Science & Medicine Podcast
In case you missed this episode on the Playing with Science channel… Re-visit Planet Soccer as we gear up for the 2018 FIFA World Cup with Chuck Nice, Gary O’Reilly, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and former NY Cosmos assistant coach and MLS All-Star Alecko Eskandarian. Now extended with physicist John Eric Goff telling us all about the new Telstar 18. NOTE: StarTalk All-Access subscribers can listen to this entire episode commercial-free here: https://www.startalkradio.net/all-access/extended-classic-planet-soccer-with-neil-degrasse-tyson Photo Credit: XiXinXing/iStock
Neil deGrasse Tyson and Chuck Nice tackle an eclectic mix of your questions that take us from the boiling surface of the Sun to the dark side of the moon. Now extended with more questions on aliens, Isaac Newton as a dinner guest, Panspermia, and the James Webb Space Telescope. NOTE: StarTalk All-Access subscribers can listen to this entire episode commercial-free here: https://www.startalkradio.net/all-access/extended-classic-cosmic-queries-a-powerful-potpourri/ Image Credit & Copyright: Bob Franke.
To celebrate the life of Anthony Bourdain, Neil deGrasse Tyson is revisiting his two-part interview with him from 2013, as a single, commercial-free episode with new thoughts and recollections by Neil. Featuring comic co-host Eugene Mirman and NYU Professor of Nutrition Marion Nestle. NOTE: StarTalk All-Access subscribers can listen to this entire episode commercial-free here: https://www.startalkradio.net/all-access/remembering-anthony-a-seat-at-the-table-with-anthony-bourdain-parts-1-2/ Photo Credit: Brandon Royal.
This week an auction of a 70% complete dinosaur skeleton took place in Paris. The Therapod species, dating from the late Jurassic period about 155m years ago is scientifically very interesting. It’s an unknown predator which, argues the Society of Vertebrate Palaeontologists, is why it should not be owned by the highest bidder, but made available to palaeontologists for more scientific study. Roland Pease reports. Cancer Test If a doctor suspects cancer is behind a patient’s symptoms, blood tests and scans can help to detect tumours. Tiny bits of tissue can also be extracted in biopsies to see how advanced the disease is. Detecting cancer early offers a better chance of a cure. So news of a potential blood test to detect ten different types has been welcomed this week. Claudia Hammond spoke to Jacqui Shaw, Professor of Translational Cancer Genetics at Leicester University in the UK. Atlantic Hurricanes The 1st of June marks the start of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season. Leading climate scientists debate whether we will see fewer or more tropical cyclones in the Atlantic as a consequence of anthropogenic climate change. There is a mounting consensus, however, that we will see more intense hurricanes. So do we need to add a more severe Category 6 to the Saffir-Simpson hurricane intensity scale? Roland Pease put this to climate scientist Michael Mann from Penn State University. Cancer Immunotherapy Treatment Immunotherapies for cancer have been in the news in the last week. Adam Rutherford talks to cancer researchers Sophie Papa of Kings College, London and Samra Turaljik of the Royal Marsden Hospital about the principles behind immunotherapy about the different approaches in the clinic and under clinical trials. Kenya Food App Getting access to loans in Kenya for small retailers can be tricky, but now cryptocurrency could solve this problem. Twiga Foods already provides marketplaces via an online platform for farmers and urban retailers. Now it is branching out to provide micro-loans secured via blockchain technology. CEO of Twiga Grant Brooke explains more to Gareth Mitchell. The Science Of Disgust Encouraging people to be healthier can involve gentle persuasion or giving some kind of incentive. Harnessing the most visceral of emotions – disgust – might not seem an obvious approach. Professor Val Curtis from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine has carried out an online survey in order to categorise the commonest types of disgust in order to harness its effects to fight against the spread of disease. She spoke to Claudia Hammond. The Science Hour was presented by Marnie Chesterton with comments from Kerri Smith, Nature features editor. Producer: Katy Takatsuki (Image caption: A skeleton of an undeterminate carnivorous dinosaur on display at the first floor of the Eiffel Tower in Paris which went on auction © AFP / Getty Images)
Neil deGrasse Tyson investigates the search for the truth, the devaluation of facts, staying fair and balanced, debunking “fake news”, and the evolution of modern journalism with Katie Couric, co-host Eugene Mirman, Buzz Machine’s Jeff Jarvis, and data journalist Mona Chalabi. NOTE: StarTalk All-Access subscribers can listen to this entire episode commercial-free. Photo Credit: Brandon Royal.
In case you missed this episode on the Playing with Science channel… Chuck Nice and Gary O’Reilly race down the track, hairpin through the corner, and kick it into high gear as we explore the science-filled spectacle of auto racing with F1 journalist Will Buxton, physics professor Richard Bower, adventure journalist Jim Clash, and legendary driver Mario Andretti. NOTE: StarTalk All-Access subscribers can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free here: https://www.startalkradio.net/all-access/motorsports-physics-technology-with-will-buxton-and-mario-andretti/
Two small creatures are at the heart of today’s questions, sent in to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Tiniest Dinosaur "What is the tiniest dinosaur?" asks young listener Ellie Cook, aged 11. Our hunt takes us from the discovery of dinosaurs right up to the present day, which is being hailed as a 'golden age' for palaeontology. Currently, one new species of dinosaur is unearthed on average every single week. But what's the smallest dino? And what can size reveal about the life of extinct animals? Hannah Fry goes underground at the Natural History Museum in London to look through their vaults in search of the tiniest dinosaur with palaeontologist Susie Maidment. Meanwhile Adam Rutherford chats to dinosaur expert Steve Brusatte from Edinburgh University about why size really does matter, especially when it comes to fossils. The Baffled Bat "Why don't thousands of bats in a cave get confused? How do they differentiate their own location echoes from those of other bats?" This puzzling problem was sent in by Tim Beard from Hamburg in Germany. Since eco-location was first discovered, this question has perplexed biologists. Hannah turns bat detective to try and track down these elusive creatures at The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in East London. This is where zoologist Kate Jones from University College London is using a network of smart sensors to find, identify and track wild bats. Bat researcher and impressionist John Ratcliffe from Toronto University explains how bats use sonar to find their way around, and the clever tricks they’ve developed along the way. It's an unlikely tale involving gruesome early experiments, cunning electric fish and some surprising bat maths. (Image: Dinosaurs and a meteor falling from the sky in back background. Credit: ugurhan/Getty Images) Producer: Michelle Martin
When the New Horizons space probe flew past Pluto three years ago, it revealed an expectedly exotic little world. The latest revelation from the data is that dunes creep across its surface. But as John Spencer of the South West Research Institute explains, these dunes are not made of sand grain, but tiny particles of frozen methane. Then again, it is minus 240 degrees Celsius on Pluto. Plenty, a Silicon Valley company plans to revolutionize farming by bringing it indoors and dramatically reducing water use. It has ambitious plans to replicate its warehouse farms in Japan, China and across Europe. Alison van Diggelen explores: the veracity of its technology; its environmental claims; its use of AI and automation; and how it plans to disrupt the agricultural industry. India is tackling an outbreak of the deadly Nipah virus. It has claimed at least 13 lives so far in the southern state, Kerala. The WHO has Nipah on its list as one of eight diseases that could cause a global epidemic. 40% of adults report that they have trouble falling asleep at least a couple of times a month. Common worries about the day’s events and what lies ahead can result in restlessness and low sleep quality. A new study shows that writing a to-do list before bed may help you to nod off faster A 10 kilometre wide asteroid wiped out 75% of life (including the dinosaurs) 66 million years ago. So it’s been a shock to discover this week that life rapidly returned, flourished and diversified at very place where the asteroid crashed into the Earth. Sean Gulick and Chris Lowery of the University of Texas in Austin talks about their discoveries and how they relate to today’s mass extinction crisis. Is Fasting Healthy? Marnie Chestherton cuts down on cookies and investigates the science behind low-calorie or time-restricted eating. She hears how some cells regenerate when we're deprived of food, which one researcher says could reduce breast cancer rates. The coldest place in the universe will be created shortly on the International Space Station. This will be in a box called the Cold Atom Lab installed on the station earlier this week. Lasers and magnets will cool a strange cloud of atoms to within a few fractions of a billionth of a degree above absolute zero. The Lab’s creator is physicist Rob Thompson of Nasa’s JPL in Pasadena. Picture: Image of Pluto taken by the New Horizons space probe. Credit: Credit the picture (note, don't capitalise names)
Neil deGrasse Tyson explores the future of clean meat and animal agriculture with comic co-host Maeve Higgins, author and animal advocate Paul Shapiro, and Dr. Liz Specht, Senior Scientist at The Good Food Institute. NOTE: StarTalk All-Access subscribers can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free here: https://www.startalkradio.net/all-access/clean-meat-with-paul-shapiro/ Photo Credit: World Economic Forum (File: The Meat Revolution Mark Post.webm (7:53)) [CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.
What if we could use the cold darkness of outer space to cool buildings on earth? In this mind-blowing talk, physicist Aaswath Raman details the technology he's developing to harness "night-sky cooling" -- a natural phenomenon where infrared light escapes earth and heads to space, carrying heat along with it -- which could dramatically reduce the energy used by our cooling systems (and the pollution they cause). Learn more about how this approach could lead us towards a future where we intelligently tap into the energy of the universe.
In case you missed this episode on the Playing with Science channel… We kick it into top gear as hosts Gary O’Reilly and Chuck Nice explore the physics of motorcycle racing, riding, and assembly alongside adventure journalist Jim Clash and physics professor and motorcycle aficionado Charles Falco. NOTE: StarTalk All-Access subscribers can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free here: https://www.startalkradio.net/all-access/motorcycle-racing-physics-on-2-wheels/ Photo Credit: SCrider (Flickr) via Wikimedia Commons.
Can a bird that symbolizes death help the living catch criminals? In this informative and accessible talk, forensic anthropologist Lauren Pharr shows us how vultures impact crime scenes -- and the assistance they can provide to detectives investigating murders. (This talk contains graphic images.)
Two astronomical questions today sent in to email@example.com for Drs Hannah Fry and Adam Rutherford to answer. The Cosmic Speed Limit "We often read that the fastest thing in the Universe is the speed of light. Why do we have this limitation and can anything possibly be faster?" asks Ali Alshareef from Qatif from Saudia Arabia. The team grapples with Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity, with help from cosmologist Andrew Pontzen and a British train, travelling somewhat slower than the speed of light. Plus physicist and presenter Jim Al-Khalili describes how he nearly lost his boxer shorts in a daring bet concerning the speed of subatomic particles. The Cosmic Egg "How do we measure the age of the Universe?" asks Simon Whitehead. A hundred years ago this wouldn't even have been considered a valid question, because we didn't think the Universe had a beginning at all. Even Einstein thought that space was eternal and unchanging. This is the tale of how we discovered that the Universe had a beginning, and why calculating its age has been one of the greatest challenges in modern astronomy. We also uncover the mysterious dark energy that pervades the cosmos and discover why it's been putting a scientific spanner in the works. Helping to unravel today's question are physicists Andrew Pontzen, Jo Dunkley and Jim Al-Khalili. Picture: Star sun supernova galaxy gold, Credit: Eastern Lightcraft/Getty Images Producer: Michelle Martin
Increased CO2 and Rice Nutrition New research suggests that rice will be depleted in important B vitamins and minerals by rising CO2 levels in the atmosphere. Adam Rutherford to talks to Kristie Ebi of the University of Washington, one of the scientists behind the finding, and Marco Springmann of the Future of Food project at the University of Oxford. GDPR Legislation to greater protect individuals’ data in the EU has come into force. What does it mean, and will there be unexpected consequences for the use of metadata? Gareth Mitchell talks to Claire Bury from the EU commission and Luukas Ilves, Deputy Director at The Lisbon Council. Polio Vaccination As vaccinations start in the Democratic Republic of Congo to try to contain the ebola outbreak, scientists in the United States have published research which they hope will help to simplify immunisations against diseases like polio. Eradication is tricky because the vaccine needs to be given in multiple doses. However, researchers at MIT say they have successfully vaccinated animals with just one injection. Claudia Hammond speaks to researcher Ana Jaklenec. Feel Good Garden Claudia Hammond visits the RHS Feel Good Garden at the Chelsea Flower Show. The garden is part of the 70th birthday celebrations for the NHS and was proposed by occupational therapist Andrew Kingston and designed by Matt Keightley to highlight the benefits of gardening for mental health. African Bee Parasites The presence of queen bees in a hive prevents them from being taking over by ‘parasite’ bees, a new study has found. Fiona Mumoki of the University of Pretoria explains to Roland Pease how the parasitic bees take over queenless hives, eventually causing hive collapse, and how the presence of a queen can enable hive fight back against the parasites. Drone Dog Rescue An engineer in India repurposed a drone to rescue a puppy that had fallen into a gully in New Delhi. Milind Raj constructed a giant claw that was attached to the drone. Raj says it took him six hours to assemble the improvised aerial vehicle. He says he attached an Artificial Intelligence-controlled robotic arm and giant drone together in his Lucknow lab which was then used to rescue the dog. Picture: A man holds a handful of rice grains at a market on July 17, 2008 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images The Science Hour was presented by Gareth Mitchell with comments from BBC science reporter Helen Briggs. Producer: Katy Takatsuki
Bill Nye the Science Guy and comic co-host Chuck Nice answer fan-submitted Cosmic Queries about The Planetary Society and space exploration, climate change, the competitive nature of scientists, the EPA, NASA, extra-terrestrials, dark matter, and much more. NOTE: StarTalk All-Access subscribers can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free here: https://www.startalkradio.net/all-access/cosmic-queries-the-science-around-us/ Photo Credit: Ben Ratner.
In case you missed this episode on the Playing with Science channel… Enter the wild, high-flying world of American Ninja Warrior with hosts Gary O’Reilly, Chuck Nice, ANW hosts Matt Iseman and Akbar Gbaja-Biamila, Ninjas Drew Drechsel, Najee Richardson, and Joe Moravsky, and executive producer Anthony Storm. NOTE: StarTalk All-Access subscribers can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free here: https://www.startalkradio.net/all-access/american-ninja-warrior-science-skills-and-strategy/ Photo Credit: Ben Ratner
Research investigator Michael Hendryx studies mountaintop removal, an explosive type of surface coal mining used in Appalachia that comes with unexpected health hazards. In this data-packed talk, Hendryx presents his research and tells the story of the pushback he's received from the coal industry, advocating for the ethical obligation scientists have to speak the truth.
Adventures in Dreamland "Why do we dream and why do we repeat dreams?" asks Mila O'Dea, aged 9, from Panama. Hannah Fry and Adam Rutherford delve into the science of sleep. From a pioneering experiment on rapid eye movement sleep, to a brand new 'dream signature' found in the brain, they discover how scientists are investigating our hidden dreamworld. Featuring sociologist Bill Domhoff from the University of California Santa Cruz, sleep psychologist Mark Blagrove from the University of Swansea, and neurologist Francesca Siclari from the University of Lausanne. The Curious Face-Off "Are machines better than humans at identifying faces?" asks the excellently named Carl Vandal. Today’s Face Off leads our intrepid detectives to investigate why we see Jesus on toast, Hitler in houses and Kate Middleton on a jelly bean. Face perception psychologist Rob Jenkins from the University of York explains why we're so good at spotting familiar faces, like celebrities. Plus, Franziska Knolle from the University of Cambridge discusses her face recognition study involving Barack Obama and a group of highly-trained sheep. But are we outwitted by artificial intelligence when it comes to face ID? BBC technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones gives us the low-down on the pros and cons of current technology. Picture: Child sleeping, Credit: Quintanilla/Getty Images Producer: Michelle Martin
Threat to conservation A third of protected nature reserves around the world are under threat from intense human activities like road building, grazing of animals and urbanization, according to a new study. Professor James Watson from the World Conservation Society explains to Roland Pease how only 10% of lands were completely free of human activity. Drones reforesting Myanmar Irina Fedorenko, Co-Founder of BioCarbon Engineering in Oxford, has been using drone technology to reforest the coastal areas of Myanmar. She tells Gareth Mitchell how they can restore natural ecosystems in a fraction of the time it takes traditional methods. Bitcoin energy Alex de Vries from accountancy group PwC explains how Bitcoin works, and how there is a limit to Bitcoin production. He speaks to Roland Pease about how his calculations suggest that Bitcoin electricity usage will soon be almost the same as the consumption of Ireland. Ebola outbreak in DR Congo The Ebola outbreak in DR Congo has spread from the countryside into a city, prompting fears that the disease will be increasingly hard to control. Health Minister Oly Ilunga Kalenga confirmed a case in Mbandaka, a city of a million about 130km (80 miles) from where the first cases were confirmed. Earlier this week, Claudia Hammond spoke to Helen Branswell from the US health website STAT about the action needed to prevent the spread of the disease. Alzheimer's disease We hear about efforts in Italy to help diagnose dementia earlier using computer algorithms to rapidly analyse thousands of brain scans for markers of the disease before symptoms become apparent. Agnese Abrusci reports from Bari in Italy. Evolution of music How have the trends in music changed over recent years? Natalia Komarova has tapped into databases online to discover what characteristics make a song ‘successful’. Her study, which uses machine learning to try to predict the success of songs, shows that the ‘happiness’ of songs is slowly declining, while the ‘danceability’ has increased. Roland Pease spoke to Dr Natalia Komarova from the University of California, Irvine. Picture: Madidi National Park, Bolivia. Credit: Rob Wallace The Science Hour was presented by Marnie Chesterton with comments from BBC Science reporter Katie Silver. Producer: Katy Takatsuki
Explore the inner workings of the human mind, the mysteries of memory, The Matrix, deep learning, the ethics of driverless cars, ELIZA, and much more with Neil deGrasse Tyson, comic co-host Chuck Nice, and neuroscientist Dr. Gary Marcus. NOTE: StarTalk All-Access subscribers can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free here: https://www.startalkradio.net/all-access/cosmic-queries-minds-and-machines/ Image Credit: metamorworks/iStock.
In case you missed this episode on the Playing with Science channel… Home runs, World Series winners, pitching physics, and more – enjoy our baseball mashup featuring hosts Chuck Nice and Gary O’Reilly, astrophysicists Neil deGrasse Tyson and Charles Liu, physicist Alan Nathan, Holden Kushner, and former MLB greats Ron Darling Jr., Geoff Blum, and J.P. Arencibia. Photo Credit: AlbertoChagas/iStock.
Domestic science is on the agenda today, with two culinary questions sent in by listeners to firstname.lastname@example.org The Curious Cake-Off Can chemistry help us bake the perfect cake? Listener Helena McGinty aged 69 from Malaga in Spain asks, "'I have always used my mother's sponge cake recipe. But is there a noticeable difference in the outcome if you vary some of the ingredients, or the method?" Hannah and Adam go head to head in a competition to create the perfect cake using the power of science. They are aided by materials scientist Mark Miodownik, from University College London, with tips on how to combine the ideal ingredients and trusted techniques to construct a structurally sound sponge. Food critic Jay Rayner is on hand to judge the results. But who will emerge victorious in this messy baking battle? The Atomic Blade "What makes things sharp? Why are thinner knives sharper? What happens on the molecular level when you cut something?" All these questions came from Joshua Schwartz in New York City. The ability to create sharp tools allowed us to fashion clothing, make shelters and hunt for food, all essential for the development of human civilisation. And, more importantly today they allow us to prepare dinner. So what makes kitchen knives sharp? We hear from IBM scientist Chris Lutz, who has used one of the sharpest blades in the world to slice up individual atoms. Plus palaeoarchaeologist Becky Wragg Sykes reveals the sharpest natural object in the world, a volcanic glass used by the Aztecs called ‘obsidian’. Picture: Colourful Cupcakes, Credit: RuthBlack/Getty Images Producer: Michelle Martin
On the remote island of South Georgia, Antarctica, the invasion of rats from passing ships has wreaked havoc on the local wildlife. But the South Georgia Heritage Trust announced this week that all rats have been eradicated, thanks to an extensive project. Adam Rutherford speaks to chairman Professor Mike Richardson about the achievement and how wildlife is already healing. Amphibian Deadly Fungus According to new research a deadly fungus which has infected more than 700 species of amphibians originated from the Korean Peninsula. The data provides a more complete picture of how the fungus spread from region to region, and emphasises that human trade of amphibian species over the past 100 years has accelerated the spread of the disease. Simon O’Hanlon, from Imperial College London’s Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, explains more to Roland Pease. The Health Risks of Burning Waste in Lebanon Since the closure of a landfill site near Beirut, residents have started to burn rubbish which was building up on the streets. The Mount Lebanon region saw a 500% rise of cases of open burning. Respiratory doctors say the toxic fumes from the fires can put people’s health at risk, as Hugo Goodridge reports. The Smear Test The smear test – or pap smear – is carried out to detect any changes in cells which might later on lead to cervical cancer. But for some women the test itself puts them off going – as it can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. In the UK the number of women going for screening is at its lowest rate for 19 years and for 30 in the US. The design of the vaginal speculum used today dates back to the Ancient Greeks – so could it do with a re-design, to make it more patient-friendly? Claudia Hammond talks to Kate Sanger from Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust and mechanical engineer, Fran Wong, from Frog Design in California. The Rise of the Dinosaurs We all know how dinosaurs became extinct, but how did they rise to prominence? Dr Steve Brusatte talks to Adam Rutherford about what the origins of dinosaurs and how they came to dominate the earth. Time in a Sauna Linked to Lower Stroke Risk For Finnish people there is nothing more relaxing than sitting inside a hot sauna. And now a new study suggests that taking frequent saunas could reduce the risk of having a stroke. The researchers believe that the intense heat helps to reduce blood pressure, cutting the risk. Claudia Hammond speaks to Dr Setor Kunutsor from the University of Bristol’s Musculoskeletal Research Unit. (Photo credit: A member of Team Rat filling a baiting bucket in South Georgia – credit: Oliver Prince/PA Wire) The Science Hour was presented by Claudia Hammond with comments from freelance writer and columnist for BBC Future, David Robson Producer: Katy Takatsuki
Slam dunks, skyhooks, three-pointers, bank shots and rebounds – Investigate the physics of basketball with host Neil deGrasse Tyson, NBA All-Time leading scorer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, comic co-host Chuck Nice, astrophysicist Charles Liu, and NBA analyst Jim Spanarkel. NOTE: StarTalk All-Access subscribers can listen to this entire episode commercial-free here: https://www.startalkradio.net/all-access/basketball-physics-with-nba-legend-kareem-abdul-jabbar/ Photo Credit: Brandon Royal.
In case you missed this episode on the Playing with Science channel…Lace ‘em up! Explore the past, present, and future of basketball shoe technology with hosts Chuck Nice, Gary O’Reilly, NBA legends Julius “Dr. J.” Erving, Ray Allen, Rasheed Wallace, and Converse’s Jon Garon. Photo Courtesy of Nike.com.
Two very annoying cases today sent in by listeners to email@example.com to our scientific sleuths, mathematician Dr Hannah Fry and geneticist Dr Adam Rutherford. The Sticky Song Why do songs get stuck in our heads? And what makes some tunes stickier than others? Drs Rutherford and Fry investigate 'earworms', those musical refrains that infect our brains for days. Every morning BBC 6Music DJ Shaun Keaveny asks his listeners for their earworms, and Hannah finds out which tunes keep coming back. Adam asks Dr Lauren Stewart, from Goldsmiths University, to reveal the musical features that make some songs catchier than others. And they find out why, in times of crisis, an earworm may just save your life. The Shocking Surprise Jose Chavez Mendez from Guatemala asks, "Some years ago, in the dry season, I used to be very susceptible to static electricity. I want to know - why do static shocks happen?" The team uncover some slightly unethical science experiments on static electricity from the 1700s. Hannah Fry uses a Leyden Jar to demonstrate how static electricity works with help from her glamorous assistant, Adam Rutherford. Spoiler Alert: it doesn't end well for Adam. They discover what makes some people more susceptible to static shocks, and how bees and spiders have harnessed the awesome power of electricity. Featuring electromagnetism scientist Rhys Phillips and physicist Helen Czerski, author of 'Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life'.
The Thwaites Glacier in Western Antarctica is twice the size of the UK and accounts for about 4% of sea level rise, but what is unknown is whether the glacier will collapse as a result of environmental change. Adam Rutherford speaks to two scientists from a major new study which will be investigating what goes on under the glacier. The ‘Greatest Glasshouse’ in the World The Temperate House, the extensive Victorian glasshouse nestled within London’s Kew Gardens, will once again be open to the public after five years of refurbishments. The building is home to 10,000 plants, across 1,500 species, and many of them are classified as rare and endangered. Roland Pease takes a tour. Untranslatable Words There is a decades-old debate in psychology about which comes first - language or thought? It raises questions about the words used to describe emotional experiences and the many emotional words which are particular to certain languages. Claudia Hammond talks to Dr Tim Lomas, a lecturer in positive psychology from the University of East London, who has been collecting these kinds of words for an online lexicon. VR Innovations at Tribeca Film Festival Gareth Mitchell takes part in a virtual experience where he becomes Michael Sterling, a black man who encounters racism all the way from his school days through to his career as a bright young graduate. Dead Zone in the Arabian Sea Piracy and geopolitical tensions have made it difficult to monitor the Arabian Sea, leading to data becoming outdated and incorrect. While searching the area using underwater robots Dr Bastien Queste and his team have discovered that a large area now lacks oxygen, impacting on ecosystems and fishing in the region. He speaks to Roland Pease. Fighting Diarrhoea with a Vaccine Residents of Finland are being offered a cut-price holiday in Benin – but there is a catch. They have to provide stool samples for scientists testing a vaccine against one of the common causes of diarrhoea which can kill children. Half of the holidaymakers will be given the vaccine to see if it helps to protect them against the bacteria. Mandeep Rai reports. (Picture caption: Aerial view of Thwaites Glacier – credit: U.S. National Science Foundation/U.S. Antarctic Program/PA Wire) The Science Hour was presented by Gareth Mitchell with comments from Dr Jon Copley, Associate Professor of Ocean Exploration at the University of Southampton Producer: Katy Takatsuki
Bill Nye the Science Guy is back to delve into one of his favorite topics of discussion: climate change. Joined by co-host Chuck Nice and Kate Marvel, an Associate Research Scientist at NASA GISS and Columbia University, Bill and company answer fan’s Cosmic Queries about our changing climate. IMPORTANT NOTE FOR STARTALK FANS: Hey, StarTalkers: How would you like to “Keep Looking Up” at clear, starry skies, from the deck of a StarTalk themed-cruise, along with Neil deGrasse Tyson and your fellow StarTalk fans? We’re considering a cruise, and we want to know what you think in this survey: www.startalkradio.net/CosmicCruise. NOTE: StarTalk All-Access subscribers can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free here: https://www.startalkradio.net/all-access/cosmic-queries-climate-science-with-bill-nye/
In case you missed this episode on the Playing with Science channel… Investigate the evolution of the NBA with Gary O’Reilly and Chuck Nice in the first of our two part mini-series featuring NBA greats Julius “Dr. J” Erving, Rasheed Wallace, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and our own Neil deGrasse Tyson.
Humans have become the most successful species on earth because of our ability to cooperate. Often we help strangers when there is no obvious benefit to us as individuals. But today in the age when social media and the internet could be seen as a way of bringing people together more than ever, the opposite is happening. In this two-part series for Discovery science writer Gaia Vince meets the psychologists, evolutionary biologists and neuroscientists who are studying our built in human behaviour in groups and asks how their discoveries can guide projects to increase cooperation. (Photo: Support button on keyboard, Credit: Abdoudz/Getty Images)
New research suggests that an experiment in geothermal energy may be linked to an earthquake that hit the town of Pohang in South Korea last year. The usually geologically stable country also experienced another quake the year before. Roland Pease speaks to The University of Glasgow’s Rob Westaway is a hydraulics engineer who was involved in the geothermal operations and is now part of the team who have been looking to see if that was connected to the unexpected seismicity. Improving the Take-Up of Vaccinations This week is World Immunization Week – designed to concentrate efforts to improve the take-up of vaccinations. Claudia Hammond talks to Gretchen Chapman who is Professor of Social and Decision Science at Carnegie Mellon University in the US. She explains how simple things, like reminders, are the best way to boost vaccination numbers. Shrimp Power Waves Could tiny little brine shrimps and their crustacean cousins actually change the currents in the seas? Roland Pease has been to the beach to find out more. Joining him was Isabel Houghton, who did the experiments, and krill enthusiast Angus Atkinson. One More Spore Could Kill Europe’s Ash trees New genetic analysis of the pathogen than causes Ash dieback shows that just one more deadly spore entering Europe from Asia could wipe out European ash trees altogether. The data shows that the current disease – which has killed 95% of the continents ash – could have been caused by just one or two tiny mushroom like fruiting bodies imported from Asia. We hear from the Natural History Museum’s Matthew Clark. Surgeon Performance Benefits From ‘Warm-Up’ New research from the UK shows that skilled surgeons speed up after the first operation of the day - especially if they repeat the same procedure on the next patient. Claudia Hammond spoke to Dr Faisal Mushtaq, a cognitive neuroscientist from the University of Leeds and Tom Pike, a surgeon at the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield. They looked at the data and now want to create a warm-up routine for surgeons. The VR Documentary That Explores Grief Lisa Elin and Aaron Bradbury discuss how their VR documentary “Vestige” tells the story of Lisa’s grief. A New Citizen Science Project for Dog Lovers When a puppy is born, we often ask what breed it is – especially if it is a mongrel. And when we think we know what it is, we make assumptions about how that dog will behave. But do our perceptions of the dog's breed change the way it behaves? That is the question of a new citizen science project called MuttMix which asks you to guess the ancestry of various mongrels. Adam Rutherford spoke to Elinor Karlson from the University of Massachusetts Medical School. The Science Hour was presented by Roland Pease with comments from medical reporter at New Scientist, Clare Wilson (Photo: The geothermal drilling site near Pohang in South Korea - credit: Rob Westaway) Producer: Katy Takatsuki
Venture into the wild with Neil deGrasse Tyson and legendary primatologist Jane Goodall. Featuring comic co-host Chuck Nice, biological anthropologist Dr. Jill Pruetz, primatologist Natalia Reagan, and Sarah Baeckler, former President and CEO of Project Chimps. NOTE: StarTalk All-Access subscribers can listen to this entire episode commercial-free here: https://www.startalkradio.net/all-access/into-the-wild-with-jane-goodall/ Photo Credit: Brandon Royal.
In case you missed this episode on the Playing with Science channel… We’re taking to the ice as we explore the physics of figure skating with host Chuck Nice, Olympic medalist Sasha Cohen, neuroscientist Dr. Heather Berlin, and resident astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. Record live at “StarTalk at BAM: Science is Everywhere.” (Adult Language).
Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the discovery and growing understanding of the Proton, formed from three quarks close to the Big Bang and found in the nuclei of all elements. The positive charges they emit means they attract the fundamental particles of negatively charged electrons, an attraction that leads to the creation of atoms which in turn leads to chemistry, biology and life itself. The Sun (in common with other stars) is a fusion engine that turn protons by a series of processes into helium, emitting energy in the process, with about half of the Sun's protons captured so far. Hydrogen atoms, stripped of electrons, are single protons which can be accelerated to smash other nuclei and have applications in proton therapy. Many questions remain, such as why are electrical charges for protons and electrons so perfectly balanced? With Frank Close Professor Emeritus of Physics at the University of Oxford Helen Heath Reader in Physics at the University of Bristol And Simon Jolly Lecturer in High Energy Physics at University College London Producer: Simon Tillotson.
People are incredibly rude to each other on social media. Much ruder than they would ever be face to face. The great potential of the internet to bring humanity together in a glorious collaborating network seems naïve – instead of embracing a massive extension of our social circles, we seem to revert to tribalism and conflict online. And while we generally conduct our real-life interactions with strangers with politeness and respect, online, we can be horrible. But it was our human ability to communicate ideas across networks of people that enabled us to so successfully solve life’s challenges and to build the modern world. Gaia Vince travels to Yale University to meet the researchers who are studying how we cooperate today and why it can go wrong when we communicate online. Part of the Crossing Divides season. (Photo: Helping Hands, Credit: Kieferpix/Getty Images)
Two years ago Japanese scientists discovered a type of bacteria which has evolved to feed on PET plastic - the material from which fizzy drink bottles are made. It was isolated at a local recycling centre. An international team has now characterised the structure of the plastic-degrading enzyme and accidentally improved its efficiency. Adam Rutherford spoke to Professor John McGeehan of the University of Portmouth who led the team and talks about where the discovery may lead. Bill Gates Pledges Billions to Fight Malaria The Microsoft founder and philanthropist, Bill Gates, has announced new funding from his foundation and other donors to try to halve the number of deaths from malaria. Mr Gates said that the money would be used to improve the bed-nets that help to combat the spread of the disease and to provide digital tools to enable much better targeting of where the nets are needed. He spoke to BBC’s John Humphrys. The Bajou Diving People The Bajou people can dive for several minutes at a time, hunting for food for their families. Now scientists’ writing in the journal Cell, have found that they can do this because their spleen is approximately 50% larger than in non-divers. This adaptation allows the divers to release more oxygen carrying red blood cells from the spleen when under water. Roland Pease spoke to the first author Melissa Ilardo who was inspired to look into the basis of their skills having witnessed the Bajau at work. Beds from Mattresses Roland Pease visits the greenhouses at the University of Sheffield in the UK, where PhD student Harry Wright and Professor of Physical Chemistry, Tony Ryan are turning old mattresses into bedding material for plants – they are also testing them in a Jordanian refugee camp. Bringing Schrodinger's Cat to Life Schrodinger's cat is the one that is famously alive and dead. At the same time. Impossible! Roland Pease meets the quantum scientists hoping to bring one to life in the laboratory. Not a real cat, to be fair. But large biomolecules, viruses, even bacteria, that can exhibit the quantum duality parodied in the paradox first described by one of the fathers of quantum physics. Because if they succeed, they may learn something about the interface between the quantum world, and the human world we live in. The Double Helix Fifty years after its 1968 publication, Adam Rutherford speaks to biologist and historian Matthew Cobb and science writer Angela Saini to discuss the place of James Watson's compelling and controversial memoir in the annals of popular science writing. His account of the discovery of the DNA's structure was unlike any science book that had come before. Does it stand the test of time and what of its blatantly sexist treatment of the gifted X-ray crystallographer Rosalind Franklin? Her work was crucial to Crick and Watson's 1953 model of the DNA molecule. (Picture caption: Labourer sorting out plastic bottles for recycling © Fred Dufour/AFP/Getty Images) The Science Hour was presented by Roland Pease with comments from science journalist and editor at the Economist Jason Palmer Producer: Adrian Washbourne
In case you missed this episode on the Playing with Science channel…We look to the future of soccer and prepare for the 2018 FIFA World Cup as we investigate Beyond Sports VR technology and the new Adidas Telstar 18 with hosts Gary O’Reilly, Chuck Nice and Beyond Sports CEO Jeffrey Saunders and physicist John Eric Goff. Photo Credit: © 2018 BEYOND SPORTS BV.
This week, Chuck Nice asks Neil deGrasse Tyson fan-submitted questions on a range of topics we couldn’t answer in other episodes. Now extended with a session of “Neil’d It” – where Neil and Chuck comb Internet comments to see if the science is right. (Adult Language). NOTE: StarTalk All-Access subscribers can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free. Photo Credit: Ben Ratner.
Schrodinger's cat is the one that's famously alive and dead. At the same time. Impossible! Roland Pease meets the quantum scientists hoping to bring one to life in the laboratory. Not a real cat, to be fair. But large biomolecules, viruses, even bacteria, that can exhibit the quantum duality parodied in the paradox first described by one of the fathers of quantum physics. Because if they succeed, they may learn something about the interface between the quantum world, and the human world we live in. Presenter/Producer: Roland Pease Credit: Harald Ritsch/Science Photo Library
A special preview of the new podcast Death in Ice Valley. An unidentified body. Who was she? Why hasn’t she been missed? A BBC World Service and NRK original podcast, investigating a mystery unsolved for almost half a century. Episode One was released on 16 April 2018 and new episodes will be released every Monday. Search for Death in Ice Valley wherever you find your podcasts.
NASA’s latest exoplanet hunting mission is due to launch this week. It will look for Earth-like planets closer to home than the previous Kepler exoplanet mission. By looking at stars hundreds of light years away, rather than thousands, scientists will be able to use ground based telescopes to learn more about rocky planets. Roland Pease talks to Professor Sara Seager from MIT who is the Deputy Science Director on the TESS Mission. Brain Surgery While Wide Awake We hear extraordinary story vet Adam Tjolle who found out he had a brain tumour, following a scan when he had a cycling accident. The low-grade glioma – nicknamed his second brain – grew inside his head, very slowly, for ten or even twenty years. Adam is a friend of presenter Claudia Hammond and together they decided to keep a record of his journey – before and after his life changing surgery. Internet Health Report 2018 Mozilla’s annual Internet Health Report is a detailed overview, reflecting its volunteers’ research into internet shutdowns, net neutrality, corporate dominance and online misinformation. Gareth Mitchell talks to the author of the report, Solana Larsen. Tasmanian Devils at Greater Risk of Cancer Scientists writing in the journal Cancer Cell say they have identified the sources of two transmissible cancers that are killing Tasmanian devils, and threatening the survival of the species. It appears the cancers originated in two different animals – one male and one female. The team is now looking to see if new human cancer treatments will work in the Tasmanian devil population, as Elizabeth Murchison from the University of Cambridge explained to Roland Pease. More on Brain Surgery While Wide Awake Claudia Hammond speaks to her friend Adam Tjolle after his life changing brain surgery. Raising Eyebrows Our ancestors bore a very prominent brow ridge, which scientists think was a symbol of dominance. Modern humans, however, have lost this ridge in favour of a flatter forehead - but why? Adam Rutherford asks Dr Penny Spikins from the Department of Archaeology at the University of York. (Image caption: Nasa’s TESS, shown here in a conceptual illustration, will identify exoplanets orbiting the brightest stars just outside our solar system – credit Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Center) The Science Hour was presented by Claudia Hammond with comments from BBC Science reporter Bobbie Lakhera Producer: Katy Takatsuki
Our show from historic Kings Theatre in Brooklyn, NY concludes with further investigation into the intersection of science and morality. Featuring Neil deGrasse Tyson, Eugene Mirman, skeptic Michael Shermer, Rev. James Martin, SJ, Michael Ian Black, and Whoopi Goldberg. (Adult Language.) NOTE: StarTalk All-Access subscribers can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free. https://www.startalkradio.net/all-access/startalk-live-at-kings-theatre-science-and-morality-part-2/ Photo Credit: Elliot Severn.
In case you missed this episode on the Playing with Science channel… You can break the rules of the game, but you can’t break the rules of physics. Chuck Nice and Gary O’Reilly investigate the physics and psychology of cheating, with physicist John Eric Goff and sport psychologist Dr. Leah Lagos.
Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the contribution of George Stephenson (1781-1848) and his son Robert (1803-59) to the development of the railways in C19th. George became known as The Father of Railways and yet arguably Robert's contribution was even greater, with his engineering work going far beyond their collaboration. Robert is credited with the main role in the design of their locomotives. George had worked on stationary colliery steam engines and, with Robert, developed the moving steam engine Locomotion No1 for the Stockton and Darlington Railway in 1825. They produced the Rocket for the Rainhill Trials on the Liverpool and Manchester Railway in 1829. From there, the success of their designs and engineering led to the expansion of railways across Britain and around the world. with Dr Michael Bailey Railway historian and editor of the most recent biography of Robert Stephenson Julia Elton Past President of the Newcomen Society for the History of Engineering and Technology and Colin Divall Professor Emeritus of Railway Studies at the University of York Producer: Simon Tillotson.
Barbara McClintock’s work on the genetics of corn won her a Nobel prize in 1983. Her research on jumping genes challenged the over-simplified picture of chromosomes and DNA that Watson and Crick’s discovery has all too often been used to support. During the half century that she worked at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory she became something of a living legend, a pioneer in a time when women weren’t expected to take much interest in science. In that story, she made a profound discovery that her male colleagues dismissed for years, leaving her out in the cold until they finally realized that it was true and granted her a belated Nobel Prize. Philip Ball tells the story of Barbara McLintock's life and work, from her early preference for sports, for solitude, and for intellectual life, that disturbed her parents, to her meticulous research on corn. In conversation with her recent biographer, Dr Nathaniel Comfort of Johns Hopkins University, he explores the facts and the fictions that grew up around her. Philip Ball talks about the legacy of her discovery of jumping genes with Professor Greg Hannon of the Cancer Research UK Institute at Cambridge University, who spent 25 years working in the McLintock Laboratory at Cold Spring Harbor. Picture Corn Cobs, Credit: Philippe Huguen/AFP/GettyImages)
How are scientists looking for the trail of the novichok nerve agent used in the Salisbury attacks? Roland Pease speaks to Steven Drielak a “hotzone” forensics expert, who explains the techniques he would use when investigating environmental chemical crimes. Formula 1 Innovations Formula 1, the epitome of a glamour sport, is driven by technology, design and innovation where the slightest variation can make the difference between a championship winning car and not. But away from the track, F1 teams have been investing money, time and skill into ideas that could benefit from their expertise. Jack Meegan reports. Whalesong Under the Ice Beneath the Arctic sea ice, in the blanket of January's polar night, bowhead whales most prefer to sing. While the songs of humpback whales have long received the most attention, it turns out that their baleen cousins could have a far greater repertoire. A study of a bowhead population near Svalbard has shown that their musical calls may be as varied as those of songbirds. This would make them unique among whale populations, and possibly even mammals. Bees, Forests and Paternity Tests Bees drop pollen during flight and that pollen sometimes lands on trees and their fruit. Professor Shalene Jha follows this pollen trail to discover bees’ travel patterns. Using genetic and genomic techniques, she is able to establish the fruit’s ‘father’ and therefore discover where a bee has travelled. Roland Pease hears more. Genetic Testing for Inherited Forms of Cancer Genetic testing for inherited forms of cancer was pioneered in the UK by Professor Sir John Burn. He tells Professor Jim Al-Khalili how he helped to put the north eastern city of Newcastle-upon-Tyne on the research map – after becoming one of the first British doctors to champion the study of genes in medicine back in the 1980s. A Holocaust Survivor’s Digital Doppelgänger Eva Schloss’s story of surviving the Holocaust has now been preserved through an interactive exhibition. Schloss recounted the facts of her survival to over a hundred video cameras, which photographed her from all angles, and logged her patient answers. The recordings were used to develop an artificial Eva Schloss, housed inside a screen. Lauren Hutchinson’s report includes an interview with Eva Schloss. (Photo caption: Police officers in protective suits and masks collect samples near the scene where former double-agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia were discovered after being attacked with a nerve-agent - credit: Jack Taylor/Getty Images) The Science Hour was presented by Roland Pease with comments from BBC Science Correspondent Jonathan Amos Producer: Adrian Washbourne Editor: Deborah Cohen
How do we know if we’re right or wrong? Investigate the intersection of science and morality with Neil Tyson, Eugene Mirman, author Michael Shermer, Rev. James Martin, SJ, and comedians Michael Ian Black, and Whoopi Goldberg. Recorded live at Kings Theatre in Brooklyn, NY. (Warning: Adult Language). NOTE: StarTalk All-Access subscribers can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free here: https://www.startalkradio.net/all-access/startalk-live-at-kings-theatre-science-and-morality-part-1/ Photo Credit: Elliot Severn.
In case you missed this episode on the Playing with Science channel… We’re taking you to the extreme! Hosts Chuck Nice and Gary O’Reilly investigate the psychology of the extreme sports athlete with adventure journalist Jim Clash, neuroscientist Dr. Heather Berlin, and extreme sport psychologist Dr. Eric Brymer.
One hundred years ago D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson published On Growth and Form, a book with a mission to put maths into biology. He showed how the shapes, forms and growth processes we see in the living world aren’t some arbitrary result of evolution’s blind searching, but are dictated by mathematical rules. A flower, a honeycomb, a dragonfly’s wing: it’s not sheer chance that these look the way they do. But can these processes be explained by physics? D'Arcy Thompson loved nature’s shapes and influenced a whole new field of systems biology, architects, designers and artists, including Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth. Presented by Phillip Ball. Picture: Corn shell, Getty Images
Having flu or pneumonia increases the risk of having a heart attack or stroke for a few days or weeks after the infection according to a new study. For many years doctors have noticed a connection. But new research has now linked specific microbes to the heart attacks and strokes – using data from Scottish hospitals. Claudia Hammond spoke to Dr Charlotte Warren-Gash, Associate Professor of Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Nerve Agents The nerve agent that has made a Russian ex-spy and his daughter seriously ill in the English town of Salisbury has been traced to the front door of their home. That came to light earlier this week in the continuing investigation into the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. But what do we now know about the deadly nerve agent – novichok - and others like it? Hamish Bretton-Gordon a former commander of the UK Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Regiment tells Roland Pease when deadly chemical weapons of mass destruction first appeared. 3D Printed Prosthetic Limbs 3D printed prosthetic limbs are helping a Jordanian hospital treat Syrian war refugees. Gareth Mitchell talks to Safa Herfat from MSF about replicating the project elsewhere. Why Bear Cubs Are Spending Longer With Their Mothers Brown bear cubs living in the forests of Sweden are spending longer with their mothers. Baby bears stay by their mother's side until they are aged two-and-a-half - an extra year compared with a few decades ago, according to a study. Adam Rutherford spoke to Joanie Van de Walle of the Université de Sherbrooke in Quebec, Canada and Andreas Zedrosser from the University of Southeast Norway. They were part of the team that has been watching these bears for more than thirty years. Chronic Pain Doctors are using a new form of spinal cord stimulation or neuromodulation to help patients with chronic back pain. Every year 1 in 10 adults is diagnosed with chronic pain which is pain that lasts for longer than three months. A small electrical field is delivered to the spine via a wire - to modify the pain signals the body sends to the brain. Now doctors in London have altered the frequency of the electrical impulses to try and reduce any side effects. Bobbie Lakhera went to see an operation in action. The Future of Food Increasing urbanisation and changing diets mean that we’re going to have to get more adventurous in our dining habits. Either that or food production needs to jump some 60 percent by 2050 to stop us all going hungry. That’s why a restaurant in London is trying to make one food source more palatable. It is offering diners jellyfish, and as Marnie Chesterton reports, one way they will persuade you is by immersing you in a multi-sensory experience. Circadian Light When working or studying, some people resort to a strong cup of coffee to perk themselves up. But new research suggests better lighting might also help. Scientists monitored what happened to staff when they improved the lighting in gloomy US Embassy offices in Iceland and Latvia – where there is little daylight during the winter months. They found that people felt perkier with more powerful, blue-white lights. Claudia Hammond spoke to Dr Mariana Figueiro of the Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York State. (Photo caption: Man having chest pain – credit: Getty Images) The Science Hour was presented by Gareth Mitchell with comments from BBC Health and Science reporter Helen Briggs Producer: Katy Takatsuki