Episodes

  • Antibiotics and Farming, Molten Metal Pump, Acoustic Biodiversity, Athenia

    · BBC Inside Science

    The agricultural use of antibiotics is contributing to the global spread of resistance to these life-saving medicines. What do we know about farming's role in the world's antibiotic resistance crisis and what are the critical outstanding questions? Adam Rutherford talks to Matthew Avison of the University of Bristol and Elizabeth Wellington of the University of Warwick.A team at the Georgia Institute of Technology has built a record-breaking mechanical pump. The machine pumped molten tin at 1200 degrees Celsius continuously for 72 hours, and it has worked at even higher white hot temperatures. The pump is fabricated entirely from a heat-resistant ceramic material. Georgia Tech's Asegun Henry is developing the technology to transform the contribution that solar and wind energy generation can make in storing energy and supplying the electricity grid.Caroline Steel reports on an opportunistic research project that used sound recordings to monitor biodiversity health in Singapore, when the island nation was engulfed in forest fire smoke haze in 2015.Has the wreck of the first British ship to be sunk during World War II been found? Wreck-hunter David Mearns believes he's done so, using high-resolution sonar maps of the sea bed northwest of Ireland.

    starstarstarstarstar
  • Missing episodes?

    Click here to refresh the feed.

  • HiQuake, Plate Tectonics@50, Sonic Weapon Puzzle, The Chinese Typewriter

    · BBC Inside Science

    Gareth Mitchell talks to Gillian Foulger of Durham University about HiQuake, the world's largest database of human-induced earthquakes. Professor Foulger and her colleagues have so far compiled close to 750 seismic events for which there are reasonable cases to be made for anthropogenic triggers. Triggers include mining operations, fossil fuel extraction, reservoir filling, skyscraper construction and tunnelling. Among the surprises is the fact that the US state of Oklahoma is more seismically active than California because of quakes and tremors set off by the local oil and gas industry. The theory of plate tectonics is 50 years old. It's as fundamental to understanding the Earth as evolution by natural selection is to understanding life. Roland Pease meets geologists such as Dan McKenzie, John Dewey and Xavier Le Pichon who played key roles in proving the hypothesis in the late 1960s.The United States has removed more than half of its diplomats from its embassy in Havana, Cuba. A signficant number of staff have complained of ailments such as hearing loss, dizziness, headaches and nausea, and there has been speculation that some kind of sonic or acoustic weapon might be responsible. Trevor Cox, professor of acoustic engineering at the University of Salford, discusses the likelihood with Gareth.Stanford University's Tom Mullaney is the author of 'The Chinese Typewriter: A History'. He talks to Gareth about the great engineering and linguistic challenge in the 19th and 20th centuries of getting the Chinese language onto a table top machine. The survival of the ancient language or China's entry into the modern world depended on the success of numerous inventors. In fact one consequence was the development of predictive text in the Chinese IT world long before it appeared in the West.Note: In the podcast version of this programme, there is an additional item on new research on the role of the world's botanical gardens in global plant conservation. One of the scientists involved, Dr Paul Smith of Botanical Gardens Conservation International, tells Gareth that there's good news about these institutions' contributions and there are areas where there is room for improvement.Producer: Andrew Luck-Baker

    starstarstarstarstar
  • Gravity wave breakthrough, The antibiotic pipeline, Microbial waste recycling, Fausto - an AI opera

    · BBC Inside Science

    The gravitational waves produced by two massive black holes colliding have for the first time been detected by three gravitational wave detectors. Professor Sheila Rowan of the University of Glasgow explains the importance of this new three way observation.The World Health organisation reports that there are too few new candidate antibiotics in the development pipelines to replace those becoming obsolete through the rapid spread of antibiotic resistance. Professor Willem van Shaik of the University of Birmingham and pharma-biotech analyst Dr Jack Scannell discuss where the problems and solutions might lie.Could bacteria recycle all of our waste? Waste disposal is a growing concern as nations run out of space and ecosystems are increasingly polluted. Microorganisms may hold the key for turning household waste into biodegradable plastic and perhaps one day even into food and basic chemical feedstocks. Hans Vesterhoff, Professor of Systems Biology at Amsterdam University is developing microbial networks with the aim of converting all carbon-based waste into useful or edible stuff.AI and Opera: Prof Luc Steels, an AI and language researcher at the Institute for Advanced Studies of Catalonia is also a composer. He has just had his new opera premiered. With a libretto written by a neuropsychiatrist colleague, the opera 'Fausto' is a re-telling of the Faust story. It explores the dangers and flawed thinking of silicon-based transhumanism. In the opera, the Faust character is a social media-obsessed hipster and Mephistopheles is a malevolent AI in the cloud. In a twist on the original, Fausto trades his body rather than his soul so that he can be uploaded and reunited with his lover in the cloud.

    starstarstarstarstar
  • Cassini's finale; Science and Technology Select Committee; Crick's lecture; Cave acoustics

    · BBC Inside Science

    After last week's Inside Science's edition devoted to Cassini ended, the Cassini spaceship plunged into the atmosphere of Saturn, and became part of the planet it studied. But the project lives on, as the data and photos generated by Cassini right up until contact was lost will be studied and scrutinised for years to come. Linda Spilker is the Project Scientist for the Cassini mission. Adam Rutherford spoke to her to find out what was captured in the last few moments of Cassini's closest and fatal encounter with the ringed planet. The House of Commons has announced its Science and Technology Select Committee - the body of MPs that holds the Government to account on scientific matters, and offers advice on scientific issues of the day. Some controversy has followed, concerning the scientific credentials and the gender imbalance of the committee make-up so far. Norman Lamb, MP for North Norfolk was elected chair of the committee, and he came into the Inside Science studio to discuss the committee selection and its future ambitions.This week was the 60th anniversary of one of the greatest conceptual leaps in all biology, made by Crick at a lecture at University College London. Matthew Cobb, biologist and historian from Manchester University, who's written a new account of the lecture, discusses its fundamental significance.It has long been suggested that there's something about the acoustics of a cave that correlates with the location of motifs and sometimes paintings on the walls.Bruno Fazenda is an acoustic scientist at the University of Salford, and reveals how he went into the caves to conduct the first methodical study of this theory by listening to the past.

    starstarstarstarstar
  • Farewell to Cassini, the epic 20 year mission to Saturn

    · BBC Inside Science

    As Cassini's epic journey to Saturn finally ends tonight, Adam Rutherford celebrates the incredible discoveries of a mission that has changed the way we see our solar system. BBC Science Correspondent Jonathan Amos is at Mission Control in Pasadena as scientists assemble to witness the final few hours of the Saturnian observations beforeCassini completes its death dive into the planet. We also hear from key scientists who've played a role in capturing and interpreting the multitude of data from the last 12 years. With contributions from Michele Dougherty, Professor of space physics at Imperial CollegeRobert Brown, Professor Planetary surface processes Arizona UniversityCarl Murray, Professor of Astronomy, Queen Mary,University of LondonEllen Stofan, former chief NASA scientistProducer Adrian Washbourne.

    starstarstarstarstar
  • North Korea Bomb Tests, Warming Antarctic Sea Life, the Microbiome, Cuckoo Chuckle

    · BBC Inside Science

    The Democratic People's Republic of Korea claims to have successfully tested a thermonuclear weapon, a hydrogen bomb. Tom Plant, director of Proliferation and Nuclear Policy at the Royal United Services Institute, talks to Adam Rutherford about how the boast might be proved by monitoring technology around the world.How will marine life respond to warming of the seas around Antarctica this century? Dramatically, according to the results of the most realistic attempt so far to warm the sea bed to temperatures predicted for the coming decades. The British Antarctic Survey installed gently heated panels at 12 metres depth off the West Antarctic coast to mimic rock surfaces and then over 9 months monitored how marine creatures colonised and grew on them. All creatures flourished on panels at 1 degree C above today's chilly waters and in fact grew astonishingly quickly on them. But a 2 degree increase saw some continue to flourish vigorously but many species fail. Experiment mastermind Lloyd Peck tells Adam what the findings may mean, and describes the extraordinary cold water diving skills that made the experiment a success.'I contain Multitudes' is shortlisted for the Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize this year. Its subject is the microbiome - the trillions of benign , friendly and not so friendly bacteria which inhabit our bodies and those of all other animals.For 30 years, Cambridge University zoologists have studied the evolutionary arms race between the cuckoo and the reed warbler that rears the cheating bird's offspring. They have figured out many of the deceptions and counter-tactics adopted by the two co-evolving species. The latest revelation concerns the strange chuckling call which the female cuckoo makes after laying her egg in the warbler's nest. Jenny York describes the experiments which show that the cuckoo is mimicking a predatory sparrow hawk which distracts the warblers and makes them much more likely to not recognise her egg as something they should reject from the nest.

    starstarstarstarstar
  • Noxious haze over south coast; In Pursuit of Memory book; technosphere; Big Wasp Survey

    · BBC Inside Science

    Last weekend a chemical ‘haze’ on the East Sussex coast saw 150 people needing hospital treatment after something in the air led to streaming eyes, sore throats and nausea. Leading theories so far include a chemical spill from shipping in the English channel, a localised spike in ozone levels and an algal bloom, where algae suddenly proliferate and release harmful gasses. Dr Simon Boxall of the National Oceanography Centre at the University of Southampton tells Gareth Mitchell why he’s favouring the algal bloom theory. We know about extinct species from fossils in rocks. But in the future there will be techno-fossils too, evidence of our civilisation. Katie Kropshofer has been finding out from Professors Jan Zalasiewicz and Sarah Gabbot of the University of Leicester what we’re leaving for the hypothetical geologists of the future. Neuroscientist Joseph Jebelli's book, In Pursuit of Memory: The Fight Against Alzheimer's, is the one of the six titles on the shortlist of the Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize. He explains to Gareth Mitchell that it was his grandfather's development of the condition that made him interested in Alzheimer’s. The Big Wasp Survey is a citizen project to trap wasps and send them off to teams at the University of Gloucester and University College London, so that scientists can then learn more about the distribution of different species around this land. One of the organisers, entomologist and professor of Science Communication at the University of Gloucester Adam Hart, talks to Gareth about why these unpopular insects are ecologically valuable.

    starstarstarstarstar
  • Killer robots; Myths and superstitions and conservation; Science book prize nominee - Cordelia Fine; Taxidermy

    · BBC Inside Science

    Once again, the ethical side of fully autonomous weapons has been raised, this time by over 100 leading robotics experts, including Elon Musk of SpaceX and Tesla, and Mustafa Suleyman of DeepMind. They have sent an open letter to the United Nations urging them to take action in order to prevent the development of "killer robots". The letter says "lethal autonomous" technology is a "Pandora's box", once opened it will be very difficult to close - they have called for a ban on the use of AI in managing weaponry. Gareth asks AI expert, Professor Peter Bentley from University College London, if this is the right approach or is this just an attempt to delay the inevitable? When a paper titled "Fantastic Beasts and Why to Conserve Them" is printed in the journal Oryx, we had to take a closer look. Far more than a publicity stunt, this work by George Holmes, an expert in conservation and society at the University of Leeds, covers an important point. It explores the dangers of neglecting local beliefs, myths and superstitions about the natural world, and animals in particular, when trying to come up with conservation strategies. Cordelia Fine is a professor of the history and philosophy of science at the University of Melbourne. She is the third shortlisted author of the Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize. Her book "Testosterone Rex" explores the science behind gender. She argues that testosterone isn't necessarily the basis for masculinity and that there is so much more to gender than merely our biological sex. 200 years ago, taxidermy was a crucial part of zoological teaching and research, and in the days before BBC wildlife films, often the only way that many people could see strange and exotic wildlife from other lands. Lots of those early specimens are incredibly valuable, and can still be found in museums around the world, although being so old they are often in need of urgent repair. Usually this happens out of sight behind the scenes, but not so at the Grant Museum of Zoology in London, which has been doing its conservation live in the gallery for all to see, to draw attention to the art and science of taxidermy. Some of the more serious repairs get sent to taxidermy conservator Lucie Mascord in Lancashire.Produced by Fiona RobertsPresented by Gareth Mitchell.

    starstarstarstarstar
  • Antarctica's volcanoes, science book prize nominee - Mark O'Connell, US solar eclipse and 40 years of NASA's Voyager mission

    · BBC Inside Science

    Not so much hiding in plain sight, but tucked under the ice-sheet in Antarctica are 91 volcanoes. This adds to the 47 volcanoes already known on the continent. After a graduate student posed the question,"are there any volcanoes in Western Antarctica?", Dr Robert Bingham, and colleagues, at Edinburgh University, scoured the satellite and database records to find the volcanoes. This huge region is likely to dwarf that of East Africa's volcanic ridge, which is currently the most volcano-dense region on Earth.Journalist Mark O'Connell is the second of our Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize 2017 nominees. His broad-minded, yet sceptical look at the world of 'transhumanism', "To be a Machine: Adventures Among Cyborgs, Utopians, Hackers, and the Futurists Solving the Modest Problem of Death", questions how and why some of us are looking to use technology to fundamentally change the human condition. On Monday 21st of August 2017, some of the United States will go dark. This is the first total solar eclipse, visible from coast to coast in the US for 99 years. Gareth gets excited with veteran eclipse watchers, David Baron and Jackie Beucher.On the 20th of August 1977, NASA's probe Voyager 2 launched. This was quickly followed two weeks later by the launch of Voyager 1 (which was on a faster trajectory). Since then the two spacecraft have been exploring our Solar System, the Heliosphere and interstellar space. Surpassing all expectations, the probes have taught us so much about our planets, their moons and beyond. Gareth looks back at the highlights with the Voyager mission's chief scientist, Professor Ed Stone, in a celebration of the 40 year mission. Produced by Fiona RobertsPresented by Gareth Mitchell.

    starstarstarstarstar
  • European heatwave and climate change, Eugenia Cheng, Next generation batteries for electric cars, Joseph Hooker exhibition.

    · BBC Inside Science

    The current heat wave in Europe is proving deadly. High day and night temperatures, coupled with high humidity, can be a very dangerous combination. A new study has calculated the risk of deadly heat on a global basis, and shown that between 48% and 74% of the world's population will be subjected to life-threatening heat and humidity for at least 20 days a year. Ed Hawkins, Professor of Climate Science at the University of Reading, discusses the findings. Gareth also asks BBC weatherman, Darren Betts, whether the recent wave of climate trend animations, or gifs, doing the rounds on social media, are a helpful tool in communicating climate change risks.Professor of Mathematics, Eugenia Cheng, is one of the shortlisted authors for the Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize 2017. She talks Gareth through the inspiration for her book "Beyond Infinity: An expedition to the Outer Limits of the Mathematical Universe".The UK Government announced last week that it was aspiring to remove all petrol and diesel vehicles from roads by 2040. Current battery technology relies on lithium-ion batteries. Are lithium, and the other metals required for batteries, sustainable for a totally electric transport system? And do they have the charge capacity to make them a reliable alternative to fossil fuels? Dr Billy Wu, of the Dyson School of Design Engineering at Imperial College London, goes through the alternatives and the next generation of battery technology.To mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of one of Victorian Britain's most important scientists, Joseph Hooker (1817-1911), Kew Royal Botanic Gardens is holding an exhibition titled Joseph Dalton Hooker: Putting plants in their place. It's a fascinating selection of his photographs, journals and paintings. Gareth is taken on a tour by the curators - historian Professor Jim Endersby of the University of Sussex and Galleries and Exhibitions Leader at RBG Kew, Maria Devaney. They explain how as a tireless traveller and plant collector, Hooker was the founder of modern botanical classification and a close friend of Charles Darwin.Produced by Fiona RobertsPresented by Gareth Mitchell.

    starstarstarstarstar
  • Gene-editing human embryos, Spaceman's eyes, Science book prize, Sexual selection in salmon

    · BBC Inside Science

    Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is the heart condition that can lead to seemingly super-fit athletes collapsing with heart failure. It affects one in 500 people, and is a heritable disorder. Scientists using the precise gene-editing technique, Crispr CAS 9, have identified one of the genes responsible for the disease and 'fixed' it. This is in very early stage human embryos, prior to implantation. Dr. Fredrik Lanner at the Karolinska institute, is a leader in this field and he describes the work as purely at the experimental stages, but the team have managed to overcome various issues with the technique. Despite the obvious benefits of being an astronaut... exploring new worlds, seeing Earth from space, and of course the glory and fame, it can take a real toll on the body. Astronauts' skeletons and muscles deteriorate in zero gravity, their immune system weakens, and they experience nasal congestion and sleep disturbance. Many symptoms persists once they're back on Earth. But, there's another to add to the list, space flight-associated neuro-ocular syndrome or SANS. Ophthalmologist at Houston Methodist Hospital, Dr Andrew Lee explains that the build-up of fluid in the brain can squeeze the eye and optic nerve and lead to visual disturbance and even vision loss. The shortlist for the Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize 2017 has just been announced. Adam pesters judge Claudia Hammond for the name of the winner (she doesn't tell!) and discusses the criteria for this £25,000 prestigious award. The top 6 books will be featured over the next 6 weeks on BBC Inside Science.Sexual selection - who you decide to have babies with - is usually decided at the dating stage. But the choice does not have to stop at copulation. Post-mating sexual selection is a thing. Mechanisms such as sperm competition, and cryptic female choice, can happen after sex, but before the sperm fertilises the egg. It's not just an internal thing either, it happens in 'external fertilizers', where eggs are laid, and then fertilized by the male sperm outside the female's body, like come fish do in water. Professor Neil Gemmell, at the University of Otago in Dunedin in New Zealand, has been studying just such processes in Chinook salmon. His findings are surprising and could inform us about human reproduction and fertility.Produced by Fiona Roberts.

    starstarstarstarstar
  • Cod fisheries, Our connection to nature, Domestic electricity and Gamma ray bursts

    · BBC Inside Science

    News that the Marine Stewardship Council has reopened the North Sea cod fishery is met by some concern from marine biologist Professor Callum Roberts at the University of York. He says, this may be good news for cod and cod fishermen, but other marine species getting caught up in the drag nets may not be so capable of bouncing back.In a report out this week, the UK Government announced they are funding £246 million for major changes to the way electricity is produced and stored. New rules will make it easier for people to generate their own power with solar panels, and store it in batteries. But do we have the technology to make it work in a cost effective way? Steven Harris, a consultant in sustainable energy, thinks we'll soon have smart domestic appliances in our homes which better manage the fluctuating supply and demand for power. Expert in energy systems, at the University of Newcastle, Professor Phil Taylor, is researching the next generation of smart appliances and domestic storage batteries.A new study reports that 69% of Brits feel they have lost touch with nature. Dr. Rachel Bragg, at the Green Exercise Research Unit at the University of Essex and Care Farming UK, unpicks the anecdotal evidence from the facts and explores why a connection with the natural world is so important, why the connection is being broken and what we need to do about it.Professor of Extragalactic Astronomy at the University of Bath, Carole Mundell, explains how she and other astronomers captured the most complete picture yet of the most powerful type of explosion in the universe - Gamma Ray Bursts. These short-lived bursts of the most energetic form of light, shine hundreds of times brighter than a supernova and trillions of times brighter than our sun.

    starstarstarstarstar
  • Genetics and privacy, Global plastic, Great Ape Dictionary, Ocean Discovery X Prize

    · BBC Inside Science

    Should our genomes be private? Professors Tim Hubbard and Nils Hoppe join Adam Rutherford to discuss concerns about data security and privacy of our genetic data. Once our DNA has been extracted, sequenced and stored as a digital file, what is done with it, who gets to see it and what say do we have in all this? Back in the 1950's at the dawn of the new plastic age, its everlasting properties were a major selling point. Now, we're dealing with escalating plastic pollution and bulging landfill. But how much plastic are we dealing with? Dr. Roland Geyer has calculated the production, use and fate of all plastics ever made.Chimpanzees are very communicative animals: they tend to use gestures foremost with vocalisation just to emphasise the flick of a wrist or a stretch of the hand. In an attempt to get a grasp on why, and how, we humans made the shift from gesture-led communication to talking, we need to see how well we can decipher our ape relatives. A new online study called the 'Great Ape Dictionary' wants you to have a go.The bottom of our seas remains a mysterious other world. Yet, adventuring into the deep depths of the ocean is a major challenge, which is probably why only 5% of it has ever been explored - even though it covers more than 70% of our planet. So to start learning more about our own planet, the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE is awarding a total of $7 million to teams that develop autonomous, unmanned vehicles to map and image the bottom of the seas. Dr Jyotika Virmani tells Adam why ocean exploration is so important, and why it tends to take a backseat to adventuring into space.Presented by Adam RutherfordProduced by Fiona Roberts.

    starstarstarstarstar
  • Genetic testing; Pugs on treadmills; Frankenstein

    · BBC Inside Science

    What can genome science do for you? Chief Medical officer Dame Sally Davies recently published her annual report, issuing a plea for a revolution in the use of genetic information in the NHS. She wants DNA tests to be as routine as biopsies or blood tests. Adam chats to geneticist Ewan Birney, head of the European Bioinformatics Institute in Hinxton, about the potential uses and limitations of genetic testing.Pugs are set to become Britain's most popular breed in the next couple of years. Together with similar dogs, like bulldogs and Frenchies, they are classed 'brachycephalic', having short snouts and compact skulls which makes them susceptible to a breathing problems. Veterinary surgeon Jane Ladlow has studied 1,000 dogs to improve their health today and in future generations. Reporter Graihagh Jackson went to visit the team at Cambridge Veterinary School.To mark the forthcoming 200th anniversary of the publication of Frankenstein, a new edition has been created especially for scientists and engineers. Adam talks to editor David Guston, from Arizona State University about the lessons this cautionary tale contains for science today.Presenter: Adam RutherfordProducer: Michelle Martin.

    starstarstarstarstar
  • Neonics dispute, Hygenic bees, Hip-hop MRI

    · BBC Inside Science

    The results of the first large-scale field study looking at neonicotinoid pesticides and their impact on bees has caused controversy. It was carried out by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) and commissioned and funded by the agricultural chemical companies Syngenta and Bayer. However, both companies have expressed dissatisfaction with the paper. Adam Rutherford talks to Dr Peter Campbell from Syngenta and Dr Ben Woodcock from CEH about the results.In a separate project, beekeepers have been trying to improve hive health by breeding 'hygienic bees'. These nifty insects love to keep their homes clean and free from disease, improving colony numbers and reducing the need to use antibiotics. Reporter Rory Galloway embarks on some fieldwork at the University of Sussex, with Luciano Scandin, Honeybee Research Facility Manager and Francis Ratnieks, Professor of Apiculture.What happens when you rap inside an MRI scanner? Neuroscientist Sophie Scott wanted to find out. She's been making movies of the internal workings of some extraordinary voice boxes, owned by beatboxers, opera singers and rappers, like biochemist Alex Lathbridge aka Thermoflynamics.Presenter: Adam RutherfordResearcher: Caroline SteelProducer: Michelle Martin.

    starstarstarstarstar
  • Sex bias in biology, Engineering prize, Olympic bats, Angry Chef

    · BBC Inside Science

    Teams from all over the world have been looking at the differences between male and female mice. They've assessed hundreds of characteristics, from weight changes to cholesterol to blood chemistry. The surprising results show huge differences between the sexes, which have great repercussions for drug development which mostly uses male mice, and humans, for testing. Medicines may be less effective in females, or have greater side-effects, due to the extent of genetic differences being found between the sexes. Adam talks to one of the authors, Prof Judith Mank from University College London.Three global engineering technologies are in the running for this year's coveted MacRobert Award, the UK's top innovation prize. Adam Rutherford talks to judge Dr Dame Sue Ion to find out more about each of the finalists - Darktrace, Raspberry Pi and Vision RT.Urban bats are getting smart - sensors newly installed at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford are using machine learning algorithms to recognise and record the different colonies that emerge after dark. One in five mammal species are bats, and they are often used as an indicator to measure the health of our environment. BBC Science reporter Helen Briggs talks to Prof Kate Jones and the team involved in creating and installing these hi-tech bat phones.Anthony Warner is a chef. And he's angry. With a background in biochemistry he's pledged to fight fad diets, bogus nutritional advice and celebrity food nonsense wherever he finds it. From Clean Eating to the Paleo Diet, he busts some diet myths for us, and explains why we've unfairly demonised ingredients like gluten.Presenter: Adam RutherfordAssistant Producer: Caroline SteelProducer: Michelle Martin.

    starstarstarstarstar
  • Forensics Centre in Dundee; D'Arcy Thompson centenary; Scottish science adviser; Coffee and climate

    · BBC Inside Science

    The Leverhulme Research Centre for Forensic Science at the University of Dundee has expanded to test new psychoactive substances. Adam Rutherford talks to Professors Sue Black and Niamh Nic Daeid, who jointly run the Centre, about how they can keep up with the many new illegal drugs coming onto the market and about how they intend to modernise forensics. 2017 is the centenary of the publication of On Growth and Form, the book by D'Arcy Thompson that influenced many people from mathematical biologists to architects. Adam discusses the man and the book with Matthew Jarrron in the D'Arcy Thompson Museum at the University of Dundee. Astrophysicist Sheila Rowan has been the Chief Science Adviser to the Scottish Government for just over a year. Adam asks her about the role and how she deals with controversial issues such as GM crops. And Aaron Davis of Kew Gardens explains the impact of climate change on coffee growing in Ethiopia.

    starstarstarstarstar
  • Science in Fire Prevention

    · BBC Inside Science

    Applying scientific techniques to reduce fire risk in tall buildings. We look at practical measures to prevent building fires and also how science can improve evacuation plans.Modeling the brain with maths. new research using multidimensional models is helping researchers understand the levels of complexity in brain function. Sexism in science, its as old as...science. We look at how sex bias has influenced the outcome of scientific research throughout history. And also look at how science itself is changing as opportunities for women to pursue scientific careers increase. And a unique study which turns recordings from police body cameras into empirical data that can be used to assess and improve police interactions with the public.

    starstarstarstarstar
  • Early Humans Were Even Earlier Than We Thought

    · BBC Inside Science

    Early human fossils from Morocco suggest our ancestors walked the earth much earlier than previously thought. Human ancestral fossils from the area were first discovered in the 1960's, but now a re-examination of these and more recent finds suggests they are from an early form of us - Homo sapiens - living in the area around 300,000 years ago.We have news of a one in a million stellar observation: light bending around a distant star. This is the first time the phenomenon has been observed outside our solar system, and is further proof of Einstein's theory of General Relativity. It involved measurements millions of miles away and many times smaller than the width of a human hair.Gold mining is a highly polluting process involving toxic chemicals. Marnie Chesterton visits a Scottish gold mine and looks at attempts to make the extraction of gold more environmentally friendly by replacing the toxic chemicals with ingredients more commonly found in vitamins and natural fertilisers. And US President Trump has announced his intention to pullout of the Paris climate agreement. We look at the implications of the decision for global emissions reduction.

    starstarstarstarstar
  • The Importance of Basic Research

    · BBC Inside Science

    Adam Rutherford discusses the relationship between basic and applied scientific research with guests at the Hay Festival. Adam is joined by the Astronomer Royal, Lord Martin Rees, physicist Professor Robbert Dijkgraaf, the director of the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton University and author of a new essay introducing On the Usefulness of Useless Knowledge, behavioural psychologist Professor Theresa Marteau of Cambridge University and geneticist and writer Professor Steve Jones of University College London.

    starstarstarstarstar