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Dec 26, 2019
Adam Kay: Is Christmas really the most wonderful time of the year on labour ward?
24:14

If you’re stuffing your face with mince pies this Christmas Day, spare a thought for the hundreds of thousands of people working in the NHS providing vital medical support over the festive period.

One person who has seen his fair share of Christmas shifts is comedian and writer Adam Kay, who in a previous life worked as a junior doctor. His new book, Twas the Nightshift before Christmas (£9.99, Harper Collins), is at times, a graphically intimate diary of what happens on a labour ward over the holidays.

Our editorial assistant Amy Barrett spoke to Adam over the phone about whether Christmas is more dangerous than other seasons, some of the issues facing healthcare at this time of the year, and life after medicine.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Dec 19, 2019
Kathryn D Sullivan: What is it really like to walk in space?
30:58

Kathryn D Sullivan made history on 11 October 1984 when she became the first American woman to make an Extravehicular Activity, something most of us will know as a space walk, and in this episode of the Science Focus Podcast, she explains how maybe ‘walk’ isn’t the most appropriate way of describing it.

She also reveals the importance of planning over plans, the influence of the Hubble Space Telescope, and whether this year’s news story about spacesuits for women was really as problematic as the headlines suggested.

Let us know what you think with a review or a rating wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Dec 12, 2019
Brian Switek: How did bones evolve?
40:06

Brian Switek, the pen name of science writer and fossil fanatic Riley Black. This year she released a book called The Secret Life of Bones: Their Origins, Evolution and Fate (£9.99, Duckworth), which as well as explaining how and why we evolved bones, explains the relationship us humans have with these sturdy struts of osseous tissue.

In this week's episode of the Science Focus Podcast, she helpfully explains what a bone is and how they turn into fossils, as well as how they revealed Richard III’s diet, were historically used to justify scientific racism, and why Hollywood is getting aliens all wrong.

Let us know what you think with a review or a rating wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:

 



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Dec 05, 2019
Chris Lintott: Can members of the public do real science?
35:58

We’re living in the age of big data. Scientists can collect and store more information than ever before. So how can they manage it all?

That’s where citizen science comes in. Members of the public can log in to the Zooniverse, the world’s largest citizen science platform, and do the hard work of sorting through the data.

Whether that’s searching for alien planets or spotting penguins, the project’s co-founder Chris Lintott says that the public aren’t just helping out, but doing real science.

In his new book, The Crowd and the Cosmos: Adventures in the Zooniverse (£20, OUP), Chris explains how, in just a few minutes in your lunch break, you can contribute to fields from astronomy to zoology.

He speaks to BBC Science Focus online assistant Sara Rigby.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:




Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Nov 28, 2019
Dean Burnett: What’s going on in the teenage brain?
44:05

Why are teens so emotional? Why won’t they listen when adults depart their worldly knowledge? Why won’t they tidy their rooms?

Well, there are plenty of parenting books out there that attempt to answer these questions, but in the new book Why Your Parents Are Driving You Up the Wall and What To Do About It (£8.99, Penguin) by neuroscientist, comedian and science writer Dean Burnett, for the first time, it’s teens who are getting an insight into their parents’ minds.

The book is all about reverse parenting, and offers teens an answer to why their parents are always dragging them out of bed, why they’re so obsessed with asking ‘How was school?’ and other common complaints.

He speaks to BBC Science Focus editorial assistant Amy Barrett.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:




Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Nov 21, 2019
Randall Munroe: How do you find the worst solution to any problem?
34:02

If you need advice for the best way to move house, predict the weather or take a selfie, Randall Munroe, the creator of the webcomic xkcd, can’t help you.

But if you’re willing to get creative, Randall’s book How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems (£16.99, John Murray Press) will show you the worst ways to solve your problems, with some help from tennis star Serena Williams and astronaut Commander Chris Hadfield along the way.

In this episode of the Science Focus Podcast, Randall talks to online assistant Sara Rigby about why the worst solution to a problem can be the most interesting.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:




Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Nov 14, 2019
Gaia Vince: What part does culture play in our evolution?
41:51

Some scientists now believe we are living in a new epoch, the age of invention and human influence on the world, called the Anthropocene.

In 2014, science journalist and broadcast Gaia Vince took readers on a journey through this new world in her award-winning book, Adventures in the Anthropocene. Documenting the startling impacts of human’s growth on Earth, Gaia opened eyes to the future that we have all but set in stone.

Her new book, Transcendence (£20, Allen Lane), looks instead to our past, and how humans have evolved as much through our culture as through our genes. How did Homo sapiens out-live our hominin relatives, and what made us so different from the other primates?

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:

 

 



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Nov 07, 2019
Jim Al-Khalili: Why should we care about science and scientists?
28:38

Every Tuesday morning, physicist and science communicator Jim Al-Khalili presents the long-running radio programme The Life Scientific on BBC Radio 4. On 5 November 2019, the show celebrates its 200th episode, so we caught up with Jim just after recording this landmark show.

He talked to us about what it’s like to work on The Life Scientific, he fights the corner for creativity in science, and reveals why research and scientists keep him optimistic about the future.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Oct 30, 2019
Bill Bryson: What should we know about how our bodies work?
42:04

In this episode of the Science Focus Podcast, we hear from renowned travel writer and science communicator, Bill Bryson.

Beloved by readers around the world, his works have included Notes from a Small Island, an observation of life in England, and the best-selling science book A Short History of Nearly Everything.

His new book is called The Body: A Guide for Occupants (£25, Doubleday), where he turns inward to look at the mechanisms that keep us alive.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Oct 23, 2019
Gretchen McCulloch: How has the internet affected how we communicate?
27:39

Scroll through Facebook or Twitter and you’ll notice that many people type in a particular style: full of lols and emoji, and rarely using punctuation or capital letters.

Does this mean that we’re losing the ability to use our language correctly? Gretchen McCulloch, author of Because Internet (£12.99, Penguin Books), says absolutely not: in fact, internet users have collaboratively developed a style of language that makes communication much richer.

Here’s Gretchen talking to BBC Science Focus online assistant Sara Rigby about how sarcasm and humour drive our use of language, the value of emoji, and the history of lol.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Oct 16, 2019
Robert Elliott Smith: Are algorithms inherently biased?
36:51

In this week’s podcast, we speak Robert Elliott Smith, an expert in evolutionary algorithms and researcher of artificial intelligence.

His latest book, Rage Inside the Machine: The Prejudice of Algorithms, and How to Stop the Internet Making Bigots of Us All (£20, Bloomsbury), explores how the harmful effects of bigotry, greed, segregation and mass coercion are finding their way into the AI that runs our lives, without us even realising it.

He tells us how powerful algorithms have been manipulated to divide people, why algorithmic bias has a dark history in the field of eugenics, and what we can do to fight back against the insidious influences of social media.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:

Follow Science Focus on TwitterFacebook, Instagram and Flipboard



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Oct 09, 2019
Monica Grady: What is the future of space science?
35:12

Today on the Science Focus Podcast, we’re talking to Professor Monica Grady, planetary and space scientist, ahead of World Space Week.

World Space Week runs from 4 to 10 October, and this year’s theme is ‘The Moon: Gateway to the Stars’. Events to celebrate World Space Week are being held in the UK and across the world, including Monica’s talk at the Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh.

Monica’s research spans to the Moon and beyond, and Asteroid 4731 is named Monicagrady, in honour of her contributions to the field.

Here, she speaks to editorial assistant Amy Barrett about working in the industry and the challenges faced by current and future space scientists.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:

  • How do you launch a successful space mission? – Mark McCaughrean
  • Why is the Moon landing still relevant 50 years on? – Kevin Fong
  • The mindset behind the Moon landing – Richard Wiseman
  • What if the Earth’s magnetic field died? – Jim Al-Khalili
  • The most mysterious objects in the Universe – Colin Stuart
  • What NASA’s InSight will tell us about Mars – Bruce Banerdt

Follow Science Focus on TwitterFacebookInstagram and Flipboard



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Oct 02, 2019
Dr Tilly Blyth: How has art influenced science?
38:36

Science and art have not always been separately defined. Leonardo Da Vinci studied anatomy, neuroscientist Cajal created beautiful drawings of the cells in the cerebellum and hippocampus, and the painter John Constable observed the skies with an almost scientific study.

Though their pursuits have diverged into distinct fields, the relationship between art and science has remained tightly woven together.

Documenting the history of this tumultuous relationship is The Art of Innovation. Comprised of a 20-part BBC Radio 4 series, an exhibition at the Science Museum and an accompanying book, The Art of Innovation shows how scientific discoveries have influenced, and been influenced by, artists and the general public.

Editorial assistant Amy Barrett visited the Science Museum’s Dana Research Centre and Library to meet the Head of Collections & Principle Curator at the Science Museum and the co-host of The Art of Innovation radio series, Dr Tilly Blyth.

The Science Museum’s major free exhibition runs from now until the 24 January 2020. You can also read 20 stories from the history of art and science in The Art of Innovation (£25, Transworld).

Image: A Philosopher Giving that Lecture on an Orrery, in which a Lamp is put in the Place of the Sun, by Joseph Wright, exhibited 1776, oil on canvas © Derby Museums Trust

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:

Follow Science Focus on TwitterFacebook, Instagram and Flipboard



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Sep 25, 2019
Richard Dawkins: Can we live in a world without religion?
40:14

Richard Dawkins is considered one of the top British intellectuals of the 21st Century. He’s known for his opinions on atheism and his books on evolution. In his most recent book, Outgrowing God, he talks about his own experience with religion, and how science offers us a far more convincing and concrete view of the world we live in.

We sat down with Richard to discuss his views on faith, flat-earthers and Facebook.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:

Follow Science Focus on TwitterFacebookInstagram and Flipboard



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Sep 18, 2019
Does data discriminate against women? – Caroline Criado Perez
39:41

When Apple launched its health tracker app HealthKit in 2014, they promised users the ability to track everything from their blood pressure to their copper intake – but not their periods.

This seems like a startling oversight, but Apple aren’t alone in failing to consider women’s needs. For example, it wasn’t until 2015 that the EU required new cars to be tested on a female crash-test dummy.

Caroline Criado Perez, whose book Invisible Women (£16.99, Chatto and Windus) has been shortlisted for the 2019 Royal Society Science Book Prize, calls this the gender data gap, and it appears in everything from public policy to medical research.

In this episode of the Science Focus Podcast, we talk to Caroline about the gender data gap and how it causes everything from mild inconvenience to potential fatality.

She speaks to BBC Science Focus online assistant Sara Rigby.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast which we think you will find interesting:

Follow Science Focus on TwitterFacebookInstagram and Flipboard



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Sep 11, 2019
How do you launch a successful space mission? – Mark McCaughrean
50:12

Launching a rocket into space doesn’t come cheap. That much won’t surprise anybody, but what goes into the planning, construction and the science before the mission even gets off the ground? And when it’s up there, what does it do, and what makes it a success?

One man that knows how to put a space project together is Mark McCaughrean, senior advisor for science and exploration at the European Space Agency. During his 10 years at ESA, he’s worked on numerous projects, including the Rosetta mission to land a probe on a comet, and the enormous James Webb Space Telescope.

Ahead of his talk at ESA's Space Rocks event on 21 September 2019, he talks to BBC Science Focus Online Editor Alexander McNamara about how to build a space project from start to finish, why studying space is so important for life on Earth, and reaching out through the power of rock music.

We now have more than 85 episodes of the Science Focus Podcast, each of which is still well worth a listen. Here are a few that you might find interesting:

Follow Science Focus on TwitterFacebook, Instagram and Flipboard



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Sep 04, 2019
What does our skin tell us about ourselves? – Dr Monty Lyman
41:28

The largest organ in the body isn’t the lungs or the brain, but the skin. Our skin performs a vast array of functions for us, from protecting us from disease to helping us make friends.

Dr Monty Lyman, author of The Remarkable Life of The Skin (£20, Bantam Press), calls skin the ‘Swiss Army Organ’ because of all the tasks it carries out.

Monty talks to BBC Science Focus Online assistant Sara Rigby about what the skin is for, why vanity is good for you, and what kind of creatures inhabit our skin.

We now have more than 75 episodes of the Science Focus Podcast, each of which is still well worth a listen. Here are a few that you might find interesting:

Follow Science Focus on TwitterFacebook, Instagram and Flipboard



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Aug 28, 2019
Are Generation Z our only hope for the future? – John Higgs
38:29

If you grew up on a steady stream of Hollywood blockbusters filled with killer robots, alien invasions and apocalyptic natural disasters, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the future looks pretty bleak. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be that way.

In fact, according John Higgs, a writer who specialises in finding previously unsuspected narratives hidden in obscure corners of our history and culture, the group of adults of school-leaving age might be just the sort of individuals we need if we’re going to avoid the dystopian future science fiction would have us believe inevitable.

In his book, The Future Starts Here (£20, Orion), he explains why this Generation Z have inherited a world apparently on the brink of self-destruction, and why their enthusiasm for wider social networks will be key to a brighter future.

He speaks to BBC Science Focus Online editor Alexander McNamara about what Star Trek can teach us about generational attitudes, the desire for meaning over stuff, and why life on Mars would be rubbish, and who kicks things off by asking him why he decided to write a book about the future.

We now have more than 75 episodes of the Science Focus Podcast, each of which is still well worth a listen. Here are a few that you might find interesting:

Follow Science Focus on TwitterFacebook, Instagram and Flipboard



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Aug 21, 2019
Is an implantable electronic device the future of medicine? – Gordon Wallace
18:48

Materials scientist Gordon Wallace is the director of ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science at the University of Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia. He is developing the ‘sutrode’, a medical device made from graphene that combines the electrical properties of an electrode with the mechanical properties of a suture.

The device is wrapped around damaged or malfunctioning nerve bundles and used to stimulate them and return their regular function. Though still in its early stages, the technology may one day be used to treat epilepsy, schizophrenia, and in the production of next generation prosthetics.

He speaks to BBC Science Focus commissioning editor Jason Goodyer in this episode of the Science Focus Podcast.

We now have more than 75 episodes of the Science Focus Podcast, each of which is still well worth a listen. Here are a few that you might find interesting:

Follow Science Focus on TwitterFacebook, Instagram and Flipboard



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Aug 14, 2019
How accurately can we predict the weather? – Andrew Blum
33:23

Hurricane Sandy hit the east coast of the United States in October 2012, causing $65bn of damage. Remarkably, weather forecasters managed to predict its impact on the US eight days in advance, when it was barely even a storm.

How did forecasts get to be so good? It’s a story that begins with the invention of the telegraph and ends with supercomputers.

We talk to Andrew Blum, author of The Weather Machine (£16.99, Bodley Head), about the history of weather forecasting, why we shouldn’t trust the icons on our weather apps, and whether we’ll ever have an accurate minute-by-minute forecast.

He speaks to BBC Science Focus online assistant Sara Rigby.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast which we think you will find interesting:

Follow Science Focus on TwitterFacebookInstagram and Flipboard


Image: Actor and environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio stares at a visual showing Hurricane Sandy using data from Goddard Earth Observing System Model © NASA/Goddard/Rebecca Roth



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Aug 07, 2019
What happened at Bluedot festival 2019? – Libby Jackson, Tom Shakespeare and Danielle George
33:16

In mid-July this year, science and music lovers alike donned their Wellington boots and rain ponchos and made the journey to Jodrell Bank Observatory for the fourth annual Bluedot festival.

The star-studded line-up included Helen Sharman; the first British astronaut, Jim Al-Khalili; science writer and author, an incredible 3-D concert experience from Kraftwerk and the post-punk sounds of New Order.

We sent BBC Science Focus’ new editorial assistant Amy Barrett to the festival, where she chatted to a few of the speakers at the event. Not bad for your first week in a new job, eh?

First up was, Libby Jackson, Human Exploration Programme Manager at the UK Space Agency, who took to the Mission Control stage to talk about the future of space exploration and the UK’s role in that future. While some looked back across the fifty years since the Apollo Moon Landings, she talked to Amy about advances in the space industry, human exploration and the Bluedot experience.

Also in attendance at the festival was Tom Shakespeare, professor of disability research at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Tom was involved in three events over the weekend, talking assistive technology, the ethics of genetics and being an activist.

Finally, back at Jodrell Bank where she began her career, Danielle George brought the invisible Universe to light. She spoke to us about the Lovell Radio Telescope based at Jodrell, new endeavours such as the SKA (Square Kilometre Array telescope project) and what we can learn from looking at our skies.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast which we think you will find interesting:

Follow Science Focus on TwitterFacebookInstagram and Flipboard



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Jul 31, 2019
What does a world with an ageing population look like? – Sarah Harper
33:20

We can’t reverse the slow march of time, but thanks to the wonders of technology and modern medicine, we have a lot more of it in our lives. But as people live longer, and the birth rate declines, how are we going to manage a world with an ageing population?

That one of the questions Sarah Harper, Professor of Gerontology at the University of Oxford, has been trying to find an answer for.

She talks to BBC Science Focus editorial assistant Helen Glenny about how we cope with dramatic shifts in population, what effect it has on natural resources and climate change, and a quirk in our retirement age that suggests we should start drawing our pension aged 103.

How Population Change Will Transform Our World by Sarah Harper is available now (£9.99, OUP)

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast which we think you will find interesting:

Follow Science Focus on TwitterFacebookInstagram and Flipboard




Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Jul 24, 2019
What does it mean to be a man? – Gary Barker
38:38

In the past few years, traditional male stereotypes have come under increasing scrutiny.

These stereotypes often come under the term ‘Toxic masculinity’, which has been widely used to explain certain male actions and characteristics that conform to established gender roles, which do harm to both themselves or the society that they live in.

Gary Barker has a PhD in developmental psychology and studies how we raise and socialise boys and men. In the late 1990s he founded Promundo, which carries out global research into men, boys and masculinities, and recently discovered that that in the UK, this these negative stereotypes could be costing the economy an additional £3.8bn a year.

He speaks to BBC Science Focus editorial assistant Helen Glenny about why these stereotypes are harmful, and what a new, progressive form of masculinity could look like.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:

Follow Science Focus on TwitterFacebookInstagram and Flipboard



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Jul 17, 2019
Dr Guy Leschziner: What is your brain doing while you sleep?
33:42

For most of us, switching off the light and curling up in a warm, cosy bed is the welcome reward for a good day done (or much-needed respite from a bad one).

But not everybody can soak up their allotted hours in joyful slumber before the alarm goes off. In fact, according to the Mental Health Foundation, it is estimated that 20 per cent of adults suffer from some form of insomnia, while many more of us experience issues like sleep walking, sleep apnoea and night terrors.

Dr Guy Leschziner is a world-renowned neurologist and sleep physician, whose new book The Nocturnal Brain: Nightmares, Neuroscience and the Secret World of Sleep (£16.99, Simon & Schuster) attempts to unpick some of the mysteries around what is happening to your body whilst you doze off in the land of Nod.

In this podcast, we find out what is happening in our brain while we dream, how to get a better night’s sleep, and whether sleep tech and apps are all they’re all cracked up to be.

He speaks to BBC Science Focus Online Editor Alexander McNamara.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:

Follow Science Focus on TwitterFacebook, Instagram and Flipboard



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Jul 10, 2019
What can the father of Gaia theory tell us about our future? - James Lovelock
28:52

This week on the Science Focus Podcast, we spend some time with James Lovelock – the visionary scientist and environmental thinker who this month turns 100 years old.

James Lovelock is best known as the creator of the Gaia hypothesis, which proposes that our planet and all the life on it functions as a single self-regulating organism.

Less well known is that he also developed scientific instruments for NASA missions to Mars; he invented the electron capture detector, with which he became the first person to detect the widespread presence of CFCs in the atmosphere; and he even carried out influential work in cryopreservation, bringing frozen hamsters back to life.

James Lloyd, staff writer at BBC Science Focus, visited Lovelock at his Dorset home to look back at his life and achievements.

If you like what you hear, then please rate, review, and share with anybody you think might enjoy our podcast.

You can also subscribe and leave us a review on your favourite podcast apps. Also, if there is anybody you’d like us to speak to, or a topic you want us to cover, then let us know on Twitter at @sciencefocus.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:

Follow Science Focus on TwitterFacebook, Instagram and Flipboard



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Jul 03, 2019
Could leaving nature to its own devices be the key to meeting the UK’s climate goals? - Mark Lynas
18:04

The UK government’s official climate advisors recently reported that the country’s greenhouse gas emissions must fall to zero by 2050 in order to tackle the growing threat of manmade climate change.

However, it seems unlikely that we will be able to reach this target by simply burning less fossil fuel and cutting down on international travel. So what else can be done?

Environmental charity Rewilding Britain thinks that the answer is to let large areas of the country return to their pre-agricultural state to restore natural carbon sequestering environments such as peat bogs, heaths and salt marshes.

In this episode of the Science Focus Podcast BBC Science Focus commissioning editor Jason Goodyer talks to environmental researcher Mark Lynas about the potential beneficial effects of rewilding.

We now have more than 75 episodes of the Science Focus Podcast, each of which is still well worth a listen. Here are a few that you might find interesting:

Follow Science Focus on TwitterFacebookInstagram and Flipboard



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Jun 26, 2019
Is there really no such thing as a fish? – Andrew Hunter Murray and Dan Schreiber
36:20

We like to think our Science Focus Podcast is something really rather special (really, you should tell all your mates about it). But let’s face it, it pales in comparison to the hugely popular podcast No Such Thing As A Fish, which bagged Apple’s prestigious ‘Best New Podcast’ award in 2014.

Numerous awards later, including the 2019 Heinz Oberhummer Award in science communication, they have amassed a whopping 700,000 subscribers for their irreverent podcast about the weird and wacky things they’ve discovered over the past week.

We can’t resist the opportunity to get meta and do a science podcast about doing a science podcast, so we sent Online Editor Alexander McNamara to meet two of the show's stars, Andrew Hunter Murray and Dan Schreiber, where they chewed the ‘facts’ about Isaac Newton lecturing to empty theatres, meeting scientists who suggest putting fake eyes on a cow’s backside, and the logistics around building a statue out of sausages.

We also put their fact-checking skills to the test with a little quiz pulled from the Q&A section of BBC Science Focus Magazine. Why don’t you play along as well and let us know how you get by tweeting us @sciencefocus.

Please remember to rate and review our show wherever you download your podcasts from.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:

Follow Science Focus on TwitterFacebook, Instagram and Flipboard



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Jun 19, 2019
Is racism creeping into science? – Angela Saini
42:00

After World War II, mainstream science denounced eugenics and the study of racial differences. Yet there remained a staunch group of scientists who continued to research race. For a few decades, these people remained on the fringes of research. Yet now, in the 21st Century, fuelled by a rise in the far right and extremist views, an increasing number of researchers are framing race as a biological construct rather than a social one.

Yet even well-meaning scientists continue to use racial categories in genetics and medicine, betraying their belief that there are biological differences between us, and that race can explain differences in intelligence and disease susceptibility.

In her new book, Superior, Angela Saini explores the concept of race. She interviews anthropologists, historians, social scientists and geneticists and finds that time after time, the science is retrofitted to accommodate race.

Here, she talks to BBC Science Focus production editor Alice Lipscombe-Southwell.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:

Follow Science Focus on TwitterFacebook, Instagram and Flipboard


Image: Nazi officials use callipers to measure an ethnic German's nose. The Nazis developed a system of facial measurement that was supposedly a way of determining racial descent. The compiled results, based on biased samples, were used to back up the Nazi claim that Germans were a pure and superior "Aryan" race © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Jun 12, 2019
Can we really predict when doomsday will happen? – William Poundstone
36:26

In this episode of the Science Focus Podcast, we’re going to try to guess when the end of the world will happen.

Don’t worry, it’s not as gloomy as it might sound. Those people waving ‘The End is Nigh!’ placards are probably completely wrong about an immanent doomsday… Probably.

There is a formula that has circulated for the last 50 years which suggests we can pinpoint the end of something with a reasonable amount of certainty. It has been used to predict any number of things, including successful stock market investments, the run of Broadway shows and even how many Harry Potter books go missing from local libraries.

But since the 1990s, it has sparked considerable debate among theorists about when humanity as we know it will come to an end.

We ask William Poundstone - whose new book How To Predict Everything (£12.99, Oneworld) explains the history of this enigmatic equation - how long we have left as a species on this planet, whether we can shift the odds in our favour, and how we can predict, well, pretty much everything else.

How long do you think we have left, and why? Let us know on Twitter at @sciencefocus, and don’t forget to rate and review us wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:

Follow Science Focus on TwitterFacebook, Instagram and


Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Jun 05, 2019
Is body positivity the answer to body image issues? – Phillippa Diedrichs
26:52

We live in a society that values looks, but only if they fit into a restrictive set of ideals regarding size and shape, age, skin colour, as well as many other features of our bodies.

The result is an immense pressure to look a certain way. According to a recent survey by the Mental Health Foundation, one in five adults in the UK had experienced shame over their body at some point in the last year.

The rise of social media has provided a platform for a rebellion against these ideals in the form of body positivity, which advocates loving your body, even the parts that don’t fit the ideal standards of beauty.

So, is loving your body the key to defeating body image issues? Or is it making the problem worse?

In this podcast we speak to Professor Phillippa Diedrichs, a psychologist at the Centre for Appearance Research at the University of the West of England. She takes us through the importance of a healthy body image and the research into how body positivity could help or harm.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:

Follow Science Focus on TwitterFacebookInstagram and Flipboard



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

May 29, 2019
Why is the Moon landing still relevant 50 years on? – Kevin Fong
27:48

If you were to picture the Moon landing in your head right now, you could probably conjure up images of Neil Armstrong’s famous first steps, accompanied by his inspirational (and often misquoted) speech, despite it happening many years before most of us were even born.

But this remarkable achievement did not come easily, and the decade-long mission culminated in the final nerve wracking 13 minutes it took the Moon lander to arrive safely on the surface. 

This moment, and the people who contributed to this landmark occasion in our quest to explore space, are the subject of a new BBC podcast series, 13 Minutes To The Moon.

We caught up with the show’s host, Kevin Fong, about the show, and he tells us why the Moon landing still inspires us today, what it was like speaking to the people who ran mission control, and where our next Moon shot will be.

Remember, if you like what you hear then please rate and review the episode wherever you listen to your podcasts. It really helps get the show out there, which means we can bring you even more interviews with the people at the forefront of science.


Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:

Follow Science Focus on TwitterFacebook, Instagram and Flipboard




Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

May 22, 2019
Can science explain everything? – Michael Blastland
33:44

We know a lot. In scientific studies, we can count data, observe trends, infer links and calculate risks. But we also spend a lot of time ignoring noise – the unexplained variations in our results that we can’t account for. Take smoking for example. We all know that smoking kills, but it doesn’t kill everyone, and we can’t predict which lifelong smokers will be struck down by lung cancer, and which won’t.

In his new book The Hidden Half (£14.99, Atlantic Books), Michael Blastland discusses how, even in the most tightly controllable situations, we often still see variations in outcomes. He argues that our unwillingness to admit uncertainty can affect science, economics, politics and business, sometimes with disastrous consequences.

But it’s not all bad news. New research that shows that admitting the extent to which we’re not sure could make us seem more trustworthy. And he explains that even though we don’t know everything, experts and the scientific method are still the most important places for us to turn to for guidance.

He talks to Helen Glenny, editorial assistant at BBC Science Focus Magazine, in this week’s episode of the Science Focus Podcast.

If you like what you hear, then please rate, review, and share with anybody you think might enjoy our podcast.

You can also subscribe and leave us a review on your favourite podcast apps. Also, if there is anybody you’d like us to speak to, or a topic you want us to cover, then let us know on Twitter at @sciencefocus.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:

Follow Science Focus on TwitterFacebookInstagram and Flipboard



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

May 15, 2019
Is the cure for cancer hiding in human breast milk? – Professor Catharina Svanborg
21:34
Two decades ago a group of Swedish researchers chanced upon an intriguing compound with tumour-killing properties hidden within human breast milk. Dubbed HAMLET, short for Human α-lactalbumin, the substance has so far come through in vitro and animal trials with flying colours. With human trials currently underway, could HAMLET be the drug to finally give us the upper hand in the war against cancer?

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

May 08, 2019
Why is Leonardo Da Vinci’s scientific legacy so often overlooked? – Martin Clayton
28:10

It’s been 500 years since the death of Leonardo Da Vinci, and he’s remembered mainly for his great works of art, like The Last Supper and the Mona Lisa. But he was also a scientist, working across disciplines like anatomy, engineering, and architecture.

Sadly, his scientific research was never published and his engineering ambitions went largely unrealised. However, through his sketches and drawings we can see his anatomical discoveries, his plans for machines, and his investigations into the world around him. We can see what was occupying his mind, allowing us to piece together clues about the mysteries he aspired to solve.

So to mark the anniversary of his death, 200 of those drawings will go on display at the Queen’s Gallery next to Buckingham palace in the exhibition Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing. In this episode, we talked to Martin Clayton, Head of Prints and Drawings for Royal Collection Trust at Windsor Castle, about Da Vinci’s lasting scientific legacy. We ask him about the work he was doing, how he influenced the scientific disciplines he experimented with, and what we should remember him for.

He speaks to BBC Science Focus editorial assistant Helen Glenny in this week’s episode of the Science Focus Podcast.

If you like what you hear, then please rate, review, and share with anybody you think might enjoy our podcast.

You can also subscribe and leave us a review on your favourite podcast apps. Also, if there is anybody you’d like us to speak to, or a topic you want us to cover, then let us know on Twitter at @sciencefocus.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:

Follow Science Focus on TwitterFacebookInstagram and Flipboard


Image: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

May 01, 2019
Is gene editing inspiring or terrifying? – Nessa Carey
30:16

In 2012, scientists developed a method to edit any part of the human genome, and the implications were astounding. Now, we’re starting to see the technology’s potential; we will soon cure previously untreatable diseases, but at the same time, rogue scientists are experimenting in ways considered unethical by the wider medical community. So where does gene editing go from here?

In this week's Science Focus Podcast, Nessa Carey, author of the book Hacking the Code Of Life: How gene editing will rewrite our futures (£12.99, Icon) explains how gene editing was developed, how it works, and why it holds so much promise for medical science. We talked to her about the potential ways this technology could be mishandled, and how we should go about making ethical decisions around when and for whom gene editing is used.

What does a future like where we can manipulate the human genome to any end? Should we be inspired, or terrified?

She speaks to BBC Science Focus editorial assistant Helen Glenny.

If you like what you hear, then please rate, review, and share with anybody you think might enjoy our podcast.

You can also subscribe and leave us a review on your favourite podcast apps. Also, if there is anybody you’d like us to speak to, or a topic you want us to cover, then let us know on Twitter at @sciencefocus.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:

Follow Science Focus on TwitterFacebook, Instagram and Flipboard



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Apr 25, 2019
What if the Earth’s magnetic field died? – Jim Al-Khalili
37:34

Theoretical physicist and science communicator Professor Jim Al-Khalili has taken a break from writing popular science books to write his first novel. Sunfall (£16.99, Bantam Press) is a science fiction thriller set in the year 2041, when the Earth’s magnetic field has started to die, leaving life on Earth vulnerable to threats from space.


Scientists and engineers are thrown into a race against time to protect the Earth. All the science in the novel, from the futuristic technology to the apocalyptic event, are based on real science, as we understand it now.


In this episode, Jim explains how the Earth’s magnetic field protects us, how being a scientist helped inform his writing, and why fiction can be a frontier for science communication.


If you like what you hear, then please rate, review, and share with anybody you think might enjoy our podcast.


You can also subscribe and leave us a review on your favourite podcast apps. Also, if there is anybody you’d like us to speak to, or a topic you want us to cover, then let us know on Twitter at @sciencefocus.


Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:



Follow Science Focus on TwitterFacebookInstagram and Flipboard



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Apr 17, 2019
Are video games good for us? - Pete Etchells
31:14

In this week's Science Focus Podcast, we dive into the world of video games. Over the past couple of decades, video games have often got a bad rap, blamed for everything from aggression and violence to addiction and mental health problems.


But what does the research actually say? Dr Pete Etchells is a psychologist at Bath Spa University who researches the behavioural effects of video games. In his first book, Lost in a Good Game (£14.99, Icon Books), he gets to the bottom of our relationship with games, and reveals a more positive side to our game-playing habits.


He speaks to BBC Science Focus staff writer James Lloyd.


If you like what you hear, then please rate, review, and share with anybody you think might enjoy our podcast.


You can also subscribe and leave us a review on your favourite podcast apps. Also, if there is anybody you’d like us to speak to, or a topic you want us to cover, then let us know on Twitter at @sciencefocus.


Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:


Follow Science Focus on TwitterFacebookInstagram and Flipboard



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Apr 10, 2019
Do you believe in magic? – Gustav Kuhn
29:11

Abracadbra! Prestidigitation! We know that these words hold no intrinsic power, but when we hear them, we are instantly transported away to a land of magic and wonder; where the impossible becomes reality right before our eyes.


So why, as rational human beings, are we instantly drawn to magic, and what makes us delight in seeing a rabbit pulled from a hat, despite knowing full well that we are being fooled into thinking it was never already there in the first place?


Those are the sort of questions expert in cognitive psychology, magician, and author of Experiencing the Impossible: The Science of Magic (£20.00, MIT Press), Gustav Kuhn, is currently trying to solve at his Magic Lab at Goldsmith’s University.


In this week’s Science Focus Podcast, he talks to sciencefocus.com editor Alexander McNamara about why we believe in magic, what actually happens in our brain when we watch tricks, and how understanding magic can help us make sense of a world filled with fake news and misinformation.


Image © Getty Images



Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Apr 03, 2019
How can we save our planet? - Sir David Attenborough
35:14
We speak to Sir David Attenborough, naturalist and host of the new Netflix show Our Planet, and two of the show’s producers about the essential changes we need to make to save our home.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Mar 27, 2019
Can we slow down the ageing process? - Sue Armstrong
32:34
As the size of the ageing population rises, the field of gerontology, the study of ageing, is bursting with discoveries. How and why do we age? What can be done to slow the ageing process, and how do we improve our health spans, rather than our life spans? Sue Armstrong discusses what she found when writing her book Borrowed Time: The Science of How and Why We Age

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Mar 20, 2019
Matt Parker: What happens when maths goes horribly, horribly wrong?
28:49
Sums are hard, but imagine the consequences when getting the wrong answer leads to disaster. Comedian and maths whizz Matt Parker explains what happens when rounding errors and miscalculations get the better of our equations.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Mar 13, 2019
Why is the magnetic north pole moving? - Ciaran Beggan
26:46
The Earth’s magnetic north pole is rocketing towards Siberia at 50 kilometres per year, making the maps of the magnetic field out of date faster than expected. Why is it moving, what does this mean for us, and what can we expect it to do in the future?

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Mar 06, 2019
Are we facing an insect apocalypse? - Brad Lister
34:36
When Professor Brad Lister returned to Puerto Rico to track insect populations, he found he was only catching a fraction of the amount he’d seen 40 years ago. When he analysed what he’d caught, he saw a 98 per cent decline in insects on the ground. What’s causing this huge loss, and what does it mean for the future of our planet?

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Feb 27, 2019
Is religion compatible with science? - Professor John Lennox
32:51
This week, we delve into the complex relationship between science and religion. Why invoke a god to explain the world, the argument goes, when science does a perfectly good job? Professor John Lennox, however, begs to differ.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Feb 20, 2019
What does it mean to be happy? - Helen Russell
30:14
What does it mean to be happy? The pleasure of doing nothing, the sense of community from performing a haka, or drinking in your pants? Helen Russell, author of The Atlas of Happiness, explains what happiness means to different people around the world.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Feb 13, 2019
How geology can influence elections - Lewis Dartnell
22:45
Astrobiologist Lewis Dartnell is here to talk about how the Earth's ancient geography has influenced the development of human civilisations, and how it still affects our behaviour today.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Feb 06, 2019
The mindset behind the Moon landing – Richard Wiseman
36:07
The men and women of the Apollo program needed a particular mindset to land astronauts on the Moon – Richard Wiseman explains how you can harness this mentality to achieve your own Moon shots.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Jan 30, 2019
How technology is changing politics – Jamie Susskind
35:04
Jamie Susskind explains how the politics of the future will be shaped by the technology influencing our lives today.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Jan 23, 2019
There’s no such thing as Blue Monday - Sir David Spiegelhalter
21:03
Statistician and Professor of the Public Understanding of Risk in the Statistical Laboratory at the University of Cambridge Sir David Spiegelhalter explains the pseudoscience behind Blue Monday, the power of numbers, and how to spot a dodgy stat.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Jan 16, 2019
The most mysterious objects in the Universe - Colin Stuart
20:34
From 'Oumuamua to Planet Nine, astronomy writer and Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society Colin Stuart counts down the five strangest cosmic enigmas.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Jan 09, 2019
Eating for your genes - Giles Yeo
38:02
Dr Giles Yeo studies the relationship between our genetic make-up and how we’re eating, and knows that poor self-control isn’t entirely to blame for the obesity epidemic. He’s here to talk about how our genes influence how hungry we feel and how much we eat, and what we should do about it. 

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Jan 03, 2019
What makes me 'me'? - Aoife McLysaght
27:41
Evolutionary geneticist Aoife McLysaght is joining Alice Roberts as a guest at this year’s Royal Institution Christmas Lectures. Together, they’re exploring where we come from, what makes us human, and what makes each of us unique.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Dec 26, 2018
Why ASMR gives you tingles – Emma WhispersRed
18:03
We chat to YouTuber Emma WhispersRed ASMR about how she got into making the videos, why she thinks people find them so soothing, and why she wants to get the phenomenom officially recognised as a form of therapy

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Dec 19, 2018
Air pollution is killing us, here’s how you can stop it – Gary Fuller
53:04

Pollution scientist Gary Fuller explains how bad our air is, what causes it, and how we can stop this invisible killer.




Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Dec 12, 2018
Should we be worried about sex robots? – Kate Devlin
29:09
AI ethicist Dr Kate Devlin has done a deep dive into intimacy with machines for her new book Turned On: Science, Sex and Robots. She’s looked into society’s gradually changing attitudes towards sex tech and visited the companies making the world’s most advanced sex robots, and she’s here to tell us what it all means.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Dec 05, 2018
Filming a Dynasty - Nick Lyon
42:12
The latest Sir David Attenborough-narrated BBC Natural History Unit Landmark Series is called Dynasties, and it tracks power struggles within animal groups. We talk to Nick Lyon, the producer of an episode about Zimbabwe’s Painted Wolves, to see how he captured an incredible fight for dominance in the wild. 

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Nov 28, 2018
There is no Plan B for planet Earth – Lord Martin Rees
30:15
Astronomer Royal Lord Martin Rees explains how unless we make significant changes now, the prospects for the human species are beginning to look bleak.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Nov 21, 2018
What NASA’s InSight will tell us about Mars - Bruce Banerdt
24:38
By drilling into the surface of Mars, NASA’s InSight mission could help us discover more about the structure of the Red Planet, and maybe help us understand the formation of other planets.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Nov 14, 2018
The genetic hunt for the Loch Ness Monster - Neil Gemmell
20:03
Professor Neil Gemmell on his project to survey the genetic diversity of Loch Ness using cutting-edge environmental DNA techniques, and maybe find clues about the Loch Ness Monster.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Nov 07, 2018
Robin Ince: Inside the mind of a comedian
40:31
Comedians often take to the stage to talk about the quirks of the human race, and comedian Robin Ince has years of experience in that area. In his new book, he’s adding insights from neuroscientists and psychologists to talk about creativity, imagination, trauma and why people become comics in the first place.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Oct 31, 2018
How to get a good night’s sleep - Alice Gregory
25:20
Sleep psychologist Prof Alice Gregory on the science behind a satisfying slumber

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Oct 24, 2018
What makes a robot a robot? – Dr Lucy Rogers
37:01
This week we speak to Dr Lucy Rogers, who casts aside any Hollywood depictions of skull-crushing Terminators, and look at the real-life robots that are making a positive impact in our lives.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Oct 17, 2018
Finding the fun in science - Dara Ó Briain
24:10
Comedian Dara Ó Briain thinks the word nerd has been co-opted by too many people who don’t deserve it: Infinity Wars fans, for example. Studying maths and mathematical physics at university, he’s a true nerd, with a favourite science joke that backs that up. He’s released his second science book for kids, so we’re talking to him about his career, communicating science to children, and what really happened to the Brontosaurus. 

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Oct 10, 2018
The psychology of suicide - Jesse Bering
35:09
Psychologist and science writer Jesse Bering explains the factors that lead someone to take their own life, and how we might be able to help those who are at risk.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Oct 03, 2018
What we got wrong about pandas and teenagers
35:36
Scientists Lucy Cooke and Sarah-Jayne Blakemore’s books have been shortlisted for the Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize. They tell us the unexpected truth about animals and the secret life of the teenage brain.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Sep 26, 2018
How to invent everything - Ryan North
23:24
How helpful would you be if you were stranded in the past? Ryan North imagined telling people how cool computers are, but if they asked him how to make one, he’d be stumped. So he did some research, and in his hilarious new book he’s teaching us how to invent everything. 

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Sep 19, 2018
Why aren't there more women in science?
42:28

Girls are not picking as many STEM A-levels as boys, while professional female scientists are dropping out of the field. Is it time for change? In this episode we talk to four women currently working in STEM about their experiences, the problems faced by women and girls, and how we can fix the issues.


The panel:




  • Dr Suzie Imber - Associate professor of planetary science at the University of Leicester. Last year she won the BBC Two series Astronauts: Do You Have What It Takes?
  • Angela Saini - Award-winning science journalist who wrote Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong.
  • Dr Aoife Hunt - Associate director and mathematician at Movement Strategies, which is a company that specialises in crowd flow planning.
  • Dr Jess Wade - Physicist at Imperial College London. This year she won the Daphne Jackson prize from the Institute of Physics.


Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Sep 12, 2018
Identifying Jack the Ripper - David Wilson
26:18
Five violent murders were committed by a man dubbed ‘Jack the Ripper’ between August and November 1888 in Whitechapel. Criminologist David Wilson and actor Emilia Fox, with the help of the country’s leading criminal investigators, apply the latest scientific techniques to the case in a new BBC Science documentary. We asked Wilson if they identified the killer.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Sep 05, 2018
Why AI is not the enemy - Jim Al-Khalili
35:27
Jim Al-Khalili explains how artificial intelligence has changed the world, who benefits from it, and why we probably shouldn’t be afraid of it destroying humanity.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Aug 30, 2018
Could these gloves be the future of music?
26:59
Imogen Heap has pushed the creative boundaries in the creation of electronic music, but now she is using technology a different way that she hopes will create a fairer and more inclusive future for musicians. She talks to us about how blockchain could revolutionise the music industry, and how her innovative mi.mu gloves are changing the way we create and perform electronic music.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Aug 22, 2018
What's going on with the weather? - Dann Mitchell
16:12
This summer has been one of the hottest on record, so we asked climate change researcher Dann Mitchell what has caused the summer heatwave, can we expect more, and is there anything we can do about it?

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Aug 16, 2018
What asteroids can tell us about our Solar System
40:46
What asteroids can tell us about our Solar System

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Aug 08, 2018
Wildfires: past, present and future
25:34
Geologist Prof Andrew Scott on our complex relationship with wildfires

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Aug 01, 2018
Inequality in Science
48:54
Women are underrepresented in science, and some experts are asking whether there are biological reasons why. Meanwhile, racial studies are creeping back into mainstream science. We talk to Angela Saini about the science of gender and race, and about how to even the playing field.  

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Jul 25, 2018
What’s the deal with algorithms?
27:05
Algorithms are everywhere. They can make our lives easier, by curating our Twitter feeds and Netflix suggestions. But they can also be bad. They lack empathy and we can become too reliant on their logical abilities, putting ourselves and others at risk. Here we talk to mathematician Hannah Fry, who tells us all about the good, the bad and the downright ugly of the algorithms that surround us.  

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Jul 18, 2018
Mike Garrett: Is there anybody out there?
41:18
There are 100 billion stars in our Galaxy – surely we can’t be the only intelligent lifeform out there? In this week’s Science Focus Podcast we speak to Mike Garrett, the Director of Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics, about the search for extraterrestrial life, what we’ll do if we find them, and what it means for us as humans.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Jul 11, 2018
Russia's canine cosmonauts
22:57
Russian space dogs paved the way to sending humans into the cosmos. By studying how space flight affected dogs, scientists could establish whether it was safe to blast humans into space too. In this episode, we talk to Vix Southgate, who has just written a children’s book about the dogs Belka and Strelka – the first two creatures to go into orbit and return safely back to Earth.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Jul 04, 2018
Sin: Why we do the things we shouldn’t
33:56
Whether it’s cheating on our spouse, slacking off at work, or eating too much junk, we all occasionally do things we shouldn’t. Jack Lewis talks to us about the neuroscience of sin, how we can resist it, and the wacky experiments that test our ability to behave.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Jun 27, 2018
Solving the plastic problem
28:16
It’s estimated that there are currently more than 6 billion tonnes of plastic waste buried in land fill sites or floating on the surface of the ocean. Clearly something needs to be done but what exactly should we be doing? We speak to materials scientist Mark Miodownik about the growing problem of plastic waste, what we should be doing about it, and why plastic isn’t always bad for the planet.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Jun 20, 2018
Everything that's wrong with the human body
31:56
We like to think of ourselves as highly evolved, well-adapted creatures, but our retinas face backwards, we have too many bones in our wrists, and at least half our genome is junk. Biologist Nathan Lents explains what we can learn from our flaws.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Jun 13, 2018
How to keep yourself busy in space
20:40
Chris Hadfield has been to space three times, completed two spacewalks and visited two different space stations, but for many, he is best known for his rendition of David Bowie’s Space Oddity performed aboard the International Space Station. We find out how close the late songwriter’s vision of space was to reality, the life of a retired astronaut, and keeping yourself entertained on the ISS.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Jun 06, 2018
The truth about dinosaurs
31:08
The image of dinosaurs as drab, slow-witted reptilians is slowly being overturned thanks to exciting new fossil discoveries and advances in the technology used to analyse them. We talk to palaeontologist Steve Brusatte about palaeontology’s emerging golden age that is revealing what dinosaurs really looked like and why they were much smarter than we used to think.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

May 30, 2018
To become Prime Minister, change your voice
42:59
Your voice – its pitch, intonation and accent – is a huge part of your personal identity. Trevor Cox is talking to us about the full range of human speech, and how technology’s changing the conversation.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

May 23, 2018
The neuroscience of happiness
46:36
Everyone wants to be happy, it’s an inbuilt part of being human, but what exactly is going on in our brains when we feel happy and what can we do to ensure we live as happy a life as possible? We talk to neuroscientist, comedian and science writer Dean Burnett to find out.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

May 10, 2018
Changing our behaviour with virtual reality
31:02
VR can be used for so much more than cheap thrills and casual gaming. Jeremy Bailenson tells us how he is using VR to change the way we perceive racism, highlight the impact of climate change, and help us step into the shoes of our sporting heroes.  

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

May 03, 2018
What it’s really like to die
32:43
People used to die at home and everybody recognised the process, and now people die in hospital largely with doctors and nurses trying to stop it from happening. So we don’t see how gentle the normal process of a life winding to an end can be.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Apr 25, 2018
How to push the limits of human endurance
33:52
Ahead of the London