Cover art for podcast The Life Scientific

The Life Scientific

244 EpisodesProduced by BBC Radio 4Website

Professor Jim Al-Khalili talks to leading scientists about their life and work, finding out what inspires them and asking what their discoveries might do for us in the future.


Jackie Akhavan on explosives

Jackie Akhavan, Professor of Explosive Chemistry, tells Jim al-Khalili all about the science of explosives. She explains exactly what explosives are and how to make them safer to handle.

She started by working on how to make fireworks safer and has been involved in research with bees to see whether they can be used smell different types of explosives. Her current project involves testing the rocket fuel that will be used in Bloodhound, the British designed and built supersonic car that aims to reach a speed of 1,000mph.

Her work involves finding out how to best detect explosives in airports and elsewhere, teaching security professionals how to differentiate between false alarms and the real thing. She also works on explosives used in warfare and discusses the ethical issues involved.

Producer: Melissa Hogenboom.

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