Science Vs - Season 1

Science Vs - Season 1


ABOUT THE PODCAST In Science Vs, Science journalist Wendy Zukerman dissects the latest fad framing itself as scientific fact. Wendy wades through the mass of information so you don't have to. Do women and men have different brains? Is porn changing the way we have sex? Does race exist? Is sugar really that bad for you? Everyone has an opinion but then, there's SCIENCE. NB: This feed only has season 1 of Science Vs.


Science Vs The Next Chapter  

Science Vs is moving to a new home in New York City. New episodes be available on a different iTunes feed! If you get lost head to Wendy's twitter @wendyzuk or the Science Vs' Facebook page: We hope to see you soon. Also, you can find more ABC science-y goodness with Dr Karl on Triple J here:

Neil deGrasse Tyson (Extended Interview)  

Dr Neil deGrasse Tyson is the director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History. But, most know him as the host of the documentary series Cosmos and podcast StarTalk. Neil gained infamy as the killer of Pluto. For almost a decade, he has been the face behind Pluto’s demise from planet to dwarf planet. So, he gets a lot of hate mail from pissed off kids. Here, Neil talks to science journalist Wendy Zukerman about why he fell in love with space, representing minorities in science, the anti-science movement, religion and, yes, being Pluto's murderer. NB: Wendy accidentally read out Neil's tweet about religion to say that he jokingly tweeted he was Greek Orthodox, when it should have been "Geek Orthodox". She's very frustrated both that she got it wrong, and didn't share an amazing pun. Sorry. It's been amended. More information Mr Universe (The Saturday Paper) Neil deGrasse Tyson Australian Tour Neil deGrasse Tyson on Race Pluto's not a planet? Only in New York (New York Times)'s_Not_a_Planet.pdf


Science is supposed to be an unbiased way to uncover nature’s secrets. Through blinded experiments, rigorous peer review and replication – we’ve been told that by using the scientific method we’ll find trustworthy facts. But, with many scientific findings largely regarded as ‘wrong’, is science broken? To find out, science journalist Wendy Zukerman speaks to Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, Prof. Ivan Oransky, Prof. Barton Zwiebach, Ass. Prof. Alex Holcombe and Dr Alice Williamson. As a quick clarifying point, in our discussion on statistics we mention that a 95 per cent confidence interval means that 1 in 20 individual findings are wrong. The word 'findings' here means individual experiments, not publications. More information Believe it or not: how much can we rely on published data on potential drug targets? Why Most Published Research Findings Are False False-Positive Psychology - Undisclosed Flexibility in Data Collection and Analysis Allows Presenting Anything as Significant (The Wiggle’ s Study)


We are often told that we can be happy, if we try hard enough. By shifting our mindset, changing our lifestyles, or even writing a gratitude journal – happiness is waiting for all of us! But, what does science say? To find out, science journalist Wendy Zukerman speaks to Prof. Paul Frijters, Ass. Prof. Dianne Vella Brodrick and Dr. Emiliana Simon-Thomas. We’re also joined by the author of The Happiness Myth, Jennifer Michael Hecht, as well as comedian Gen Fricker. More information Positive psychology interventions: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled studies Subjective well-being and adaptation to life events: a meta-analysis. A dark side of happiness? HILDA Survey

The Gay Gene  

Are some of us born gay? People have argued that sexuality is determined before birth, while others believe the environment has a role to play here. So, what does the science say? To find out Wendy Zukerman spoke to Prof. Jenny Graves, Prof. Jacques Balthazart, Prof. William Rice, Dr. Ilan Dar-Nimrod as well as comedians Tom Ballard, Rhys Nicholson and Kyran Wheatley. More Information Minireview: Hormones and Human Sexual Orientation by Jacques Balthazart Genetic study into male homosexuality Sexual orientation in women with congenital adrenal hyperplasia

E Cigarettes  

Electronic Cigarettes have been hailed by some as a breakthrough in the battle to help people quit smoking, while others say these devices are creating a new generation of nicotine addicts. So, what does the science say? To find out science journalist Wendy Zukerman speaks to Prof. Stanton Glantz, Prof. Simon Chapman, Dr. Lynne Dawkins, Prof. Chris Bullen and e cigarette advocate Simone Davis. Extra reading: Chemical Evaluation of E cigarettes Comparison of toxicity in E Cigarette samples Review of E Cigarettes in Cardiovascular Medicine by Professor Stanton Glantz E-Cigarettes: Prevalence and Attitudes in Great Britain


Pornography has been blamed for destroying our minds and our sex lives. Some even say porn is addictive. But, what does the science say? To find out Wendy Zukerman speaks to Dr. Russell Pratt, Dr Simone Kühn, Prof. Brian McNair and anti-porn campaigner Gabriel Deem. Bonus reading: Anal heterosex among young people and implications for health promotion: a qualitative study in the UK Erection Dysfunction Questionnaire: Swiss Study on Erectile Dysfunction Is Pornography Use Associated with Sexual Difficulties and Dysfunctions among Younger Heterosexual Men?

Medical Marijuana  

Medical marijuana has been called a miracle drug - rumoured to cure an array of ailments, from cramps to cancer. But, what does the science say? To find out Wendy Zukerman speaks to Prof. Laurie Mather, Prof. David Penington, Prof. Herbert Kleber and Prof. Tamas Horvath. Bonus reading: Radio National's Background Briefing report Report Report of a parent survey of cannabidiol-enriched cannabis use in pediatric treatment-resistant epilepsy Cannabis in cancer care. SBS' The Feed

Sugar Free Diet  

Sugar is no longer the sweet stuff you put in cakes. These days, some claim it's deadly, toxic and as addictive as hard drugs. But, is sugar really that bad for your health? To find out, Wendy Zukerman speaks to Dr Kieron Rooney, Prof. Sandra Capra, Prof. Peter Clifton, Prof. Bob Boakes as well as That Sugar Film's Damon Gameau. To be clear, Damon Gameau from 'That Sugar Film' and the 'I Quit Sugar' team have different approaches to the sugar-free diet. More reading: Claims from I Quit Sugar: 'That Sugar Film': BMC Biology Q and A on Fructose BMJ Dietary sugars and body weight: systematic review and meta-analyses of randomised controlled trials and cohort studies

The Female Brain  

We've been told that in the battle of the sexes there are important differences between the brains of women and men. But, are our brains really that different? To find out, Wendy Zukerman speaks to three neuroscientists - Prof. Ian Hickie, Ass. Prof. Jennifer Raymond and Dr. Rachel Hill. More reading:


All our lives we've been sorted into racial groups, but - from a scientific perspective - does race exist? Wendy Zukerman speaks to geneticist Prof. Alan Templeton, evolutionary biologist Ass. Prof. Darren Curnoe, as well as comedians Michael Hing and Lewis Hobba to probe the science of race. Please note, an early version of this story referred to the tallest humans being over 3 metres. The tallest man known was 2.72 metres. More info/reading here:

The Paleo Diet  

Does the Paleo Diet live up to the hype, and is it technically what our ancestors would have eaten? Wendy Zukerman speaks to anthropologist Prof. Katharine Milton, public health researcher Dr Jonathan Hallet and Paleo advocate Darryl Edwards.

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