Comedian Dara Ó Briain thinks the word nerd has been co-opted by too many people who don’t deserve it: Infinity Wars fans, for example. Studying maths and mathematical physics at university, he’s a true nerd, with a favourite science joke that backs that up. He’s released his second science book for kids, so we’re talking to him about his career, communicating science to children, and what really happened to the Brontosaurus.
Scientists Lucy Cooke and Sarah-Jayne Blakemore’s books have been shortlisted for the Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize. They tell us the unexpected truth about animals and the secret life of the teenage brain.
How helpful would you be if you were stranded in the past? Ryan North imagined telling people how cool computers are, but if they asked him how to make one, he’d be stumped. So he did some research, and in his hilarious new book he’s teaching us how to invent everything.
Girls are not picking as many STEM A-levels as boys, while professional female scientists are dropping out of the field. Is it time for change? In this episode we talk to four women currently working in STEM about their experiences, the problems faced by women and girls, and how we can fix the issues.
Astronauts: Do You Have What It Takes?Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong
Five violent murders were committed by a man dubbed ‘Jack the Ripper’ between August and November 1888 in Whitechapel. Criminologist David Wilson and actor Emilia Fox, with the help of the country’s leading criminal investigators, apply the latest scientific techniques to the case in a new BBC Science documentary. We asked Wilson if they identified the killer.
Imogen Heap has pushed the creative boundaries in the creation of electronic music, but now she is using technology a different way that she hopes will create a fairer and more inclusive future for musicians. She talks to us about how blockchain could revolutionise the music industry, and how her innovative mi.mu gloves are changing the way we create and perform electronic music.
This summer has been one of the hottest on record, so we asked climate change researcher Dann Mitchell what has caused the summer heatwave, can we expect more, and is there anything we can do about it?
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.