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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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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

Why are athletes using ketones?

6/19/2019
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It’s considered one of the hardest athletic challenges. 21 day-long stages covering around 3,500 kilometres (2,200 miles) - it’s the Tour De France. A Tour de France rider will burn enough calories during a six-hour mountain stage to fuel an average person's activity for two to four days. So how do these athletes compete day in, day out? On this episode of the Big Questions podcast we are asking the question: Why are athletes using ketones? This week we visited Kieran Clarke, Biochemist...

Duration:00:13:29

Why aren't we dead?

6/5/2019
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There is a whole world of things out there that want us dead – we are talking microscopic invaders that want to get inside our bodies and kill us. Lucky for us we have a secret weapon to keep us alive…ANTIBODIES In this episode we are taking a deep dive and looking at these teeny tiny antibodies and asking….why aren’t we dead? To find out we met up with the Head of the Department for Statistics at the University of Oxford, Charlotte Deane…

Duration:00:13:25

How big a deal is that picture of a black hole?

5/22/2019
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By now you have probably seen that picture of the BLACK HOLE! But we have some questions….in this episode of the Big Questions podcast we are asking: how big a deal is that picture of a black hole? To find out we visited the Department of Physics, University of Oxford, and met with Dr Becky Smethurst, astrophysics…

Duration:00:18:21

Did volcanoes help kill off the dinosaurs?

5/8/2019
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Earth formed over 4.5 billion years ago. We should take a moment to realise how much history that is! Volcanoes are just one of Earth’s creations that have stood the test of time and on this Big Questions podcast we want to know: did volcanoes help kill off the dinosaurs? To find out the answer we visited the Department of Earth Sciences at The University of Oxford to visit Professor Tamsin Mather to find out! Listen here….

Duration:00:12:49

What do our nerves sound like?

4/24/2019
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Our nerves don’t stop talking. They’re 24-7 communication systems for our bodies. But does all this cellular chitta-chatta actually make a noise? For 100’s of years, scientists have been trying to figure out how exactly our nervous system relays messages. Part of the secret may lie in a sound wave! On this episode of the Big Questions podcast we are asking: What do nerves sound like? To find out we visited Shamit Shrivastava, Experimental Physicist at the University of Oxford…

Duration:00:12:53

How do you turn a plastic bag into fuel?

4/10/2019
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There are a lot of plastic bags out there. Every year we get through 1 trillion plastic bags worldwide. Quick math, that means we are using 1 million bags per minute. But wouldn’t it be nice if we could turn this plastic into something useful? Like fuel for your car? On this episode of the Big Questions podcast, we are looking at the world of waste and asking: how do you turn a plastic bag into fuel? To find out we visited the Centre for Innovation and Enterprise (CIE) to meet Ben...

Duration:00:13:28

What did Hollywood get right and wrong in these movies?

3/27/2019
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King Kong, PI, Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind and Superman III. What do these 4 films have in common? SCIENCE! They caught attention of one film fan Edwin Davies. On this episode of the Big Questions podcast we are separating the fact and fiction and asking the question: What did Hollywood get right and wrong in these movies?

Duration:00:20:09

Why do birds lay eggs?

3/13/2019
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Most new-born mammals and some reptiles emerge from their mothers through the usual channels. But baby birds are stuck cracking open eggshells – but why? In this week’s Oxford Sparks Big Questions podcast we are visiting Marie-Claire Koschowitz, evolutionary biologist and asking: Why do birds lay eggs? Warning: parents if you don’t want to have the birds and bees conversation you may want to listen to this one on your own ;-)

Duration:00:11:29

Can computers predict crime?

2/27/2019
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You can’t turn on the TV or read a newspaper article without a daily reporting of crime. As technology and computer algorithms advance we want to know if there will be a computer model that could know us better than ourselves. In this episode of the Big Questions podcast we visited Seena Fazel, Professor of Forensic Psychology at the Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford to ask the question: Can computers predict crime?

Duration:00:14:26

Why should we cuddle?

2/13/2019
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Who doesn’t love a cuddle? Whether it is from a pet or a person they just make us feel good. But, would you believe wrapping your arms around someone else can actually improve your gut health? In this episode of the Oxford Sparks 'Big Questions' podcast we are looking at lemurs and asking: Why should we cuddle? To find out we went to the Department of Zoology at the University of Oxford to speak to Aura Raulo who is studying the importance of cuddling.

Duration:00:13:26

Why does Uranus smell like farts?

1/30/2019
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Uranus, the seventh planet from the sun, has the poetic name of the Greek god of the heavens. In the English language, it is, unfortunately, the literal butt of every astronomy joke. And last year the new discovery about the seventh planet’s odour – or, more precisely, the chemical composition of its atmosphere – has not helped the comic element. In this week’s Big Questions podcast we visited Professor Patrick Irwin from the Atmospheric, Oceanic and Planetary Physics, from the University...

Duration:00:12:59

What happens in the field?

1/16/2019
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Field work. It sounds like a lot of fun! Scientists get to travel the world visiting exotic locations seeing and experiencing incredible things. But in reality they can find themselves outside the comforts of their lab with some interesting things happening to them! This podcast episode is a little different to our usual Big Question series, as we hear from three scientists who took to the stage as part of the Oxford Ideas Festival. In front of a live audience we asked them the Big...

Duration:00:20:34

Should I be a vegan?

1/2/2019
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If you have been in a supermarket recently you will have noticed it, all of a sudden all of the shelves have become more vegan friendly. With a New Year upon us and resolutions being made – is it time to take the plunge and say good bye to meat and dairy? In this episode of the Big Questions podcast we are asking: Should I be a vegan? To find out we visited Dr Christina Potter who is a health behaviours researcher working on the Livestock, Environment and People (LEAP) project.

Duration:00:12:52

Can a machine pick a perfect Christmas gift?

12/12/2018
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It is that time a year again where our relationships are tested to find that perfect Christmas gift! Wouldn’t it be nice if there was an algorithm that could do it for you? In this episode of the Big Questions podcast we ask the question: Can a machine pick a perfect Christmas gift? To find out we went to the Department of Computer Science to speak to Senior Researcher Helena Webb, Research Associate Menisha Patel, PhD researchers William Seymour and PHD researcher, Ross Gales…

Duration:00:15:39

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