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Some of the brightest minds behind Oxford science discuss their latest research. The series starts with ‘Origins’, tackling topics from human life to the Universe. Join us in each podcast as we explore a different area of science.

Some of the brightest minds behind Oxford science discuss their latest research. The series starts with ‘Origins’, tackling topics from human life to the Universe. Join us in each podcast as we explore a different area of science.
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Location:

United Kingdom

Description:

Some of the brightest minds behind Oxford science discuss their latest research. The series starts with ‘Origins’, tackling topics from human life to the Universe. Join us in each podcast as we explore a different area of science.

Language:

English


Episodes

Can you hack an aeroplane?

11/28/2018
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35 million flights will take off and land this year. Each flight is tracked on the ground by air traffic control and there’s technology on the plane. But what is stopping a hacker from sitting in front of their computer and disrupting the computer system? That is what a team of the University of Oxford are trying to work out. In this week’s Big Question podcast we are visiting Dr. Martin Strohmeier researcher in systems security in the Department of Computer Science asking: Can you hack an...

Duration:00:11:55

Why does my phone battery suck?

11/14/2018
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Most people use their phones every single day for communicating with others, using the Internet, playing games via apps. There’s nothing worse than looking down at your phone and realising the battery is running out of juice—or worse yet, that it’s already completely dead. One of the most common problems with smart phones is a quickly-draining battery. So why does our mobile phone battery suck? To find out we visited Dr David Howey, associated professor in the department of Engineering,...

Duration:00:13:59

How do you bake a cake in a microwave?

10/31/2018
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Bakers spend years perfecting their skill to make amazing cakes! But can you do it in minutes within a microwave? To find out we look into the science of baking and met up with Luke Jew, astronomer from the department of Oxford Physics, University of Oxford to find out...

Duration:00:13:05

Where are all the Mangarahara cichlid hiding?

10/17/2018
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In the early 2000s, Brian Zimmerman and his team at London Zoo received a donation from a private fish-breeder of some Mangarahara cichlids. At the time, scientists hadn’t yet officially described the species. Not much was known about it, other than its provenance, the Mangarahara river in Madagascar. Little did the team know that within a decade they would be putting up a ‘wanted’ poster in a last-ditch attempt to save the species from extinction! In this episode of the Big Questions...

Duration:00:15:18

How do you grow rice faster?

7/11/2018
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3 billion people depend on rice for survival & owing to predicted population increases, land that provided enough rice to feed 27 people in 2010 will need to support 43 by 2050. In this week's podcast episode we ask: how do you grow rice faster? Currently over three billion people depend on rice for survival, and, owing to predicted population increases and a general trend towards urbanisation, land that provided enough rice to feed 27 people in 2010 will need to support 43 by 2050. In the...

Duration:00:11:28

Is there a faster way to diagnose Tuberculosis?

6/26/2018
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Tuberculosis is still one of the top ten causes of death worldwide, with 1.4 million people dying from TB in 2015. If your doctor suspects you have the disease it can take up to 6 weeks to get a diagnosis! Tuberculosis (TB) has influenced history. The disease was for centuries associated with poetic and artistic qualities in its sufferers, and was known as "the romantic disease". But in reality there is nothing romantic about the disease. Before drug therapy was available in 1946, nearly...

Duration:00:13:57

How do you teach a robot social cues?

6/19/2018
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As robots are increasingly deployed in settings requiring social interaction we asked the Big Question: How do you teach a robot social cues? To find out we visited Shimon Whiteson, Associate Professor at the Department of Computer Science Robots already perform many traditionally human tasks, from vacuuming to surgery—and they could soon help care for the sick and elderly. But until they can convincingly mimic emotions, their caretaker value will be severely limited. In an effort to...

Duration:00:12:19

Can you stop Alzheimer’s before it even starts?

5/31/2018
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Alzheimer's, is a chronic neurodegenerative disease that usually starts slowly and worsens over time. In this podcast episode we ask: Can you stop Alzheimer's before it even starts? A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s is life changing for the person with the disease, as well as their family and friends. The changes don’t happen overnight. It starts with the small things and then it progresses. But what if there was a way of figuring out the early warning signs of slowing it down or preventing it?...

Duration:00:10:50

What is antimatter?

5/17/2018
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What is antimatter? Antimatter was one of the most exciting physics discoveries of the 20th century, and has since been picked up by fiction writers such as Dan Brown. But what exactly is it? Antimatter has fuelled many a supernatural tale, but it's also fascinating all by itself. Many people think of it as an "out there" theoretical idea, unaware that it is actually being produced every day. What's more, research on antimatter is actually helping us to understand how the universe works!...

Duration:00:12:59

Can you cure HIV?

5/2/2018
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HIV isn’t a death sentence anymore. People can live long lives with the virus in their body, as long as they have the right combination of drugs. But some researchers want to take the fight against HIV and AIDS even further... HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that weakens the immune system and hinders the body’s ability to fight disease. Without treatment, HIV could lead to the potentially fatal diagnosis of AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome). The AIDS epidemic began...

Duration:00:15:07

What do water striders have in common with Game of Thrones?

4/17/2018
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On this episode of the Oxford Sparks Big Question’s podcast we visited Dr Jennifer Perry, evolutionary biologist and entomologist to ask: What do water striders have in common with Game of Thrones? Listen here to find out…. Game of Thrones, the world created by author George RR Martin, has gone from beloved book series to much watch box set. Murder, sex, dragons, incest and a battle for the throne! What more could you want from a TV series? Science of course! There just happens to be one...

Duration:00:13:41

How does the brain identify voices?

4/9/2018
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In this episode of The Big Questions podcast we joined the experiment to ask: How does he brain identify voices? To find out we interviewed MRI Physicist Stuart Clare and Neuro Scientist Holly Bridge at the Wellcome Centre for Integrative for Neuroimaging When your brain cells are dying, is it possible to make a robotic brain to replace them? When I look at a picture of my identical twin sister, Lily, do I process it differently to when I look at a picture of myself? These were just a...

Duration:00:10:52

How do you mend a broken heart?

3/23/2018
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In this episode of the Oxford Sparks Big Questions podcast we visited Cardiovascular Biologist, Nicola Smart, from the department of physiology, anatomy and genetics to ask: How do you mend a broken heart? lub-dub, lub-dub, lub-dub is the sound of your heart beating in your chest. This is how we know we are alive. But what happens if it stops? Of course, if there's doctors and nurses around they can get it started again - but does this mean your heart is truly fixed? In this episode of the...

Duration:00:13:20

How do you become an astronaut?

3/13/2018
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Millions dream of being an astronaut, but how many of us have what it takes? In this episode of the Oxford Sparks Big Question's podcast, we visit Merritt Moore, quantum physicist from The University of Oxford, to ask: How do you become an astronaut? How do you become an astronaut? Within the next few decades, humans could be leaving their footprints on the Red Planet! That's the plan, as NASA continues to prepare to expand human exploration in the solar system. But what we want to know...

Duration:00:13:09

How did Mary Somerville get on the Scottish 10 Pound note?

3/13/2018
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In this episode of the Big Questions podcast we are asking: How did Mary Somerville get on the Scottish 10 Pound note? Who is Mary Somerville? If you immediately thought 'she was a scientist!' you would be right! But she is so much more than that! Somerville college right here in Oxford was named in her honour. In this episode of the Big Questions podcast we are asking: How did Mary Somerville get on the Scottish 10 Pound note? To find out we visited Brigitte Stenhouse who is doing her PhD...

Duration:00:11:44

Does love have a scent?

2/6/2018
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In this episode of the Oxford Sparks Big Questions podcast we are looking at the science behind love at first smell and asking does love have a scent? Love is in the air - or is it? Companies are advertising that they can find you love through the power of scent! But are pheromones a chemical way to find your true love? Or is it just a myth? In this episode of the Oxford Sparks Big Questions podcast we are looking at the science behind love at first smell and asking does love have a scent?...

Duration:00:13:22

How do you measure a Mars quake?

1/29/2018
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In this episode of the Big Questions podcast, we visited Dr Neil Bowles, Jane Hurley and Tristram Warren from the Atmospheric Oceanic & Planetary Physics Department to ask the question: how do you measure a Mars quake? When the ground shakes on Earth we call them earthquakes. Even weak ones can be detected by 'seismometers' and from listening carefully to them we can learn a lot about the makeup of the planet - that it has a solid core, molten mantle under a thin crust. But can we learn...

Duration:00:13:51

What happens after a storm?

1/10/2018
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In our latest episode of the Big Questions podcast we visited Dr Peter Walton, a geography teacher turned fellow of the Environmental Change Institute, at the University of Oxford, to ask: What happens after a storm? Does this sound familiar? ‘This is definitely the coldest winter’, ‘we haven’t experienced strong winds like this before’, ‘what a deluge!’ It is easy to blame climate change for the latest bad weather conditions – but how do we really know? In our latest Oxford Sparks podcast...

Duration:00:10:41

Is vaping better than smoking?

1/9/2018
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As many of you set your new year’s resolution to quit smoking and start vaping, we thought we’d ask the question: Is vaping better than smoking? And could it help you quit? E-cigarettes are the new kid on the block. They’re getting lots of attention from many scientists across the world curious to see if this is the trick that’s needed to separate 1 billion people from cigarettes! Yes, 1 billion people smoke! When we first saw an e-cigarette, it felt like we had been transported in time -...

Duration:00:15:10

How do you survive the office Christmas party?

1/9/2018
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‘Tis the season to be merry, so it’s time for the annual Christmas party. For some employers it can be more fraught than fun! In this episode of the Oxford Sparks Big Questions podcast we ask: how do you survive the office Christmas party? Everyone has a story about an office Christmas party that got a bit out of hand. On this episode of the Oxford Sparks Big Questions podcast we are getting festive and asking – how do you survive the office Christmas party? We visited Professor Robin...

Duration:00:11:56