Women are underrepresented in science, and some experts are asking whether there are biological reasons why. Meanwhile, racial studies are creeping back into mainstream science. We talk to Angela Saini about the science of gender and race, and about how to even the playing field.
Algorithms are everywhere. They can make our lives easier, by curating our Twitter feeds and Netflix suggestions. But they can also be bad. They lack empathy and we can become too reliant on their logical abilities, putting ourselves and others at risk. Here we talk to mathematician Hannah Fry, who tells us all about the good, the bad and the downright ugly of the algorithms that surround us.
There are 100 billion stars in our Galaxy – surely we can’t be the only intelligent lifeform out there? In this week’s Science Focus Podcast we speak to Mike Garrett, the Director of Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics, about the search for extraterrestrial life, what we’ll do if we find them, and what it means for us as humans.
Russian space dogs paved the way to sending humans into the cosmos. By studying how space flight affected dogs, scientists could establish whether it was safe to blast humans into space too. In this episode, we talk to Vix Southgate, who has just written a children’s book about the dogs Belka and Strelka – the first two creatures to go into orbit and return safely back to Earth.
Whether it’s cheating on our spouse, slacking off at work, or eating too much junk, we all occasionally do things we shouldn’t. Jack Lewis talks to us about the neuroscience of sin, how we can resist it, and the wacky experiments that test our ability to behave.
It’s estimated that there are currently more than 6 billion tonnes of plastic waste buried in land fill sites or floating on the surface of the ocean. Clearly something needs to be done but what exactly should we be doing? We speak to materials scientist Mark Miodownik about the growing problem of plastic waste, what we should be doing about it, and why plastic isn’t always bad for the planet.
We like to think of ourselves as highly evolved, well-adapted creatures, but our retinas face backwards, we have too many bones in our wrists, and at least half our genome is junk. Biologist Nathan Lents explains what we can learn from our flaws.
Chris Hadfield has been to space three times, completed two spacewalks and visited two different space stations, but for many, he is best known for his rendition of David Bowie’s Space Oddity performed aboard the International Space Station. We find out how close the late songwriter’s vision of space was to reality, the life of a retired astronaut, and keeping yourself entertained on the ISS.
The image of dinosaurs as drab, slow-witted reptilians is slowly being overturned thanks to exciting new fossil discoveries and advances in the technology used to analyse them. We talk to palaeontologist Steve Brusatte about palaeontology’s emerging golden age that is revealing what dinosaurs really looked like and why they were much smarter than we used to think.
Your voice – its pitch, intonation and accent – is a huge part of your personal identity. Trevor Cox is talking to us about the full range of human speech, and how technology’s changing the conversation.
Everyone wants to be happy, it’s an inbuilt part of being human, but what exactly is going on in our brains when we feel happy and what can we do to ensure we live as happy a life as possible? We talk to neuroscientist, comedian and science writer Dean Burnett to find out.
VR can be used for so much more than cheap thrills and casual gaming. Jeremy Bailenson tells us how he is using VR to change the way we perceive racism, highlight the impact of climate change, and help us step into the shoes of our sporting heroes.
People used to die at home and everybody recognised the process, and now people die in hospital largely with doctors and nurses trying to stop it from happening. So we don’t see how gentle the normal process of a life winding to an end can be.
We talk to Mark O’Connell about transhumanism, a movement whose aim is to use technology to control the future evolution of our species – to improve our flawed biology, and to enable us to live forever.
How much difference can a small change make? When it comes to changing habits, convincing someone to do something or affecting the behaviour of people without them even knowing about it, quite a lot, as we have seen with the recent Facebook scandal, where data firm Cambridge Analytica used personal data influence the way people vote.
In this week's Science Focus Podcast, BBC Focus commissioning editor Jason Goodyer speaks to David Halpern, Chief Executive of the Behavioural Insights...
This week, we chat to theoretical physicist Michio Kaku about the future of humanity, how we're going to terraform Mars, why the modern space race will change life on Earth, and why aliens probably won't bother to destroy us.