Explorations in the world of science.

Explorations in the world of science.


London, United Kingdom




Explorations in the world of science.




Dare To Repair: Fixing the future

Mark Miodownik, explores the environmental consequences of the throwaway society we have become and reveals that recycling electronic waste comes second to repairing broken electronics. He asks what we can learn from repair cultures around the world , he looks at manufacturers who are designing in repair-ability, and discovers the resources available to encourage and train the next generation of repairers. Image: Teen boy solders wires to build robot, Credit: SDI Productions/Getty Images...


Dare to repair: The fight for the right to repair

Many electronics manufacturers are making it harder for us, to fix our broken kit. There are claims that programmed obsolescence is alive and well, with mobile phone batteries designed to wear out after just 400 charges. They claim it's for safety or security reasons, but it pushes constant replacement and upgrades. But people are starting to fight back. Mark Miodownik talks to the fixers and repairers who are heading up the Right to Repair movement which is forcing governments to act, and...


Dare to Repair: How we broke the future

Materials engineer Professor Mark Miodownik looks back to the start of the electronics revolution to find out why our electronic gadgets and household goods are less durable and harder to repair now. As he attempts to fix his digital clock radio, he reveals that the drive for cheaper stuff and advances in design and manufacturing have left us with a culture of throwaway technology and mountains of electronic waste. Image: Apron housewife at kitchen dish washer, Credit: George Marks/Getty...


Tooth and claw: Tigers

“As it charges towards you, you can actually feel the drumbeat of its feet falling to the ground”. Nothing quite says fear more than standing before a charging tiger. Yet so often it’s also the poster-predator for conservation. The tiger truly is the ‘prince of the jungle’.. The good news (to some) is that after a century of decline, wild tiger populations have increased recently. But with this comes the increase in human fatalities – there are almost daily attacks on the rural poor across...


Tooth and claw: Bears

Teddy bears might be popular with children but real bears are anything but cuddly. Brown, Black and Grizzly bears are the most well-known and have a well-deserved fearsome reputation. But for most part, bear attacks are not nearly as common as you might think. They are solitary, curious and you are unlikely to see one unless you are really lucky – or unlucky depending on your point of view. So what should you do if you find yourself facing one in a forest? To learn more about these...


The Evidence: How Covid damages the human body

A year and a half in, and in many ways Covid-19 is still an enigma. All over the world, doctors and scientists are still struggling to understand exactly how this new virus undermines our defences and then damages, even destroys, our bodies, in so many different ways. And why are some people completely unaffected? In this edition of The Evidence, Claudia Hammond and her panel of experts chart the remarkable journey to understand this chameleon-like virus, including the long tail of the...


Tooth and claw: Lions

From Aslan to Simba, from the Wizard of Oz to heraldry, children in the West probably recognise this king of beasts before they can name the animals in their own back yards. But what about people who have lions roaming in their back yards literally? To find out more about the archetypal ‘man-eater; and how our increasingly complex relationship with them is playing out in Africa, Professor Adam Hart talks to two female researchers who have spent much of their lives working and living in lion...


Tooth and claw: Crocodiles

We have a morbid fascination with predators. And we've had it since the very first people carved figures or painted on cave walls thousands of years ago. Predators are still revered as gods in many cultures. Our cultural fascination is equalled only by our biological fear, hardwired into our primate brains, because if you are not a predator, you ARE the prey. In this series, Professor Adam Hart and explores our complex, challenging and ambiguous relationship with Earth’s greatest predators...


Peter Goadsby on migraine

neurological condition is far more common than you might think, affecting more people than diabetes, epilepsy and asthma combined. While medications, to help relieve the symptoms of migraine, have been around for some time, they haven’t worked for everyone. And what happens in the brain during a migraine attack was, until recently, poorly understood. Peter Goadsby is Professor of Neurology at King's College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience and is a true pioneer in...


Patient zero: First outbreak

“Aboriginal people had a name for it... they called it ‘Devil Devil’...” In 1789, a disease tore through Aboriginal communities around Sydney Cove, or Warrane, leaving dead bodies floating in the harbour, and scattered along the shorelines. The evidence points to this being smallpox, but there’s still debate over how it got to Australia. Was it an accidental import with the arrival of European ships? Did it come from trading with other peoples in the region? Or was it deliberately introduced...


The Evidence: Sharing Vaccines – what’s gone wrong?

The lofty ambition of the global community was that across the globe, those with the highest risk of losing their lives to this virus should be vaccinated first. With 99% of deaths coming in the over fifties, the plan was that everybody in this age group should be inoculated. But that’s not what has happened. Vaccine supply is in crisis and in Africa, a continent of over 1.2 billion people, only around 20 million Africans have been vaccinated, with only 35 million vaccines landing so far on...


Patient zero: Back from the brink

A six-year old boy in Papua New Guinea woke up one day in 2018 and was suddenly unable to stand up. Less than a year later, children in three other Asia Pacific nations were experiencing the same alarming symptoms. A disease that had been thought to have been eradicated from this region 18 years before was back -- and it appeared to be spreading. Olivia Willis tells the story of how doctors discovered that these children who developed paralysis had in fact contracted polio. Producers: Jane...


Patient zero Ticking time bomb

In 2012 doctors in Tennessee started seeing patients with unusual symptoms. It became a race against time to find a diagnosis. A series of investigations revealed that the patients were infected with a fungus that was causing a form of meningitis. But where did they pick up the fungus? Olivia Willis speaks to the public health specialists who worked out what linked the people who succumbed to the infection: it turned out to be a contaminated spinal drug. In the end they discovered that more...


Patient zero: Spillover in suburbia

A horse mysteriously falls ill in her paddock, and before long dozens of other horses from her stables are sick. As the horses start to die vicious, painful deaths, their trainer falls into a coma and is placed into intensive care. The race is on to figure out what's making both species sick, and where it came from. What they find will resonate throughout the following decades and might help us uncover the origins of COVID-19. Olivia Willis tells the story of how it was discovered that a...


The noises that make us cringe

Why do some people find noises like a fork scraping a plate so terrible? asks Findlay in Aberdeenshire. Rutherford and Fry endure some horrible noises to find out the answer. Warning - This episode contains some horrible sounds Trevor Cox, Professor of Acoustic Engineering at the University of Salford, has run experiments to find out the worst, most cringe-making sound. He divided horrible sounds into three categories: scraping sounds, like nails down a blackboard; disgusting sounds like a...


The Hamster Power Hypothesis

"How many hamsters on wheels would it take to power London?" asks Judah from Virginia in the USA. Rutherford & Fry return with engineering, ethics and economics to answer this electric query. Smart grid engineer Lynne McDonald helps keep the lights on for 8.3 million homes and businesses across London at UK Power Networks. She explains how the kilowatt hours we see on our electricity bills relate to the thousands of gigawatt hours required when thinking about powering the whole of London. In...


The Martian Mission

What would it take for humans to live permanently on Mars? asks Martin in Weston-super-Mare, UK. The doctors dig into requirements and possibilities of a long-term Martian outpost. We know that many missions to Mars have failed, for a range of reasons – malfunctions, crashes and even a mix-up between imperial and metric units. Getting to Mars – let alone decelerating from 30,000 miles per hour to a safe landing speed in about seven minutes – is not straightforward. Aerospace engineer Anita...


The equal rights stuff

In 1976, Nasa launched a campaign to help recruit the next generation of Astronauts. It was fronted by African-American actress Nichelle Nichols, Star Trek’s Lt. Uhura, as part of an effort to ensure the astronaut corps represented the diversity of the United States. When they were revealed to the press, the 35 members of the new astronaut group included six women, three African American men and one Asian American man. All were appointed on merit. The selection of the first women caused...


Lithium: Chile’s white gold

The Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2019 was awarded to John Goodenough, Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino "for the development of lithium-ion batteries." These rechargeable batteries are in our phones, and in our laptops. And they will be the batteries powering electric vehicles which we are being urged to use in place of ones fuelled by gasoline and diesel. Jane Chambers finds out how the element lithium has become so important in the world today. She lives in Chile, where lithium is...


Patient zero: Coronavirus and contact tracing

Today’s episode is about the history we’re still living. From Melbourne to Munich, Lombardy to Wuhan and all the way back again, this episode is about what happened when we faced those first coronavirus cases. Where things went well, where they didn’t, and where contact tracing was effective — and whether there’s anything we could have done to stop it. Presented by Olivia Willis of ABC Australia. (Picture: Coronavirus particles spreading in a crowd of people, Credit: Peter Howell/Getty...