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Science Podcasts

A weekly programme that illuminates the mysteries, challenges and the controversies behind the science that's changing our world.

A weekly programme that illuminates the mysteries, challenges and the controversies behind the science that's changing our world.


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A weekly programme that illuminates the mysteries, challenges and the controversies behind the science that's changing our world.




A Trip-Switch for Depression?

Could magic mushrooms be the key to a revolution in treating depression? Professor David Nutt, director of the Imperial Centre for Psychedelic Research, thinks so. He tells Vic Gill about recent research suggesting that psilocybin - the psychedelic compound found in magic mushrooms - triggers rewiring of the brain in people with treatment-resistant depression. Vic Gill speaks with trial participant Steve Shorney who was diagnosed with depression 30 years ago. Nanobodies. That's the name...


Declining Data, Climate Deadlines and the Day the Dinosaurs Died

Covid-19 infections in the UK are at an all-time high. But most people in England can no longer access free Covid-19 tests, and the REACT-1 study, which has been testing more than 100,000 individuals since the pandemic began, ended last week after its funding stopped. Martin Mckee, Prof of European Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, shares his insights on what these changes might mean for ambitions to 'live with the virus'. This week, the UN's latest...


How can the UK get to zero carbon?

Energy is essential: every living thing needs energy to survive, and today’s industrialised societies consume enormous quantities of it. At the moment, the vast majority of this comes from burning fossil fuels that emit carbon. But the government is committed to reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Meanwhile, oil and gas prices are rocketing, exacerbated by the ongoing war in Ukraine. And the energy price cap is being raised on April 1st, hitting millions of householders in the UK....


Racial inequality in UK science

This month the Royal Society of Chemistry released a shocking report on racial inequality at all stages of academia, from research funding to career progression. Black scientists in particular are unfairly disadvantaged when it comes to funding allocation. This is bad for them, bad for science, and bad for society. So how do we change things? Dr Diego Baptista from the Wellcome Trust, Professor Melanie Welham from the UKRI, and Dr Addy Adelaine, from the non-profit organisation...


Global food security during Ukraine conflict

The Russian conflict in Ukraine is already causing hunger there, and as Ukraine and Russia are huge grain exporters, the crisis will be far reaching. Food prices everywhere are expected to rise, and there’s fear that the war could affect food supplies in some of the poorest parts of the world. Tim Lang, Emeritus Professor of Food Policy at City University of London, and Dr Hannah Ritchie, Head of Research at the website Our World in Data, join us to discuss food security. Lead is highly...


High Seas treaty talks and discoveries from the deep

The High Seas make up most of our oceans but belong to no-one and are largely unregulated, leaving them at risk of plunder. UN talks start afresh this week with the aim of protecting the marine biodiversity of these vast swathes of living ocean. Covid-19 can shrink our brains and lead to cognitive decline, even in mild cases, according to a new study out this week. Professor Gwenaëlle Douaud, who led the research, explains how they used hundreds of brain scans to discover the effects of...


Cyber frontlines in Ukraine

As conflict continues in Ukraine, there are invisible ‘cyber frontlines’ running in parallel to the physical fighting. We hear how the country’s tech scene is responding to the Russian invasion, as Mike Sapiton, Tech Editor at Forbes Ukraine gives us a view from the ground, and Professor Madeline Carr explains why cyber warfare can be particularly dangerous. A major report published this week speaks to a different kind of crisis: climate change. There are stark warnings for humanity and the...


Inside Science is now first on BBC Sounds

Looking for the latest episode? New episodes of Inside Science will now be available first on BBC Sounds for four weeks before other podcast apps. If you haven’t already, you can download the BBC Sounds app to listen to the Inside Science podcast first. BBC Sounds is also available in lots of other places. Find us on your voice device or smart speaker, on your connected TV, in your car, or at The latest episode is available on BBC Sounds right now. BBC Sounds – you can find...


World’s largest Jurassic pterosaur found on Skye

In a week of exciting fossils finds we get up close to a 170 million year old pterosaur, found on the Isle of Skye. And over in the States, some fossilised fish hold the clue to what time of year the dinosaurs, along with three quarters of life on Earth, met their end. We hear from researcher Melanie During who tells us how growth patterns in sturgeons' bones reveal the season of this mass extinction. Predictions for how our climate will change over the coming years are essential in setting...


COVID-19: Beginnings... and endings?

With the prime minister proposing an end to self-isolation requirements as early as the end of the month, we thought we would check in with all things pandemic-related this week. We hear from mathematical biologist Dr Kit Yates from the University of Bath and UCL’s Professor Christina Pagel, who, like many scientists, are concerned about the consequences of relaxing protective measures. However, epidemiologist Professor Irene Petersen tells us why she feels it is the right time to loosen...


Fusion energy smashes world record

This week the UK-based JET Laboratory broke its 25-year-old record for energy extracted by nuclear fusion - the process that powers the stars. Using temperatures 10 times hotter than the sun, nuclear fusion has the potential to provide vast amounts of energy at a very low carbon cost. But re-creating the power of the stars here on earth is no easy feat, and Roland Pease has been in Culham, speaking to the scientists at the forefront of this breakthrough. We discuss the Advanced Research and...


The Continuing Story of the Nuclear Waste Bill

Whilst energy prices are shooting up due to gas demand, in the UK the plans for the next generation nuclear reactors are moving ahead. The costs of eventually decommissioning these, and the spent fuel products they will create is all part of the new contract. But what is to be done, and how far have we got with the 70 years of legacy waste piling up in the UK? Claire Corkhill of Sheffield university helps advise the government about nuclear waste disposal. As she tells Marnie, it's a...


Predicting Long Covid, and the Global Toll of Antimicrobial Resistance

Prof Onur Boyman, Director of department of Immunology at University Hospital, Zurich, this week published a paper in the journal Nature Communications that presents a way of quantifying the risk of a Covid patient going on to develop Long Covid (or PACS as some call it) based on certain symptoms, but crucially also two key biomarkers in the blood. As he explains to Gaia, combining the levels in the blood of two key immunoglobulins (IgM and IgG3) with other pointers, first identified last...


The 'perfect' depth for a destructive eruption

Why was the blast from the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha'apai volcano so explosive? Where are we on the global climatic thermostat? And how you can get involved in the Big Repair Project. Gaia Vince speaks with Auckland University volcanologist Prof Shane Cronin, one of the few human beings to have visited the now-disappeared volcanic land bridge that stretched until last week between the islands of Hunga-Tonga and Hunga-Ha'apai. It was destroyed in the disastrous eruption of the volcano beneath it...


The Rutland ‘Sea Dragon’, An Astronomer's Christmas and some Animal Magic

After 20 years of planning, preparation and a nail-biting build up fraught by delays The James Webb Space telescope finally launched on Christmas day 2021. Anxious astronomers across the globe looked on as the JWST then completed even riskier manoeuvres to unfurl the 18 hexagonal components that make up its 6.5 meter diameter primary mirror. Cosmologist Dr Sheona Urquhart from the Open University tells us about the astronomical community’s tense Christmas day. Fresh from a TV spot on BBC...


Deep ocean exploration

UCL oceanographer Helen Czerski explores life in the ocean depths with a panel of deep sea biologists. They take us to deep ocean coral gardens on sea mounts, to extraordinary hydrothermal vent ecosystems teeming with weird lifeforms fed by chemosynthetic microbes, to the remarkable biodiversity in the muds of the vast abyssal plains. Helen's guests are Adrian Glover of the Natural History Museum in London, Kerry Howell of Plymouth University and Alex Rogers, scientific director of REV...


A new space age?

Dr Kevin Fong convenes a panel of astronautical minds to discuss the next decade or two of space exploration. 2021 was an eventful year in space. Captain James Kirk a.k.a William Shatner popped into space for real for a couple of minutes, transported by space company Blue Origin's tourist rocket New Shepard. Elon Musk's Space X ferried more astronauts and supplies between Earth and the International Space Station, using its revolutionary resuable launchers and Dragon spacecraft. On Mars, the...


The Origin of Celtic Culture in Britain?

Victoria Gill hears of ancient DNA evidence for an unrecognised mass migration from continental Europe 3,000 years ago that may even have brought the Celtic languages with it. In a paper in the journal Nature, an international team of researchers have gathered hundreds of middle-late Bronze Age DNA samples to identify a moment in pre-history when half the ancestry of people living in southern Britain became continental European. Sometime around 1000 BC, continental Europeans living in Kent...


The James Webb Space Telescope

The launch of the James Webb Space Telescope is only days away. Scheduled for lift off on 24 December, the largest and most complex space observatory ever built will be sent to an orbit beyond the moon. James Webb is so huge that it has had to be folded up to fit in the rocket. There will be a tense two weeks over Christmas and the New Year as the space giant unfurls and unfolds. Its design and construction has taken about 30 years under the leadership of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center....


Initial Omicron Lab Data, Creative Naps, and Fishy Sounds.

T-Cells in vaccinated people may be holding the fort, or at least fighting serious illness, against the latest SARS CoV2 variant. Also, how the briefest of sleeps aids creativity. Prof Penny Moore, of South Africa’s National Centre for Infectious Disease and Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg, joins us again this week to give us an update from the front line of scientists trying to get the data we need to try to predict the seriousness of the omicron variant. These early data,...