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BBC Inside Science

300 EpisodesProduced by BBC Radio 4Website

A weekly programme that illuminates the mysteries and challenges the controversies behind the science that's changing our world.

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A life-changing database

July 22nd, 2021


Proteomes, the sequences of protein within the DNA of every living thing, are notoriously difficult to model. The usual chemical methods can take …

Covid19 - should we test everybody ?

July 15th, 2021


Epidemiologist Julian Peto is advocating mass testing as the key part of a plan to stop the virus spreading. Studies where everyone has been tested …

Covid and our ancient ancestors

July 8th, 2021


A global project looking at the genomes of over 2 million people has found a number of distinct genetic markers which seem to either make Covid infection more likely or the symptoms more severe. Some of these markers …

Gene editing gets real

July 1st, 2021


For the first time the gene editing technique CRISPR has been used by injecting the CRISPR instructions into the bloodstream rather than directly …

UK science policy shake-up; Ivermectin & Covid; black fungus in Indian Covid patients; many hominins in Siberian cave

June 24th, 2021


The Prime Minister has announced his desire for the UK to become a 'science superpower'. A new office within the cabinet to look at science will work alongside existing science strategy and funding structures. So far …

Cov-Boost trial; SARS-Cov 2 infection in action; sapling guards; why tadpoles are dying

June 17th, 2021


Scientists are now looking at the question of third doses of vaccines against SARS-Cov2, and this week the Cov-Boost trial was launched. It’s being run from University of Southampton and is going to be using seven …

Covid vaccines in children; preventing dengue; algal blooms; supersonic flight

June 10th, 2021


Should we be vaccinating children in the UK against SARS-Cov 2? Children are rarely seriously ill if they catch Covid but infections mean missed …

Lab origin theory of SARS-Cov2; gene for obesity; dark matter map; rock art in Scotland

June 3rd, 2021


Sars Cov2, as the Covid19 coronavirus is called, probably began as the vast majority of new diseases do, when an animal virus infected a person – perhaps in a market or farm. There’s a large animal market in the city of …

Human use of plants beyond the limits of history.

May 27th, 2021


Human impact on planet earth’s plant life might be detectable several thousand years back in fossil pollen cores taken from mud columns around the …

Blood Clot Cure, Synthetic Fuels and Coal Mine Heat Pumps

May 20th, 2021


Vic Gill talks to scientists who have cured a vaccine-induced blood clot patient, and meets a former top F1 chief engineer who wants to transform the fuel industry.

Scientists in Vienna have been continuing to look at …

Microplastics in UK river beds

May 13th, 2021


Untreated wastewater "routinely released into UK rivers" is creating microplastic hotspots on riverbeds. That is the conclusion of a study in Greater Manchester, which revealed high concentrations of plastic immediately …

Early burials, diversity in Tudor England, a malaria vaccine, and rogue brain waves

May 6th, 2021


Despite being home to our early ancestors, attempts to find evidence of early burials in Africa have proved unsuccessful. That is until now. …

Dragonfly on Titan, Retreating Glaciers, Surge Testing, Acoustic lighthouses

April 29th, 2021


Now that NASA engineers have successfully flown a helicopter remotely on Mars planetary scientists are exploring how to use the technology elsewhere. …

Coronavirus variants and vaccines, climate change resistant coffee, dare to repair and how to get rid of moths

April 22nd, 2021


This week has seen a huge surge in Covid- 19 in India leading to concern of a "double mutant" variant, but what do we know about this B.1.617 as it is otherwise known. It was first described in October and is now in …

Blood clots, grieving and the emotion of screams

April 15th, 2021


The story of what we understand about the rare cases of blood clots associated with certain Covid-19 vaccines is constantly evolving. In today’s …

Disobedient particles, noisy gorillas, sharks and fictional languages

April 8th, 2021


In 2016, an accelerator physics centre called Fermilab acquired a massive circular 50 foot magnet from a lab in New York. Too big for the roads, the …

Science funding cuts; Mice get Covid-19; Native oyster reintroductions

April 1st, 2021


Scientists were delighted earlier this year to find they would still have access to the EU Horizon 2020 funding and collaborations. Now, it has been …

Halfway to net zero; hydrogen as a fuel; Fagradalsfjall, Iceland’s active volcano

March 25th, 2021


The UK is reportedly halfway towards meeting its 2050 target of "net zero" carbon emissions. How did we get there and how will we achieve the next stage?

‘UK greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 were 51% below 1990 levels, …

Human embryo research and ethics; sperm whale social learning; Antikythera mechanism

March 18th, 2021


We still know very little about exactly how the embryo forms out of a mass of dividing cells in those crucial first weeks after conception. This is also the time when many miscarriages occur, and scientists want to …

China's green growth plan

March 11th, 2021


On Friday 5th March China published a draft for its 14th five-year plan in Beijing. The document acts as a national economic blueprint and was expected to provide an outline as to how the world’s biggest emitter of …

Blue carbon; inside Little Foot's skull; reading locked letters

March 4th, 2021


With global warming continuing to increase at an alarming rate, we need all the help we can get to lock up the carbon that we’ve released into the …

Good COP Bad COP, Shotgun Lead Persistence, and Featherdown Adaptation

February 25th, 2021


On Thursday, The UN Environmental Programme published a report called Making Peace With Nature. It attempts to synthesise vast amounts of scientific knowledge and communicate “how climate change, biodiversity loss and …

Nasa's Perseverance - will it pay off? And spotting likely hosts for future pandemics.

February 18th, 2021


On Thursday 18th Feb 2020 Nasa’s Perseverance Rover is due to touch down – gently and accurately – in the Jezero crater on Mars. Using similar …

Meeting Mars, Melting Ice, Ozone on the Mend Again, and A Sea Cacophany

February 11th, 2021


Victoria Gill and guests discuss the signs and symptoms of melting ice and anthropogenic climate warming, illicit CFC production and the racket we make in the seas.

As two robotic missions from UAE and China arrive at …

Putting a number on biodiversity

February 4th, 2021


Ahead of the COP summit in Glasgow at the end of the year, this week an important study was published that attempts to enumerate the value of biodiversity in the economics of humankind. Prof Sir Partha Dasgupta's review …

Next Gen Covid Vaccines; Man's Oldest Bestest Friend; Bilingual Brain Development

January 28th, 2021


A year after the first SARS-Cov2 sequences were received in the vaccine labs, Dr Alex Lathbridge and guests look into ongoing development and what next year's booster shots might be like.

Prof Robin Shattock's team at …

Vaccine Hesitancy and Ethnicity; The Joy of catnip; Lake Heatwaves

January 21st, 2021


Reports this week talk of some BAME ethnic minorities being significantly less likely to take a covid vaccine if offered. Vittal Katikireddi and …

UK Science post Brexit; GMOs vs Gene Editing regulation; Identical Twins That Aren't Indentical

January 14th, 2021


In the new EU-UK deal, the UK is to be an associate member of the latest EU research funding round, known as Horizon Europe. Costing around £2bn to take part, what can UK scientists now do and what has changed? UKRI CEO …

Vaccine Dosing and Biodiversity Soundscape Monitoring

January 7th, 2021


After the decision by the UK government last week to change the spacing between dosings of vaccine from the recommended 3 weeks to 12 weeks, …

Brian Cox and Alice Roberts on a decade of extraordinary science

December 31st, 2020


As a new decade ticks over, Dr Adam Rutherford, Professor Alice Roberts and Professor Brian Cox look back on a decade of science that has transformed perceptions of our medicine, our history and our universe.

From …

Space Rocks, Aquatic Dinosaurs and Global Temperatures; 2020 science reviewed

December 24th, 2020


Nobody could have failed to notice the one story dominating the science news this year - but what about the discoveries that have been overshadowed …

Covid mutation; On the facial expression of emotions; A mystery object

December 17th, 2020


Dr Alex Lathbridge with your peek at the week in science.

This week in the House of Commons Matt Hancock announced a new variant in the Covid virus, discovered to be spreading through the south east of the UK. As …

Future risk planning; Millennium Seed Bank; Urban trees

December 10th, 2020


Dr Alex Lathbridge brings you the week in science.

As the first COVID vaccines are delivered this week hastening the first glimmers of a return to normal life, is it too soon to be thinking about other future threats to …

Protein folding; Hyabusa sample return; Holiday Covid testing

December 3rd, 2020


Has one of the biggest problems in biology been solved by AI? Dr Alex Lathbridge brings you the week in science.

This week google's Deep Mind team …


November 26th, 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 – …

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

November 19th, 2020


Earlier this month, the government rolled out a pilot in Liverpool for ‘Operation Moonshot’, their proposal to spend £100 billion pounds to regularly …

mRNA vaccinations; bacterial space miners; Artemis accords

November 12th, 2020


Scientists this week announced hopeful results in two of the big COVID-19 vaccination trials. Trudie Lang, Professor of Global Health at the Nuffield …

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

November 5th, 2020


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 …

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

October 29th, 2020


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 …

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

October 22nd, 2020


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 …

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

October 15th, 2020


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 …


October 8th, 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, …

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

October 1st, 2020


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 …

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

September 24th, 2020


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 …

COVID-19 in Winter, Acoustics of Stonehenge and Dog years

September 17th, 2020


As it starts to get colder and we crank up the central heating in our homes, what will the effect be on the SARs-CoV-2 virus? As a respiratory virus …

Coronavirus: The types of vaccine; How the UK is scaling up vaccine production

September 10th, 2020


Vaccination has eradicated smallpox, a disease that decimated populations through the 20th century. Polio is almost gone too, and measles is no …

Bird and dinosaur skull evolution; the wonders of yeast and Science Museum mystery object

September 3rd, 2020


Skulls give researchers a great deal of insight into how an animal might have evolved, and skulls can be sensibly compared between species and groups …

What does the science say about the COVID risks of schools reopening? Dolphin ear autopsy

August 27th, 2020


Over the next couple of weeks almost all children in the UK will be back to school. But the pandemic hasn’t ended, and we are far from having a …

Smart bricks, The Royal Academy of Engineering awards for pandemic engineering solutions and detecting SARS-Cov-2 in sewage

August 20th, 2020


Red clay bricks are among the most ubiquitous building materials worldwide. Julio D'Arcy, a chemist at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, …

Land use and zoonoses, California's earthquake risk and the Tuatara genome

August 13th, 2020


COVID19 is a chilling reminder of how pathogens from animals can jump into humans. But it’s not the first time. SARS, Ebola, West Nile virus and …

How sperm swim, the theory of soil & the Big Compost Experiment update

August 6th, 2020


Adam reveals new research which overturns received wisdom about how sperm swim. More than three centuries after Antonie van Leeuwenhoek peered down …

Science Museum mystery objects; home security camera security and Rosalind Franklin at 100

July 30th, 2020


The Science Museum Group looks after over 7.3 million items. As with most museums, the objects you see on display when you visit are only the tip of …

Pre-prints over peer review during the COVID pandemic and roads and birds

July 23rd, 2020


A pre-print is a way for scientists to get their work out quickly for other scientists to comment on and debate. But pre-prints are not peer reviewed; they have not undergone the scrutiny of reviewers and journal …

Science Fraud & Bias, Immunity to COVID-19

July 16th, 2020


Science is all about self-reflection. Scientists constantly check themselves, share their work, and check each other’s data. But how robust is the science upon which civilisation is built, the science which has mapped …

Satellite navigation in the UK; the science of the World Wide Web and Neolithic genomics

July 9th, 2020


Is the UK losing its way when it comes to satellite navigation? There's GPS from the US, but other countries and regions, including Russia, China, India and Japan, either have, or are building, satellite navigation …

Preventing pandemics, invading alien species, blood types & COVID-19.

July 2nd, 2020


As we’re beginning to understand more about SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, we’re hopefully starting to get some clues on how to deal …

The Human Genome Project's 20th Anniversary

June 25th, 2020


Adam Rutherford is back to celebrate the 20th anniversary of one of the most ambitious and revolutionary scientific endeavours of all time - the …

Coronavirus conspiracy, Listeners' mask questions, Solar Orbiter gets close to the Sun

June 18th, 2020


Throughout the pandemic, we've seen an explosion in information about the science of the virus, SARS-CoV-2, and the disease it causes, COVID-19. An …

Engineering out of lockdown and should we castrate male dogs?

June 11th, 2020


As the UK gradually begins to ease out of lockdown, Marnie explores how engineers are hoping to reduce the spread of Covid-19. We’ve learned how …

Back to School and Covid-19 and Ordnance Survey and the pandemic

June 4th, 2020


As the lockdown eases and some children, in preschool and primary years, start heading back to school, what impact will this have on the pandemic, …

Testing & Tracing the coronavirus, and the traces our movements leave behind

May 28th, 2020


Inside Science this week is all about our information - the stuff we volunteer and the traces our everyday movements leave behind.

With the launch of …

Coronavirus-free science, the impact of lockdown on climate change and the odds of both life and intelligent life existing.

May 21st, 2020


In response to listeners who have expressed coronavirus fatigue in recent weeks, Marnie Chesterton brings us up to date on some of the best and brightest breaking science we might have missed, with BBC’s Non-Covid-19 …

Coronavirus R number, genome study of Covid-19 survivors and using aircraft messages to assess aviation

May 14th, 2020


R seems to have found its way into the newspapers and on Radio 4 as if it’s a word, or a letter, that we should all be familiar with and understand. …

Should the public wear face masks? Did SARS-Cov-2 escape from a laboratory in Wuhan?

May 7th, 2020


Advice about whether the public should wear face masks, to protect against infection by the coronavirus, differs around the world. In Europe, policy …

Testing for immunity to COVID-19 and Citizen science on BBC Radio past and present

April 30th, 2020


This week, the Government’s target to be testing 100,000 a day for COVID-19 looks like it won’t be met. But we’ve heard about many people who experienced the virus mildly, or who’ve tested positive with no symptoms at …

Understanding Covid-19 death rates; Contact tracing apps; Whale sharks and atomic bombs

April 23rd, 2020


Every death is a tragedy for grief-stricken families, but every set of statistics is an opportunity to understand the virus and the disease Covid-19 a bit more. In fact gathering these data, quickly and accurately, is a …

Lockdown lessons for climate change and the carbon neutral Cumbrian coal mine

April 16th, 2020


While the world is dealing with the coronavirus outbreak, those who are concerned about the environment are saying that an arguably bigger crisis is being side-lined. Climate change, or climate breakdown, is still …

Testing for asymptomatic coronavirus carriers, Human Cell Atlas, and invasive parakeets

April 9th, 2020


You can’t build up a picture of Covid-19’s spread throughout the UK without testing those who might have it and those who might have already had it. Britain currently is only testing people who are hospitalised, some …

Coronavirus: Models & being ‘led by the science’; Mars500 isolation tips; Kids’ science - singing glasses

April 2nd, 2020


Marnie Chesterton reveals how important the models and graphs are in informing government strategies for the Covid-19 pandemic. Christl Donnelly, …

Coronavirus - Lockdown efficacy; viral testing; surface survival; dog walking safety

March 26th, 2020


Last week, we promised we’d tackle your coronavirus and associated Covid 19 questions and you came up trumps. So this week we’re be talking about the latest from the lockdown, why there are bottlenecks in the testing …

TB vaccination to replace culling in badgers; Neil Shubin on the wonders of evolution

March 19th, 2020


The government have announced that the controversial cull of badgers across England will begin to be phased out in the next few years. It will be …

Biology of the new coronavirus

March 12th, 2020


Adam Rutherford explores what makes the new coronavirus so effective at making us ill.
Jonathan Ball, Professor of Virology at Nottingham …

Banning lead shot for hunting; UK Fireball Network and Extremely thin gold

March 5th, 2020


We have known for centuries about the toxic properties of lead, and we have known since at least 1876 that birds die of lead poisoning when they eat lead gunshot (which they do, thinking its grit). To address this, in …

The Big Compost Experiment; Using AI to screen for new antibiotics; Science of slapstick

February 27th, 2020


Composters - we need you! Or rather materials scientists at UCL, Mark Miodownik and Danielle Purkiss, need you to take part in their Big Compost Experiment. Launched back in November, the team asked members of the …

Coronavirus questions; HMS Challenger and ocean acidification; Sean Carroll's quantum world

February 20th, 2020


Adam Rutherford is joined by Professor of Virology at Nottingham University, Jonathan Ball, to help answer some of your questions on the latest …

Ordnance Survey - Britain's 220-year-old tech company; Launching synthetic voices and personality test

February 13th, 2020


For the past 220 years, Ordnance Survey have been mapping Great Britain with extraordinary accuracy. But as Gareth discovers when he visits their HQ in Southampton, GB's master map is not a static printed document. It's …

Solar Orbiter launch; Mutational signatures in cancer; paleo-oncology

February 6th, 2020


The latest space mission to the Sun is due to launch on Sunday. SolO, the European Space Agency's Solar Orbiter, will loop around our star in an …

Coronavirus update, Typhoid Mary and 200th anniversary of the first sighting of Antarctica

January 30th, 2020


With the recent coronavirus outbreak spreading around the world, and concerns about people being infectious before they exhibit any symptoms. …

Coronavirus outbreak in China; Genetic diseases in Amish communities and getting an Egyptian mummy to speak

January 23rd, 2020


With news reports moving as quickly as the virus may be spreading, the latest coronavirus outbreak which is thought to have started in Wuhan in central China is fast becoming a global health concern. Adam Rutherford …

Reproducibility crisis in science; Aeolus wind-measuring satellite; electric cars

January 16th, 2020


Science is built upon the idea that results can be verified by others. Scientists do their experiments and write up their methods and results and …

Australian bush fires; Veganuary and LIGO

January 9th, 2020


2019 was the hottest and driest year on record in Australia. The Indian Ocean Dipole and the Southern Annular Mode weather systems, plus existing …

The hidden history in our DNA - Part 2 - Travel and Culture

January 2nd, 2020


Our genomes are more than just an instruction manual for our bodies. They are maps, diaries, history books and medical records of our and our ancestor's lives...if you know how to read them. In the second part of BBC …

The hidden history in our DNA - Part 1 - Sex and Disease

December 26th, 2019


Our genomes are more than just an instruction manual for our bodies. They are maps, diaries, history books and medical records of our and our ancestors' lives.....if you know how to read them. In this programme and the …

Ten years of Zooniverse; what happened to volcano Anak Krakatau and visualising maths

December 19th, 2019


Adam Rutherford talks to Chris Lintott about the citizen science platform he set up ten years ago. Zooniverse is a place where the public can help scientists analyse huge swathes of data. Projects such as spotting …

Earliest hunting scene cave painting; animal domestication syndrome

December 12th, 2019


A cave painting in Sulawesi, Indonesia, has been dated and is at least 43,900 years old. The mural portrays a group of part-human, part-animal …

Global Carbon Emissions; Parker Solar Probe and simulating swaying buildings

December 5th, 2019


Reports from the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 25) in Madrid are saying that global warming is increasing and that we're not doing enough, fast …

What's the problem with palm oil and should we be supporting sustainably grown oil? Virtual reality skin

November 28th, 2019


Palm oil is now such a dirty word for household products and processed food, that it often hides behind a list of dozens of pseudonyms (from the …

Noise pollution and wildlife; No till farming; Cornwall's geothermal heat

November 21st, 2019


The effects of human-made noise on the natural world has been surprisingly little studied. Hanjoerg Kunc at Queen's University in Belfast has …

Soils and floods, Air pollution and ultra-low emission zones, detecting the drug Spice

November 14th, 2019


The UK's soils are the first line of defence against flooding, but the condition of the soil is vital to how well it can soak up and slowly release rainwater. Jane Rickson, Professor of soil erosion and conservation at …

Fracking moratorium; Bloodhound; Big Compost Experiment; transit of Mercury

November 7th, 2019


The Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced an indefinite moratorium this week on mining of shale gas by hydraulic fracturing, aka fracking, in the …

African genomes sequenced; Space weather; sports head injuries

October 31st, 2019


Since the human genome was first sequenced nearly 20 years ago, around a million people have had theirs decoded, giving us new insights into the links between genes, ancestry and disease. But most of the genomes studied …

Organic farming emissions; Staring at seagulls; Salt and dementia

October 24th, 2019


Switching to 100% organic food production in England and Wales would see an overall increase in greenhouse gas emissions. Although going fully …

Ebola model, Partula snails, Malaria origin

October 17th, 2019


Zoonotic diseases are infections that transfer from animals to people, and include killers such as bubonic plague, malaria, ebola and a whole host of …

Extinction Rebellion, UK net zero emissions and climate change; Nobel Prizes

October 10th, 2019


Extinction Rebellion is in the news with its stated aim of civil disobedience and protest, and goal to compel governments around the world to act on the climate crisis. Meanwhile, the UK government this week announced …

HIV protective gene paper retraction, Imaging ancient Herculaneum scrolls, Bill Bryson's The Body

October 3rd, 2019


In November 2018 news broke via YouTube that He Jiankui, then a professor at Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, China had …

Oceans, ice and climate change; Neolithic baby bottles; Caroline Criado-Perez wins RS Book Prize

September 26th, 2019


The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's special report on the oceans and cryosphere makes pretty grim reading on the state of our seas and icy places. Ocean temperatures are rising, permafrost and sea ice are …

MOSAiC Arctic super-expedition, Likely extinction of the Bahama nuthatch, Tim Smedley's book on air pollution

September 19th, 2019


On Friday, 20 September, a powerful icebreaker called The Polarstern will set sail from Tromsø, Norway, with the aim of getting stuck into the polar …

Model embryos from stem cells, Paul Steinhardt's book on impossible crystals, Mother Thames

September 12th, 2019


One of the most fundamental developmental stages we humans go through is extremely poorly understood. The first few days of the embryo, once it's been implanted in the womb is incredibly hard to study. Yet it's the time …

Inventing GPS, Carbon nanotube computer, Steven Strogatz and Monty Lyman discuss calculus and skin

September 5th, 2019


Global Positioning System, or GPS is perhaps the best known of the satellite navigation systems, helping us find our way every day. Back in the 1970's Bradford Parkinson and Hugo Fruehauf were two of the inventors who …

Amazon fires, Royal Society Book Prize shortlist announced, John Gribben on quantum physics

August 29th, 2019


Satellite data has shown an 85% increase in the number of fires across Brazil this year. There are more than 2,500 fires active across the Amazon region. This represents the most active number of fires since 2010. The …

UK's black squirrels' genetic heritage; nuclear fusion in the UK and the Royal Society's science book prize

August 22nd, 2019


Perhaps you’ve been lucky enough to spot the uncommon black grey squirrel in the UK. The bizarre mutation that causes a change in fur colour has …

UK power cut, Huge dinosaur find in Wyoming, Micro-plastics in Arctic snow

August 15th, 2019


Following the simultaneous outages of two UK power plants last Friday, affecting nearly 1 million people across the country, we at Inside Science …

Making the UK's dams safe, AI spots fake smiles, How many trees should we be planting?

August 8th, 2019


In the light of the evacuation of the Derbyshire town of Whaley Bridge due to damage to the Todbrook reservoir dam and the threat of a catastrophic …

Lovelock at 100; Hydrothermal vents and antibiotic resistance in the environment

August 1st, 2019


James Lovelock is one of the most influential thinkers on the environment of the last half century. His grand theory of planet Earth - Gaia, which is the idea that from the bottom of the Earth's crust to the upper …

False positives in genetic test kits, Impact of fishing on ocean sharks, Sex-change fish

July 25th, 2019


Dr Adam Rutherford uncovers the worrying number of false positive results that the DNA sequencing technologies used by 'direct to consumer' genetic …

Turing on the new £50 note, Moon landing on the radio, 25 years since Shoemaker-Levy comet

July 18th, 2019


Code-breaker and father of computer science, Alan Turing has been chosen to celebrate the field of science on the new £50 note. Adam Rutherford asks Chief Cashier at the Bank of England, Sarah Johns how and why he was …

Earliest modern human skull, Analysing moon rocks, Viruses lurking in our genomes

July 11th, 2019


A new study shows that 210,000-year-old skull found in Greece is the earliest evidence for modern humans in Eurasia. A second skull found in the same …

X-Rays on Mercury, Monkey Tools, Music of Molecules, AI Drivers

July 4th, 2019


The 2019 Royal Society Summer Science exhibition in London is free to enter and continues until Sunday 7th July. BBC Inside Science this week comes …

Global Food Security, Reactive Use-By Labels, Origins of the Potato

June 27th, 2019


On the day that the UK government launches a year long “food-to-Fork” review of food production in the UK, we present a food themed special edition.

Global Food Security
Maia Elliot is an analyst and writer for Global …

Rinderpest destruction, Noise and birdsong, Science as entertainment

June 20th, 2019


Rinderpest – Sequence and Destroy
Last week the UK’s Pirbright Institute announced that it had destroyed its remaining stocks of the deadly cattle virus Rinderpest. This repository was one of the biggest remaining stores …

Net-Zero carbon target, Science Policy Under Thatcher, Screen time measures

June 13th, 2019


Net-Zero Carbon Target
The UK is set to become the first member of the G7 industrialised nations group to legislate for net-zero emissions after …

CCR5 Mutation Effects, The Surrey Earthquake Swarm, Animal Emotions

June 6th, 2019


Some people have a genetic mutation in a gene called CCR5 that seems to bestow immunity to a form of HIV. This is the mutation which controversial Chinese scientist Jianqui He tried to bestow upon two baby girls last …

How maths underpins science

May 30th, 2019


Adam Rutherford and guests at the Hay Festival discuss how maths underwrites all branches of science, and is at the foundation of the modern world.

New CFC emissions, Cannabis and the Environment, The Noisy Cocktail Party, Automated Face Recognition

May 23rd, 2019


New CFC emissions
Researchers say that they have pinpointed the major sources of a mysterious recent rise in a dangerous, ozone-destroying chemical. …

Hubble Not-So Constant, Synthetic E. Coli, The Adventures of Alexander von Humboldt

May 16th, 2019


The Hubble Constant
The Hubble constant is the current expansion rate of the universe but it seems to have changed over time. Hiranya Peiris, …

Forensic science provision, optimal garden watering strategy, and a mystery knee bone

May 9th, 2019


A damning House of Lords' report into the provision of forensic science in England and Wales makes for uncomfortable reading for some but is broadly welcomed by those in the field. Prof. Niamh Nic Daeid, one of many who …

Sex, gender and sport - the Caster Semenya case and the latest Denisovan discovery

May 2nd, 2019


In 2018, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) introduced new eligibility regulations for female athletes with differences in …

Thought-to-speech machine, City Nature Challenge, Science of Storytelling

April 25th, 2019


Patients who suffer neurological impairments preventing them from speaking potentially face a severely limited existence. Being able to express …

Notre-Dame fire, Reviving pig brains, ExoMars, Evolution of faces

April 18th, 2019


The horror of the blazing Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris has been slightly quenched by the fact that so much of the French landmark has been saved. But what was it about the structure of the roof, with some the beams …

Visualising a black hole, Homo luzonensis, Two ways to overcome antimicrobial resistance

April 11th, 2019


"We have now seen the unseeable" according to scientists who are part of the Event Horizon Telescope group. The international team has released a …

Cretaceous catastrophe fossilised, LIGO and Virgo, Corals, Forensic shoeprint database

April 4th, 2019


About 66 million years ago an asteroid at least 6 miles wide crashed into the Earth, in the shallow sea that is now the Yucatan Peninsular in Mexico. …

UK pollinating insect numbers, Tracking whales using barnacles, Sleep signals

March 28th, 2019


One of the longest running insect pollinator surveys in the world, shows that a few generalist pollinators are on the increase, whereas specialist …

Where next World Wide Web? Space rocks and worms

March 21st, 2019


30 years ago Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web as a way to let physicists share their papers and data on a distributed network. It's …

Rules and ethics of genome editing, Gender, sex and sport, Hog roasts at Stonehenge

March 14th, 2019


When the news broke last December that Chinese biophysicist He Jiankui had successfully edited the genomes of twin girls using the technique known as …

A cure for HIV? Sleepy flies, Secrets of the Fukushima disaster, Science fact checking

March 7th, 2019


An HIV-1 sufferer, who had developed aggressive cancer, and underwent a revolutionary stem cell transplant, has been declared HIV resistant. It's …

Falling carbon and rising methane; Unsung heroes at the Crick

February 28th, 2019


Efforts to cut emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and tackle climate change in many developed economies are beginning to pay off, according to research led by Corinne Le Quere at the Tyndall Centre at the University of …

Mars - rovers v humans? Forests and carbon, Ethiopian bush crow

February 21st, 2019


Nasa have called time on the 14 year mission with the Mars Opportunity rover. Curiosity is still there. But what's next for our exploration of the Red planet? Adam asks Senior Strategist in Space Systems at Airbus, Liz …

Insect decline, Gut microbiome, Geomagnetic switching

February 14th, 2019


A very strongly worded, meta-review paper (looking at 73 historical reports from around the world published over the past 13 years) has just been published looking at the fate of insects around the world. The …

Sea Level Rise, Equine Flu, Generator Bricks, Iberian Genes

February 7th, 2019


In 2016 some scientists suggested that with climate change so much ice in Antarctica could melt that the global sea level could rise up to a metre. …

Sprinting Neanderthals, Geodynamo, Spreading Sneezes and Dying Hares

January 31st, 2019


Many physical features of Neanderthals might not be for cold climate adaptation as previously thought. They may be for types of locomotion. Which, …

Ultima Thule, Dry January, Periodic Table

January 4th, 2019


2019 means the opportunity to explore the most distant object yet encountered in our solar system – the brilliantly named Ultima Thule as Nasa’s New …

Gene-edited twins, Placenta organoids in a dish, When the last leaves drop

November 29th, 2018


Claims by a Chinese scientist that he has gene-edited human embryos, transplanted them producing genetically edited twins, who will pass on these changes to their offspring, has the scientific community outraged. The …

Mars InSight mission, Detecting dark matter, Redefining the kilogram, Bovine TB

November 22nd, 2018


The Government's strategy to eradicate TB in cattle is a contentious topic. The disease is extremely complicated and lots of people have different ideas on how to manage it. Professor of Zoonotic and Emerging Disease at …

Bovine TB and badger culling, Shrimp hoover CSI, Shark-skin and Turing

November 15th, 2018


The Bovine TB Strategy Review has just been released. It contains a review of the science and offers advice and guidance to Government ministers on how to eradicate this costly and hard to manage disease in cattle. …

Oldest cave picture; the Anthropocene under London; a new scientist for the £50 note

November 8th, 2018


What could be the oldest figurative cave paintings in the world have been found in a cave complex in remote Borneo. A reddish orange depiction of an …

Repairing potholes, Ozone hole, Internet of hives, Drugs from fingerprints

November 1st, 2018


Potholes are one of the biggest frustrations to any road-user, but why do they keep occurring? Following Philip Hammond’s announcement of £420 …

Science and Brexit, Antibiotic livestock growth promoters, Bepicolombo goes to Mercury

October 25th, 2018


How might Brexit affect UK Science? Why is feeding a 'last resort' antibiotic to farm animals not a good idea? Why is space probe Bepicolombo going …

Old Dogs and Physics in Space

October 18th, 2018


How far back can we trace the ancestry of dogs? For just how long have they been following us around? The answer is for a very long time - long …

IPCC report, Cairngorms Connect project, grass pea, the Sun exhibition at Science Museum

October 11th, 2018


Adam Rutherford speaks to Dr Tamsin Edwards, a lecturer in Physical Geography at Kings College London and a lead author for the latest IPCC report. …

Nobel Prizes - Hayabusa 2 latest - IPCC meeting - North Pole science

October 4th, 2018


Adam Rutherford reviews this year's Nobel science prizes, and talks to Professor Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, a 2009 laureate and president of the Royal Society, about the experience of being tipped as a Nobel winner. …

Hyabusa 2 at Ryugu, deadly 1918 flu pandemic; WW2 bombing and ionosphere, teenage brain

September 27th, 2018


Japan’s Hayabusa-2 spacecraft has arrived after more than a three year journey at the Ryugu asteroid which is just over half a mile long. It has …

Science of Addiction

September 20th, 2018


The Science Gallery London at Kings College London, right under the Shard, is a brand new venue for the collision of art, science and culture, and …

First human drawing, Cycling genes, Oden Arctic expedition, Hello World

September 13th, 2018


A new discovery of abstract symbolic drawings on a rock has been found in the Blombos Cave, about 300 km east of Cape Town in South Africa. The …

Complexity in Biology

September 6th, 2018


Adam Rutherford takes the show to Dublin this week, to wrestle with great matters of biological complexity. Trinity College Dublin has organised a …

Electronic brain probe; Rural stream biodiversity; Arctic weather research trip; Science book prize

August 30th, 2018


Scientists have shown how an electronic gadget, implanted in the brain, can detect, treat and even prevent epileptic seizures. Epilepsy is usually treated using anti-epilepsy drugs, but can cause serious side-effects. …

Cavendish banana survival; Guillemot egg shape; Unexpected Truth About Animals; Tambora's rainstorm

August 23rd, 2018


The last banana you probably ate was a type called Cavendish. But this, our last commercially viable variety is under severe threat, as the fungus, called Tropical Race 4, is laying waste to swathes of Cavendish banana …

Capturing greenhouse gas, Beating heart failure with beetroot, Why elephants don't get cancer, Exactly - a history of precision

August 16th, 2018


Researchers have found a way to produce a naturally occurring mineral, magnesite, in a lab, that can absorb CO2 from the atmosphere, offering a potential strategy for tackling climate change. They've accelerated a …

New Horizons' next mission, Helium at 150, The Beautiful Cure, Oden arctic expedition

August 9th, 2018


Astronomers this week have been warming up for an encounter as far from the Sun as ever attempted. It's the finale of the New Horizons mission which …

Parker solar probe, Diversity in the lab, Royal Society book prize, Arctic circle weather

August 2nd, 2018


The sun still has many mysterious properties. The Parker Solar Probe, launched next week will be the closest a spacecraft has ever flown to our star. …

Liquid water on Mars, Early embryo development, Earth Biogenome Project, Marine wilderness

July 26th, 2018


The European Space Agency's satellite Mars Express has identified what we think is a subterranean lake of liquid near the south pole of the red …

Peatbog wildfires, Coral acoustics, Magdalena Skipper, Fuelling long-term space travel

July 19th, 2018


The wildfires on Saddleworth Moor may well be the most widespread in modern British history. Thanks to herculean efforts by Greater Manchester Fire …

Out of Africa, Predicting future heatwaves, Virtual reality molecules, Life in the dark

July 12th, 2018


Scientists have found the earliest known evidence of a human presence outside Africa. A set of 96 stone tools has been found in the mountains of …

Northern white rhino preservation, Deep sea earthquake detection, Twitter's rare Heuchera discovery, Human roars

July 5th, 2018


The northern white rhinoceros is the world's most endangered mammal. The death earlier this year of the last male of this rhino subspecies leaves just two females as its only living members. New research out this week …

Hyabusa mission; ProtoDUNE neutrino detector; Caledonian crow skills; Koala microbiome

June 28th, 2018


Yesterday a small Japanese ion-thruster spaceship arrived at its destination after a three year and half year, 2 billion mile journey. Hyabusa2 is currently floating alongside the asteroid known as 162173 Ryugu. BBC …

The Large Hadron Collider Upgrade, Voltaglue, Cambridge Zoology Museum, Francis Willughby

June 21st, 2018


It's been 8 years since the Large Hadron Collider went online and started smashing protons together at just below the speed of light. CERN announced …

Antarctic melt speeds up, Antarctica's future, Cryo-acoustics, Narwhals

June 18th, 2018


Adam Rutherford goes totally polar this week with news of accelerating ice melt in Antarctica, two visions of the continent's future, and the sounds …

Dinosaur auction, Who owns the genes of the ocean life, Cancer immunotherapy

June 14th, 2018


A spectacular predatory dinosaur fossil was auctioned this week in Paris. It was bought by a private collector at the cost of about 2 million Euros. …

Hay Festival

May 31st, 2018


Adam Rutherford and his guests at the Hay Festival, neurologist Dr Suzanne O'Sullivan, acoustic engineer Professor Trevor Cox and science writer Dr …

CO2 and rice, Underground farming, Ancient interstellar asteroid, Microplastics air pollution

May 24th, 2018


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 …

Face Recognition, ‘Thug’ plants, Cancer Funding Inequalities, Feynman’s 100th birthday

May 17th, 2018


Facial recognition technology is on the rise and in some places used to fight crime. In the UK the police have been heavily criticised for falsely …

Rat eradication; elephant talk; the rise of the dinosaurs; physics of snooker

May 10th, 2018


On the remote island of South Georgia, 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 …

Antarctic, Kew, Paleogenomics, Sea birds

May 3rd, 2018


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 …

Human Consciousness: Could a brain in a dish become sentient?

April 26th, 2018


As the field of neuroscience advances, scientists are increasingly growing brain tissue to study conditions like autism, Alzheimer's and Zika virus. …

Plastic-eating bacteria, Foam mattresses for crops, The evolved life aquatic, The Double Helix

April 19th, 2018


A breakthrough for closed loop plastic recycling? Two years ago Japanese scientists discovered a type of bacteria which has evolved to feed on PET …

Pesticides in British Farming

April 12th, 2018


A few weeks ago, Inside Science featured an item on neonicotinoids and the negative impact these pesticides have on insects like honey bees. The discussion turned to alternatives, including organic farming. Many …

Stephen Hawking Tribute

April 5th, 2018


Adam Rutherford presents a special tribute to the science of Stephen Hawking. He is joined by Fay Dowker, a former PhD student of Hawking and now a …

Genes and education, John Goodenough, Caring bears and hunting

March 29th, 2018


A widely reported study published last week suggests that on average children at selective schools have more gene variants associated with higher …

Data Scraping

March 22nd, 2018


The story of how Cambridge Analytica had scraped Facebook data in its attempt to influence voting behaviour has been reported widely this week. Andrew Steele, a medical researcher at the Crick Institute in London, …

Buzz kill

March 15th, 2018


As spring and Brexit loom, Adam Rutherford examines what stance the UK might take on neonicotinoids. The pesticide has been shown to harm bee …

Russian Spy Poisoning

March 8th, 2018


A former Russian spy, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter Yulia are in a serious condition after being exposed to a nerve agent on Sunday. The first …

Weird Weather?

March 1st, 2018


With many parts of the country seeing large snowfalls we ask what's driving our current weather? What factors need to be in place to create snowfalls, and how do these differ from sleet or frozen rain? And we address …

Science after Brexit

February 22nd, 2018


The UK is one of the largest recipients of research funding in the EU. Marnie Chesterton discusses what the future of UK science funding will look like with MP Norman Lamb, who chairs the House of Commons Science and …

Shipping air pollution; Cheddar Man; Millirobots in the body;Dog brain training

February 15th, 2018


Sulphur belched out of vessels' smokestacks is a serious health problem for coastal communities around the world. Four hundred thousand premature …

Democracy in Space

February 8th, 2018


This week a US based billionaire launched a giant space rocket and sent a car vaguely in the direction of Mars. As a space mission it was to say the …

Scientists on Trial

February 1st, 2018


In 2016 there was an attempted coup in Turkey. This led to many people who the government saw as opposition figures being sacked from their jobs and in some cases held without trial. They include prominent …

Did typhoid kill the Aztecs, DNA stored in Bitcoin, Glow-in-the-dark plants and levitating humans

January 25th, 2018


What killed the Aztecs? In some areas of the Americas, as many as 95% of the indigenous population died of diseases brought in by the discoverers of …

African swine fever, Oil spill update, CRISPR gene editing, Rat eradication in New Zealand, Chimp kin recognition

January 18th, 2018


African Swine fever is deadly to pigs and is spreading west from Russia across Europe. The virus that causes it is very resilient and can stick around on clothing, hay and in infected pork products for as long as 150 …

Sanchi oil tanker, Gut gas-monitoring pill and Chimpanzee portraits

January 11th, 2018


After the Sanchi oil tanker collided with another ship it discharged its cargo of 1 million barrels of condensate oil. This could cause one of the …

Tabby's Star, Space 2018, Mosquito sounds, C diff and food additive link

January 4th, 2018


Adam Rutherford talks to astronomer Tabetha Boyajian at Louisiana State University about the wierd star that's perplexed astronomers since its discovery two years ago. KIC 8462852 has the unique habit of intermittently …

Ancient DNA and Human Evolution

December 28th, 2017


Twenty years ago, a revolution in the study of human evolution began. A team in Leipzig in Germany successfully extracted DNA from the bones of a …

Antisense RNA therapy, Fossils vs Trump, Printing mini-kidneys, Electric eel power

December 21st, 2017


Promising results from a small clinical trial of Huntingdon's disease patients have led to RNA-directed therapy such as antisense RNA being hailed as …

The Future of Coral Reefs, Little Foot, Arthur C Clarke

December 14th, 2017


Oxford is hosting the European Coral Reef Symposium this week. Climate change is seen as the number one threat to the future of coral reefs. Adam talks to Morgan Pratchett of James Cook University about the two recent …

Trophy hunting, Gene drives, Nuclear lightning, Peregrine falcons and drones

December 7th, 2017


Trophy hunters are always after the lion with the largest darkest name and the stag with the most impressive antlers. Research by Rob Knell at Queen Mary University of London finds that removing a small proportion of …

Prehistoric Strong Women, Semi-synthetic Life, Listener Feedback, Artificial Superintelligence

November 30th, 2017


More than 5,000 years of heavy agricultural labour by women can be read from the bones found in ancient cemeteries from the Neolithic to Iron Age …

Interstellar visitor, Svante Paabo, Synthetic biology, Plight of the Axolotl

November 23rd, 2017


On 19th October, a mysterious object sped through our solar system. It was first spotted by astronomers with a telescope in Hawaii. Its trajectory …

Can we forecast earthquakes?, Britain's space race rocket Skylark, Francis Galton

November 16th, 2017


What might the length of the day have to do with the likelihood of destructive earthquakes around the world? According to Professors Rebecca Bendick and Roger Bilham, there's a correlation between changes in the rate at …

Boy gets New Skin, The York Gospels, Stephen Hawking's Thesis

November 9th, 2017


Researchers in Italy and Germany have saved the life of a boy with a life threatening genetic skin disease, using a combination of stem cell and gene …

Climate Change and Health; Moth Snow Storm Feedback; Whale Brain Evolution; Pharoah's Serpent

November 2nd, 2017


Adam Rutherford talks to researchers on a major global study that aimed to quantify how climate change has already damaged the health of millions of people. Hugh Montgomery is the co-chair of the Lancet Countdown report …

Insects disappearing, DNA Biosensor, Dog faces, Bandit dinosaur

October 26th, 2017


The total biomass of flying insects in the environment has decreased by 75% in the last quarter of a century. That's the conclusion of research published at the end of last week in the journal PLOS One. The discovery, …

Colliding Neutron Stars, Krakatoa, Centigrade vs Celsius

October 19th, 2017


Adam Rutherford talks to astrophysicists about the astronomical discovery of the year, if not the last couple of decades: the collision of two …

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

October 5th, 2017


Gareth Mitchell talks to Gillian Foulger of Durham University about HiQuake, the world's largest database of human-induced earthquakes. Professor …

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

September 28th, 2017


The gravitational waves produced by two massive black holes colliding have for the first time been detected by three gravitational wave detectors. …

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

September 21st, 2017


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 …

Farewell to Cassini, the epic 20 year mission to Saturn

September 14th, 2017


As Cassini's epic journey to Saturn finally ends tonight, Adam Rutherford celebrates the incredible discoveries of a mission that has changed the way …

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

September 7th, 2017


The Democratic People's Republic of Korea claims to have successfully tested a thermonuclear weapon, a hydrogen bomb. Tom Plant, director of …

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

August 31st, 2017


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 …

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

August 24th, 2017


Once again, the ethical side of fully autonomous weapons has been raised, this time by over 100 leading robotics experts, including Elon Musk of …

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

August 17th, 2017


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 …

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

August 10th, 2017


The current heat wave in Europe is proving deadly. High day and night temperatures, coupled with high humidity, can be a very dangerous combination. …

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

August 3rd, 2017


Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is the heart condition that can lead to seemingly super-fit athletes collapsing with heart failure. It affects one in 500 …

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

July 27th, 2017


News that the Marine Stewardship Council has reopened the North Sea cod fishery is met by some concern from marine biologist Professor Callum Roberts …

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

July 20th, 2017


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 testing; Pugs on treadmills; Frankenstein

July 13th, 2017


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 …

Neonics dispute, Hygenic bees, Hip-hop MRI

July 6th, 2017


The results of the first large-scale field study looking at neonicotinoid pesticides and their impact on bees has caused controversy. It was carried …

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

June 29th, 2017


Teams from all over the world have been looking at the differences between male and female mice. They've assessed hundreds of characteristics, from …

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

June 22nd, 2017


The Leverhulme Research Centre for Forensic Science at the University of Dundee has expanded to test new psychoactive substances. Adam Rutherford …

Science in Fire Prevention

June 15th, 2017


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 …

Early Humans Were Even Earlier Than We Thought

June 8th, 2017


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 …

The Importance of Basic Research

June 1st, 2017


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, …

Sherpas - dolphin rescue - quantum computing - hot lavas

May 25th, 2017


The superior performance of Sherpa guides on Mountain Everest is legendary. New findings reveal how their bodies make the most of low oxygen levels at high altitude.

Presenter Gareth Mitchell also talks to the Mexican …

Childhood cancers - Ghana telescope - Nano-listening device for cells - Ancient whales

May 18th, 2017


Adam Rutherford goes the pathology archive of Great Ormond Street Hospital in London to hear how tumour samples from child patients about one hundred …

Violins - Social networks and cliques in great tits and snow monkeys - Exploring DNA and art

May 11th, 2017


Classical music fans will know well the legendary violins made by the likes of Stradivarius and Guarneri in the 17th and 18th century. But new …

The moral brain, stem cell developments, ancient DNA in cave dirt, mangrove forest

May 4th, 2017


Adam Rutherford talks to neuroscientist Molly Crockett about moral decision-making in the brain. She combined brain scanning with a test involving …

Homo naledi, First humans in America, Dark matter detector, New theory of dark matter

April 27th, 2017


Controversy has followed the remains of a new species of human, Homo naledi, since it was described in 2015. Buried deep in a South African cave, its …

Cassini’s death, scrapping diesel, weather balloon, satellites monitoring volcanos

April 20th, 2017


The Cassini-Huygens mission has been monumental for science. For thirteen years the probe has gathered data on Saturn, revealing more about the gas giant than we have ever known before. But now, Cassini is running out …

23andMe Genetic Sequencing, Human Knockout genes, Coral Bleaching

April 13th, 2017


23andMe is one of the biggest providers of home genetic testing kits and if you live in the UK, it's the only one that also includes various genetic analyses relevant not just to ancestry, but also to health. After a …

Creation of island Britain, Sleep gene, Mary Kelly forensics, Global Tree Search survey

April 6th, 2017


Adam Rutherford examines a new study published this week which reveals how a megaflood and giant waterfalls severed our connection to what is now …

Climate change and extreme weather; Primate brain size; Earthquake forecasting; Planet 9

March 30th, 2017


Following yesterday's US House Committee on Science,Space,and Technology's controversial hearing on scientific method and climate change, Adam …

Comet 67P images; Etna eruption; Brain navigation; Octopus intelligence

March 23rd, 2017


The recent Rosetta mission to image and land a probe on a comet was an astounding achievement. Rosetta took thousands of photos mapping the entire surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko , as it dramatically changed …

Boaty McBoatface in Antarctica, Aeroplane biofuels, Bakhshali manuscript, Goldilocks zones

March 16th, 2017


The submarine famously named Boaty McBoatface is deployed this week for its first mission to examine a narrow submarine gap in the South Atlantic. Mike Meredith of the British Antarctic Survey tells Adam Rutherford how …

Rise of the Robots: 3. Where is my mind?

March 15th, 2017


From Skynet and the Terminator franchise, through Wargames and Ava in Ex Machina, artificial intelligences pervade our cinematic experiences. But AIs are already in the real world, answering our questions on our phones …

Cells and Celluloid: Aliens on Film

March 9th, 2017


With Adam Rutherford and Francine Stock.

Rise of the Robots: 2. More human than human

March 6th, 2017


Adam Rutherford explores our relationship with contemporary humanoid robots

Rise of the Robots: 1. The history of things to come

March 3rd, 2017


The idea of robots goes back to the Ancient Greeks. In myths Hephaestus, the god of fire, created robots to assist in his workshop. In the medieval period the wealthy showed off their automata. In France in the 15th …

Earth's Earliest Life, The Benefits of Pollution, Sexuality and Science and New ideas on Evolution

March 2nd, 2017


The World's oldest sedimentary rocks reveal traces of our earliest ancestors. New analysis shows life forms existed more than 3.7 billion years ago …

The perils of fake science news, The neanderthal inside us, What The Beatles really sang - statistically speaking

February 23rd, 2017


A woolly story about resurrecting mammoths raises serious questions for medical ethics. News of a scientist's plan to resurrect mammoths has spread …

Science and cyber security, Dinosaur babies, Winston Churchill and level crossings

February 16th, 2017


Testing cyber security with science. The UK now has a new National Cyber Security Centre. However there is very little scientific evidence against which to test the detection of cyber attacks and effectiveness of …

Measuring human impact on earth, Awards for engineers, Sounds of space junk.

February 9th, 2017


Quantifying the impact of humanity on the earth's natural systems. Why human activity now has a larger effect on our planet than the forces of nature. We look at how mathematical equations can now be used to compare …

Wildlife trafficking, New quantum computers, Ancient bird beaks, Glassblowing.

February 2nd, 2017


Conservation and conflict. A year long BBC investigation has exposed an illegal animal trafficking network stretching from West Africa to the Middle East and Asia. Traffickers have used fake permits to undermine …

Crime, volcanoes, ghosts and how we are influenced by the genes of unrelated others

January 26th, 2017


The genes of unrelated others can influence our health and behaviour. New research suggests the genetic make up of our partners can have a profound influence on our lives. Scientists have quantified genetic influence , …

Antarctic science rescue, Killing cancer with viruses, Measuring wind from space and the Last man on the moon

January 19th, 2017


Why the British Antarctic science base is being temporarily abandoned. New cracks have appeared in the Ice shelf on which the Halley research station sits.

The promise of viro-therapy for treating cancer. Scientists have …

The perils of explaining science, Living to 500, What's good for your teeth and The future of stargazing

January 12th, 2017


Why the simplest explanations are not always the best when it comes to science. Where you read about a scientific subject can affect not just what you learn but also how much you think you know about the subject.

Quahogs …

RIP Granny the oldest Orca - Graphene + Silly Putty - Moving a Giant Magnet - Space in 2017

January 5th, 2017


The world's oldest known killer whale is presumed dead. At an estimated age of 100 years, 'Granny' was last seen with her family in October. The …

Listeners' Questions

December 29th, 2016


Adam Rutherford puts listeners' science questions to his team of experts: physicist Helen Czerski, cosmologist Andrew Pontzen and biologist Yan Wong. …

Inuits and Denisovans, Sex and woodlice, Peace through particle physics, Caspar the octopus in peril?

December 22nd, 2016


Can Inuit people survive the Arctic cold thanks to deep past liaisons with another species? Adam Rutherford talks to geneticist Rasmus Nielsen who …

Rock traces of life on Mars, Desert fireball network, Gut microbes and Parkinson's Disease, Science Museum's maths exhibition

December 8th, 2016


Could rocks studied by the Mars rover Spirit in Gusev Crater in 2007 contain the hallmarks of ancient life? Geologist Steve Ruff of Arizona State …

Alzheimers research, Lucy in the Scanner, Smart bandages, From supernovae to Hollywood

December 1st, 2016


Alzheimers disease is now the leading cause of death in the UK, but there are as yet no treatments to halt or reverse it. There was huge disappointment last week when the drug company Eli Lilly announced that a large, …

Predator bacteria therapy, New money for UK science, Stick-on stethoscope, Taming fears in the brain scanner

November 24th, 2016


Bdellovibrio is a small bacterium which preys and kills other bacteria. A team of researchers in the UK has shown in animal experiments that …

Does Pluto have an ocean, Antarctica's oldest ice, Meat emissions, Swifts fly ten months non-stop

November 17th, 2016


Does the distant dwarf planet Pluto have an ocean beneath its thick crust of ice? It's certainly possible, according to a group of researchers who are analysing the data from the New Horizons Pluto flyby last year. They …

Climate change questions, Animal computer interaction, Sounds and meaning across world's languages

November 10th, 2016


Climate change is in the news this week. The international Paris agreement to curb global temperature rise has just come into effect but President …

Italy's quakes, Ebola virus, Accidental rocket fuel, China in space

November 3rd, 2016


In the past three months, central Italy has been shaken by several large earthquakes. The quake near Norcia on 30th October was the most powerful for …

Making mozzies safe with a microbe, CO2 at 400 ppm, Chixculub crater rocks, Why Mars Lander failed

October 27th, 2016


Adam Rutherford meets the Australian scientist behind a radical new technique to prevent mosquitoes from spreading the zika and dengue fever viruses …

HFC Ban; Human Cell Atlas; Origin of Hunting with Dogs

October 20th, 2016


Biologists are to begin a 10 year international project to map the multitude of different kinds of cell in the human body. The average adult is built …

Life on Mars? Quantum Gravity. The deep origins of bird song

October 13th, 2016


Mars is about to be visited by the first space mission for 40 years which is designed to seek signs of life on the Red Planet. Adam Rutherford talks to Dr Manish Patel of the Open University, a senior scientist on the …

Microbead impact, Remote animal logging, Royal Society book prize, Surgewatch

September 8th, 2016


The government has announced that tiny pieces of plastic in personal beauty products that end up in the oceans will be banned from sale in the UK.
But …

Proxima b exoplanet, The Hunt for Vulcan, East Antarctic lakes, Deep sea shark hunting

August 25th, 2016


The nearest habitable world beyond our Solar System might be right on our doorstep . Scientists say their investigations of our closest star, Proxima …

Autonomous cars, Bees and neonicotinoids, Marden Henge, Royal Society Book Prize

August 18th, 2016


Ford has just announced that by 2021 it's going to have a driverless car on the road with no steering wheel. It sounds ambitious, since it is the …

Blow to the LHC "bump", Crow intelligence, Robot mudskippers, Royal Society book prize

August 11th, 2016


New results have squashed the hope that the hints of a new particle detected by the Large Hadron Collider would confirm the existence of something …

Signs of life on planets, Royal Society Book Prize, Queen Bee control, Galactic Prom 29

August 4th, 2016


What should we be looking for when searching for life on other planets beyond our solar system? Scientists urgently need to come to a consensus on …

Dinosaur extinction, Neanderthals in Gibraltar, Music appreciation, A year of New Horizons

July 14th, 2016


The dinosaurs met their end with a massive bang when, 66 million years ago, a 6 mile-wide rock crashed into the Gulf of Mexico. This was bad news for …

Juno, Space debris, Fake tumours, Risky plants

July 7th, 2016


Earlier this week, the US space agency successfully put a new probe in orbit around Jupiter. The Juno satellite, which left Earth five years ago, had …

Juno, Nanotech art conservation, Robots fix the city, Eel conservation

June 30th, 2016


NASA's Juno Probe arrives at Jupiter on 4th July, where it will execute a daring loop-the-loop in order to get closer to the giant planet than any …

National Insect Week, Venus' electric field, Green mining, Wimbledon grass science

June 23rd, 2016


This week is National Insect Week. Almost all animals on Earth are insects, and entomologist Adam Hart told us why we're celebrating and studying …

More gravitational waves; Ocean floor mapping; Selfish Gene 40th; Spoonies

June 16th, 2016


Gravitational waves have been detected for a second time. These waves are ripples in the curvature of space time, predicted by Einstein in his General Theory of Relativity in 1916. Back in February, the Laser …

Fighting Antimicrobial Resistance

June 9th, 2016


This week we're dedicating the whole programme to one of the biggest threats to humanity. We're already at 700,000 preventable deaths per year as a …

Fixing the Future

June 2nd, 2016


We face many global problems, such as drought, flooding and climate change. All of these issues are rooted in science. It'll take politics and people …

GM plants; Svalbard Seed Vault; Directed Evolution; Dolphin Snot

May 26th, 2016


The topic of GM plants raises strong opinions and many questions. This week, the Royal Society published answers to some of those questions. Adam …

Climate Change, State of the World's Plants, Antibiotic Resistance, Telephone Metadata, Bat Detective

May 19th, 2016


Today we're asking how anyone can make sense of the deluge of climate change data that is almost continually published. By the end of last month, nearly 200 countries had signed up to the Paris climate change agreement, …

Genetics and education, Eyam plague, Pint of science, Labradors and chocolate

May 12th, 2016


The biggest study of the relationship between genes and educational attainment - in this case, basically the measure of how long you stay in education - has been published this week. A huge number of environmental …

Human embryos, Transit of Mercury, Fishackathon, Fat labradors

May 5th, 2016


In a major advance in the field of embryology, scientists this week have kept human embryos alive in petri dishes for record amounts of time. The …

Chernobyl, Drones, Tree crickets, Cern

April 28th, 2016


30 years ago this week an explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear plant. A fire raged for 10 days, spewing radioactive materials on the surrounding area and was detected throughout much of a continent. Yet, so many decades …

EU membership and UK science, Quantum games, Fixing genes

April 21st, 2016


The UK science community draws vital benefits from EU membership and could lose influence in the event of an exit, says a House of Lords report out …

Breakthrough Starshot, Moon mining, QB50, Solar Q&A

April 14th, 2016


This week Russian internet billionaire Yuri Milner announced a project to send tiny spaceships to Alpha Centauri. Milner, alongside Stephen Hawking, announced a $100 million project to develop and launch a cloud of …

Air pollution monitoring, Britain breathing, Tracking Hannibal

April 7th, 2016


This week a "Faraday Discussion" - a unique way of presenting and sharing cutting edge science - is underway at the Royal Society of Chemistry in London looking specifically at Chemistry in the Urban Atmosphere. As Prof …

Solar farm, Gravity machine, Kakapo

March 31st, 2016


The world's second largest floating solar farm has just started generating power. Built on the Queen Elizabeth II reservoir in West London, it's the …

Flu, Coffee yeasts, Wave machine, Cochlear implants

March 24th, 2016


The flu season is running later this year. And it has been unusually virulent.
Professor Wendy Barclay, virologist at Imperial College London, tells …

Recovering lost memories, Storks eat junk food, Oldest pine fossil, Spring flowering

March 17th, 2016


Research in Nature this week shows that lost memories in mice can be rescued by reactivating a group of memory cells in the brain called 'engram' …

Gain-of-function research, Mindfulness, Women in science, Snake locomotion

March 10th, 2016


This week in the US, public discussions are taking place into controversial Gain of Function research. Who should decide the limits of studies where …

UK's longest-running cohort study, The Brain prize, Hairy genetics

March 3rd, 2016


This week is birthday time for the 3000-strong group of 70 year olds who might qualify for the title of longest-serving science guinea pigs. …

UK science and the EU, Sex of organs, Artificial colon, Gorillas call when eating

February 25th, 2016


Britain faces a referendum on whether to leave Europe. Science, and scientists, often cross borders in collaborations, so what would the implications …

Gravitational Waves, UK Spaceport, Big Brains and Extinction Risk, Conservation in Papua New Guinea

February 18th, 2016


Gravitational waves were announced last week, in what may be the science discovery of the decade. The Ligo detector, the most sensitive instrument on the surface of the planet, detected the ripples given off by the …

Gravitational Waves Special

February 11th, 2016


The universe is silent no longer - physicists at the LIGO observatory have detected gravitational waves.

LIGO, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory, with its giant laser beam arms totalling 5 miles …

UK pollinators' food, Brain implant, Holograms, Lunar 9

February 4th, 2016


Some much-needed good news for our troubled bees and other pollinators: between 1998 and 2007, the amount of nectar produced from Britain's flowering …

Zika, Penguins, Erratum, Fossil fish

January 28th, 2016


The Zika virus is dominating the news this week. The latest data says it's been found in 21 countries so far. The symptoms are generally mild, but the possibility of a link to microcephaly has been raised in Brazil. …

Ancient Britons' DNA, Concorde's 40th Anniversary, Giant dinosaur, New planet?

January 21st, 2016


Our ability to extract DNA from old bones is improving, giving us a much clearer picture of who our ancestors were, and what they did. Two new papers …

The 100,000 Genome Project, Stem cell doping, Nuclear waste, Dinosaur sex

January 14th, 2016


The 100,000 Genome Project aims to sequence the DNA of 100,000 patients. One of those patients is four-year-old Georgia Walburn-Green. Her symptoms …

El Nino Special

January 7th, 2016


El Niño is releasing vast quantities of heat normally stored in the Pacific, causing floods, droughts and fires. Adam Rutherford discusses the latest …


December 31st, 2015


Adam Rutherford and guests oceanographer Dr Helen Czerski, astrophysicist Chris Lintott and zoologist Dr Tim Cockerill share their highlights of the …

New Horizons Pluto update; friendly predatory bacteria; Christmas in the lab; human ancestry

December 24th, 2015


Since the epic flyby of Pluto in July, NASA has been regularly downloading staggering images from the New Horizons mission. Pluto is not a dead rock, …

Tim Peake's mission to the ISS, Spaceman Chris Hadfield, AGU round-up, Air pollution, Human Evolution at the NHM

December 17th, 2015


Two times shuttle captain, and with 6 months on the ISS, Commander Chris Hadfield is best qualified to pass on his advice to Major Tim Peake about …

Flooding, Scientific modelling, Magnetoreception, Escalators

December 10th, 2015


Flood modelling
As parts of Cumbria and Somerset remain on flood alert, Adam looks at the science that predicts floods. Are our flood defences good enough and is climate change behind the recent cluster of '1 in 100 …

Science funding, Carbon capture storage, Graphene

December 3rd, 2015


Science Funding Review
In the Comprehensive Spending Review last week, the Government announced its commitment to protect the science budget in 'real terms'. After five years of declining spending on science, this has …

Ancient farmers' genomes, Alice at Cern, Astrophysics questions

November 26th, 2015


Ancient farmers' genomes
New research looking at the DNA of people who lived in Europe as early as 8500 years ago shows signs of evolution, of natural …

Antarctic ice sheet instability, Groundwater, Accents, Fluorescent coral

November 19th, 2015


Antarctic ice-sheet instability
A new study models how the ice sheets in Antarctica will react if greenhouse gases rise at a medium to high rate. They predict the most likely outcome is a rise in global sea level of …

Sex-change tree, Pluto's cryovolcanoes, Sellafield's plutonium, Ant super-organisms

November 12th, 2015


Britain's oldest tree changes sex - The science behind the headlines - this week it was reported that the Fortingall Yew in Perthshire (known to be a …

Grid cells and time, Boole, How your brain shapes your life

November 5th, 2015


Grid cells and time
Animals navigate by calculating their current position based on how long and how far they have travelled and a new study on …

Oxygen on comet 67P; Bees and antimicrobial drugs; Reproducibility of science experiments; Reintroduction of beavers

October 29th, 2015


Oxygen on comet 67P

Molecular oxygen (O2) detected on comet Churymov-Gerasimenko 67P, has scientists baffled. Current models of the formation of our …

Animal experiments, Bees and diesel, Sense Ocean, Readability of IPCC report

October 22nd, 2015


Animal experiments
Scientists are changing the way they measure animals used in research. The most recent Home Office report not only shows the numbers of animals used, it also grades how much each animal suffered. Dr …

Time Travel in Science and Cinema

October 15th, 2015


In a special programme to mark, amongst other things, the centenary of Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, Adam Rutherford is joined by The Film Programme's Francine Stock to explore the theme of time-travel …

Ethiopian genome, Coral nutrients, The hunt for gravitational waves, Seven Brief Lessons on Physics

October 8th, 2015


As evidence grows about the vulnerability of our ocean corals to climate change, what's often overlooked are the more subtle changes in the ocean …

Write on Kew festival at Kew Gardens, Preserving global biodiversity

October 1st, 2015


A special edition recorded in front of an audience at Write on Kew, the Royal Botanical Garden's new literary festival. Adam Rutherford examines the …

Listeners' Science Questions

September 24th, 2015


Adam Rutherford and panellists Helen Czerski, Andrew Pontzen and Nick Crumpton answer listeners' science questions: What's the best way to become fossilised when you die? What are the most genetically different animals …

Pluto images, Space elevator, Insect migration, Imagination app

September 17th, 2015


This summer, the spaceship New Horizons sped past Pluto at 30,000mph, snapping photographs as it went. The pictures sent back this week have transformed our view of this former planet. It isn't a dead rock; it is …

Homo Naledi, New spacesuit, Quantum biology, A possible cure for motion sickness

September 10th, 2015


Tracey Logan talks to Professor Chris Stringer about the discovery a new human ancestor, Homo Naledi. With ape and human like features its age isn't …

El Nino, Sphagnum moss and peatlands, Inside Cern, Measuring air pollution with iPhones

September 3rd, 2015


Tracey Logan investigates the latest science news. Roland Pease reports on recent warnings that we're heading for one of the most severe El Ninos on …


August 20th, 2015


Why the expansion of the paleolithic brain was powered by cooked carbohydrates. Gareth Mitchell talks to Professor of Evolutionary Genetics, Mark …

Scottish GM ban, Earth's magnetic field, OCD, Birth of a new galaxy

August 13th, 2015


As Scotland announces it ban on GM crops and with the current post of chief scientific adviser for Scotland vacant, Adam talks to the previous post …

Pluto's surface, Increased Arctic ice in 2013, Linking brains together, Signals of fertility

July 23rd, 2015


The New Horizons probe is now millions of miles past Pluto, journeying throgh the Kuiper Belt, but still sending back gigabytes of data coming in via the Deep Space Network. Its latest image of Pluto's surface was …

Pluto: New Horizons

July 16th, 2015


It's billed as the last great encounter in planetary exploration. For the past nine years the New Horizons spacecraft has travelled 5bn km (3bn …

Intrusive memories, Silent aircraft, Nuclear fusion, Pluto

July 9th, 2015


Adam Rutherford talks to Emily Holmes from the Medical Research Council’s Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit in Cambridge, about two new studies on …

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