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BBC Inside Science

BBC Radio 4

618
Followers
4.3K
Plays
BBC Inside Science

BBC Inside Science

BBC Radio 4

618
Followers
4.3K
Plays
OVERVIEWEPISODESYOU MAY ALSO LIKE

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About Us

Dr Adam Rutherford and guests illuminate the mysteries and challenge the controversies behind the science that's changing our world.

Latest Episodes

26/11/2020

Last weekend a joint European-US satellite blasted into space to begin its mission - monitoring the oceans back here on earth. Sentinel 6 Michael Freilich is one of a long line of satellites and has a striking design – appearing like a bright gold farmyard barn with a big pitched roof. Anand Jagatia speaks to Dr Ralph Cordey at Airbus Space and Defence about the latest design iteration and the technology on-board. Oceanographer Professor Penny Holiday from the National Oceanography Centre explains how Sentinel 6’s readings will enhance understanding of sea-level rises and give more detail about the currents in our oceans. We journey back to the cosmic ‘Dark Ages’, a period of time that we know hardly anything about. Dr Emma Chapman is an astrophysicist at Imperial College London who has written a book ‘First Light: Switching on Stars at the Dawn of Time’ to throw light on this illusive chapter in the history of our universe. How close are scientists to finding the first stars? With ambitious new government targets to end the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2030 how ready are electric cars to fill the gap? One key area many companies are trying to improve are the batteries powering electric vehicles. Peter Bruce, professor of materials science from Oxford University and chief scientist at the Faraday Institution has been working on rechargeable lithium ion energy storage since the 1990s. He speaks with Anand about the current limitations and the most recent developments in battery research and development. Presented by Anand Jagatia Produced by Melanie Brown

30 min4 d ago
Comments
26/11/2020

COVID Operation Moonshot; Big Compost Experiment; Gulf of Mexico meteorite and new life

Earlier this month, the government rolled out a pilot in Liverpool for ‘Operation Moonshot’, their proposal to spend £100 billion pounds to regularly test the entire UK population for SARS CoV 2. Anand Jagatia speaks to screening expert Dr Angela Raffle and medical test evaluator Professor Jon Deeks from the University of Birmingham. They share their concerns about the scheme and the benefits it may bring. A year ago, BBC Inside Science helped launch the Big Compost Experiment, a citizen science project run by a team at UCL. They asked the public to get involved by providing information about the matter that’s rotting in compost piles around the UK. What do people think about biodegradable plastics and what actually happens to them – do they break down like they are supposed to? Anand finds out about the results so far .from Mark Miodownik, one of the creators of this project, We travel back in time to 66 million years ago, when a massive meteorite smacked into the Gulf of Mexi...

30 min1 w ago
Comments
COVID Operation Moonshot; Big Compost Experiment; Gulf of Mexico meteorite and new life

mRNA vaccinations; bacterial space miners; Artemis accords

Scientists this week announced hopeful results in two of the big COVID-19 vaccination trials. Trudie Lang, Professor of Global Health at the Nuffield Department of Medicine, Oxford, describes some of the methodology used, what the efficacy statistic means, and how the novel approach of inserting mRNA rather than deactivated virus parts, is so exciting. Prof Charles Cockell has been investigating how bacteria might be grown in space on lumps of asteroid to extract precious minerals, and as Kim McAllister reports, his lab is itself in orbit. And it is just a few weeks since the UK, and several other countries, signed up to a set of bilateral agreements with the US called the Artemis Accords. These are an attempt to update previous outer space treaties on how countries - and indeed companies - might mine and use resources in space, given that no-one can currently legally claim sovereignty. As Dr Thomas Cheney of the Open University and Prof Jill Stuart of the LSE describe, the Accords ...

36 min2 w ago
Comments
mRNA vaccinations; bacterial space miners; Artemis accords

COVID in families; earthquake under Aegean Sea; Camilla Pang wins science book prize

We know that children can catch the SarsCov2 virus, even though adverse side effects are incredibly rare. But what isn't clear is how likely they are to transmit the virus? If you’re a parent, are you in danger of catching the virus, maybe brought home from school by your child? A large study, using the anonymised health experiences of around 12 million adults registered with GPs in England, has just been published that explores that question. Dr Laurie Tomlinson, of London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, explains the findings. On October 30th a magnitude 7 earthquake under the Aegean Sea created devastation when it struck Turkish city of Izmir. Marnie discusses the nature of the earthquake and why this area is so seismically active with Dr Laura Gregory, a geologist at Leeds University who has studied the rocks in the region. Professor Tiziana Rossetto, an expert in earthquake engineering at UCL, talks about a recent survey and intervention she carried out with the reside...

30 min3 w ago
Comments
COVID in families; earthquake under Aegean Sea; Camilla Pang wins science book prize

A new saliva gland, Bill Bryson on the Human Body, and the return of the Dust Bowl

Marnie Chesterton presents an update on the week's science. Behind your eyes, above your mouth but below the brain, two 3cm saliva glands have been hiding since anatomy began. So reports a new study by Matthijs Valstar and Wouter Vogel of The Netherlands Cancer Institute. They describe to Marnie how they found these hitherto unnoticed glands, and importantly how knowledge of these will help people treated for head and neck cancers to get on with their lives in the future. It may be that radiotherapies have been inadvertantly destroying the glands in the past, leading to difficulties eating and breathing. Bill Bryson is the latest in BBC Inside Science's flick through 2020's Royal Society Book Prize shortlisted authors. He talks to Adam Rutherford about his work, The Body: A Guide for Occupants, and his continuing awe at its complexity. And Roland Pease reports on evidence of a return to the Dust Bowl conditions that so devastated agriculture and livelihoods in the US mid-west during...

34 minOCT 30
Comments
A new saliva gland, Bill Bryson on the Human Body, and the return of the Dust Bowl

COVID reinfections, Susannah Cahalan questions psychiatry and sense of smell and COVID

If you contracted COVID will you then be protected from further infections and illness from SARS-CoV-2 in the future? We’re starting to hear about cases of people being infected by the novel coronavirus for a second time. A handful of these cases have been published in peer reviewed journals. Nottingham University’s Professor of Virology Jonathan Ball discusses how big the problem of reinfection might be. Is it likely to be a common event which could hamper efforts to bring the pandemic under control? In the latest in our series interviewing the shortlisted authors from this year’s Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize, Susannah Cahalan talks to Adam Rutherford about her investigative journalism into the scientific mystery that is mental illness. Her book ‘The Great Pretender - The Undercover Mission that Changed our Understanding of Madness’ focuses on a fundamental experiment carried out in the 1970s by renowned Stanford University Professor of Psychology David ...

34 minOCT 22
Comments
COVID reinfections, Susannah Cahalan questions psychiatry and sense of smell and COVID

Test and trace - how the UK compares to the rest of the world; Linda Scott's book The Double X Economy

From the very start of the COVID pandemic, test and trace has been the mantra. But here in the UK it was started, then abandoned as the number of cases rose too high to manage. It’s now been reintroduced and we’re all being encouraged to download the ‘NHS COVID-19’ phone app which can detect whether you’ve been near an infected person using Bluetooth technology. How have other countries around the world been managing to find, test, trace, isolate and support (FTTIS) their COVID patients? And what lessons can we learn from them? Professor Michael Hopkins at the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU), University of Sussex Business School is part of an international team of experts in science policy, social science, medicine, epidemiology and global health that has analysed and compared national testing systems in 6 countries: Spain, South Korea, South Africa, Ireland, Germany and us, in June, July and August. Michael Hopkins told Marnie Chesterton that we all have something to learn...

39 minOCT 15
Comments
Test and trace - how the UK compares to the rest of the world; Linda Scott's book The Double X Economy

08/10/2020

Claudia Hammond looks at the neuroscience behind our sense of touch. Why does a gentle touch from a loved one make us feel good? This is a question that neuroscientists have been exploring since the late 1990's, following the discovery of a special class of nerve fibres in the skin. There seems to be a neurological system dedicated to sensing and processing the gentle stroking you might receive from a parent or lover or friend, or that a monkey might receive from another grooming it. Claudia talks to neuroscientists Victoria Abraira, Rebecca Bohme, Katerina Fotopoulou and Francis McGlone who all investigate our sense of emotional touch, and she hears from Ian Waterman who lost his sense of touch at the age of eighteen. Producer: Andrew Luck-Baker

34 minOCT 8
Comments
08/10/2020

Brian May's Cosmic Clouds 3-D; How fish move between waterbodies and Jim Al-Khalili's take on physics

There are few images as awe-inspiring as those of the deep cosmos. Photos of the stars, galaxies, constellations and cosmic nebulae are difficult to improve on, but a new book might have done just that, by making them stereoscopic. David Eicher, Editor-in-Chief of Astronomy Magazine teamed up with astro-photographer J. P. Metsavainio, all engineered by astrophysicist and stereoscope enthusiast Dr Brian May, and they’ve created the first ever book on nebulae in 3-D, It’s called ‘Cosmic Clouds 3-D’, and is published by The London Stereoscopic Company. Have you ever thought about how fish arrive in a new pond or lake? Birds fly, other animals walk, or crawl, but fish are somewhat restricted to watery routes, and new lakes don’t necessarily have watery routes that fish can swim down. This question has been puzzling biologists for centuries. Andy Green, professor at the Doñana Biological Station in Spain has finally come up with the answer – a small number of fish eggs can survive...

36 minOCT 1
Comments
Brian May's Cosmic Clouds 3-D; How fish move between waterbodies and Jim Al-Khalili's take on physics

Royal Society Science Book Prize - Gaia Vince; Biodiversity loss and Science Museum mystery object

The Royal Society’s Insight Investment Science Book Prize’s shortlist has just been announced. Over the next few weeks, Marnie and Adam will be chatting to the six authors in line for the prestigious prize. They’ll be getting a guided tour of ‘The Body – a Guide for Occupants’ with Bill Bryson; Discussing ‘Life According to Physics’ with Jim Al Khalili; Explaining Humans: Discovering ‘What Science Can Teach Us about Life, Love and Relationships’ with Camilla Pang; Linda Scott will be exploring ‘The Epic Potential of Empowering Women’ in her book ‘The Double X Economy’ and Susannah Cahalan will grapple with the definition of mental illness and what counts as insanity in ‘The Great Pretender: The Undercover Mission That Changed Our Understanding of Madness’. This week Gaia Vince discusses her shortlisted book Transcendence - How Humans Evolved through Fire, Language, Beauty, and Time. Last week the non-COVID news was all about how we’d failed yet again to halt the rat...

34 minSEP 24
Comments
Royal Society Science Book Prize - Gaia Vince; Biodiversity loss and Science Museum mystery object

Latest Episodes

26/11/2020

Last weekend a joint European-US satellite blasted into space to begin its mission - monitoring the oceans back here on earth. Sentinel 6 Michael Freilich is one of a long line of satellites and has a striking design – appearing like a bright gold farmyard barn with a big pitched roof. Anand Jagatia speaks to Dr Ralph Cordey at Airbus Space and Defence about the latest design iteration and the technology on-board. Oceanographer Professor Penny Holiday from the National Oceanography Centre explains how Sentinel 6’s readings will enhance understanding of sea-level rises and give more detail about the currents in our oceans. We journey back to the cosmic ‘Dark Ages’, a period of time that we know hardly anything about. Dr Emma Chapman is an astrophysicist at Imperial College London who has written a book ‘First Light: Switching on Stars at the Dawn of Time’ to throw light on this illusive chapter in the history of our universe. How close are scientists to finding the first stars? With ambitious new government targets to end the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2030 how ready are electric cars to fill the gap? One key area many companies are trying to improve are the batteries powering electric vehicles. Peter Bruce, professor of materials science from Oxford University and chief scientist at the Faraday Institution has been working on rechargeable lithium ion energy storage since the 1990s. He speaks with Anand about the current limitations and the most recent developments in battery research and development. Presented by Anand Jagatia Produced by Melanie Brown

30 min4 d ago
Comments
26/11/2020

COVID Operation Moonshot; Big Compost Experiment; Gulf of Mexico meteorite and new life

Earlier this month, the government rolled out a pilot in Liverpool for ‘Operation Moonshot’, their proposal to spend £100 billion pounds to regularly test the entire UK population for SARS CoV 2. Anand Jagatia speaks to screening expert Dr Angela Raffle and medical test evaluator Professor Jon Deeks from the University of Birmingham. They share their concerns about the scheme and the benefits it may bring. A year ago, BBC Inside Science helped launch the Big Compost Experiment, a citizen science project run by a team at UCL. They asked the public to get involved by providing information about the matter that’s rotting in compost piles around the UK. What do people think about biodegradable plastics and what actually happens to them – do they break down like they are supposed to? Anand finds out about the results so far .from Mark Miodownik, one of the creators of this project, We travel back in time to 66 million years ago, when a massive meteorite smacked into the Gulf of Mexi...

30 min1 w ago
Comments
COVID Operation Moonshot; Big Compost Experiment; Gulf of Mexico meteorite and new life

mRNA vaccinations; bacterial space miners; Artemis accords

Scientists this week announced hopeful results in two of the big COVID-19 vaccination trials. Trudie Lang, Professor of Global Health at the Nuffield Department of Medicine, Oxford, describes some of the methodology used, what the efficacy statistic means, and how the novel approach of inserting mRNA rather than deactivated virus parts, is so exciting. Prof Charles Cockell has been investigating how bacteria might be grown in space on lumps of asteroid to extract precious minerals, and as Kim McAllister reports, his lab is itself in orbit. And it is just a few weeks since the UK, and several other countries, signed up to a set of bilateral agreements with the US called the Artemis Accords. These are an attempt to update previous outer space treaties on how countries - and indeed companies - might mine and use resources in space, given that no-one can currently legally claim sovereignty. As Dr Thomas Cheney of the Open University and Prof Jill Stuart of the LSE describe, the Accords ...

36 min2 w ago
Comments
mRNA vaccinations; bacterial space miners; Artemis accords

COVID in families; earthquake under Aegean Sea; Camilla Pang wins science book prize

We know that children can catch the SarsCov2 virus, even though adverse side effects are incredibly rare. But what isn't clear is how likely they are to transmit the virus? If you’re a parent, are you in danger of catching the virus, maybe brought home from school by your child? A large study, using the anonymised health experiences of around 12 million adults registered with GPs in England, has just been published that explores that question. Dr Laurie Tomlinson, of London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, explains the findings. On October 30th a magnitude 7 earthquake under the Aegean Sea created devastation when it struck Turkish city of Izmir. Marnie discusses the nature of the earthquake and why this area is so seismically active with Dr Laura Gregory, a geologist at Leeds University who has studied the rocks in the region. Professor Tiziana Rossetto, an expert in earthquake engineering at UCL, talks about a recent survey and intervention she carried out with the reside...

30 min3 w ago
Comments
COVID in families; earthquake under Aegean Sea; Camilla Pang wins science book prize

A new saliva gland, Bill Bryson on the Human Body, and the return of the Dust Bowl

Marnie Chesterton presents an update on the week's science. Behind your eyes, above your mouth but below the brain, two 3cm saliva glands have been hiding since anatomy began. So reports a new study by Matthijs Valstar and Wouter Vogel of The Netherlands Cancer Institute. They describe to Marnie how they found these hitherto unnoticed glands, and importantly how knowledge of these will help people treated for head and neck cancers to get on with their lives in the future. It may be that radiotherapies have been inadvertantly destroying the glands in the past, leading to difficulties eating and breathing. Bill Bryson is the latest in BBC Inside Science's flick through 2020's Royal Society Book Prize shortlisted authors. He talks to Adam Rutherford about his work, The Body: A Guide for Occupants, and his continuing awe at its complexity. And Roland Pease reports on evidence of a return to the Dust Bowl conditions that so devastated agriculture and livelihoods in the US mid-west during...

34 minOCT 30
Comments
A new saliva gland, Bill Bryson on the Human Body, and the return of the Dust Bowl

COVID reinfections, Susannah Cahalan questions psychiatry and sense of smell and COVID

If you contracted COVID will you then be protected from further infections and illness from SARS-CoV-2 in the future? We’re starting to hear about cases of people being infected by the novel coronavirus for a second time. A handful of these cases have been published in peer reviewed journals. Nottingham University’s Professor of Virology Jonathan Ball discusses how big the problem of reinfection might be. Is it likely to be a common event which could hamper efforts to bring the pandemic under control? In the latest in our series interviewing the shortlisted authors from this year’s Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize, Susannah Cahalan talks to Adam Rutherford about her investigative journalism into the scientific mystery that is mental illness. Her book ‘The Great Pretender - The Undercover Mission that Changed our Understanding of Madness’ focuses on a fundamental experiment carried out in the 1970s by renowned Stanford University Professor of Psychology David ...

34 minOCT 22
Comments
COVID reinfections, Susannah Cahalan questions psychiatry and sense of smell and COVID

Test and trace - how the UK compares to the rest of the world; Linda Scott's book The Double X Economy

From the very start of the COVID pandemic, test and trace has been the mantra. But here in the UK it was started, then abandoned as the number of cases rose too high to manage. It’s now been reintroduced and we’re all being encouraged to download the ‘NHS COVID-19’ phone app which can detect whether you’ve been near an infected person using Bluetooth technology. How have other countries around the world been managing to find, test, trace, isolate and support (FTTIS) their COVID patients? And what lessons can we learn from them? Professor Michael Hopkins at the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU), University of Sussex Business School is part of an international team of experts in science policy, social science, medicine, epidemiology and global health that has analysed and compared national testing systems in 6 countries: Spain, South Korea, South Africa, Ireland, Germany and us, in June, July and August. Michael Hopkins told Marnie Chesterton that we all have something to learn...

39 minOCT 15
Comments
Test and trace - how the UK compares to the rest of the world; Linda Scott's book The Double X Economy

08/10/2020

Claudia Hammond looks at the neuroscience behind our sense of touch. Why does a gentle touch from a loved one make us feel good? This is a question that neuroscientists have been exploring since the late 1990's, following the discovery of a special class of nerve fibres in the skin. There seems to be a neurological system dedicated to sensing and processing the gentle stroking you might receive from a parent or lover or friend, or that a monkey might receive from another grooming it. Claudia talks to neuroscientists Victoria Abraira, Rebecca Bohme, Katerina Fotopoulou and Francis McGlone who all investigate our sense of emotional touch, and she hears from Ian Waterman who lost his sense of touch at the age of eighteen. Producer: Andrew Luck-Baker

34 minOCT 8
Comments
08/10/2020

Brian May's Cosmic Clouds 3-D; How fish move between waterbodies and Jim Al-Khalili's take on physics

There are few images as awe-inspiring as those of the deep cosmos. Photos of the stars, galaxies, constellations and cosmic nebulae are difficult to improve on, but a new book might have done just that, by making them stereoscopic. David Eicher, Editor-in-Chief of Astronomy Magazine teamed up with astro-photographer J. P. Metsavainio, all engineered by astrophysicist and stereoscope enthusiast Dr Brian May, and they’ve created the first ever book on nebulae in 3-D, It’s called ‘Cosmic Clouds 3-D’, and is published by The London Stereoscopic Company. Have you ever thought about how fish arrive in a new pond or lake? Birds fly, other animals walk, or crawl, but fish are somewhat restricted to watery routes, and new lakes don’t necessarily have watery routes that fish can swim down. This question has been puzzling biologists for centuries. Andy Green, professor at the Doñana Biological Station in Spain has finally come up with the answer – a small number of fish eggs can survive...

36 minOCT 1
Comments
Brian May's Cosmic Clouds 3-D; How fish move between waterbodies and Jim Al-Khalili's take on physics

Royal Society Science Book Prize - Gaia Vince; Biodiversity loss and Science Museum mystery object

The Royal Society’s Insight Investment Science Book Prize’s shortlist has just been announced. Over the next few weeks, Marnie and Adam will be chatting to the six authors in line for the prestigious prize. They’ll be getting a guided tour of ‘The Body – a Guide for Occupants’ with Bill Bryson; Discussing ‘Life According to Physics’ with Jim Al Khalili; Explaining Humans: Discovering ‘What Science Can Teach Us about Life, Love and Relationships’ with Camilla Pang; Linda Scott will be exploring ‘The Epic Potential of Empowering Women’ in her book ‘The Double X Economy’ and Susannah Cahalan will grapple with the definition of mental illness and what counts as insanity in ‘The Great Pretender: The Undercover Mission That Changed Our Understanding of Madness’. This week Gaia Vince discusses her shortlisted book Transcendence - How Humans Evolved through Fire, Language, Beauty, and Time. Last week the non-COVID news was all about how we’d failed yet again to halt the rat...

34 minSEP 24
Comments
Royal Society Science Book Prize - Gaia Vince; Biodiversity loss and Science Museum mystery object
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