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BBC Inside Science

300 EpisodesProduced by BBC Radio 4Website

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


Malaria drug, Listener feedback, Imaging the singing voice, Classifying human species

Malaria is the single greatest cause of death that humankind has ever experienced, and continues to be a colossal burden on the health of people all over the world. We've had various treatments over the years, but all of them have been weakened when Plasmodium - the parasite that causes the disease - evolves resistance. So the hunt is perpetually on for novel antimalarial drugs. This month, a new one is published in the journal Nature. Adam Rutherford talks to Professor Ian Gilbert from the Drug Discovery Unit at Dundee University to discuss with him how the new compound attacks the plasmodium parasite to prove effective.

Radio 3 is currently in the midst of a season focusing on all aspects of the Classical Voice. Science is playing a growing insightful role in understanding how to get the best out of the singing voice. Many singers base their careers on a particular quality of voice, and that sometimes can sound as though we're imposing a lot of strain on our vocal cords. We hear from Julian McGlashan, an Ear Nose and Throat specialist at Nottingham University Hospitals who has taken singers and placed a video endoscope down each of their throats to observe how their vocal tracts behave differently according to the style they sing. And David Howard head of the Audio Lab at York University, discusses how new technology is helping us understand how it's possible for a singer's voice to cut above the sound of an orchestra and still be heard at the back of a vast auditorium.

Species might seem like an obvious way to classify organisms, and one way we define species is by reproductive isolation - If you can't breed with it, it's another species. If we successfully bred with Neanderthals, and produced fertile offspring, surely that means that they must be the same species as us? Adam talks to Professor of evolutionary genetics from UCL Mark Thomas to navigate through the messy world of human species.

Producer Adrian Washbourne.

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