Science Weekly

By The Guardian

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Category: Science & Medicine

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Reviews: 8


 Jan 3, 2021


 May 7, 2019
Thanh you for making the podcats.


 Mar 8, 2019


 Dec 14, 2018

Luke
 Nov 13, 2018
good.But to wipe out Pete Ellinger need time.

Description

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

Episode Date
How does the human body cope with extreme heat? (part two)
00:16:09
We learned in our previous episode about the very real consequences that extreme heat has on human health and wellbeing, but there is little research into what actually happens to our bodies when exposed to extreme heat apart from in the world of sports science. In the second part of our discussion, as fears mount that the Tokyo Olympics will be the hottest on record and the world gears up for Cop26, Shivani Dave speaks to Mike Tipton, a professor of human and applied physiology. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Jul 22, 2021
Why are extreme weather events on the rise? (part one)
00:14:07
The Guardian’s global environment editor, Jonathan Watts, speaks to Shivani Dave about extreme weather events – including the extreme heat recently recorded in the US and Canada. In the first of two parts, we hear how extreme heat comes about and why extreme weather events such as floods and monsoons look set to become more likely and even more extreme. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Jul 20, 2021
What are the risks of England unlocking on 19 July?
00:17:01
Nearly all coronavirus restrictions in England are set to be lifted from Monday 19 July. But what are the risks of unlocking when we could be in the middle of a third wave of infections? The Guardian’s science editor, Ian Sample, talks to Anand Jagatia about how cases, hospital admissions and deaths are modelled to increase in the coming weeks, as well as the risks from long Covid and new variants. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Jul 15, 2021
Covid-19: do we need to reframe the way we think about restrictions?
00:17:35
Before Downing Street urged ‘ extreme caution’ around the lifting of restrictions on so-called ‘freedom day’, Shivani Dave spoke to Prof Stephen Reicher about how mixed messages surrounding restrictions can affect our behaviour Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Jul 13, 2021
How does Covid-19 affect chronic pain? (part two)
00:14:57
Fibromyalgia sufferer Vicky Naylor was successfully managing her condition – until she developed Covid-19. In the second part of our exploration of chronic pain, the Guardian science correspondent Linda Geddes tells Anand Jagatia what we know about the connection between chronic pain, Covid and mental health, and why it affects women more than men. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Jul 08, 2021
Understanding chronic pain (part one)
00:14:15
Chronic pain affects about 40% of the UK population. While there is growing recognition that pain can be an illness in and of itself, there is still a lot we don’t know. Anand Jagatia hears from fibromyalgia sufferer Vicky Naylor on what it’s like to live with chronic pain, and the Guardian’s science correspondent Linda Geddes about the causes for these sometimes debilitating conditions. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Jul 06, 2021
Is hay fever on the rise?
00:13:03
After 18 months of life being at a near standstill, Science Weekly’s Shivani Dave found a lot of their conversations with friends turned to the severity of hay fever this year. Many claimed their allergies had never been worse. Shivani Dave asks horticulturist, Thomas Ogren, whether hay fever symptoms have become more severe in recent times. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Jul 01, 2021
How effective is the new Alzheimer’s drug aducanumab?
00:14:19
Before Covid, dementia was the biggest killer in the UK and Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type. A controversial new drug for Alzheimer’s, aducanumab, is the first in nearly 20 years to be approved in the US, which will trigger pressure to make it available worldwide. The Guardian’s health editor, Sarah Bosley, talks Shivani Dave through the mixed evidence of its efficacy. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Jun 29, 2021
Are we really ready to live with Covid-19?
00:15:25
Throughout the pandemic, but increasingly in recent weeks, some senior scientists and politicians have been saying that, at some point, we’re going to have to learn to live with coronavirus. On the other hand, just last week, there was a vote in the Commons to delay the easing of restrictions - a date dubbed by some as ‘freedom day’. Speaking to Prof Siân Griffiths and Prof David Salisbury, Ian Sample asks if now is the time to go back to normality or whether a more cautious approach is needed Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Jun 24, 2021
How clocks have shaped civilisations
00:17:03
Since the dawn of time, clocks have shaped our behaviour and values. They are embedded in almost every aspect of modern life, from the time on your smartphone to the atomic clocks that underpin GPS. Anand Jagatia talks to horologist David Rooney about his new book, which tells the history of civilisation in twelve clocks. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Jun 22, 2021
Inside the world of wildlife trafficking (part two)
00:22:40
In the second part of our look at wildlife crime, Phoebe Weston and Patrick Greenfield from the Guardian’s age of extinction project look at another victim: orchids. Why are they valued so highly? And how are they being protected? • Read more: ‘Orchidelirium’: how a modern-day flower madness is fuelling the illegal trade. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Jun 17, 2021
Inside the world of wildlife trafficking (part one)
00:17:48
We often think of the illegal trade in wildlife as involving charismatic megafauna such as elephants and big cats. But some of the biggest victims are more inconspicuous. Phoebe Weston and Patrick Greenfield from the Guardian’s age of extinction project explore wildlife crime in a two part series Read more: Jellied, smoked, baked in pies – but can the UK stop eels sliding into extinction?. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Jun 15, 2021
As indigenous languages die out, will we lose knowledge about plants?
00:19:26
There are more than 7,000 languages spoken on Earth, but by the end of the century, 30% of these could be lost. This week, research warns that knowledge of medicinal plants is at risk of disappearing as human languages become extinct. Phoebe Weston speaks to Rodrigo Cámara Leret about the study, and the links between biological and cultural diversity. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Jun 10, 2021
Anna Ploszajski: crafting to better understand material science
00:17:34
Material science allows us to understand the objects around us mathematically, but there is no formula to describe the sophistication of a handcrafted teacup. Dr Anna Ploszajski is a materials scientist who has travelled all over the UK, meeting makers to better understand her craft and theirs. She spoke to Shivani Dave about what she discovered and documented in her new book, Handmade.. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Jun 08, 2021
From the archive: Callum Roberts on a life spent diving in coral reefs
00:22:55
As temperatures soar in the UK, the Guardian’s Science Weekly team have decided to pull this episode out of the archive. Prof Callum Roberts is a British oceanographer, author and one of the world’s leading marine biologists. Sitting down with Ian Sample in 2019, he talks about his journey into exploring this marine habitat. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Jun 03, 2021
What can a wild night out teach us about ecosystem health?
00:21:36
Moths, bats and owls are just some of the animals best observed at night, and they tell us a lot about the health of ecosystems. Age of Extinction reporter Phoebe Weston ventures into a dark wood with Chris Salisbury, author of Wild Nights Out, to see what she can learn by watching and listening to wildlife. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Jun 01, 2021
Can Covid vaccines disrupt menstrual cycles?
00:14:50
When getting a Covid jab you will be read a list of potential side-effects. You’ll even be given a leaflet to take home with the side-effects on them, and none of those includes changes in menstruation. After anecdotal reports of bleeding, Dr Kate Clancy and Dr Katharine Lee speak to Nicola Davis about why they launched a survey documenting events of this kind. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
May 27, 2021
Could sniffer dogs soon be used to detect Covid-19? (an update)
00:20:07
This week, a study has added to the evidence that specially trained dogs could be used to sniff out people with Covid-19, showing that canines are faster than PCR tests and more accurate than lateral flow tests at detecting infections. Anand Jagatia speaks to the Guardian’s science correspondent Linda Geddes, who went to see the dogs in action Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage This podcast was amended on 2 June 2021. An earlier version incorrectly referred to insulin being used by people with type 1 diabetes to treat low blood sugar; in fact insulin is given when blood sugar is too high. That reference has been removed.. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
May 25, 2021
Have we entered the Anthropocene – a new epoch in Earth’s history?
00:19:59
Human beings have transformed the planet. Over the last century we’ve disrupted the climate and impacted entire ecosystems. This has led some to propose that we’ve entered another chapter in Earth’s history called the Anthropocene. Anand Jagatia speaks to Dr Simon Turner from the Anthropocene Working Group, given the task of gathering evidence on whether it will become an official unit of geological time. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
May 20, 2021
The reality behind NFTs
00:20:30
One-of-a-kind digital collectables, known as non-fungible tokens (NFTs), have boomed in areas ranging from music, sport and art. As the focus is on digital artists to seize this opportunity to potentially make millions for their work, the Guardian’s technology correspondent, Alex Hern, talks to Shivani Dave about the pros and cons of this emerging technology. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
May 18, 2021
Covid-19: what do we know about the variants first detected in India?
00:22:45
With restrictions in England due to be further relaxed on 17 May, new coronavirus variants first detected in India are spreading across the UK. Public Health England designated one, known as B.1.617.2, as a ‘variant of concern’ last week. It is now the second most common variant in the country. Anand Jagatia speaks to the Guardian science correspondent Nicola Davis and Prof Ravi Gupta about what we know and how concerned we should be. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
May 13, 2021
Melting away: understanding the impact of disappearing glaciers
00:20:45
Prompted by an illness that took her to the brink of death and back, Jemma Wadham recalls 25 years of expeditions around the globe. Speaking to the professor about her new book, Ice Rivers, Shivani Dave uncovers the importance of glaciers – and what they should mean to us. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
May 11, 2021
How has our thinking on the climate crisis changed?
00:29:21
When the Guardian began reporting on the climate crisis 70 years ago, people were worried that warmer temperatures would make it harder to complain about the weather. Today it is the biggest challenge humanity has ever faced. In the second special episode marking 200 years of the Guardian, Phoebe Weston is joined by Jonathan Watts, Prof Naomi Oreskes and Alice Bell to take a look at climate coverage over the years, how our understanding of the science has changed and how our attitudes and politics have shifted. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
May 06, 2021
What can we learn from the 1918 flu pandemic? – podcast
00:26:54
On 22 June 1918, the Manchester Guardian reported that a flu epidemic was moving through the British Isles. It was noted to be ‘by any means a common form of influenza’. Eventually, it took the lives of more than 50 million people around the world. In a special episode to mark the Guardian’s 200th anniversary, Nicola Davis looks back on the 1918 flu pandemic and how it was reported at the time. Speaking to science journalist Laura Spinney, and ex-chief reporter at the Observer and science historian Dr Mark Honigsbaum, Nicola asks about the similarities and differences to our experiences with Covid-19, and what we can learn for future pandemics. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
May 05, 2021
Unearthing the secret social lives of trees – podcast
00:21:55
Over her career, first as a forester and then as a professor of forest ecology, Suzanne Simard has been uncovering the hidden fungal networks that connect trees and allow them to send signals and share resources. Speaking to Suzanne about her new book, Finding the Mother Tree, Linda Geddes discovers how these underground webs allow plants to cooperate and communicate with each other. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Apr 29, 2021
Can we create a climate-resistant coffee in time? – podcast
00:23:07
Worldwide, we drink around 2bn cups of coffee every day. But as coffee plants come under pressure from the climate crisis, sustaining this habit will be increasingly challenging. Recently, a new study provided a glimmer of hope: a climate-resistant coffee plant just as tasty as arabica. Patrick Greenfield asks Dr Aaron Davis about his work tracking it down, and speaks to Dr Matthew Reynolds about developing climate-resistant crops. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Apr 27, 2021
Has the pandemic changed our sleep habits? – podcast
00:15:58
In the second of two episodes exploring our biological clocks, Linda Geddes speaks to Prof Till Roenneberg about how social restrictions during the pandemic have altered our sleep patterns and whether maintaining these changes could reduce social jetlag. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Apr 22, 2021
Why is it so bad being a night owl? – podcast
00:20:41
Do you like to get up and go as the sun rises, or do you prefer the quiet hush of the late evening? Many of us tend to see ourselves as being ‘morning larks’ or ‘night owls’, naturally falling into an early or late sleep schedule. These are known as our ‘chronotypes’. Studies have shown that those with later chronotypes are at risk of a range of negative health outcomes, from an increased likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes to depression. In the first of two episodes exploring our biological clocks, Linda Geddes speaks to Prof Debra Skene and Dr Samuel Jones to find out why our internal timings differ, and why it seems worse to be a night owl. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Apr 20, 2021
Do humans respond differently to screams of pleasure and pain? – podcast
00:17:13
Why do we scream? Whilst past research has largely focused on using screams to signal danger and scare predators, humans scream in a much wider range of contexts – from crying out in pleasure to shrieking with grief. Madeleine Finlay speaks to Prof Sascha Frühholz about his new study identifying what emotions humans communicate through screams, and how our brains react differently to distinct types of scream calls. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Apr 15, 2021
Covid-19: what’s going on with the AstraZeneca vaccine?
00:25:50
After mounting concern over reports of rare but serious blood clots in a small number of recipients of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, last week the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommended that healthy adults under 30 should have an alternative jab if they can. To find out what’s behind the change in advice, Nicola Davis speaks to Dr Sue Pavord about what this rare clotting syndrome is, and asks Prof Adam Finn about how the JCVI made its decision. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Apr 13, 2021
Covid-19: how does it cause heart damage?
00:14:04
Cardiovascular problems aren’t just a risk factor for Covid-19, but can also be a complication of having the disease. A growing number of studies are showing that many of those who have been hospitalised for Covid-19, as well as people who managed the initial infection at home, are being left with heart injuries including inflammation, blood clots and abnormal heart rhythms. Nicola Davis speaks to Dr Betty Raman to find out how the virus damages organs outside the lungs, and what’s being done to help. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Apr 08, 2021
Why has the African elephant been split into two species?
00:22:38
Recently, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) assessed the African elephant as two separate species – the forest elephant and savannah elephant. The move has increased these animals’ ‘ red list’ categorisation to endangered for savannah elephants and critically endangered for forest elephants. In an Age of Extinction extra for Science Weekly, Patrick Greenfield asks why it has taken so long for these two species to be officially recognised as such, and what the reclassification could mean for their conservation. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Apr 06, 2021
Should we determine species through DNA? (part two)
00:26:16
In part two of The Age of Extinction takeover of Science Weekly, Patrick Greenfield and Phoebe Weston explore a relatively new and controversial technology called DNA barcoding that is helping scientists to differentiate between species – including fungi, which we heard about in part one. As the catastrophic loss of biodiversity around the world continues, could DNA barcoding at least allow us to accurately record the species that are perishing?. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Apr 01, 2021
Why is it hard to get our head around fungi? (part one)
00:25:37
Our colleagues from The age of extinction, Phoebe Weston and Patrick Greenfield, are back with two new episodes. We often talk as if we know what species exist in the world – but we don’t. Could misclassifying the notoriously cryptic fungi have broader implications for what we know about the environment, and how we care for it?. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Mar 30, 2021
You can't bullshit a bullshitter, or can you?
00:19:15
In 2019, Ian Sample delved into the mind of a bullshitter, talking to psychologists about what prompts people to spout nonsense and gibberish. Recently, one of the researchers he spoke to, Shane Littrell, published a study asking – can you bullshit a bullshitter? Not being able to resist diving into the dark arts of BS once more, Ian Sample invited Shane back on the podcast to hear the answer and find out what it might tell us about the spread of misinformation. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Mar 25, 2021
Covid-19: what happens next?
00:27:40
On 23 March 2020, the UK prime minister, Boris Johnson, announced the first lockdown in response to the growing number of cases of Covid-19. At the same time, countries around the world began to close their schools, restaurants, and offices and ask citizens to physically distance from one another. In the 12 months since, more than 2 million people have died, viral variants have emerged, and we have developed safe and effective vaccines. One year into the pandemic, Science Weekly is asking: what happens next? Ian Sample talks to the professors Martin Landray, Mike Tildesley, and Deborah Dunn-Walters about Covid treatments, vaccines and what the next 12 months may hold. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Mar 23, 2021
Carlo Rovelli on how to understand the quantum world (part 2)
00:21:41
From electrons behaving as both particles and waves to a cat in a box that’s both dead and alive, the consequences of quantum physics are decidedly weird. So strange, that over a century since its conception, scientists are still arguing about the best way to understand the theory. In the second of two episodes, Ian Sample sits down with the physicist Carlo Rovelli to discuss his ideas for explaining quantum physics, and what it means for our understanding of the world. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Mar 18, 2021
Carlo Rovelli on the weirdness of quantum mechanics (part one)
00:22:45
It has been over a century since the groundwork of quantum physics was first formulated and yet the strange consequences of the theory still elude both scientists and philosophers. Why does light sometimes behave as a wave, and other times like a particle? Why does the outcome of an experiment apparently depend on whether the particles are being observed or not? In the first of two episodes, Ian Sample sits down with physicist Carlo Rovelli to discuss the strange consequences of quantum and the explanation he sets out in his new book, Helgoland. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Mar 16, 2021
How do you make a convincing deepfake video? – podcast
00:24:25
Last week videos of what appeared to be Tom Cruise at home and playing golf appeared on TikTok. It later emerged the clips were actually AI-generated by a creator of ‘deepfake’ videos. Deepfake videos depict situations that have never happened in the real world, and are becoming increasingly convincing. Alex Hern goes behind the scenes to find out exactly how such videos were made, and how far this technology has progressed. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Mar 11, 2021
What are we missing out on by not talking to strangers?
00:29:12
Social distancing measures mean most of us now have very little opportunity to talk to strangers and acquaintances. These chats might seem insignificant, but they can provide lots of psychological benefits. To find out more, Linda Geddes speaks to Gillian Sandstrom about what we’re currently missing out on. And, when told Gillian finds finishing a chat particularly hard, Linda gets in touch with the author of a recent paper asking why we find it so challenging to end a conversation. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Mar 09, 2021
Does how we think influence what we think?
00:16:56
What we believe is influenced by an array of factors, from our past experience to who our friends are. But a recent paper has now looked at what role how we think plays in sculpting our world-views. Natalie Grover speaks to lead author Dr Leor Zmigrod about the research evaluating the link between cognitive disposition – differences in how information is perceived and processed – and ideologies. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Mar 04, 2021
Covid-19: why are we feeling burnt out?
00:17:38
It’s getting towards a year since the UK first went into lockdown. That’s almost 12 months of home-schooling, staying in at the weekends, and not being able to see groups of friends and family in person. For many, the pandemic has also brought grief, loss of financial stability and isolation. So it should come as no surprise that lots of us are feeling emotionally exhausted, stressed and generally worn down. But why are we hitting the wall now? And what can we do about it? Ian Sample is joined again by Prof Carmine Pariante to discuss pandemic burnout and how to look after our mental health over the coming months. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Mar 02, 2021
A practical guide to tackling the climate crisis
00:25:04
The first UN climate change conference was held in 1995 in Berlin. More than two decades later, our planet remains on track for three degrees of warming above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century. The answer to avoiding this catastrophe is both simple and staggeringly complicated: drastically reducing and reversing the amount of carbon dioxide entering our atmosphere. How do we do this? Science correspondent Natalie Grover speaks to Prof Mike Berners-Lee, author of There is No Planet B, who has crunched the numbers on everything from carbon offsetting and green investments to e-bikes. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Feb 25, 2021
Did an ancient magnetic pole flip change life on Earth? – podcast
00:27:24
What would it be like if the Earth’s magnetic pole switched? Migrating animals and hikers would certainly need to reset their compasses, but could it play real havoc with life on Earth? Analysing the rings of an ancient tree pulled from a bog in New Zealand, researchers have been investigating what happened the last time north and south flipped – 42,000 years ago. Nicola Davis speaks to Prof Chris Turney about how it changed the chemistry of the atmosphere and, if combined with a period of lower solar activity, what impact this could have had on the environment and evolution. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Feb 23, 2021
Why do humans struggle to think of ourselves as animals?
00:23:42
The pandemic has demonstrated why humans are ultimately an impressive species. From monitoring the genetic evolution of Sars-CoV-2 to devising vaccines in record time, we have put our minds together to reduce the impact of Covid-19. Yet, the global spread of a new disease is a reminder that we are not invincible, and remain at the mercy of our biology and the natural world. Speaking to author Melanie Challenger about her new book How to Be Animal, Madeleine Finlay asks how we can come to terms with ourselves as animals and why it might do humanity some good. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Feb 18, 2021
Covid-19: why mix and match vaccines?
00:10:56
The Com-Cov trial run by the Oxford Vaccine Group in the UK will be testing the efficacy and safety of a ‘mix and match’ approach to immunisation. By giving some participants either the Pfizer/BioNTech or Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, and a second dose of the other, the trial aims to find out if combining different jabs offers sufficient protection. Sarah Boseley speaks to Dr Peter English about where this technique has been used in the past, why it could be beneficial, and how mixing vaccines actually works. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Feb 16, 2021
Covid-19: love in lockdown
00:16:28
Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and for many couples this year will feel very different. Lockdowns, social distancing, and self-isolation have forced those in relationships to choose whether to be together all the time, or stay apart for potentially months on end. Linda Geddes speaks to Dr Deborah Bailey-Rodriguez about how couples have navigated their relationships during the pandemic. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Feb 11, 2021
What can the evolutionary history of turtles tell us about their future?
00:15:36
Turtles have been around for more than 200m years, and can be found almost everywhere on the planet. Yet, they are surprisingly uniform and many species around today are facing an uncertain future – at risk from trade, habitat destruction and the climate crisis. Looking at a new study investigating the evolutionary history of turtles, Age of Extinction reporter Phoebe Weston talks to Prof Bob Thomson about what his work can tell us about the factors shaping their diversity and how we can support turtles’ dwindling numbers. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Feb 09, 2021
From the archive: what's it like to live without smell?
00:30:44
For many people infected with the Sars-CoV-2 virus, the first sign of contracting the disease is a loss of smell and taste; something we reported on last May. Studies have now shown that months later an unlucky minority will still be lacking these senses – while for others they may have returned somewhat distorted. While scientists try to fathom what exactly causes this and what treatments could help, we return to the archives to explore what it’s like to live without a sense of smell. The episode was part of a special series from the Guardian called Brain waves exploring the science and emotion of our everyday lives. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Feb 04, 2021
Covid-19: what can we learn from Manaus?
00:18:18
The rainforest city of Manaus in Brazil was the first in the country to be struck by the pandemic. The virus rapidly spread, and by October last year it was estimated that 76% of the population had been infected – a number higher than the theoretical threshold for herd immunity. Yet, in January 2021, cases surged and the health system was once again overwhelmed, with hospitals running out of oxygen and doctors and nurses required to carry out manual ventilation. To find out what might be behind this second wave, Sarah Boseley speaks to the Guardian’s Latin America editor, Tom Phillips, and Dr Deepti Gurdasani, asking why Manaus has been hit twice and what it might mean for our understanding of immunity, new viral variants, and the path through the pandemic. This podcast was amended on 2nd February 2021 to correct errors in the scripting. We incorrectly stated that the city of Manaus is situated only by the Amazon River, and that the Amazon River flows into the Pacific Ocean. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Feb 02, 2021
Covid-19: What can astronauts teach us about coping in lockdown?
00:18:39
As we head into yet another month of lockdown in the UK, with hospitals overwhelmed, how do we cope with the monotony, isolation, boredom and stress? Science Weekly gets inspiration from the people who choose to put themselves through extreme situations – including astronauts, arctic research scientists and submariners. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Jan 28, 2021
What does history smell like?
00:17:40
What did London really smell like during the great stink of 1858? What odours wafted through the Battle of Waterloo? Were cities identifiable by the lingering aromas of the various commodities produced during the industrial revolution? It may not be possible to literally go back in time and give history a sniff, but a new project is aiming to identify and even recreate scents that would have assailed noses between the 16th and early 20th centuries. To find how to decipher the pongs of the past, Nicola Davis speaks to historian Dr William Tullett and heritage scientist Cecilia Bembibre. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Jan 26, 2021
What (non-Covid) science is coming up in 2021?
00:28:36
Ian Sample and producer Madeleine discuss what science, outside of the pandemic, they’ll be looking out for in 2021. Joined by Prof Gillian Wright and the Guardian’s global environment editor Jonathan Watts, they explore exciting space missions and critical climate change conferences. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Jan 21, 2021
Covid-19: how do you tweak a vaccine?
00:17:37
The emergence of more infectious variants of Sars-CoV-2 has raised questions about just how long our vaccines will remain effective for. Although there is little evidence that the current vaccines won’t work against the new variants, as the virus continues to mutate scientists are preparing themselves for having to make changes to the vaccines in response. Speaking to Dr Katrina Pollock, science correspondent Linda Geddes asks how we can tweak the vaccines against new variants, and how likely it is we’ll end up in a game of cat and mouse with the virus. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Jan 19, 2021
Covid-19: how and why is the virus mutating?
00:15:05
The new Covid variant, B117, is rapidly spreading around the UK and has been detected in many other countries. Although it is about 50% more infectious than previous variants, B117 does not seem to cause more severe disease or be immune to current vaccines. Yet it has raised concerns over how the virus may adapt to our antibodies and vaccines in the future. To explore these issues, the health editor, Sarah Boseley, speaks to Prof Ravi Gupta about how and why viruses mutate. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Jan 14, 2021
What are the new coronavirus variants and how do we monitor them?
00:21:31
Over the course of the pandemic, scientists have been monitoring emerging genetic changes to Sars-Cov-2. Mutations occur naturally as the virus replicates but if they confer an advantage – like being more transmissible – that variant of the virus may go on to proliferate. This was the case with the ‘UK’ or B117 variant, which is about 50% more contagious and is rapidly spreading around the country. So how does genetic surveillance of the virus work? And what do we know about the new variants? Ian Sample speaks to Dr Jeffrey Barrett, the director of the Covid-19 genomics initiative at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, to find out Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Jan 12, 2021
Looking up in wonder: humanity and the cosmos (part two)
00:23:35
There is something undeniably appealing about the cosmos that has kept humans staring upwards in awe – from our Palaeolithic ancestors to modern astronomers. Humans are natural stargazers, but with light pollution increasingly obscuring our view of the heavens, is our relationship with the night sky set to change? In the second of two episodes, Linda Geddes is joined by the author of The Human Cosmos, Jo Marchant, and the astronomer royal, Martin Rees, to explore humanity and the cosmos.. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Jan 07, 2021
Looking up in wonder: humanity and the cosmos (part one) – podcast
00:19:49
The history of humanity is intimately entwined with the cosmos. The stars have influenced religion, art, mathematics and science – we appear naturally drawn to look up in wonder. Now, with modern technology, our view of the cosmos is changing. It is in reachable distance of our spacecrafts and satellites, and yet because of light pollution we see less and less of it here on Earth. Joined by the author of The Human Cosmos, Jo Marchant, and the astronomer royal, Martin Rees, Linda Geddes explores our relationship with the night sky.. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Jan 05, 2021
Review of the year: uncovering the science of Covid-19 (part two)
00:29:29
This year, the Sars-CoV-2 virus has come to dominate both the headlines and our lives. In the second of two episodes reviewing the science of the pandemic so far, the Guardian’s health editor, Sarah Boseley, its science editor, Ian Sample, and producer Madeleine Finlay give their thoughts on what has happened over 2020, alongside professors Eleanor Riley, John Drury and Christina Pagel Review of the year: part one. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Dec 31, 2020
Review of the year: uncovering the science of Covid-19 (part one)
00:28:12
There have been a number of incredible science stories in 2020, from AI deciphering the facial expressions of mice to the discovery of a black hole just 1,000 light-years from Earth. Yet, it was the Sars-CoV-2 virus that came to dominate both the headlines and our lives. In the first of two episodes, health editor Sarah Boseley, science editor Ian Sample and producer Madeleine Finlay give their thoughts on what has happened over the past year, alongside professors Eleanor Riley, John Drury and Christina Pagel.. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Dec 29, 2020
Covid-19 vaccines: anti-vaxxers and conspiracy theories
00:19:50
As Covid-19 spread around the world, conspiracy theories about its origin, severity and prevention followed closely behind. Now attention has turned to vaccines. False claims circulated among anti-vaxxer groups include the theory that Covid vaccines are being used to implant microchips in people and that they will alter a person’s DNA. In the second of a two-part exploration into Covid vaccine scepticism, Nicola Davis hears from the Guardian’s UK technology editor, Alex Hern, and the researcher Joe Ondrak about how conspiracy theories emerge and spread, and if there’s anything we can do about them. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Dec 24, 2020
Covid-19 vaccines: why are some people hesitant? (part one)
00:21:48
Less than a year since Covid-19 was genetically sequenced, vaccinations against it have begun. Despite being a cause for celebration, the vaccines have been met with some public hesitancy. In the first of a two-part exploration into Covid-19 vaccine scepticism, Nicola Davis speaks to Dr Samantha Vanderslott and Dr Caitjan Gainty about why some people are apprehensive, and how much of a problem vaccine scepticism really is. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Dec 22, 2020
Why should we listen to birds? (part two)
00:22:51
In this second episode of our Age of Extinction takeover, Phoebe Weston and Patrick Greenfield explore how human noise is affecting birds, and what listening to birdsong can tell us about biodiversity. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Dec 17, 2020
Why should we listen to birds? (part one)
00:22:53
Our colleagues from the Age of Extinction project, Phoebe Weston and Patrick Greenfield, are back with two new episodes asking whether birdsong might be beneficial to both our mental and physical health – and if nature is so good for us, why aren’t we taking better care of it?. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Dec 15, 2020
Covid-19: the relationship between stress and health
00:18:02
As we head into the pandemic’s winter months, Natalie Grover speaks to Prof Kavita Vedhara about the continued impact of Covid-19-related stress on long-term mental health and how this might affect our ability to fight off infection. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Dec 10, 2020
Covid-19: getting public health messaging right
00:14:35
The alarming pattern of second waves of Covid-19 infection across the world, and the promise of vaccines on the horizon, has once again brought public health messaging into focus. So what has the pandemic taught us about what makes a successful programme? The Guardian’s health editor, Sarah Boseley, speaks to Prof Linda Bauld about how best to encourage people to change their behaviour in order to mitigate the spread of disease. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Dec 08, 2020
Deep Blue Notes: episode three
00:30:27
Wildlife recordist Chris Watson and sound artist Prof Tony Myatt conclude their three-part odyssey to the west coast of Mexico to record the songs of blue whales in the Sea of Cortez. In the port of Loreto, Chris and Tony visit a local organisation set up to protect local wildlife, and Chris talks to whale communication expert Dr Valeria Vergara. They also turn to spectral analysis to see if they managed to record blue whales in action. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Dec 03, 2020
Deep Blue Notes: episode two
00:20:08
Wildlife recordist Chris Watson and spatial audio sound artist Prof Tony Myatt continue on their three-part journey to the Sea of Cortez fishing for the song of the blue whale. Chris speaks to blue whale expert Dr Diane Gendron, and artists Diana Schniedermeier and Ina Krüger, who produce ocean sound installations. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Dec 02, 2020
Deep Blue Notes: episode one
00:21:13
Wildlife recordist Chris Watson and spatial audio sound artist Prof Tony Myatt begin a three-part journey to the Sea of Cortez hunting for the song of the largest, and possibly loudest, animal that has ever lived – the blue whale. It’s also an animal that Chris has never managed to record. Will this trip change that?. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Dec 01, 2020
Covid-19: how vaccines lead to immunity – podcast
00:15:33
With a number of Covid-19 vaccines seemingly on the way, Nicola Davis talks to Prof Eleanor Riley about how they might help the body’s defence mechanisms fight the virus. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Nov 26, 2020
A more accurate way of measuring the effect of computer games
00:17:21
The Guardian’s UK technology editor Alex Hern speaks to Prof Andy Przybylski from the Oxford Internet Institute about his new approach of looking at the impact of computer games on mental health. According to Prof Przybylski, this new approach is more objective – but it also depends on gaming companies being more transparent. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Nov 24, 2020
From the archive: an interview with Nobel laureate Sir Roger Penrose (part 2)
00:18:04
The second part of Ian Sample’s 2016 interview with Prof Sir Roger Penrose, which includes a quantum theory of consciousness and the age-old question of whether mathematics is invented or discovered. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Nov 19, 2020
From the archive: an interview with Nobel laureate Sir Roger Penrose (part 1)
00:19:37
In the first part of this episode from 2016, Ian Sample speaks with the acclaimed mathematician and physicist Prof Sir Roger Penrose about his then most recent book, Fashion, Faith, and Fantasy in the New Physics of the Universe. Warning of the potential dangers of dogmatic belief and unheralded faith, the recent Nobel laureate asks whether string theory has become too fashionable and warns of an overreliance on quantum mechanics. Part 2 coming on Thursday. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Nov 17, 2020
Covid-19: what can we learn from the London blitz?
00:16:37
Ian Sample speaks to Prof Edgar Jones about the comparative psychological impacts of the blitz bombings of London and the Covid-19 pandemic, including the role trust in government plays and what we might expect during the second wave of infections. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Nov 12, 2020
Covid-19: what's up with the coronavirus cough?
00:14:46
Linda Geddes speaks to Prof Jacky Smith about one of Covid-19’s most consistent symptoms: the persistent dry cough. As winter arrives in the northern hemisphere, how do we tell the difference between the possible onset of the virus and the kind of routine coughs normally experienced at this time of year?. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Nov 10, 2020
Investigating the historic eruption of Mount Vesuvius
00:16:37
When Mount Vesuvius erupted in AD79, the damage wreaked was catastrophic. Ash and pumice darkened the skies, and hot gas flowed from the volcano. Uncovering the victims, fated to lie frozen in time for 2,000 years, has shown they died in a range of gruesome ways. Nicola Davis speaks to Pier Paolo Petrone about his work analysing ancient inhabitants of Pompeii and nearby towns, and what it tells us about the risk people face today. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Nov 05, 2020
Covid-19: How do you make a vaccine?
00:16:16
With any future Covid-19 vaccine requiring its manufacturing process to be signed off as part of its regulatory approval for use on the general population, Madeleine Finlay talks to Dr Stephen Morris from the Future Vaccine Manufacturing Research Hub about how vaccines are made at the volume and speed required for a mass vaccination programme. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Nov 03, 2020
Journey into a black hole: part 2
00:18:55
They are among the most enigmatic phenomena in the universe, confounding physicists and mathematicians alike. Black holes pull in the matter around them and anything that enters can never escape. Yet they contain nothing at all. Guided by the physicist and author of the Black Hole Survival Guide, Janna Levin, Madeleine Finlay takes Science Weekly on an interstellar voyage to visit one of these incredible astrophysical objects. In the second of two episodes, the pair discuss spaghettification, white holes, Hawking radiation and whether we actually live inside a hologram. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Oct 29, 2020
Journey into a black hole: part 1
00:14:43
They are among the most enigmatic phenomena in the universe, confounding physicists and mathematicians. Black holes pull in the matter surrounding them and anything that enters can never escape. Yet they contain nothing at all. Guided by the physicist and author of Black Hole Survival Guide, Janna Levin, Madeleine Finlay takes Science Weekly on an interstellar voyage to visit one of these incredible astrophysical objects. In the first of two episodes, the pair discuss their target, Sagittarius A*, the supermassive black hole at the centre of our galaxy and the subject of this year’s Nobel prize in physics, and what happens when you reach the edge of a black hole. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Oct 27, 2020
From the archives: How do we save society?
00:31:41
With the coronavirus pandemic continuing to highlight health and economic inequalities, and the US election fast approaching, this week we return to the archive to explore how divisions in society arise and what we can do about them. In this episode from 2017, Ian Sample investigates where group splits come from, how we can connect to those we disagree with, and what could happen if we fail. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Oct 22, 2020
Covid-19: what can we learn from the HIV/Aids pandemic?
00:19:37
Prof Ravi Gupta’s career has informed HIV treatment and curative strategies in the UK and at the Africa Health Research Institute. His treatment of a London patient is, to date, only the second ever successful treatment of an HIV patient, where the person remains long-term virus free. Gupta talks to Sarah Boseley about how a career in HIV research is informing the testing and treatment for Covid-19 and what we can learn in any parallels between the two viruses. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Oct 20, 2020
How do animals undergo metamorphosis, and why? – podcast
00:22:52
Metamorphosis – where a creature remodels itself between life stages – is one of the most astounding and bizarre feats of biology. It’s also surprisingly common. Why do animals bother undertaking this huge transformational change, and how do they rebuild their bodies from one form to another? Natalie Grover investigates. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Oct 15, 2020
Covid-19: training dogs to sniff out the virus
00:13:58
What does a disease smell like? Humans might not have the answer, but if they could talk, dogs might be able to tell us. Able to sniff out a range of cancers and even malaria, canines’ extraordinary noses are now being put to the test on Covid-19. Nicola Davis hears from Prof Dominique Grandjean about exactly how you train dogs to smell a virus, and how this detection technique could be used in managing the spread of Covid-19. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Oct 13, 2020
Are the world's national parks failing nature? (part two)
00:19:16
In this second episode of our age of extinction takeover, Patrick Greenfield and Phoebe Weston explore the impact that conservation and national parks can have on Indigenous communities and the biodiversity surrounding them If you haven’t already, go back and listen to Tuesday’s episode on the history of national parks and some of the challenges they face. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Oct 08, 2020
Are the world's national parks failing nature? (part one)
00:21:55
In a special two-part takeover by colleagues from the age of extinction project, Patrick Greenfield and Phoebe Weston investigate whether national parks actually benefit the environment and biodiversity, or if there might be a better way of doing things. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Oct 06, 2020
Do smart assistants need a feminist reboot? Part 2
00:17:18
According to a UN study published last year, smart assistants with female voices are often programmed with contrite and demure responses to verbal abuse or harassment, entrenching harmful gender biases. In the second of two episodes, Alex Hern takes a look at the sexualisation of female AI and robots, what this means for how we treat them, and asks how we can give them a feminist reboot. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Oct 01, 2020
Do smart assistants need a feminist reboot? Part 1
00:19:38
From Rosie the Robot in the 1960s animated sitcom The Jetsons to Siri and Alexa today, technologies that perform the roles of housekeeper and secretary are often presented as female. What does the gendering of these machines say about our expectations of who should be doing this kind of work? In the first of two episodes exploring the world of fembots and female AI assistants, the Guardian’s UK technology editor, Alex Hern, examines whether smart assistants are reinforcing harmful gender stereotypes. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Sep 29, 2020
Covid-19: is it possible to predict how sick someone could get?
00:19:33
Nine months in, and with over 30 million people having been infected with Covid-19, we now know some of the main factors that put people at higher risk of a severe case of the disease, such as age and having other health problems. But there is still a lot to learn about why some people, and not others, become very ill from catching Sars-CoV-2. Nicola Davis takes a look at the researchers attempting to rapidly work out how to predict who is going to get very sick. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Sep 24, 2020
What does it mean to be alive? Paul Nurse on defining 'life'
00:21:41
Is it possible to define the biological, chemical and physical functions that separate cells, plants and even humans from inanimate objects? In his new book, Paul Nurse, Nobel prize winner and director of the Francis Crick Institute, addresses a question that has long plagued both philosophers and scientists – what does it really mean to be alive? Speaking to Madeleine Finlay, Paul delves into why it’s important to understand the underlying principles of life, the role of science in society, and what life might look like on other planets. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Sep 22, 2020
Covid-19 ethics: should we deliberately infect volunteers in the name of science? Part 2
00:23:40
Teams around the world are hard at work developing Covid-19 vaccines. While any potential candidate will need to be tested on thousands of volunteers to prove its safety and efficacy, some scientists have argued that the race to the finish line could be sped up by human challenge trials — where participants are infected with a special strain of the virus. Ian Sample delves into some of the misconceptions and hurdles inherent in this kind of research. In the second of two episodes, Ian explores the importance of rescue treatments, what happens if something goes wrong, and whether it would ever be morally permissible to deliberately infect those most at risk of Covid-19, like volunteer octogenarians. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Sep 17, 2020
Covid-19 ethics: Should we deliberately infect volunteers in the name of science? (part 1)
00:24:57
Would you be willing to have a dose of Sars-CoV-2 sprayed up your nose for medical research? For thousands around the world, the answer is yes. Eager volunteers have already signed up to take part in human challenge trials, where participants would be deliberately infected with the virus in order to better understand the disease, and rapidly develop a treatment or vaccine. But should such studies go ahead with a dangerous and relatively new virus? In the first of two episodes, alongside a panel of experts Ian Sample delves into some of the ethical questions of human challenge trials and asks where the balance of risks and benefits currently lies. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Sep 15, 2020
Covid-19: what happens when flu season hits? (part 2)
00:16:27
As the northern hemisphere heads into autumn and winter, cold and flu are beginning to spread and more people find themselves with coughs, fevers and a runny nose. With Covid-19, this brings new challenges. Should we quarantine at the first sign of the sniffles? Could co-infections of flu and Covid-19 make your symptoms worse? Do we have the capacity to test for more than one virus? In part 2 of our investigation into what happens when flu season hits, Ian Sample speaks to Prof Peter Horby about what it might mean for both individuals and medical professionals if multiple respiratory viruses are circulating, and how we can best prepare for a potential winter resurgence of Covid-19. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Sep 10, 2020
Covid-19: what happens when flu season hits? (part 1)
00:14:20
For those of us in the northern hemisphere, flu season is quickly approaching. This raises an important question: what will it mean for Covid-19? Could hospitals be overloaded? Is co-infection likely and could it make symptoms worse? Or, will transmission of Sars-CoV-2 prevent the spread of seasonal influenza? In the first of two parts, Ian Sample addresses the question of flu and Covid-19 by investigating how different respiratory viruses interact. Speaking with Prof Pablo Murcia, Ian explores the interplay when viruses meet – both on a population level, and on the human scale. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Sep 08, 2020
Covid-19: why do pandemics trigger civil unrest? – podcast
00:18:25
As countries entered lockdowns to mitigate the impact of Covid-19, many citizens came out to protest against measures such as social distancing, face masks and potential vaccination programmes. Demonstrations have subsequently erupted around around the world, with causes ranging from the Black Lives Matter movement to protests against inequality and corruption. Taking a look at some of the social psychology underpinning such action, Nicola Davis asks Prof Clifford Stott why pandemics can trigger social unrest, how disease outbreaks should be policed, and what Covid-19 might mean for community relationships. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Sep 03, 2020
The science of healthy eating: Why are we still getting it wrong?
00:19:42
According to a recent study, obesity increases the risk of dying of Covid-19 by nearly 50%. Governments around the world are now hoping to encourage their citizens to lose weight. But with so much complex and often contradictory dietary advice, as well as endless fads, it can be hard to know what healthy eating actually looks like. How many pieces of fruit and vegetables should you eat a day? Will cutting out carbs help you lose weight? Is breakfast really the most important meal of the day? Speaking to Tim Spector, a professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London about his new book, Spoon-Fed, Madeleine Finlay asks why we’re still getting food science wrong, and explores the current scientific evidence on snacking, calorie labels and ultra-processed foods. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Sep 01, 2020
From the archives: the fate of Arctic sea ice
00:32:35
As the Science Weekly team continue their summer break, we’re digging through the archives. Today’s episode takes us back to 2016, when Ian Sample explored the crisis of melting Arctic sea ice. Recently, this worrying phenomenon hit the headlines once again when a new model found that the Arctic could experience summers completely free of sea-ice as early as 2035. In our episode from the archive, Ian asks a host of experts what some of the potential ramifications might be of the total disappearance of Arctic sea ice. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Aug 27, 2020
From the archives: nudge theory and the psychology of persuasion
00:34:06
While the Science Weekly team take a summer break, we’re bringing you an episode from the archives – one that seems particularly pertinent as the pandemic continues and governments take a more prominent role in our day-to-day lives. Back in 2017, Ian Sample investigated how we’re constantly “nudged” to change how we act. Exploring the psychology, history and ethics of nudge theory, Ian spoke to the Harvard Law School professor Cass Sunstein and Dr David Halpern, one of the field’s founders, who is currently advising the UK government on nudging during the coronavirus outbreak. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Aug 25, 2020
Covid-19 ethics: digital contact tracing (part 2)
00:23:33
The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted many of the economic, health, and social disparities faced by minorities and those living in more deprived areas. Although track-and-trace apps have the potential to reduce the spread of Covid-19, there remain questions about what role digital contact-tracing systems might have in reducing – or increasing – inequality, and who an app will really work for. In the second part of a conversation about the ethics of track-and-trace apps, Ian Sample discusses these issues with Carly Kind and Seeta Peña Gangadharan. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Aug 20, 2020
Covid-19: behind the app — the ethics of digital contract tracing part 1
00:00:00
As a trial of the revised English coronavirus app gets under way, many of us will be watching closely to see what it can and cannot do, and whether it could help to contain Covid-19. But alongside issues of efficacy are other, deeper questions about what this technology means for the citizens who use it – today and in the future. Split over two episodes, Ian Sample talks to Carly Kind and Seeta Peña Gangadharan about data privacy, the involvement of Google and Apple, and if we should expect track-and-trace apps to become a normal part of our lives. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Aug 18, 2020
From the archives: the chemistry of crime fiction
00:34:04
The Science Weekly team are taking a summer break – well, some of them – and so we’re bringing you an episode from the archive. And not just any episode, one of Nicola Davis’s favourites. Back in 2017, Nicola sat down with with Dr Kathryn Harkup to discuss a shared love of crime fiction and the chemistry contained within their poisonous plots. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Aug 13, 2020
Covid-19: tracking the spread of a virus in real time
00:14:23
Central to infectious disease control is tracking the spread of a pathogen through the population. In Cambridge, UK, researchers are looking at genetic mutations in samples from Covid-19 patients to rapidly investigate how and where hospital transmissions are occurring. Dr Estée Török tells Nicola Davis what this real-time pathological detective work can reveal about the origins of an outbreak. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Aug 11, 2020
The fight over the Hubble constant
00:19:39
When it comes to the expansion rate of the universe, trying to get a straight answer isn’t easy. That’s because the two best ways of measuring what’s known as the Hubble constant are giving different results. As each method becomes increasingly accurate, the gap between widens. Is one of them wrong? Or is it time to rejig the Standard Model of Cosmology? Madeleine Finlay investigates the so-called ‘Hubble tension’ with Prof Erminia Calabrese. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Aug 06, 2020
Covid-19: does more testing always mean more cases?
00:12:42
Since the beginning of the pandemic, ‘test, test, test’ has been the key message from epidemiologists, infectious disease specialists and healthcare professionals alike. But how does a country know if it’s doing sufficient testing? Or that it’s catching enough of the asymptomatic cases? Nicola Davis speaks to Prof Rowland Kao about the positivity rate, a value that can help to answer some of these difficult questions. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Aug 04, 2020
How Red Sea 'supercorals' are resisting the climate crisis
00:18:49
Ian Sample speaks to marine biologist Prof Maoz Fine about his surprising research on the relationship between increasing ocean temperatures and the Red Sea’s coral reefs. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Jul 30, 2020
Covid-19: How risky is singing?
00:20:07
With evolving evidence on airborne transmission of Covid-19 and early super-spreading events linked to choir practices, musicians have been left wondering how risky it is to sing and play instruments in person. Investigating a listener question, Nicola Davis speaks to Prof Jonathan Reid about the science of aerosols and why he’s getting musicians to sing into funnels — in the middle of an operating theatre. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Jul 28, 2020
Are we in the midst of a new space race?
00:19:23
From Elon Musk’s SpaceX, to Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic and Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin – there is a growing interest in space exploration by some of the world’s least publicity-shy billionaires. But does the 2020 launch of the SpaceX Dragon 2 spacecraft really mark the beginning of a new privately financed space race? And what do recent international launches, such as the UAE’s Hope probe to Mars, say about changing geopolitical ambitions for space exploration? Ian Sample speaks to space policy veteran Prof John Logsdon about the past, present and future of global space policy. This description was amended on 24 July 2020 to correct an error in the name of project associated with Jeff Bezos, which we called Blue Horizon. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Jul 23, 2020
Covid-19: what can sewage tell us?
00:14:56
It may be a respiratory virus, but studies have repeatedly found traces of Covid-19 in the faeces of infected patients. Using this to their advantage, scientists are sampling untreated sewage from wastewater plants in an effort to track the virus. Hannah Devlin speaks to Andrew Singer about how what we flush down the toilet can help detect emerging outbreaks – days before patients begin presenting with symptoms. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Jul 21, 2020
Booming blooms: how algae are turning the alps pink
00:15:41
They are usually associated with toxic, murky lakes. But algae blooms are increasingly turning up in icy regions too. Hannah Devlin speaks to Prof Marian Yallop about the recent appearance of pink snow in the Italian alps, and what the growing numbers of algal blooms could mean for melting glaciers and ice sheets. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Jul 16, 2020
Covid-19: the relationship between antibodies and immunity
00:16:43
With antibodies having implications for both our understanding of previous coronavirus infections and potential future immunity, Nicola Davis talks to Prof Eleanor Riley about how best to test for them and asks whether antibodies are the only thing we should be looking for. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Jul 14, 2020
How many contactable alien civilisations are out there?
00:17:48
Could there really be other civilisations out there in the Milky Way? Nicola Davis talks to Prof Chris Conselice, whose recent work revises the decades-old Drake equation to throw new light on the possibility of contactable alien life existing in our galaxy. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Jul 09, 2020
Covid-19: Why are people suffering long-term symptoms?
00:15:09
Weeks and months after having a confirmed or suspected Covid-19 infection, many people are finding they still haven’t fully recovered. Emerging reports describe lingering symptoms ranging from fatigue and brain-fog to breathlessness and tingling toes. So why does Covid-19 cause lasting health problems? Ian Sample discusses some of the possible explanations with Prof Danny Altmann, and finds out how patients might be helped in the future. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Jul 07, 2020
Hubble at 30: a view into our cosmos
00:17:33
Thirty years ago, the Hubble space telescope was shuttled into orbit, and has since provided us with astonishing images and insights into the universe. Earlier this year, Hannah Devlin spoke to one of the astronauts who helped launch Hubble, Kathy Sullivan. The first American woman to walk in space, Sullivan describes her journey to becoming an astronaut, why Hubble was such a vital mission and why it continues to be so important today. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Jul 02, 2020
Covid-19: why R is a lot more complicated than you think
00:13:23
Over the last few months, we’ve all had to come to terms with R, the ‘effective reproduction number’, as a measure of how well we are dealing with the coronavirus outbreak. But, as Nicola Davis finds out from Dr Adam Kucharski, R is a complicated statistical concept that relies on many factors and, under some conditions, can be misleading. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Jun 30, 2020
The Durrington shafts: a remarkable discovery for Stonehenge's neighbour
00:14:26
Archaeologists surveying the land around Stonehenge have made a discovery that could change the way we think about our neolithic ancestors: a circle of deep shafts spanning 1.2 miles in diameter around Durrington Walls. Hannah Devlin speaks to Prof Vincent Gaffney about how he and his team made this incredible discovery and why the latest find is so remarkable. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Jun 25, 2020
Covid-19: how worried should smokers be?
00:12:16
With reports that there are lower rates of smokers being admitted to hospital with Covid-19 in France and trials to test whether nicotine patches can reduce the severity of infection, but also data showing that smokers are more likely to contract the disease and develop severe symptoms, what’s actually going on here? Sarah Boseley talks to Dr Nick Hopkinson to find out more. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Jun 23, 2020
How cephalopod cells could take us one step closer to invisibility
00:15:08
Watching the mesmerising patterns of squids, octopuses and cuttlefish has been the catalyst for much of Dr Alon Gorodetsky’s recent work, including his attempts to mimic their ability to become transparent. Nicola Davis talks to him about a recent paper where he engineered mammalian cells to share these optic properties - paving the way for exciting potential applications. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Jun 18, 2020
Covid-19: should we be concerned about air conditioning?
00:13:38
Following on from several listener questions about the role of air conditioning in spreading or dissipating Covid-19 in buildings and on public transport, Hannah Devlin asks Dr Lena Ciric whether we should be turning our AC systems on or off. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Jun 16, 2020
Hydrogen Icebergs in space? The mystery of 'Oumuamua
00:17:33
When a strange spinning cigar-shaped object was spotted travelling through our solar system in 2017, it ignited scientific speculation and debate. Ian Sample speaks to Darryl Seligman, lead researcher on a recent study seeking to unravel the mystery of ‘Oumuamua. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Jun 11, 2020
Covid-19: the psychology of physical distancing
00:12:58
As the world begins to unlock, many of us will be seeing friends and family again - albeit with guidelines on how close you can get to one another. But why is it more difficult to stay physically apart from friends and family than a stranger in a supermarket queue? Nicola Davis speaks to Prof John Drury about the psychology of physical distancing and why we like to be near those we feel emotionally close with. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Jun 09, 2020
The secret, sonic lives of narwhals
00:16:06
Narwhals may be shy and elusive, but they are certainly not quiet. Nicola Davis speaks to geophysicist Dr Evgeny Podolskiy about capturing the vocalisations of narwhals in an arctic fjord, and what this sonic world could tell us about the lives of these mysterious creatures. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Jun 04, 2020
Covid-19: is a second wave inevitable?
00:16:07
Ian Sample talks to Prof Carl Heneghan about the uncertainties in predicting future outbreaks of Covid-19 and what we can do to prevent them. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Jun 02, 2020
When did modern humans first arrive in Europe?
00:15:08
New archaeological discoveries in the Bacho Kiro cave in Bulgaria have revealed that modern humans co-existed with Neanderthals for several thousand years. Nicola Davis speaks to Prof Jean-Jacques Hublin about the excavations, and what their findings tell us about when modern humans first arrived in Europe. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
May 28, 2020
Covid-19: the role of vitamin D
00:15:50
Sarah Boseley talks to Prof Susan Lanham-New about vitamin D and whether it could play a role in protecting us against Covid-19. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
May 27, 2020
Covid-19: How do you calculate herd immunity?
00:13:59
Herd immunity represents the percentage of people in a population who need to be immune to a disease in order to protect those who aren’t. Early on in the pandemic, researchers estimated the herd immunity threshold for Covid-19 to be 60%. Following a question from a listener, Ian Sample speaks to Rachel Thomas to explore the maths and find out exactly how herd immunity is calculated. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
May 22, 2020
The emotional rollercoaster of adolescent dogs
00:12:18
It’s an experience many dog owners have been through – their adolescent pooches appear to be more moody and rebellious. Now researchers have shown that dogs really do mimic human teenagers’ behaviour, becoming less responsive to instructions from their carer. To find out more about the difficult teenage doggy-years, Nicola Davis talks to Dr Lucy Asher about the study. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
May 21, 2020
Covid-19: can we compare different countries?
00:14:00
Nicola Davis asks mathematician Kit Yates how useful global comparisons are when it comes to the coronavirus outbreak, given the huge differences in demographics and public health responses. And, as per a question from a listener, what the best metric is when doing such comparisons?. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
May 20, 2020
Covid-19: are pandemics becoming more common?
00:14:58
Ian Sample talks to Prof Kate Jones about whether the current coronavirus pandemic is part of a wider picture of increasing animal-to-human virus transmission. Are we are looking at a future where outbreaks of new infectious diseases become more common?. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
May 19, 2020
The microbe that protects mosquitos from malaria
00:14:09
Every year more than 200m new cases of malaria are reported. And despite the dramatic reduction in cases and deaths over the past two decades, novel treatments and prevention strategies are badly needed. Speaking to Dr Jeremy Herren in Nairobi, Kenya, Nicola Davis hears how a newly-discovered microbe might offer mosquitos protection from the parasite and in doing so, prevent its spread. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
May 14, 2020
Covid-19: do we need more than one vaccine? Podcast
00:20:08
Hannah Devlin speaks to Prof Andrew Pollard about the work being done by different teams around the world to create a vaccine for Covid-19, and where his team at Oxford University fit into this international effort. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
May 13, 2020
Covid-19: why are some people losing their taste and smell?
00:12:37
As the coronavirus pandemic swept around the globe, anecdotal reports began to emerge about a strange symptom: people were losing their sense of taste and smell. To find out whether this effect is really down to Sars-CoV-2, and if so, why, Ian Sample talks to Carl Philpott. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
May 12, 2020
Uncovering the mysteries of the 'crazy beast' – Science Weekly podcast
00:15:24
As the coronavirus outbreak continues to be our focus on Science Weekly, we also want to try look at other science stories. In this episode, Nicola Davis speaks to Dave Krause about the 66-million-year-old fossil of a cat-sized mammal dubbed ‘crazy beast’. A giant in its day, we hear how this now extinct branch of mammals – known as Gondwanatherians – offers new insights into what could have been. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
May 07, 2020
Covid-19: will my allergies make a difference?
00:09:11
As hay fever season approaches, Nicola Davis asks Prof Stephen Durham about the differences between the immune response to an allergen, such as pollen, and a pathogen, like Sars-CoV-2. Should those with allergies should be concerned about Covid-19?. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
May 06, 2020
Covid-19: the psychology of conspiracy theories
00:15:09
With false information linking the coronavirus to 5G telecoms or Chinese labs being widely shared on social media, Ian Sample speaks to social psychologist Dr Daniel Jolley about why the pandemic is such fertile ground for conspiracy theories. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
May 05, 2020
Covid-19: What has the BCG vaccine got to do with it? – Science Weekly Podcast
00:12:08
Sarah Boseley talks to Prof Helen McShane about why there has been interest in the tuberculosis vaccine and whether it could play a role in protecting us against Covid-19. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Apr 30, 2020
Covid-19: why are women less likely to die?
00:15:02
Hannah Devlin speaks to Prof Sabra Klein about why women are much less likely to become seriously ill or die from Covid-19, and what the implications of this knowledge for future treatments might be. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Apr 29, 2020
Covid-19: what role might air pollution play? – Science Weekly Podcast
00:12:30
After a string of studies that highlight the possible link between air pollution and Covid-19 deaths, Ian Sample hears from Prof Anna Hansell about the complicated relationship between pollution, health and infection with Sars-CoV-2. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Apr 28, 2020
Covid-19: how do you find drugs to treat the disease? – Science Weekly Podcast
00:12:12
Hannah Devlin speaks to Dr Miraz Rahman about how to find drugs to treat a new disease like Covid-19, and discusses repurposing old drugs such as the anti-malaria medicine hydroxychloroquine. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Apr 23, 2020
Covid-19: how vulnerable are people with diabetes? – Science Weekly Podcast
00:11:38
Sarah Boseley speaks to Dr Dipesh Patel about the effects of Covid-19 on people with diabetes, including the role that glucose levels and a high BMI might play. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Apr 22, 2020
Covid-19: is seven days in isolation enough? – Science Weekly Podcast
00:13:08
How long should you remain in isolation if you have symptoms of Covid-19? It depends on who you ask. The UK government guidelines recommend seven days from the onset of symptoms, whereas the World Health Organization advises 14. To get to the bottom of this apparent disparity, Nicola Davis discusses viral shedding with Dr Charlotte Houldcroft, and asks what the evidence currently tells us about how long we stay infectious for. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Apr 21, 2020
Covid-19: what would immunity look like? – Science Weekly Podcast
00:12:21
Nicola Davis speaks to Dr Jenna Macciochi about something lots of listeners have written about; immunity to Covid-19. While the jury is still out, we hear how our bodies gain immunity to something and how immunity to other pathogens might give us clues about Sars-Cov-2. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Apr 16, 2020
Covid-19: how can social isolation affect us? – Science Weekly Podcast
00:14:13
As the lockdown in the UK looks set to continue, Ian Sample speaks to Prof Carmine Pariante about the physiological and psychological effects of social isolation. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Apr 15, 2020
Covid-19: how vulnerable are people with asthma? – Science Weekly Podcast
00:11:58
Nicola Davis speaks to Dr Andy Whittamore about the effects of Covid-19 on people with asthma and what they can do to protect themselves. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Apr 14, 2020
Covid-19: how do you lift a lockdown? – Science Weekly Podcast
00:14:45
Following the decision to end Wuhan’s lockdown this week, Hannah Devlin speaks to Dr Adam Kurcharski about the various aspects of lifting restrictive measures, including the importance of the timing and the role that testing could play. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Apr 09, 2020
Covid-19: how are African countries coping? – Science Weekly Podcast
00:13:24
Sarah Boseley speaks to Prof Trudie Lang about the outbreak on the continent and explores how a history of responding to Ebola and other public health emergencies could help. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Apr 08, 2020
Covid-19: what if I'm immunocompromised?
00:15:27
Hannah Devlin speaks to Dr Jenna Macciochi about how our immune systems fight off infections such as coronavirus, and – as per lots of your questions – what happens if we’re immunocompromised. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Apr 07, 2020
Covid-19: how does it affect pregnancy? – Science Weekly Podcast
00:00:00
Sarah Boseley speaks to Prof Sonja Rasmussen about how the virus might affect mothers who are expecting and their unborn child. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Apr 02, 2020
Covid-19: why is hand washing so effective? – Science Weekly Podcast
00:10:46
With scientists still racing to find treatments for Covid-19, Nicola Davis speaks with Prof Pall Thordarson about why soap is so effective at deactivating Sars-CoV-2 and how this differs from hand sanitiser.. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Apr 01, 2020
Covid-19: how do we test for it? – Science Weekly Podcast
00:12:50
Hannah Devlin speaks with Prof David Smith about the various ways in which clinicians can test whether or not someone is infected with Sars-CoV-2. And, following the recent announcement that the UK government has bought millions of antibody tests, explores what these might be able to tell us. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Mar 31, 2020
Covid-19: can ibuprofen make an infection worse? – Science Weekly Podcast
00:11:52
Nicola Davis speaks to Dr Ian Bailey about the current guidance on taking ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs during a Sars-CoV-2 infection. And, why there was concern about whether these medications could make symptoms of the disease worse. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Mar 26, 2020
Covid-19: how long can it survive outside the body? – Science Weekly Podcast
00:09:57
Sarah Boseley speaks to Prof Deenan Pillay about how the virus contaminates surfaces and why headlines about how long it can survive may be misleading. And, following a number of listener questions, we find out whether or not Sars-CoV-2 can survive in a swimming pool. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Mar 24, 2020
Covid-19: how effective is social distancing? – Science Weekly Podcast
00:13:42
Ian Sample speaks to Prof Deirdre Hollingsworth about social distancing. What is it? How might it help to flatten the curve? And what are some of the big unknowns when it comes to predicting how effective it might be?. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Mar 19, 2020
Covid-19: why are there different fatality rates? – Science Weekly Podcast
00:11:50
Hannah Devlin speaks to Prof Paul Hunter about fatality rates; why different figures are being quoted across the media; how the rates are calculated; and is the fatality rate the only useful number to look at?. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Mar 17, 2020
A quest for meaning: Brian Greene on time and the cosmos - Science Weekly podcast
00:28:28
Investigating mind-bending concepts from string theory to quantum gravity has taken physicist Brian Greene on a journey through the universe and towards its ultimate demise. In his new book, Until the End of Time, Greene explores this cosmic impermanence and how we can still find meaning and purpose in human experience. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Mar 13, 2020
Covid-19: what happens once someone is infected? Science Weekly Extra
00:09:43
Following our first Covid-19 episode last week, we received an incredible response, with so many interesting new areas to explore. One of those was what exactly happens once someone is infected with this new virus. As Nicola Davis find outs, whilst scientists are still racing to figure the exact details out, insights can be gleaned from other viral infections like influenza. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Mar 12, 2020
The Gene Gap: can we trust science to police itself? – Science Weekly podcast
00:40:02
This week on the podcast, we’re bringing you the third and final episode from our Common Threads series, this time about trust in science. In particular, we ask how past controversies have led many to question gene editing, science and medicine, and if by focusing on the past, we can move forward. To listen to episodes one and two, search ‘The Gene Gap: Common Threads’ wherever you get your podcasts. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Mar 06, 2020
Covid-19: where in the body does it infect us? – Science Weekly Extra
00:10:17
As the coronavirus, or Covid-19, outbreak continues to unfold, many of us have been left with questions about exactly what we do and don’t know. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be releasing extra episodes of Science Weekly exploring some of those questions with experts on the frontline. In today’s episode, Ian Sample investigates where the virus infects us when it enters our bodies, and what difference this makes to disease severity and transmissibility. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Mar 05, 2020
The Gene Gap: who decides what happens next? – Science Weekly podcast
00:34:41
Gene-editing technologies have the power to change life as we know it. This week on the podcast, we’re bringing you another episode from our Common Threads series, this time about power. Who has the authority to speak for our species and to make decisions? Are we well informed, and who holds the power to inform us? To listen to episodes one and three, search ‘The Gene Gap: Common Threads’ wherever you get your podcasts. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Feb 28, 2020
The Gene Gap: what makes us human? - Science Weekly podcast
00:38:17
Gene-editing technologies have the power to change life as we know it. This week on the podcast, we’re bringing you the first episode from our Common Threads series, part of an innovative new Guardian project called The Gene Gap. We’ll be talking about science but without the scientists – instead we’ll hear from the people who could be most affected by the promise of gene editing. This first episode explores identity. What makes us human? And what does it mean to be different in a world that strives for perfection? To listen to episodes two and three, search ‘The Gene Gap: Common Threads’ wherever you get your podcasts. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Feb 21, 2020
Exploring the start of the universe - Science Weekly podcast
00:21:48
What happened at the dawn of the universe, just trillionths of a second after the start of the big bang, remains a mystery. Revisiting these moments in his new book, At the Edge of Time, Dan Hooper explores many of the unknowns in cosmology. Hooper guides Ian Sample through the birth of our universe to its enigmatic constituents of dark matter and dark energy. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Feb 14, 2020
Ancient archaea: how life on Earth began - Science Weekly podcast
00:24:43
Around 3.5bn years ago the first forms of life emerged: bacteria and archaea. These so-called prokaryotes had the Earth to themselves for a very, very long time. Then, for some mysterious reason, another new microbial kingdom formed. Eukaryotic cells came into being and complex life began. But how and why did this happen? Hannah Devlin dives into the 12-year scientific odyssey that gives us an important piece of the puzzle. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Feb 07, 2020
The race to the deep – Science Weekly podcast
00:26:19
Sixty years ago, explorers first descended the 11,000 metres to the Challenger Deep of the Mariana Trench, the deepest known point in the ocean. In the intervening decades we have discovered more about this mysterious and peculiar environment and its inhabitants. Nicola Davis speaks to Dr Jon Copley about the race to the ocean floor and what is lurking down there in the deep.. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Jan 31, 2020
The Wuhan Coronavirus: what we know and don't know - Science Weekly podcast
00:23:18
A new virus, never before seen in humans, has emerged from the city of Wuhan in China. Since the start of the outbreak, the virus has spread to more than seven countries and more than 500 people have been infected. Hannah Devlin speaks to Prof Ian Jones about exactly what a coronavirus is. And we hear from epidemiologist Dr Rosalind Eggo about how scientists model the spread of novel viruses, often with very little information. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Jan 24, 2020
Psychology in an emergency: Science Weekly podcast
00:26:32
As the bushfires continue to rage across Australia, thousands of people have ended up face to face with the emergency. It’s hard to imagine how you would behave in a disaster like this. Would you panic? Or act quickly and be organised? More than 50 years of psychological and sociological evidence covering mass emergencies shows that people typically behave with cooperation and coordination. Nicola Davis speaks to John Drury, professor of social psychology at the University of Sussex, about why this is, and hears from Guardian Australia’s deputy culture editor, Stephanie Convery, about the fires. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Jan 17, 2020
Roy Baumeister on the power of negativity – Science Weekly podcast
00:22:36
Roy Baumeister is a social psychologist whose work focuses on the role of negativity in our perceptions. Together with US journalist John Tierney he is the author of a new book, The Power of Bad: How the Negativity Effect Rules Us and How We Can Rule It. Sitting down with Ian Sample, Baumeister talks about how he became interested in negativity and how we may be able to combat its impact on the way we view the world. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Jan 10, 2020
Happy New Year from the Science Weekly podcast
00:00:36
Happy New Year from the Science Weekly team. There is no new episode this week as we all take a festive break. The team will be back with a new episode on Friday 10 January. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Jan 03, 2020
Happy Christmas from the Science Weekly podcast
00:00:36
Happy Christmas from the Science Weekly team. There is no new episode this week as we all take a festive break. The team will be back with a new episode on Friday 10 January. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Dec 27, 2019
A year of science reporting – Science Weekly podcast
00:22:35
For the final science weekly of 2019 the Guardian’s Science team – Hannah Devlin, Ian Sample and Nicola Davis – talk through their top stories of the year including black holes, rebooted brains and seagulls. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Dec 20, 2019
Pioneering ketamine treatments: depression – Science Weekly podcast
00:20:12
Ketamine might sound like an unlikely candidate for treating addiction and depression. But a growing number of scientists believe the drug could help. In the second part of this Science Weekly mini series, Hannah Devlin speaks to another expert using ketamine in their work: a psychiatrist who has been conducting research on the use of ketamine for treating depression for several years. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Dec 13, 2019
Pioneering Ketamine treatments: alcohol dependency – Science Weekly podcast
00:19:23
Ketamine might sound like an unlikely candidate for treating addiction and depression. But a growing number of scientists believe the drug could help. Over the next two episodes of Science Weekly, Hannah Devlin speaks to two experts who are using ketamine in their work in very different ways. In this episode, we’re focusing on alcohol dependency and the findings that a single dose of Ketamine could positively impact on heavy drinkers. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Dec 06, 2019
Amy Dickman on her life of big cat conservation - Science Weekly podcast
00:23:17
Dr Amy Dickman is an internationally renowned conservation biologist. She’s dedicated her life to saving big cats in the wild, working in Africa for over 20 years on carnivore ecology and how to resolve human-wildlife conflict. Amy talks to Nicola Davis about her career trying to bring a halt to the decline in big cat populations, including the role that trophy hunting might play. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Nov 29, 2019
Up early or lying in: why we need different amounts of sleep – Science Weekly podcast
00:17:36
Requiring minimal amounts of sleep is sometimes seen as a badge of honour. But for many of us, being able to actually function is a different matter altogether. So why is it that some people seem to need more or less sleep? And what are some of the ramifications if we don’t get enough? Hannah Devlin speaks to two experts whose work is bringing new understanding to our sleeping behaviours. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Nov 22, 2019
Callum Roberts on a life spent diving on coral reefs – Science Weekly podcast
00:22:07
Callum Roberts is a British oceanographer, author and one of the world’s leading marine biologists. Sitting down with Ian Sample, Callum talks about his journey into exploring marine habitats, his subsequent work observing the world’s coral reefs and how, despite the urgent threat posed to the majority of these densely populated habitats, he still maintains an almost unswerving optimism for the future of his profession and of coral reefs in general. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Nov 15, 2019
Taking on Eysenck: one man's mission to challenge a giant of psychology – Science Weekly podcast
00:28:19
In 1992, Anthony Pelosi voiced concerns in the British Medical Journal about controversial findings from Hans Eysenck – one of the most influential British psychologists of all time – and German researcher Ronald Grossarth-Maticek. Those findings claimed personality played a bigger part in people’s chances of dying from cancer or heart disease than smoking. Almost three decades later, Eysenck’s institution have recommended these studies be retracted from academic journals. Hannah Devlin speaks to Pelosi about the twists and turns in his ultimately successful journey. And to the Guardian’s health editor, Sarah Boseley, about how revelations from tobacco industry documents played a crucial role. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Nov 08, 2019
Artificial wombs and the promise for premature babies - Science Weekly podcast
00:31:38
In October, a team of Dutch researchers were awarded a grant of €2.9m to develop a working prototype of an artificial womb for use in the clinic. But they are not the only ones working on this kind of technology. In 2017, a team in Philadelphia created the ‘biobag’, which could sustain premature lambs. Both teams hope their artificial wombs could allow premature babies to continue to develop as they would in a real womb, improving their chance of survival. Nicola Davis asks: What does current neonatal intensive care look like? Would an artificial womb really offer benefits? And what ethical and legal implications could arise if the technology is pursued?. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Nov 01, 2019
Inside the mind of the bullshitter: Science Weekly podcast
00:29:57
In 1986, philosopher Harry G Frankfurt wrote: “One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit.” This was the opening line of his seminal essay (later a book), On Bullshit, in which Frankfurt put forward his theory on the subject. Three decades later, psychologists are finally getting to grips with what might be going on in the minds of those who dabble in the dark arts of BS. Ian Sample asks two such psychologists what we can do to fight back. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Oct 25, 2019
Stuart Russell on why now is the time to start thinking about superintelligent AI - Science Weekly podcast
00:24:59
Prof Stuart Russell wrote the book on artificial intelligence. Literally. But that was back in 1995, when the next few decades of AI were uncertain, and, according to him, distinctly less threatening. Sitting down with Ian Sample, Russell talks about his latest book, Human Compatible, which warns of a dystopian future in which humans are outsmarted by machines. But how did we get here? And what can we do to make sure these machines benefit humankind?. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Oct 18, 2019
The dangers of DIY genetic testing – Science Weekly podcast
00:28:26
Whether for ancestry or health, millions of us are choosing to have our genetic fingerprints analysed by using direct-to-consumer kits from private companies. But can the results of these tests be trusted in a clinical setting? Senior doctors have called for a crackdown on home genetic-testing kits and this week, Hannah Devlin finds out why. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Oct 11, 2019
Cleaning up our air – Science Weekly podcast
00:33:05
An estimated 7 million people die every year from exposure to polluted air. Nicola Davis looks at the science behind air pollution and at the policies to tackle it. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Oct 04, 2019
The menopause: a new treatment for hot flushes? – Science Weekly podcast
00:21:45
Despite being something that will affect half the world’s population, the menopause, and how it can lead to things such as hot flushes, has historically been a bit of a ‘black box’ for scientists. But thanks to new insights from animal research, a much-needed alternative to hormone replacement therapy could be just around the corner. Hannah Devlin investigates. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Sep 27, 2019
'Nature is quantum from the start': Sean Carroll, many worlds, and a new theory of spacetime – Science Weekly podcast
00:26:42
Ian Sample speaks to the theoretical physicist Sean Carroll about his mission to demystify quantum mechanics. It won’t be easy, though, as Carroll’s favoured interpretation of this fundamental theory – the ‘many worlds’ interpretation – results in a possibly infinite number of parallel universes. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Sep 20, 2019
How to find life beyond Earth - Science Weekly podcast
00:35:18
As scientists at University College London announce the discovery of water in the atmosphere of a potentially habitable ‘super Earth’, Ian Sample explores our prospects for finding life beyond our own planet. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Sep 13, 2019
How to stop MS in its tracks – Science Weekly podcast
00:35:11
Ian Sample visits Professor Richard Reynolds at the MS Society tissue bank to hear how research on brains of patients who died with multiple sclerosis is leading to novel insights and new treatments. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Sep 06, 2019
Soundscape ecology with Bernie Krause - Science Weekly podcast
00:26:40
Do you know what noise a hungry sea anemone makes? Soundscape ecologist Bernie Krause does. Armed with over 5,000 hours of recordings, he takes Ian Sample on a journey through the natural world and demonstrates why sound is a powerful tool for conservation First broadcast on 15 June 2018. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Aug 30, 2019
Oceans of Noise: Episode Three – Science Weekly
00:36:35
During our summer break, we’re revisiting the archives. Today, Wildlife recordist Chris Watson concludes this three-part journey into the sonic environment of the ocean, celebrating the sounds and songs of marine life and investigating the threat of noise pollution First released: 03/05/2019. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Aug 23, 2019
Oceans of Noise: Episode Two – Science Weekly podcast
00:28:52
During our summer break, we’re revisiting the archives. Today, Wildlife recordist Chris Watson presents the second instalment of a three-part journey into the sonic environment of the ocean, celebrating the sounds and songs of marine life and investigating the threat of noise pollution First released: 03/05/2019. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Aug 16, 2019
Oceans of Noise: Episode One – Science Weekly podcast
00:34:34
During our summer break, we’re revisiting the archives. Today, Wildlife recordist Chris Watson begins a three-part journey into the sonic environment of the ocean, celebrating the sounds and songs of marine life and investigating the threat of noise pollution First released: 03/05/2019. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Aug 09, 2019
The psychology of climate science denial – Science Weekly podcast
00:35:27
We revisit the archive as Ian Sample looks at why some people continue to deny anthropogenic global heating, despite the scientific evidence. Could better communication be the key? And what tips can scientists and journalists take from political campaigns?. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Aug 02, 2019
The interplay between gender and autism spectrum disorder – Science Weekly podcast
00:29:09
The Science Weekly team are taking a bit of a break so we’ll be revisiting some of our favourite shows from the archive. Including this one from 2017, when Nicola Davis looked at why so many women with autism are misdiagnosed and how this issue resonates with broader ideas of neurodiversity. We also hear from a listener about how this episode affected her life.. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Jul 26, 2019
Mercury 13: the forgotten women of the space race - Science Weekly podcast
00:30:05
As the space race heated up in the 1960s, 13 aviators passed the same tests as Nasa’s first astronauts, later going on to be called the Mercury 13. But because they were women, Nasa wouldn’t even consider them. One of those women was Wally Funk, who joins Nicola Davis and author Sue Nelson this week as they discuss what could and should have been. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Jul 19, 2019
Dark Patterns: the art of online deception – Science Weekly podcast
00:26:45
Have you ever been caught out online and subscribed to something you didn’t mean to? Ian Sample has and so he tasked Jordan Erica Webber with finding out how companies play on our psyches to pinch our pennies and what we can do about it. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Jul 12, 2019
Cross Section: Giles Yeo – Science Weekly podcast
00:26:14
Why do some of us pile on the pounds, while others seem to get away with it? Hannah Devlin speaks to Dr Giles Yeo about some of the latest findings from the field of obesity research – from the role of our genes and how heritable our weight is, to how, as a society, we’ve become overweight and what we can do about it.. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Jul 05, 2019
What happens when we can't test scientific theories? – Science Weekly podcast
00:26:34
String theory gained traction 35 years ago but scientists have not found any evidence to suggest it is correct. Does this matter? And should it be tested? Ian Sample debates this with Eleanor Knox, David Berman and Peter Woit. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Jun 28, 2019
150 years of the periodic table – Science Weekly podcast
00:24:52
Nicola Davis invites Prof Brigitte Van Tiggelen and Dr Peter Wothers on to the podcast to look at how the periodic table took shape and asks whether it might now be in jeopardy. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Jun 21, 2019
The fight against HIV: then and now – Science Weekly podcast
00:26:09
Earlier this year, the UK government announced it wanted to end new HIV transmissions in England by 2030. Hannah Devlin looks at the history of the epidemic, including its impact on the gay community, recent promising drug trials and whether Britain can meet its target. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Jun 14, 2019
Cross Section: Frans de Waal – Science Weekly podcast
00:28:10
What can we learn from chimps when it comes to politics and power? Ian Sample meets the leading primatologist Prof Frans de Waal of Emory University to discuss good leadership and what we can learn from our closest living relatives.. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Jun 07, 2019
Tomorrow's weather forecast: fair with a good chance of improvement – Science Weekly podcast
00:26:45
Science Weekly joins forces with our sister technology podcast, Chips with Everything, to look at the future of weather forecasting. Graihagh Jackson finds out how accurate predictions currently are, while Jordan Erica Webber discusses how street cameras and connected cars could improve the forecast further. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
May 31, 2019
Cross Section: Hiranya Peiris – Science Weekly podcast
00:25:16
What happened before the Big Bang? This is one of the hardest questions scientists are trying to answer, but Prof Hiranya Peiris is not daunted by the challenge. Hannah Devlin invited Peiris on the podcast to discuss the origins of our universe. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
May 24, 2019
Are alternative meats the key to a healthier life and planet? – Science Weekly podcast
00:30:09
How do protein substitutes compare with the real deal? Graihagh Jackson investigates by speaking to dietician Priya Tew, the Guardian’s Fiona Harvey and author Isabella Tree. This podcast was amended on 18 May 2019. An earlier version incorrectly claimed that Vitamin B12 is also known as Folate or Folic Acid. Whilst Folate/Folic Acid is also a B Vitamin, it is not Vitamin B12.. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
May 17, 2019