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Science Weekly

The Guardian

Twice a week, the Guardian brings you the latest science and environment news

Location:

London, United Kingdom

Networks:

The Guardian

Description:

Twice a week, the Guardian brings you the latest science and environment news

Language:

English

Contact:

Kings Place, 90 York Way London N1 9GU 0044 20 3353 2999


Episodes
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Concrete without CO2: can our biggest building material go green?

5/28/2024
Concrete is strong and durable – which is why it’s the basis for so much of our infrastructure. It’s also terrible for the planet, due to one key ingredient: cement, which is responsible for almost 90% of concrete emissions. Researchers have now found a way to recover old cement while also reducing the environmental impact of recycling steel. Madeleine Finlay speaks to Julian Allwood, professor of engineering and the environment at the University Of Cambridge, to find out how the process works, and what it could mean for the emissions generated by the construction industry. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod

Duration:00:14:53

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Why is air turbulence getting worse?

5/23/2024
On Tuesday a British man died and several others were injured when their plane encountered severe turbulence between London and Singapore. And it looks like this kind of turbulence is something we’ll have to get used to. Last year a study found severe clear-air turbulence had increased by 55% between 1979 and 2020. Ian Sample speaks to Guy Gratton, associate professor of aviation and the environment at Cranfield University, to find out why this is happening, and whether there’s anything we can do to reverse the trend.. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod

Duration:00:13:34

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In their prime: how trillions of cicadas pop up right on time

5/21/2024
Right now, across much of the midwestern and eastern US, trillions of cicadas are crawling out from the soil. And this year is extra special, because two broods are erupting from the ground at once. The first brood hasn’t been seen for 13 years, the other for 17 years and the last time they emerged together Thomas Jefferson was president. Ian Sample speaks to entomologist Dr Gene Kritsky to find out what’s going on, why periodical cicadas emerge in cycles of prime numbers and how they keep time underground. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod

Duration:00:16:15

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AI, algorithms and apps: can dating be boiled down to a science?

5/16/2024
Last week the founder of the dating app Bumble forecasted a near future dating landscape where AI ‘dating concierges’ filter out prospective partners for us. But does AI, or even science, really understand what makes two people compatible? Madeleine Finlay speaks to Amie Gordon, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Michigan, to find out what we know about why two people go the distance, and why she and her colleague associate professor of sociology Elizabeth Bruch, are designing their own dating app to learn more.. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod

Duration:00:16:46

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Backstabbing, bluffing and playing dead: has AI learned to deceive?

5/14/2024
As AI systems have grown in sophistication, so has their capacity for deception, according to a new analysis from researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Dr Peter Park, an AI existential safety researcher at MIT and author of the research, tells Ian Sample about the different examples of deception he uncovered, and why they will be so difficult to tackle as long as AI remains a black box. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod

Duration:00:15:29

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How much protein is too much?

5/9/2024
Sales of cottage cheese are booming thanks to a boost from protein-hungry social media influencers. But do we really need all this extra protein? Madeleine Finlay speaks to Joanne Slavin, a professor of food science and nutrition at the University of Minnesota, to find out what exactly protein is doing in our bodies, and what happens to it when we consume it in excess. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod

Duration:00:15:17

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Why are the world’s cities sinking?

5/7/2024
A study has found that more than two dozen US coastal cities are sinking by more than 2mm a year. It’s a similar picture across the world. Nearly half of China’s major cities, as well as places such as Tehran and Jakarta, are facing similar problems. These issues are compounded by sea level rises caused by global heating. Madeleine Finlay speaks to Prof Manoochehr Shirzaei of Virginia Tech University and Prof Robert Nicholls of the University of East Anglia to find out what’s making our cities sink and whether anything can be done to rescue them from the sea. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod

Duration:00:16:19

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The extraordinary promise of personalised cancer vaccines

5/2/2024
Glioblastomas are an extremely aggressive type of brain tumour, which is why the news this week of a vaccine that has shown promise in fighting them is so exciting. And this comes right off the back of the announcement of another trial of the world’s first personalised mRNA vaccine for melanoma, a kind of skin cancer. Ian Sample talks to Prof Alan Melcher of the Institute of Cancer Research about how these vaccines work and whether they could one day be used to target cancer before it is even detectable on scans. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod

Duration:00:13:15

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The stream of plastic pollution: could a global treaty help us turn off the tap?

4/30/2024
Guardian Seascapes reporter Karen McVeigh tells Madeleine Finlay about a recent trip to the Galápagos Islands, where mounds of plastic waste are washing up and causing problems for endemic species. Tackling this kind of waste and the overproduction of plastic were the topics on the table in Ottawa this week, as countries met to negotiate a global plastics treaty. But is progress too slow to address this pervasive problem?. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod

Duration:00:15:56

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From birds, to cattle, to … us? Could bird flu be the next pandemic?

4/25/2024
As bird flu is confirmed in 33 cattle herds across eight US states, Ian Sample talks to virologist Dr Ed Hutchinson of Glasgow University about why this development has taken scientists by surprise, and how prepared we are for the possibility it might start spreading among humans. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod

Duration:00:15:05

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Hardwired to eat: what can our dogs teach us about obesity?

4/23/2024
Labradors are known for being greedy dogs, and now scientists have come up with a theory about the genetic factors that might be behind their behaviour. Science correspondent and flat-coated retriever owner Nicola Davis visits Cambridge University to meet Dr Eleanor Raffan and Prof Giles Yeo to find out how understanding this pathway could help us treat the obesity crisis in humans. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod

Duration:00:20:05

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Who really wins if the Enhanced Games go ahead?

4/18/2024
Billed as a rival to the Olympic Games, the Enhanced Games, set to take place in 2025, is a sporting event with a difference; athletes will be allowed to dope. Ian Sample talks to chief sports writer Barney Ronay about where the idea came from and how it’s being sold as an anti-establishment underdog, and to Dr Peter Angell about what these usually banned substances are, and what they could do to athletes’ bodies. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod

Duration:00:16:41

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Soundscape ecology: a window into a disappearing world

4/16/2024
What can sound tell us about nature loss? Guardian biodiversity reporter Phoebe Weston tells Madeleine Finlay about her visit to Monks Wood in Cambridgeshire, where ecologist Richard Broughton has witnessed the decline of the marsh tit population over 22 years, and has heard the impact on the wood’s soundscape. As species lose their habitats across the world, pioneering soundscape ecologist Bernie Krause has argued that if we listen closely, nature can tell us everything we need to know about our impact on the planet. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod

Duration:00:16:16

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The senior Swiss women who went to court over climate change, and won

4/11/2024
This week, in a landmark case, the European court of human rights ruled that Switzerland’s weak climate policy had violated the rights of a group of older Swiss women to family life. Ian Sample talks to Europe environment correspondent Ajit Niranjan about why the women brought the case and what the ruling could mean for future climate policy.. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod

Duration:00:15:30

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Remembering physicist Peter Higgs

4/10/2024
The Nobel prize-winning British physicist Peter Higgs has died aged 94. The confirmation in 2012 of the existence of the Higgs boson particle, five decades after Higgs had first theorised its existence, paved the way for his 2013 Nobel win. Nicknamed ‘the god particle’, the Higgs boson was part of an attempt to explain why the building blocks of the universe have mass. Ian Sample and Madeleine Finlay look back on the life and legacy of a giant of science. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod

Duration:00:17:05

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Horny tortoises and solar mysteries: what scientists can learn from a total eclipse

4/9/2024
For most people seeing a total solar eclipse is a once in a lifetime experience. But for scientists it can be a fleeting chance to understand something deeper about their field of research. Madeleine Finlay meets solar scientist prof Huw Morgan, of Aberystwyth University, and Adam Hartstone-Rose, professor of biological sciences at NC State University, to find out what they hoped to learn from 8 April’s four minutes of darkness.. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod

Duration:00:17:17

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The science of ‘weird shit’: why we believe in fate, ghosts and conspiracy theories

4/4/2024
Psychologist Chris French has spent decades studying paranormal claims and mysterious experiences, from seemingly-impossible coincidences to paintings that purportedly predict the future. Ian Sample sits down with French to explore why so many of us end up believing in, what he terms, ‘weird shit’, and what we can learn from understanding why we’re drawn to mysterious and mystic phenomena. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod

Duration:00:18:33

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Hypermobility: a blessing or a curse?

4/2/2024
Being more flexible than the average person can have its advantages, from being great at games such as Limbo to feeling smug in yoga class. But researchers are coming to understand that being hypermobile can also be linked to pain in later life, anxiety, and even long Covid. Madeleine Finlay hears from the science correspondent Linda Geddes about her experience of hypermobility, and finds out what might be behind its link to mental and physical health. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod

Duration:00:15:01

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The virus that infects almost everyone, and its link to cancer and MS

3/28/2024
On 28 March it’s the 60th anniversary of the discovery of Epstein-Barr virus, the most common viral infection in humans. The virus was first discovered in association with a rare type of cancer located in Africa, but is now understood to be implicated in 1% of cancers, as well as the autoimmune disease multiple sclerosis, among others. Ian Sample meets Lawrence Young, professor of molecular oncology at Warwick Medical School, to hear the story of this virus, and how understanding it might help us prevent and treat cancer and other illnesses.. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod

Duration:00:15:35

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What could a severe solar storm do to Earth, and are we prepared?

3/26/2024
The sun is currently ramping up to hit the peak of its 11-year activity cycle. In the past few days, powerful solar eruptions have sent a stream of particles towards Earth which are set to produce spectacular auroras in both hemispheres. But these kinds of geomagnetic storms can also have less appealing consequences. Madeleine Finlay speaks to Dr Lisa Upton, a solar scientist at the Southwest Research Institute, about how the mysterious inner workings of the sun create space weather, how solar events can significantly disrupt Earth’s infrastructure, and whether we are prepared for the worst-case scenario. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod

Duration:00:14:38