BBC Inside Science

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Sulphur belched out of vessels' smokestacks is a serious health problem for coastal communities around the world. Four hundred thousand premature deaths from lung cancer and cardiovascular disease and around 14 million childhood asthma cases annually are reckoned to be related to shipping emissions. The International Maritime Organisation has finally agreed to drastically reduce polluting emissions from 2020. Gareth Mitchell discusses with James Corbett of the University of Delaware the impact of the emissions reduction on health.

The nearly complete skeleton of Cheddar Man was found in a cave in Somerset in 1903. He'e been in the news because experts in human face reconstruction have created an image of what he probably looked like based on new DNA evidence. Chris Stringer, Ian Barnes and Selina Brace of the Natural History Museum have all worked with Cheddar Man and they talk to Gareth about how the study of this 10 000 year old skeleton is part of a bigger project to understand how Britain became populated with waves of peoples from Europe in the Mesolithic and Neolithic eras.

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems have invented a magnetically controlled soft robot only four millimetres in size that can walk, crawl or roll through uneven terrain, carry cargo, climb onto the water surface, and even swim in it. Professor Metin Sitti, Director of the Physical Intelligence Department at the Max Planck Institute, explains how it works and how he sees the future use of millirobots in medicine - in delivering drugs and targeting cancerous cells.

Marnie Chesterton talks to Dr Lisa Wallis from ELTE University in Hungary about her work to improve the cognitive abilities of older dogs... using touchscreens.

20180308 (R4)Adam Rutherford investigates the news in science and science in the news.
20180315 (R4)Adam Rutherford investigates the news in science and science in the news.
20150409Dr Lucie Green investigates the news in science and science in the news.

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

Producer Adrian Washbourne.

20150416Tracey Logan investigates the news in science and science in the news.

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Tracey Logan investigates the news in science and science in the news.

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Adam Rutherford investigates the news in science and science in the news.

20150716The flyby of Pluto. Adam Rutherford with early pictures from New Horizons space probe.

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 miles) to get to Pluto and on July 14th it performs its historic fly-by encounter with the dwarf planet.

Adam Rutherford examines the first images from the New Horizon's probe and hears the first interpretations from mission leaders and scientists at the NASA New Horizon's space centre as the data arrives back to earth. Expect new light to be shed on the Solar System's underworld.

For people who grew up with the idea that there were nine planets, this is the moment they get to complete the set. Robotic probes have been to all the others, even the distant Uranus and Neptune. Pluto is the last of the classical nine to receive a visit. Of course, this 2,300km-wide ice-covered rock was demoted in 2006 to the status of mere dwarf planet, but scientists say this shouldn't dull our enthusiasm.

It was discovered by Clyde Tombaugh on 18 February 1930 and is named after the Roman god of the underworld. It lies an average of 5.9bn km from Sun and orbits every 248 years and has a thin nitrogen atmosphere that comes and goes.

As Adam Rutherford reveals, nothing about this corner of the solar system has been straightforward. Little is known about Pluto's creation -but as the New Horizons probe passes Pluto for this first close up of the dwarf planet , scientists anticipate new insights into how planets and moons form.

Producer Adrian Washbourne.

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Adam Rutherford investigates the news in science and science in the news.

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Series that investigates the news in science and science in the news.

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Series that investigates the news in science and science in the news.

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Series that investigates the news in science and science in the news.

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20151231Adam Rutherford and guests oceanographer Dr Helen Czerski, astrophysicist Chris Lintott and zoologist Dr Tim Cockerill share their highlights of the science year and answer listeners' science questions.

Producer: Adrian Washbourn.

Adam Rutherford and guests answer listeners' science questions.

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20201008Claudia 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

The science of affectionate touch, from the skin to brain.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

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20201126Last 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

Sentinel 6 launch; The Cosmic Dark Ages; Lithium Batteries

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

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23andme Genetic Sequencing - Human Knockout Genes - Coral Bleaching2017041323andMe 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 previous ban, the Food and Drug Administration for the first time approved marketing of the 23andMe Genetic Health Risk tests for diseases in the US. Adam Rutherford talks to geneticist Professor Matthew Cobb of the University of Manchester and to medical ethicist Dr Sarah Chan of the University of Edinburgh about how useful this genetic information can be and about who owns the data.

New research published this week has revealed something really quite bizarre about our own genomes: that we can survive normally with a considerable number of dysfunctional genes. We've got around 20,000 genes, and you might think that you need them all, as when they don't work, they could lead to a serious health condition. But from a study of more than 10,000 people from Pakistan more than 1300 mutations were found to have no effect on their health. Geneticist Robert Plenge explains the research.

The Great Barrier Reef has taken another huge hit with a mass bleaching event occurring a second year in a row. Over two thirds of the reef is now seriously damaged. Professor Jorg Wiedenmann of the University of Southampton explains that if bleaching events continue to happen at this rate, the world's largest coral reef will never recover.

23andMe genetic sequencing, Human knockout genes, Coral bleaching.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

A Cure For Hiv? Sleepy Flies - Secrets Of The Fukushima Disaster - Science Fact Checking20190307An HIV-1 sufferer, who had developed aggressive cancer, and underwent a revolutionary stem cell transplant, has been declared HIV resistant. It's been 18 months since the 'London patient' underwent a stem cell transplant of donated HIV resistant cells. This has only happened once before, in the case of the ‘Berlin Patient' – who, after two transplants, has now been HIV and cancer free for 10 years. Professor Ravindra Gupta at Cambridge University is careful not to say the work carried out at UCL has ‘cured' the patient, but it's very promising. They say they have made the patient's cells ‘resistant' to infection by the HIV virus.

There are no animals that do not need sleep, yet we're still not sure why we need to sleep. Giorgio Gilestro at Imperial College has been trying to find out more about whether lack of sleep shortens lifespan, by bothering fruit flies and stopping them dropping off. In a carefully designed experiment, he has devised a way of shaking the flies as soon as it looks like they are dropping off. He tells Gareth Mitchell that he's 98% certain the flies were kept awake day after day and discovered that there was no life-shortening effect due to lack of sleep. He cannot rule out the benefit of micro-sleep, but it provides tantalising results which could point us in the direction of finally discovering whether we need those 8 precious hours a night.

Eight years ago, on 11th March 2011, three of the nuclear reactors overheated and exploded at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan. This was following the tsunami that killed around 19,000 people. The essentials are known – the reactors overheated when the cooling circuits failed. The overheated steam then broke down into hydrogen and oxygen, which then caught fire and blew the reactor vessels apart. But the details aren't known. And there's no way of getting inside the reactors to learn them. So instead researchers are doing a forensic analysis of the radioactive debris scattered around the reactor sites – some of it at the Diamond X-ray facility just outside Oxford. Roland Pease was waiting in the experimental area as one grain of Fukushima dust was brought in from safe storage.

Concerned about a growing number of spurious scientific claims on products and campaigns against vaccinations and the shape of our planet, climate scientist Ben McNeil decided to do something about it. He has come up with a website where anyone can pose a question for scientists to answer. MetaFact.io is just starting up, but Ben's hope is to put the public in direct contact with the scientists with some, if not all, of the answers.

A cure for HIV? Sleepy flies, secrets of the Fukushima disaster and science fact checking

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

A New Saliva Gland - Bill Bryson On The Human Body - - The Return Of The Dust Bowl20201029Marnie 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 the 1930s. This time, we can see the dust storms gathering from space. But that doesn't mean that intensive agriculture, extreme weather and climate change aren't combining to do what might be a re-run of some of the disastrous issues from those years.

Presented by Marnie Chesterton
Produced by Alex Mansfield

Produced in collaboration with The Open University.

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

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

African Genomes Sequenced - Space Weather - Sports Head Injuries20191031Since 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 have been in people of European descent. Now a decade-long collaboration between scientists in the UK and in Uganda has created the largest African genome dataset to date. Dr Deepti Gurdasani discusses her research with Gaia Vince.

After 7 years of orbiting the Earth and sending us important information about space weather, NASA's Van Allen Probes are retiring. Professor Lucie Green from UCL explains how the sun can spit out superhot plasma and streams of high energy particles in our direction. We are mostly protected by the Earth's magnetic field - but not always. The worst-case scenario is that the radiation could disrupt navigation satellites and bring down electrical power supplies. Professor Green will be keeping an eye on space weather with a new spacecraft.

Growing evidence shows that repeatedly getting your head knocked around during competitive sports can lead to long-term serious consequences. The head doesn't necessarily need to be the target of the blow – a hard tackle can ricochet through your body giving your head a jolt. Roland Pease speaks with sports scientist Liz Williams of Swansea University about a new device to measure these impacts.

Presenter: Gaia Vince
Producers: Jen Whyntie and Louisa Field

African genomes sequenced; Space weather; sports head injuries.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

African Swine Fever - Oil Spill Update - Crispr Gene Editing - Rat Eradication In New Zealand - Chimp Kin Recognition20180118African 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 days. Biosecurity is crucial to preventing its arrival in the UK. If just one pig eats some infected meat from discarded human food the disease could quickly spread causing thousands of pigs to be culled and costing the industry millions. But what is the current progress on developing a vaccine? Adam talks to virologist Professor Jonathan Ball of Nottingham University and Zoe Davies from the National Pig Association.

Simon Boxall from Southampton Oceanography Centre gives an update on the sinking of the oil tanker Sanchi and its environmental impact.

CRISPR is a revolutionary gene editing technique which can modify DNA and has the potential to correct genetic errors in a range of human diseases - even cancer. The technique has only been around for a few years but is already being talked about as a Nobel prize winning candidate. The market for the technology has been predicted to be worth US$ 10 billion by 2025. But stocks took a wobble last week on news that our immune system may render CRISPR useless. Is there really a big problem? Adam talks to Matt Porteus from Stanford University who did the research.

18 months ago, New Zealand announced a conservation project to exterminate all vermin that are decimating the indigenous bird population. For millions of years, the flora and fauna evolved in isolation, without predatory mammals. When humans arrived, they brought with them a host of bird-eating animals like rats, stoats and possums which now kill 25 million native birds every year. Marnie Chesterton travelled to New Zealand to report on a campaign of mass poisoning to save the kiwis and the kakapos and asks whether it's ethical to kill one species to save another.

And Cat Hobaiter from St Andrews University responds to listener questions about how chimpanzees might recognise family members.

Adam Rutherford investigates the news in science and science in the news.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

And Cat Hobaiter from St Andrews University responds to listener questions about how chimpanzees might recognise family members.

Air Pollution Monitoring - Britain Breathing - Tracking Hannibal20160407Dung Roman: the historical mess of Hannibal's elephant march may have been cleared up.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

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 Ally Lewis of York University tells Adam Rutherford, atmospheric chemistry is so complex, and detector standards so variable - in particular the cheaper commercial brands - that it can be hard to check whether our environmental policies are working. Whilst local and national governments spend precious public money checking for compliance with a number of common pollutants, atmospheric chemists would like a more investigative approach, looking at the chemistry in action, rather than the end products.

Do you suffer in the spring and summer? Allergies are on the increase in the UK. And scientists don't know why. But the environment, and what we breathe from it, is thought to be key. A new app for smartphones called Britain Breathing has been developed by scientists at Manchester University working with allergy sufferers. Hay fever affects millions of Britons but is under-reported and poorly understood. Combining large numbers of reports of symptoms with their location and time could lead to valuable insights.

Last December, BBC Inside Science reported on the mothballing of several Carbon Capture and Storage pilot schemes, following withdrawal of government funding. But some work continues. Doug Connelly of the National Oceanographic Centre in Southampton tells Adam about a scheme currently trialling carbon storage in the North Sea, to see whether disused oil and gas fields can be used to store our dangerous emissions.

A little over 2200 years ago, Carthaginian general Hannibal Barca infamously led a huge army of elephants and horses across the Alps, almost to the gates of Rome. It has been celebrated as one of the most audacious military campaigns in history, but his exact route has always been subject to debate. This week further results from a consortium of disparate scientists have been published, supporting their preferred route taken by the grand army. Microbiologist Chris Allen from Queen's University talks Adam Rutherford through the deposition of data, marking the passage of thousands of animals. What is the new evidence? A microbially recalcitrant, precisely dated, phylogenetically relevant layer of euphemism.

Alzheimers Research - Lucy In The Scanner - Smart Bandages - From Supernovae To Hollywood20161201How well do we understand Alzheimers disease after the latest drug trial disappointment?

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Amazon Fires - Royal Society Book Prize Shortlist Announced - John Gribben On Quantum Physics20190829Satellite 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 increase in fires has been attributed to deliberate deforestation and clearing for agriculture or mining. The new president of Brazil, Jair Bolsanaro, supports the commercialisation of the Amazon forest and this is said to have encouraged the wide scale burning. Professor of Earth System Science at the University of California Irvine, Jim Randerson and Luiz Aragão of Brazil's National Institute of Space Research are just two scientists concerned about the destruction and carbon emissions from the extensive burning.

The 6 shortlisted books have been announced in the Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize this year. Judges Professor Sir Nigel Shadbolt, a computer scientist and best-selling author Dorothy Koomson run through the list:
Infinite Powers – Steven Strogatz
The Remarkable Life of the Skin – Monty Lyman
Clearing the Air – Tim Smedley
Invisible Women – Caroline Criado Perez
The Second Kind of Impossible – Paul Steinhardt
Six Impossible Things – John Gribbin

Science writer and journalist John Gribben takes Gareth through the world of quantum physics when he discusses his book "Six Impossible Things - The Quanta of Solace and the Mysteries of the Subatomic World"

Producer - Fiona Roberts

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

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Gareth Mitchell goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Ancient Britons' Dna - Concorde's 40th Anniversary - Giant Dinosaur - New Planet?20160121Adam Rutherford examines the genetics of ancient Britons and reminisces about Concorde.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Ancient Dna - Human Evolution20171228Twenty 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 Neanderthal man who died about 40,000 years ago. Thirteen years later, the same group unveiled the first complete genome sequence of another Neanderthal individual. Last year, they announced they'd retrieved DNA from much oldest archaic human bones, more than 400,000 years old.

Adam Rutherford talks to Svante Paabo, the scientist has led these remarkable achievements. Professor Paabo and his colleague Janet Kelso at the Max Planck Institute of Biological Anthropology in Leipzig discuss the genes in many European people alive today that originated in Neanderthals and were passed to modern humans when the two species interbred.

Adam also speaks to Johannes Krause who worked on the Neanderthal genome project in Leipzig but is now director of the Max Planck Institute of the Science of Human History. His latest research adds a new layer of intrigue and complexity to the relationship between our species and Neanderthals in deep time.

David Reich at Harvard University focuses on using ancient DNA to uncover the ancestry and movements of modern human hunter-gatherers in Eurasia from about 50,000 years to the Bronze Age, a few thousand years ago. Population movements occur on a cinematic scale, he says. (Podcast only).

The revelations of ancient genetics would not be possible and meaningful without the traditional disciplines of palaeoanthropology and archaeology. Adam goes to Gibraltar to seek the perspective of Clive Finlayson who leads excavations there as director of the Gibraltar Museum. Gibraltar is the most concentrated site of Neanderthal occupation in the world. As well as remains of a young Neanderthal child last year, the Rock's caves have also recently yielded the first example of Neanderthal cave art.

Adam Rutherford on the DNA revolution in our understanding of human evolution.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

The revelations of ancient genetics would not be possible and meaningful without the traditional disciplines of palaeoanthropology and archaeology. Adam goes to Gibraltar to seek the perspective of Clive Finlayson who leads excavations there as director of the Gibraltar Museum. Gibraltar is the most concentrated site of Neanderthal occupation in the world. As well as remains of a young Neanderthal child last year, the Rock's caves have also recently yielded the first example of Neanderthal cave art.

Ancient Farmers' Genomes - Alice At Cern - Astrophysics Questions20151126Ancient genome research shows the effect of the introduction of farming to Europe.

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 selection, and of how farming has changed Europe in the last few millennia. The huge sample of 230 ancient individuals includes 26 Neolithic people from Anatolia thought to be the very first farmers.

Cern's ALICE Experiment

Adam visits CERN in Geneva, to see ALICE (A Large Ion Collision Experiment). ALICE is designed to investigate one of the four fundamental forces in the Universe. The strong nuclear force is the most powerful, but only over a very short distance. It is what holds quarks together, and quarks stuck together in the right conformation make neutrons and protons. Protons and neutrons stuck together plus electrons make up atoms, which is what everything is made of

Listeners Questions on Astrophysics

Space physicists, Dr. Carole Haswell from the Open University and Dr Andrew Pontzen from UCL answer your questions about the force of gravity, the size of stars, the volume of matter and more.

Producer:Fiona Roberts.

Ancient Human Occupation Of Britain20140102
Antarctic - Kew - Paleogenomics - Sea Birds20180503The 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 the glacier will collapse as a result of environmental change. Adam Rutherford speaks to 2 scientists from a major new study who with the help of seals and Boaty McBoat face will be investigating what goes on under the glacier and what drilling into the rocks under the sea can tell us.

And while the work of the new Antarctic team-up is studying the impact of the rise of sea levels, here in the UK, researchers are similarly concerned about the warming of the oceans, but on the specific effect it could have on sea birds. Inside Science's Jack Meegan reports from the Yorkshire coast.

The Temperate House at Kew has undergone a 5 year restoration and now is about to open to the public, Adam goes along to get a preview.

Who owns ancient DNA? A recent article in the journal Science argues that we need to think harder about the living relatives of indigenous people and not simply treat their human remains as "artifacts".

Antarctic glacier collapse and rising sea levels plus Adam asks who owns ancient DNA.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Who owns ancient DNA? A recent article in the journal Science argues that we need to think harder about the living relatives of indigenous people and not simply treat their human remains as "artifacts".

Adam Rutherford investigates the news in science and science in the news.

Antarctic Ice Sheet Instability - Groundwater - Accents - Fluorescent Coral20151119Melting Antarctic ice sheet will not lead to as big a sea level rise as previously thought

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 about 10cm by 2100. Previous research had put this figure at 30cm: this has not been ruled out by the new research, but it's been ruled much less likely.

Groundwater

The Earth's groundwater has been quantified - it's estimated to be 23 million cubic km. (which is equivalent to the Earth's entire land surface covered in a layer some 180m deep.) However, just 6% of the water is available for our use and to take part in the hydrogeological cycle. That small fraction is referred to as modern groundwater: it is extractable because it is near the surface, and can be used to supplement above-ground resources in rivers and lakes. But it's also the most sensitive to over use, climate change and to human contamination.

Fluorescent coral

Adam visits the National Oceanographic Centre in Southampton to see some fluorescent corals and asks how they can be utilised for medical imaging.

Accents

How are our accents changing? A three year study at University of Glasgow has found that Scottish accents haven't changed as much as English accents (which have become much more homogenised over the past 100 years). By listening to recordings from first World War Scottish prisoners of war, the Sounds of the City project has noticed that changes to Glaswegian accents have occurred over a much longer time frame than previously thought. But these changes have occurred locally - not in the same way or to the extent that it is thought English accents have evolved.

Producer: Fiona Roberts.

Antarctic Lake Drilling - Birds - Climate Change - Cold Snap - Holograms20190110Sampling from subglacial lakes under the ice in Antarctica can hopefully tell us a lot about past climates as well as reveal organisms that have evolved in extreme environment, long separated from the rest of the world. However it's not easy work, drilling kilometres into ice, in sub-zero conditions, without contaminating these pristine ecological environments. Martin Siegert, co-director of the Grantham Institute, understands just how difficult it is, as he led an expedition to Antarctica in 2012 to drill over 3km down into Lake Ellsworth. The expedition failed due to problems with the drilling, leading to the team eventually running out of fuel and time. But, as he explains to Gareth Mitchell, lessons learnt from Ellsworth have helped a US team to use the hot-water drilling technique to access Lake Mercer and bring up lots of sediment and microbial samples.

The impact of climate change on the natural world can be complex and unexpected. Pied flycatchers are birds which migrate every year from Africa to Europe in order to breed, they share the same breeding grounds as great tits. However, great tits are resident in these areas all year round, and are therefore much more flexible to any local changes in climate and the subsequent impact on important resources, like food and nesting sites, than the migratory pied flycatchers. Jelmer Samplonius, at the University of Edinburgh, explains to Gareth what impact these changes in temperature could have on the conflict between great tits and pied flycatchers.

There have been lots of rumours about a return of the ‘Beast from the East' which caused a prolonged cold snap in our weather in early 2018. This was due to a phenomenon called ‘sudden stratospheric warming'. Laura Paterson, chief meteorologist at The Met Office, explains how unexpected warming in the stratosphere (a high layer in our atmosphere) can impact the weather down here on Earth, and that while this stratospheric warming does mean it is more likely we will experience colder weather, it does not guarantee a return visit of the ‘Beast from the East'.

Lecturers at Imperial College, London have a new star quality- they are getting the Michael Jackson treatment - being turned into holograms. The school has decided this will help connect their students around the world. Wanting a taste of the glory Roland Pease went to the college while they were testing out the system

Antarctic lake drilling, birds and climate change, cold snap, and holograms.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Adam Rutherford investigates the news in science and science in the news.

Antarctic Melt Speeds Up - Antarctica's Future - Cryo-acoustics - Narwhals20180614Adam Rutherford goes totally polar this week with news of accelerating ice melt in Antarctica, two visions of the continent's future, and the sounds of collapsing icebergs and the songs of narwhals.

Two hundred billion tonnes of Antarctic ice are now being lost to the ocean every year, pushing up global sea level by 0.6 millimetres a year. This is a three fold increase since 2012. This finding comes from IMBIE, the Ice Sheet Mass Balance Intercomparison Exercise. Leeds glaciologist Andy Shepherd and Durham earth scientist Pippa Whitehouse tell Adam how the project made this startling finding and what it may mean for global sea level rise in the future.

Glaciologist Martin Siegert of Imperial College London has co-authored an unusual Antarctic paper in the journal Nature this week, with other leading south polar researchers. It is a history of the frozen continent, looking back from the year 2070 and charts two different courses that we could be on today.

Satellites above the Antarctic and Arctic can only tell us so much about the melting and collapse of the ice sheets. Oskar Glowacki of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography is exploring what extra insights might come from recording the underwater sounds that ice sheets make when they collapse and melt in Arctic seas.

The narwhal, sometimes known as the unicorn of the sea, is one of the world's most elusive and poorly studied cetaceans, primarily because it spends much of its life underwater and under ice in the Arctic. Marine biologist Susanna Blackwell led a team which used sound recorders and satellite tags attached to several narwhals in Eastern Greenland, to follow their lives continuously for an unprecedented length of time.

Producer: Andrew Luck-Baker.

Antarctica's ice melt is speeding up. What does this mean for rising global sea levels?

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Producer: Andrew Luck-Baker.

Adam Rutherford investigates the news in science and science in the news.

Antarctic Science Rescue - Killing Cancer With Viruses - Measuring Wind From Space - The Last Man On The Moon20170119Why 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 successfully used a virus to kill cancer cells. They say this could form the basis for a vaccine that could be injected to destroy tumours.

The limitations of mouse models. Many animals are used for testing treatments intended for humans, we explain why the results of such experiments can't always be applied to people.

Measuring wind speeds from space. A new satellite will lead to more accurate weather forecasts.

Gene Cernan, the last man on the moon. We celebrate the charismatic astronaut who has died aged 82.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Antarctica Weather - Climate Change - Gm Fish Oils - Melanin Fossils - Time Travel20140109
Antarctica's Volcanoes - Science Book Prize Nominee - Mark O'connell - Us Solar Eclipse - 40 Years Of Nasa's Voyager Mission20170817Not so much hiding in plain sight, but tucked under the ice-sheet in Antarctica are 91 volcanoes. This adds to the 47 volcanoes already known on the continent. After a graduate student posed the question,"are there any volcanoes in Western Antarctica?", Dr Robert Bingham, and colleagues, at Edinburgh University, scoured the satellite and database records to find the volcanoes. This huge region is likely to dwarf that of East Africa's volcanic ridge, which is currently the most volcano-dense region on Earth.

Journalist Mark O'Connell is the second of our Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize 2017 nominees. His broad-minded, yet sceptical look at the world of 'transhumanism', "To be a Machine: Adventures Among Cyborgs, Utopians, Hackers, and the Futurists Solving the Modest Problem of Death", questions how and why some of us are looking to use technology to fundamentally change the human condition.

On Monday 21st of August 2017, some of the United States will go dark. This is the first total solar eclipse, visible from coast to coast in the US for 99 years. Gareth gets excited with veteran eclipse watchers, David Baron and Jackie Beucher.

On the 20th of August 1977, NASA's probe Voyager 2 launched. This was quickly followed two weeks later by the launch of Voyager 1 (which was on a faster trajectory). Since then the two spacecraft have been exploring our Solar System, the Heliosphere and interstellar space. Surpassing all expectations, the probes have taught us so much about our planets, their moons and beyond. Gareth looks back at the highlights with the Voyager mission's chief scientist, Professor Ed Stone, in a celebration of the 40 year mission.

Produced by Fiona Roberts
Presented by Gareth Mitchell.

Antarctica's volcanoes; Mark O'Connell's book; US solar eclipse; Voyager at 40.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Adam Rutherford explores the science that is changing our world.

Produced by Fiona Roberts
Presented by Gareth Mitchell.

Antibiotics - Farming - Molten Metal Pump - Acoustic Biodiversity - Athenia20171012The agricultural use of antibiotics is contributing to the global spread of resistance to these life-saving medicines. What do we know about farming's role in the world's antibiotic resistance crisis and what are the critical outstanding questions? Adam Rutherford talks to Matthew Avison of the University of Bristol and Elizabeth Wellington of the University of Warwick.

A team at the Georgia Institute of Technology has built a record-breaking mechanical pump. The machine pumped molten tin at 1200 degrees Celsius continuously for 72 hours, and it has worked at even higher white hot temperatures. The pump is fabricated entirely from a heat-resistant ceramic material. Georgia Tech's Asegun Henry is developing the technology to transform the contribution that solar and wind energy generation can make in storing energy and supplying the electricity grid.

Caroline Steel reports on an opportunistic research project that used sound recordings to monitor biodiversity health in Singapore, when the island nation was engulfed in forest fire smoke haze in 2015.

Has the wreck of the first British ship to be sunk during World War II been found? Wreck-hunter David Mearns believes he's done so, using high-resolution sonar maps of the sea bed northwest of Ireland.

How large is the role of agriculture in the antibiotic resistance crisis?

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Adam Rutherford investigates the news in science and science in the news.

Has the wreck of the first British ship to be sunk during World War II been found? Wreck-hunter David Mearns believes he's done so, using high-resolution sonar maps of the sea bed northwest of Ireland.

Antisense Rna Therapy - Fossils Vs Trump - Printing Mini-kidneys - Electric Eel Power20171221Promising results from a small clinical trial of Huntingdon's disease patients have led to RNA-directed therapy such as antisense RNA being hailed as possibly a turning point in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. Adam Rutherford discusses this class of drugs with Heidi Ledford of Nature News.

At the beginning of the month, Donald Trump decreed that two national monument landscapes be drastically down-sized. Strict protections against exploitation were removed from vast tracts of land bearing some of the world's most important fossil bearing strata. President of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontologists, Professor David Polly explains why his organisation is now suing Trump.

At Harvard University, bioengineers are growing parts of functioning kidneys in small chips using a form of 3D printing. Jennifer Lewis' lab is doing this to learn how kidneys function and explore the possible therapeutic applications of the mini-kidneys-in-a-chip. Roland Pease visits the team at work.

The electric eel can deliver a 600 volt shock, from a stack of electrically charged cells along the length of its body. Inspired by the eel's biology, Michael Mayer and his colleagues at the Universities of Fribourg and Michigan have now created their own version of its electric organ with the help of jelly babies and clever origami. In the future, it could power devices in the human body.

A turning point in treating brain diseases? Why are palaeontologists suing Donald Trump?

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

The electric eel can deliver a 600 volt shock, from a stack of electrically charged cells along the length of its body. Inspired by the eel's biology, Michael Mayer and his colleagues at the Universities of Fribourg and Michigan have now created their own version of its electric organ with the help of jelly babies and clever origami. In the future, it could power devices in the human body.

Australian Bush Fires - Veganuary - Ligo202001092019 was the hottest and driest year on record in Australia. The Indian Ocean Dipole and the Southern Annular Mode weather systems, plus existing drought conditions, all primed the continent for the horrific fire season currently raging in the east and south east of the country. Climate scientist at the University of New South Wales Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick is in no doubt global warming played a role in making these the worst fires in recent history. Making matters even worse is that the ferocity of the bush-fires is creating its own weather. Nicholas McCarthy at the University of Queensland studies fire-induced weather and he explains how this can help spread the fires further.

January is also Veganuary, a chance for you to try being vegan for 31 days. The reasons for giving up animal products in your diet are varied, from reducing your carbon footprint to not eating animals and getting healthy. Reporter Geoff Marsh is interested in the evidence in favour for and against a vegan diet.

A signal in April 2019 picked up by the LIGO Livingston Observatory has been confirmed as the gravitational ripples from a collision of two neutron stars. LIGO Livingston is part of a gravitational-wave network that includes LIGO (the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory), and the European Virgo detector.

Producer - Fiona Roberts

Gareth Mitchell discusses the Australian bush fires; Veganuary and LIGO

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Autonomous Cars - Bees - Neonicotinoids - Marden Henge - Royal Society Book Prize20160818Autonomous cars, bees and neonicotinoids, Marden Henge, Royal Society Book Prize.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Adam Rutherford explores the science that is changing our world.

Back To School - Covid-19 - Ordnance Survey - The Pandemic20200604Back to School and Covid-19 and Ordnance Survey and the pandemic.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Illuminating the mysteries and challenging the controversies behind science today

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, how will we know and is there anything we can do about it?

Marnie Chesterton talks to Professor of Mathematical Biology at Cambridge University, Julia Gog, who co-chaired the group that advised the government on the impact of easing school closures. She explains why the limited opening of schools provides a golden opportunity to learn about its impact on the pandemic, and inform what happens in September when the new school year begins.

Marnie also talks to Tim Spector, Professor of Genetic Epidemiology at King's College London, to find out what parents can do to help control the spread of the virus in their communities. He runs the COVID Symptom Study, a huge citizen science project that's pinpointing the symptoms most closely associated with Covid-19. Millions of British adults have downloaded the app, to take part in the study, logging how they feel each day and adding symptoms when they feel unwell. The breakthrough that losing your sense of smell, or anosmia, is a common symptom in Covid-19, arose from this app.

While children with Covid-19 tend to have mild or no symptoms, Tim Spector believes that some cases are being missed because many of the symptoms we're told to look out for in adults, such as fever, are transient or absent in children. Tim explains which symptoms parents should look out for in children, including anosmia and a range of rashes such as ‘covid toe'. If parents log their children's symptoms each day, the hope is he'll have enough data to further refine the symptoms most closely associated with Covid-19 in children. Parents will then be better placed to spot them, if they occur, and keep their children at home.

You might be forgiven for thinking that Ordnance Survey (OS), the national mapping agency for Great Britain, would be having a quiet time during the lockdown. But its online OS Map apps have seen a 300% increase in use, with users not only checking out new places and walks in their local area, but using the virtual maps to plan and imagine themselves on walks in more remote and far flung parts of Great Britain. But Ordnance Survey is so much more than just leisure maps. It runs the Master Map of Great Britain, a massive, interactive, geospatial database which can be interrogated by anyone in the public sector with questions on geography, planning, logistics, addresses and more. The list is long. And during the coronavirus pandemic, the Mapping for Emergencies service has been busy helping the NHS find places for blood testing facilities and PPE storage; working out which walkways are wide enough to allow social distancing, working out where the nearest pharmacies to vulnerable people are and much more.

Presenter - Marnie Chesterton
Producers - Beth Eastwood and Fiona Roberts

Banning Lead Shot For Hunting - Uk Fireball Network - Extremely Thin Gold20200305We 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 1999, the use of lead ammunition in England was restricted. These Regulations prohibit the use of lead ammunition in certain habitat (predominately wetlands) and for the shooting of all ducks and geese, coot and moorhen. However compliance with these Regulations is low. And what about other animals (game birds and game animals) hunted with lead ammunition? It's only been since 2008 that it's been demonstrated that that animals shot with lead were a risk to the health of people who ate them. Tiny particles of the toxic metal remain in the meat and are consumed. Children are especially vulnerable to lead toxicity, which causes problems with brain development. Leading Cambridge conservation scientist Professor Debbie Pain, has been studying lead in the environment for her entire career. So it's good news to her that, 8 of the main UK shooting organisations have voluntarily agreed to ban lead shot for all live quarry by 2025. But is a voluntary ban is enough? And what are the Department of Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) doing to monitor and manage the problem?

It can be a real treat to watch a meteor shower in the night sky and you can consider yourself lucky if you get to witness a fireball streaking through the atmosphere. But what the scientists in the Global Fireball Observatory really want is to find these fist-sized extra-terrestrial meteoroids where they land on Earth. One of the Fireball UK Network's leaders, Luke Daly at the University of Glasgow, explains how, if we know where in the Solar system these rocks came from and we can analyse their make-up, we can learn a lot about how our Solar System was made. However surprising few of the 5000 tonnes of meteorites that land on our planet every year are retrieved. Most are sand-sized grains and many fall in the sea. But even tracking down these precious rocks on land is extremely difficult. So the Network has a suite of cameras watching the sky, and together with some clever number-crunching algorithms, they can track these events and narrow down where to search. But they still need the good citizens of Britain to help find them. If you want to get involved (and this is a good one for schools to take part in) email UKFM@Imperial.ac.uk or follow @fireballsUK on Twitter.

We are fast learning that elements at the nanoscale have vastly different properties than they do in the form we can observe them. It's proving to be a rich field for changing the properties of materials, and inventing new substances that might be of use in medicines, in electronics, and much more. Inside Science's Maddie Finlay went to meet Stephen Evans from the University of Leeds, where they have been tinkering with a substance that definitely doesn't glister even though it's gold.

Producer: Fiona Roberts

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

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Biology Of The New Coronavirus20200312Adam Rutherford explores what makes the new coronavirus so effective at making us ill.
Jonathan Ball, Professor of Virology at Nottingham University, explains the structure of the virus and how it gets into our lungs. Evolutionary virologist at Cambridge University, Dr Charlotte Houldcroft talks to Adam about how labs are detecting the virus and how they are studying the way it mutates to understand how it's moving around the world. Kate Jones, Professor of Ecology at UCL, tells Adam how bats live with coronaviruses, but they don't get sick. She says the reason they have moved from bats to humans is because we have taken them out of their natural habitat into places like the wet markets of East Asia. Sarah Gilbert at Oxford University explains how her team is developing vaccines, and Jonathan Ball looks at work to repurpose existing drugs that may be used as treatment for Covid-19.

Why and how does the new coronavirus make us ill?

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Bird - Dinosaur Skull Evolution - The Wonders Of Yeast - Science Museum Mystery Object20200903Skulls give researchers a great deal of insight into how an animal might have evolved, and skulls can be sensibly compared between species and groups of animals. The 10,000 species of bird around the world are what's left of an even more diverse group, the dinosaurs. But research on their skulls has revealed that despite the birds' exceptional diversity, they evolve far more slowly than their dinosaur relatives ever did. This is one of the findings of a huge skull mapping project at the Natural History Museum led by Anjali Goswami.

Marnie Chesterton delights Adam Rutherford with what she has recently learned about the single-celled fungus that is yeast. She recently visited the National Collection of Yeast Cultures in Norwich, which stores hundreds of thousands of strains of yeast. She discovered that yeast is not only responsible for the production and subtle flavours of bread, yeast and chocolate, but also that some species of yeast can actually clean carbon dioxide from the air and can be used to feed livestock.

The Science Museum group look after over 7.3 million items. As with most museums, the collection you see on display when you visit is only the tip of the iceberg of the entire collection. Up until now, many of the remainder (300,000 objects) has been stored in Blythe House in London. But now the collection is being moved to a purpose-built warehouse in Wiltshire. The move is a perfect opportunity for curators to see what's there, re-catalogue long hidden gems and to conserve and care for their treasures. But during the process they have discovered a number of unidentified items that have been mislabelled or not catalogued properly in the past and some of them are just so mysterious, or esoteric, that the Science Museum needs the aid of the public to help identify them, and their uses. This week, Jessica Bradford, the keeper of collection engagement at the Science Museum is asking Inside Science listeners if they recognise, or can shed light on the possible use of the ‘glassware' in the picture above. Send suggestions to Email: bbcinsidescience@bbc.co.uk or mysteryobject@sciencemuseum.ac.uk

Presenter – Adam Rutherford
Producers – Fiona Roberts & Rory Galloway

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

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Illuminating the mysteries and challenging the controversies behind science today

Blood Clots - Grieving - The Emotion Of Screams20210415The story of what we understand about the rare cases of blood clots associated with certain Covid-19 vaccines is constantly evolving. In today's programme Professor Beverley Hunt looks at the emerging evidence.

How have the restrictions due to Covid 19 affected how we grieve? Professor Claire White, an expert in grief and mourning, is investigating what it means to the grief process when the traditional ways of acknowledging death are changed.

Sascha Fruholz has the unenviable task of listening to people scream all day, but he has made some surprising discoveries about which types of scream people are best able to identify.

Evolving research on blood clots associated with vaccines, the emotion of screams, grief.

A weekly programme looking at the science that's changing our world.

Blow To The Lhc "bump" - Crow Intelligence - Robot Mudskippers - Royal Society Book Prize20160811A blow to the LHC bump; Crow intelligence; Robot mudskippers; Royal Society book prize.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Adam Rutherford explores the science that is changing our world.

Blue Carbon - Inside Little Foot's Skull - Reading Locked Letters20210304With 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 atmosphere. Fortunately, plants have evolved to do just this, but there's a whole class of plants that often get forgotten: the mangroves and seagrasses that grow between land and sea, which are among the planet's most effective carbon sinks. Gaia Vince talks to Fanny Douvere, head of the marine programme at UNESCO, about its new report that shows the importance of blue carbon locked up in its marine World Heritage Sites. And Professor Hilary Kennedy, of Bangor University, explains why seagrasses are so effective at locking up carbon.

Roland Pease reports on the secret journey made by one of the most valuable of human fossils, Little Foot, from Johannesburg to Oxfordshire, where it was scanned at the Diamond Light Source facility – one of the most powerful X-ray machines in the world. He talks to some of the main players about the hush hush voyage, and what they're hoping to discover.

There are few things more intriguing than an unopened letter, but what about one from 300 years ago? The Brienne Collection is a Postmaster's trunk containing more than 2000 letters sent to the Hague between 1680 and 1706, and more than 600 are still unopened. In the days before envelopes, people used elaborate folding techniques to secure letters, even tearing off a bit of paper and using that to sew the letter shut, effectively locking it. It makes reading those letters very tricky indeed, especially as antiquarians don't want to risk opening them. Instead, researchers hatched a plan to scan the letters in their untouched, still folded state, and generate a 3D image of their insides of such detail it could be used by an algorithm to unfold it virtually. David Mills from Queen Mary University London tells Gaia about how he used a microtomography scanner to peek inside the unopened letters.

Presented by Gaia Vince.

Blue carbon; seeing inside Little Foot's skull; reading locked letters with X rays.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Illuminating the mysteries and challenging the controversies behind science today

Boaty Mcboatface In Antarctica - Aeroplane Biofuels - Bakhshali Manuscript - Goldilocks Zones20170316The 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 this research into the behaviour of deep water at this crucial point in the oceans will help us answer key questions about global ocean temperature flows.

Some close-quarter flying in the wake of a jet has provided new insights on reducing aircraft pollution. Richard Moore at NASA Langley in Virginia describes how he's taken to the skies to measure gasses emitted by new biofuels to assess their impact in reducing carbon soot particles, aircraft contrails and climate-changing cloud formations across the sky

Angela Saini visits the Bodleian Library in Oxford where the Bakhshali manuscript which contains possibly the very first graphical representation of the number zero is finally being carbon dated so we can better understand its scientific importance

And the habitable zones around stars in our the universe just got a whole lot bigger. Lisa Kaltenegger of the Carl Sagan Institute reveals how the presence of volcanoes pumping out hydrogen has a significant warming effect on planets, and increases the range of the so called Goldilocks Zone

Producer: Adrian Washbourne.

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

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Bovine Tb - Badger Culling - Shrimp Hoover Csi - Shark-skin - Turing20181115The 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. Controversially it does not include the results from the on going badger culling trials in the West of England and it states that the majority of disease transmission is from cow to cow. But it addresses the efficacy of skin TB tests and repeatedly states that the long-term aim is to end culling badgers and moving to vaccination or other non lethal methods to control the disease reservoir in wildlife. Professor Rosie Woodroffe at the Institute of Zoology, who ran the Randomised Badger Culling Trials in 2007, thinks the report is mostly a good thing. She praises the advice to find alternatives to killing British wildlife, but explains to Adam Rutherford that trialling vaccinations for badgers after culling could be problematic.

Monitoring the health of estuarine and coastal water ecosystems usually relies on the expensive and time-consuming practice of catching fish to get a view on the health of entire ecosystem. New methods are starting to be used called Environmental DNA sampling, using DNA barcoding techniques. As everything sheds fragments of DNA into the environment, by sampling water or sediment, you can use High Throughput DNA analysis, using special probes to pull out and identify the species you want. It's a lot quicker and cheaper, but you still have to deal with problems of collection, filtration and contamination. But Professor of Conservation Genetics, Stefano Mariani at the University of Salford, has found an even better way. He's recruited the European brown Shrimp, which eat everything, are found everywhere and can do all the filtering and storing of the DNA for him. All Stefano has to do is catch the shrimp and analyse their stomach contents to get a picture of what is in the environment.

PhD student at Sheffield University, Rory Cooper explains to Adam how mathematical patterns that Alan Turing worked on late in his career are found in abundance in the natural world. The genetic mechanisms of switching on cellular processes that lead to feather or hair emergence have now been found in the formation of shark scales. The pattern relies on genes to switch on a function, such as feathering, but diffuse out to surrounding cells and switch the function off, leading to a uniform, spaced out pattern. As shark species split off from other vertebrates around 420 million years ago, it therefore proves that Turing's pattern is recycled through other vertebrates.

Producer: Fiona Roberts

Bovine TB and badger culling; shrimp hoover CSI; shark-skin and Turing patterning.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Adam Rutherford investigates the news in science and science in the news.

Boy Gets New Skin - The York Gospels - Stephen Hawking's Thesis20171109Researchers 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 therapy. 7 year old Hassan had lost 60% of his protective epidermis because of the condition, junctional epidermolysis bullosa. The severe blistering and consequent bacterial infections put his life in imminent danger. In a final attempt to save him, the scientists took a small area of unblistered epidermis from his body, separated the constituent skin cells and then engineered them with a normal version of the gene that was malfunctioning in Hassan's body. Sheets of healthy epidermis of an area of about one square metre were then grown in culture, and then grafted onto 80% of his body. Hassan is now living a normal life, back at school, playing football. Lead researcher Michele de Luca describes the remarkable recovery and Fiona Watt, director of the Centre for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine at Kings College London, explains how the procedure worked.

Scientists at the University of York are investigating medieval livestock farming through the study of the 1,000 year old York Gospels manuscript: not by reading it but by extracting proteins and DNA from its animal skin parchment pages.

Inside Science listener and Middle Eastern archaeologist Melissa Sharp takes the programme to task for suggesting that anyone can now use publically available sonar and satellite data to search for shipwrecks and other archaeological sites. It opens up the world's ancient and not so ancient heritage to looters, she says.

Since the University of Cambridge made Stephen Hawkings 1966 PhD thesis free to view and download last month, more than a million people have at least looked at it. Adam Rutherford talks to cosmologist Andrew Pontzen, biologist Matthew Cobb and neuroscientist Sophie Scott about the record-breaking thesis and asks whose first research project they'd like to download.

Producer: Andrew Luck-Baker

A young boy is saved by a remarkable combination of stem cell and gene therapy

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Producer: Andrew Luck-Baker

Breakthrough Starshot - Moon Mining - Qb50 - Solar Q&a20160414Will a fleet of tiny craft, pushed by lasers, sail to a star?

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Brexit - Science - New Brain Map - Cell Therapy For Parkinson's Disease - Viking On Mars20160721Brexit and science, new brain map, cell therapy for Parkinson's disease, Viking on Mars.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Brian Cox - Alice Roberts On A Decade Of Extraordinary Science2020123120210102 (R4)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 advances in genetics that have brought personalized medicine to reality, and revealed the ghosts of ancestral human species never before identified, to quantum computing lessons that hint at the nature of existence and causation throughout the universe, it has been an interesting time. New observational technologies have revealed fresh windows in time and space. And all of it has been reported by BBC Inside Science.

But what of the next decade?

Programme may contain traces of informed speculation, but (almost) no references to Covid.

Presented by Adam Rutherford
Produced by Melanie Brown

Made in association with The Open University.

Adam Rutherford, Brian Cox and Alice Roberts reflect on a decade of extraordinary science.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Brian May's Cosmic Clouds 3-d - How Fish Move Between Waterbodies - Jim Al-khalili's Take On Physics20201001There 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 in the guts of birds such as ducks.

The Royal Society's Insight Investment Science Book Prize shortlist was announced last week. And as every year, Inside Science is previewing each of the books, and talking to the six authors in line for this most prestigious literary prize. This week, physicist and Radio 4 brethren Jim Al-Khalili talks to Adam about how his book The World According to Physics shines a light on the most profound insights revealed by modern physics.

Presenter – Adam Rutherford
Producer – Fiona Roberts

Produced in partnership with The Open University

Brian May's 3-D nebulae; how fish move between lakes; Jim Al-Khalili's take on physics.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Illuminating the mysteries and challenging the controversies behind science today.

Buzz Kill20180315As spring and Brexit loom, Adam Rutherford examines what stance the UK might take on neonicotinoids. The pesticide has been shown to harm bee populations by many scientific studies. Now, the largest report of its kind has put pressure on the EU to vote on whether three types of neonics should be banned. Will the UK follow Europe's lead if the ban is legislated?

Fly tipping is a problem faced by most authorities. But conservationists at the Creekside Discovery Centre in Deptford are embracing the carpets and shopping trolleys that have washed up in their creek in south-east London. They even argue that the rubbish provides a safe haven for wildlife. Graihagh Jackson investigates.

Graphene is often touted as a wonder material but now this carbon sheet could be making an unexpected appearance in your bathroom cabinet as hair dye.

The world-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking has died at the age of 76. The British scientist was famed for his work with black holes and a general relativity. Inside Science examines his scientific legacy.

With Brexit approaching, what stance will the UK take on bee-harming pesticides?

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Adam Rutherford investigates the news in science and science in the news.

Can We Forecast Earthquakes? - Britain's Space Race Rocket Skylark - Francis Galton20171116What 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 which the Earth rotates and the incidence of earthquakes of Magnitude 7 and above. The rotation speed of the planet increases and decreases over periods of years and decades. From their research, the earth scientists say that there's an substantial increase in the number of powerful earthquakes around the world five years after the Earth attains a peak in its spin speed and enters a period of slow down. The difference in day length is tiny but it is enough, say the researchers, to trigger already stressed faults in the crust to move sooner than later.

In the year that the Soviet Union launched Sputnik into orbit, the UK launched its own rocket into the Space Race. 1957 saw the launch of the first Skylark space rocket. Inside Science talks to two veterans of the Skylark programme - Professors John Zarnecki and Ken Pounds - who cut their space research teeth with some of the 440 launches. The Science Museum in London is staging a Skylark exhibition in celebration.

Francis Galton was one of the UK's most influential 19th century scientists and laid important methodological foundations for genetics and other fields of science today. But he was also a racist and leading proponent of eugenics. Adam discusses Galton's legacy with historian Subhadra Das of University College London and clinical geneticist Han Brunner of the Maastricht University Medical Centre in the Netherlands. Both guests attended a meeting of the Galton Institute in London which brought together researchers of many disciplines to discuss the bad and the good in Francis Galton's legacy.

Producer: Andrew Luck-Baker.

Does the length of the day influence the risk of large earthquakes?

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Producer: Andrew Luck-Baker.

Capturing Greenhouse Gas - Beating Heart Failure With Beetroot - Why Elephants Don't Get Cancer - Exactly - A History Of Precision20180816Researchers 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 process that normally takes thousands of years to a matter of days, using panels made from tiny balls of polystyrene. Gareth Mitchell meets Ian Power of Trent University in Ontario who led the research. Could this be a viable technology for tackling global warming and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere?

What if something as natural as beetroot - or specifically defined doses of beetroot juice - could help alleviate cardiovascular disease and improve the pumping function of failing hearts? That's the idea behind a major trial underway at the Barts Heart Hospital and Queen Mary University in London. Amrita Ahluwalia, co-Director of the William Harvey Research Institute and Christopher Primus a specialist in heart failure, are interrogating the natural nitrates in foods like beetroot and how they could be beneficial to our cardiovascular system.

Cells in our bodies can go wrong and end up proliferating into cancers. Intuition might say the bigger something is, the more cells it has and thus, greater is its risk of developing cancer. But elephants have somehow re-awakened a gene that kills cells that could be cancerous before they have time to cause any damage. Vincent Lynch of the University of Chicago has been looking at the genetics that keeps these giants virtually, immune which could hold clues for tackling cancers in humans.

And we hear from Simon Winchester, the next in our series of interviews with the shortlisted authors for this year's Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize. Exactly, is an intriguing history of precision, the search for ever greater engineering accuracy and how it changed the world.

Presenter: Gareth Mitchell
Producer: Adrian Washbourne.

Why elephants don't get cancer, Exactly - a history of precision

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Capturing greenhouse gas, beetroot to beat heart failure, elephant cancer, precision.

Presenter: Gareth Mitchell
Producer: Adrian Washbourne.

Adam Rutherford investigates the news in science and science in the news.

Cassini’s Death - Scrapping Diesel - Weather Balloon - Satellites Monitoring Volcanos20170420Cassini's death; scrapping diesel cars; weather balloons; satellites monitoring volcanoes

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 of fuel. Adam Rutherford talks to Professor Michele Dougherty of Imperial College about the plans for Cassini's spectacular end, which will be to burn up in Saturn's atmosphere later this year. The descent begins this week and Cassini will collect exciting new data until the end.

Next week, Theresa May will unveil her plans to kerb air pollution and it is believed that some diesel drivers could be paid up to £2,000 to trade in their vehicles. Diesel cars emit nitrogen oxides - a pollutant that has been linked to nearly 12,000 UK deaths in 2013. This is the second highest in Europe after Italy. However, this isn't the first scrappage scheme to be brought in. Philippa Oldham from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and Adam discuss the merits and pitfalls of an initiative like this.

Thousands of balloons are launched every day to measure temperature, pressure and humidity of the air. Kerri Nicoll from the University of Reading wants to add cheap, volcanic ash sensors to these balloons which are going up anyway. This could vastly improve the limited information we currently have on volcanic eruptions, allowing us to quickly see rises in ash particles and therefore improve ash cloud forecasting.

Many of the world's volcanoes aren't monitored but a new technology from the University of Leeds should mean that scientists can keep track of all 1,500 them by the end of the year. The technology involves monitoring changes in ground deformation from satellites in space, which will give clues as to whether a volcano is about to erupt. For those living near unmonitored volcanoes, this could provide an early warning system and save their lives.

Cassini's Death - Scrapping Diesel - Weather Balloon - Satellites Monitoring Volcanos20170420The 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 of fuel. Adam Rutherford talks to Professor Michele Dougherty of Imperial College about the plans for Cassini's spectacular end, which will be to burn up in Saturn's atmosphere later this year. The descent begins this week and Cassini will collect exciting new data until the end.

Next week, Theresa May will unveil her plans to kerb air pollution and it is believed that some diesel drivers could be paid up to £2,000 to trade in their vehicles. Diesel cars emit nitrogen oxides - a pollutant that has been linked to nearly 12,000 UK deaths in 2013. This is the second highest in Europe after Italy. However, this isn't the first scrappage scheme to be brought in. Philippa Oldham from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and Adam discuss the merits and pitfalls of an initiative like this.

Thousands of balloons are launched every day to measure temperature, pressure and humidity of the air. Kerri Nicoll from the University of Reading wants to add cheap, volcanic ash sensors to these balloons which are going up anyway. This could vastly improve the limited information we currently have on volcanic eruptions, allowing us to quickly see rises in ash particles and therefore improve ash cloud forecasting.

Many of the world's volcanoes aren't monitored but a new technology from the University of Leeds should mean that scientists can keep track of all 1,500 them by the end of the year. The technology involves monitoring changes in ground deformation from satellites in space, which will give clues as to whether a volcano is about to erupt. For those living near unmonitored volcanoes, this could provide an early warning system and save their lives.

Cassini's death; scrapping diesel cars; weather balloons; satellites monitoring volcanoes

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Cassini's Finale - Science - Technology Select Committee - Crick's Lecture - Cave Acoustics20170921After last week's Inside Science's edition devoted to Cassini ended, the Cassini spaceship plunged into the atmosphere of Saturn, and became part of the planet it studied. But the project lives on, as the data and photos generated by Cassini right up until contact was lost will be studied and scrutinised for years to come. Linda Spilker is the Project Scientist for the Cassini mission. Adam Rutherford spoke to her to find out what was captured in the last few moments of Cassini's closest and fatal encounter with the ringed planet.

The House of Commons has announced its Science and Technology Select Committee - the body of MPs that holds the Government to account on scientific matters, and offers advice on scientific issues of the day. Some controversy has followed, concerning the scientific credentials and the gender imbalance of the committee make-up so far. Norman Lamb, MP for North Norfolk was elected chair of the committee, and he came into the Inside Science studio to discuss the committee selection and its future ambitions.

This week was the 60th anniversary of one of the greatest conceptual leaps in all biology, made by Crick at a lecture at University College London. Matthew Cobb, biologist and historian from Manchester University, who's written a new account of the lecture, discusses its fundamental significance.

It has long been suggested that there's something about the acoustics of a cave that correlates with the location of motifs and sometimes paintings on the walls.Bruno Fazenda is an acoustic scientist at the University of Salford, and reveals how he went into the caves to conduct the first methodical study of this theory by listening to the past.

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

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Cassinis Finale Science - Technology Select Committee Cricks Lecture Cave Acoustics20170921Adam Rutherford explores the science that is changing our world.

After last week's Inside Science's edition devoted to Cassini ended, the Cassini spaceship plunged into the atmosphere of Saturn, and became part of the planet it studied. But the project lives on, as the data and photos generated by Cassini right up until contact was lost will be studied and scrutinised for years to come. Linda Spilker is the Project Scientist for the Cassini mission. Adam Rutherford spoke to her to find out what was captured in the last few moments of Cassini's closest and fatal encounter with the ringed planet.

The House of Commons has announced its Science and Technology Select Committee - the body of MPs that holds the Government to account on scientific matters, and offers advice on scientific issues of the day. Some controversy has followed, concerning the scientific credentials and the gender imbalance of the committee make-up so far. Norman Lamb, MP for North Norfolk was elected chair of the committee, and he came into the Inside Science studio to discuss the committee selection and its future ambitions.

This week was the 60th anniversary of one of the greatest conceptual leaps in all biology, made by Crick at a lecture at University College London. Matthew Cobb, biologist and historian from Manchester University, who's written a new account of the lecture, discusses its fundamental significance.

It has long been suggested that there's something about the acoustics of a cave that correlates with the location of motifs and sometimes paintings on the walls.Bruno Fazenda is an acoustic scientist at the University of Salford, and reveals how he went into the caves to conduct the first methodical study of this theory by listening to the past.

Cavendish Banana Survival - Guillemot Egg Shape - Unexpected Truth About Animals - Tambora's Rainstorm20180823The 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 plants across China, Asia and Australia. Recently, scientists & horticulturalists gathered in Istanbul to discuss the best ways to fight the threat. Professor James Dale from the Institute of Future Environments at the University of Queensland has been conducting successful field trials in previously infected areas with impressive results. Could gene editing provide the solution?

The extraordinary shape of the guillemot egg is one of ornithology's great mysteries. This seabird lays something twice the size of a hen's egg, which looks a bit like an obelisk, blue, speckled and weirdly elongated at one end, with almost flat sides. There have been a handful of theories to explain why it's evolved. Professor of behaviour and evolution Tim Birkhead, at the University of Sheffield shows in his new research that the answer lies in allowing the birds to successfully breed on the steep slopes of cliff ledges.

Marnie Chesterton meets the next in Inside Science's series of writers shortlisted for the very prestigious Royal Society's Book Prize : Lucy Cooke, zoologist, author and broadcaster discusses The Unexpected Truth About Animals which flies the flag for some of the lessons learnt from mistakes made in understanding animal behaviour.

Could the Tambora volcanic eruption in April 1815 be responsible for Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo? A rain-soaked battlefield in June 1815, stopped Napoleon deploying his military might although many have questioned how a volcano could have such an effect on the weather so soon. How was it to blame for a Belgian rainstorm just several weeks after the end of the eruption? Dr Matt Genge from Imperial College, in a new paper out this week, says the answer lies in the phenomenon known as electrostatic levitation.

Presenter: Marnie Chesterton
Producer: Adrian Washbourne

Banana survival; Guillemot egg shape; Unexpected Truth About Animals; Tambora rainstorm

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

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 plants across China, Asia and Australia. Recently, scientists and horticulturalists gathered in Istanbul to discuss the best ways to fight the threat. Professor James Dale from the Institute of Future Environments at the University of Queensland has been conducting successful field trials in previously infected areas with impressive results. Could gene editing provide the solution?

Presenter: Marnie Chesterton
Producer: Adrian Washbourne

Adam Rutherford investigates the news in science and science in the news.

Ccr5 Mutation Effects - The Surrey Earthquake Swarm - Animal Emotions20190606Some 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 year when he edited the genes in embryos and then implanted them in a mother. A paper in the journal Nature Medicine this week uses data from the UK Biobank to look at the long term health patterns associated with this gene variant. It suggests that whilst the HIV-1 immunity may be considered a positive, having two copies of the gene also comes with a cost. It seems that it may also lower our immunity to other diseases and shows in the database as a 21% increase in mortality overall. Author Rasmus Nielsen talks about how important this gene is to evolutionary biologists trying to find signs of natural selection in humans. Adam discusses the ethical implications of the research with Dr Helen O'Neill.

The Surrey Earthquake Swarm
Over the last year several small earthquakes have been detected in one part of Surrey. Many have surmised that these may be caused by oil drilling taking place nearby, but it might be simpler than that. So the British Geological Survey has been monitoring the region. Roland Pease joined Imperial College seismologist Steven Hicks out in the countryside inspecting his detectors to find out more.

Mama's Last Hug
Frans de Waal, one of the world's leading primatologists talks to Adam about his latest book, and the difficulties we as human observers have with studying emotion in animals. Prof de Waal coins a neologism ‘anthropodenialism' to describe the belief that emotions in animals are incommensurable with human experience. He thinks most mammals, and certainly primates, experience pretty much the same emotions as we do, for similar reasons. Feelings, however, are a different matter.

Producer: Alex Mansfield

CCR5 mutation effects, the Surrey earthquake swarm, Mama's Last Hug by Frans de Waal.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Chernobyl - Drones - Tree Crickets - Cern20160428Have physicists at Cern found a new particle?

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Childhood Cancers - Ghana Telescope - Nano-listening Device For Cells - Ancient Whales20170518Adam Rutherford goes the pathology archive of Great Ormond Street Hospital in London to hear how tumour samples from child patients about one hundred years ago may improve the diagnosis and treatment of very rare cancers in children today. He meets cancer geneticist Sam Behjati of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and Great Ormond Street pathologist Neil Sebire in the hospital's basement archive.

Africa now has its first radio telescope outside South Africa. It is located in Ghana near the capital Accra. The telescope is in fact a defunct telecoms satellite dish which was spotted on Google Earth images and then re-purposed for cutting edge astrophysics. It is hoped the dish will be the founding instrument of a pan African network of radio telescopes scrutinising exotic celestial objects in the skies above the continent. South African science journalist Sarah Wilds tells the story of how the Ghanaian dish was found and converted.

Nano-engineers in California have created a device 100 times thinner than a human hair which they have used to measure the turbulence created by swimming microbes and record the sounds of heart cells contracting. Don Sirbuly is the professor of nano-engineering at the University of California San Diego who led the team.

A spectacular new whale fossil unearthed Peru is the oldest known member of the evolutionary branch which gave rise to the giant filter-feeding baleen whales of today. The 36 million year old fossil provides evidence for how ancestral whales transitioned from capturing prey with their teeth to filter-feeding with baleen fibres. They may gone through a period of sucking prey from the sea bed.

Searching for 100-year-old tumours to boost research on rare childhood cancers.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Adam Rutherford explores the science that is changing our world.

A spectacular new whale fossil unearthed Peru is the oldest known member of the evolutionary branch which gave rise to the giant filter-feeding baleen whales of today. The 36 million year old fossil provides evidence for how ancestral whales transitioned from capturing prey with their teeth to filter-feeding with baleen fibres. They may gone through a period of sucking prey from the sea bed.

China's Green Growth Plan20210311On 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 greenhouse gas emissions planned on tackling its target of reaching net zero emissions by 2060, put forward by President Xi Jinping last September. It appears that greenhouse emissions could continue to increase by 1% or more each year up until 2021. Sam Geal, acting CEO at China dialogue, explains how influential Chinese efforts are when combatting climate change.

Since the late 1980s conservationists have used captive breeding to prevent the extinction of North America's only native ferret species, the black footed ferret (Mustela nigripes). Now, an individual called WIlla, who died without leaving any offspring over 30 years ago has been cloned. Her genes represent 300% of the current genetic diversity of the species, and could help boost the chances of these animals. Dr Bridget Baumgartner works with one of the teams that took part in the successful cloning project, she describes how this novel process could bolster and prop up the genetic diversity of the dwindling population.

How does one get a closer look at nutrient cycling and water temperature in marine Antarctic conditions? You could always recruit some of the local inhabitants, elephant seals! That's exactly what Yixi Zheng at the University of East Anglia did. Her furry research assistants have revealed that surface water temperatures around the ice shelves and glaciers of Antarctica are warmer than expected in winter, and this holds implications for nutrient cycling and the productivity of the southern ocean.

And finally, after an ancient rock seized the attention of the residents of Winchcombe in Gloucestershire, Professor Sara Russel discusses the rarity of finding meteors here on earth, let alone finding one early in the morning sat on your driveway. We hear what the nearly 400g of space rock that's been found this week could reveal about the origins of our solar system.

Presented by Gaia Vince
Produced by Rory Galloway
This programme was made in association with the Open University.

China's five-year plan; cloning the black footed ferret; seals lending a flipper.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Illuminating the mysteries and challenging the controversies behind science today.

Clean Air Strategy - Fast Radio Bursts - Kuba Kingdom20190117With the publication of the UK Government's Clear Air Strategy this week, Professor of atmospheric chemistry at the University of York, Alastair Lewis, discusses with Adam Rutherford about whether the guidelines go far enough.
It's a hugely complex issue that's been complied with unprecedented scientific input. The most obvious conclusion is that the implementation to cleaning up our air must be cohesive. One clever idea comes from Professor Barbara Maher at Lancaster University, who has been looking at how trees planted along roadsides can help clean up pollution from traffic.

Fast Radio Bursts are mysterious transient radio pulses a fraction of a millisecond long, caused by some high-energy astrophysical process billions of light years away. Astronomers have not yet identified a source for these ultra-high energy events. A team using the CHIME (Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment) radio telescope in Canada have just detected a repeating FRB and an FRB of extraordinarily low frequency. Deborah Good at the University of British Columbia, explains to Adam that every different type of FRB adds clues as to what these long-travelled signals might be.

Our genomes hold so much information. A new study shows how genetic diversity can mirror political, economic and societal organisation. Lucy Van Dorp, a researcher in UCL's Genetics Research Institute, has been studying this in what are modern day ancestors of the Kuba Kingdom (an important 16th-18th century Democratic Republic of Congo community that welcomed outsiders.) This is a great demonstration to what genetic information can add to understanding human history.

Clean Air Strategy, Fast Radio Bursts and Kuba Kingdom

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Climate Change - Extreme Weather - Primate Brain Size - Earthquake Forecasting - Planet 920170330Following yesterday's US House Committee on Science,Space,and Technology's controversial hearing on scientific method and climate change, Adam Rutherford meets atmospheric scientist Professor Michael Mann after he emerged from the heated debate and who's just published a new paper suggesting a direct link between extreme weather and greenhouse gases via a particular behaviour of the jet stream across the northern hemisphere

How has intelligence evolved? For over 2 decades the idea has prevailed that primate brain size and intelligence has been driven mainly by complex social hierarchies. But a new study by Alex DeCascien of New York University suggests that diet is a better predictor of brain size.

This month is the 6th anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated much of Japan's coastline. Roland Pease reports on new research that aims to embrace uncertainty to improve quake forecasting

And we hear how you can join in the search for the missing mysterious 9th planet of our solar system. Adam Rutherford hears from astronomer Brad Tucker on Walkabout at the Mount Stromlo Observatory in New South Wales

Producer: Adrian Washbourne.

Climate change and extreme weather; primate brain size; earthquake forecasting; planet 9.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Climate Change - Health - Moth Snow Storm Feedback - Whale Brain Evolution - Pharoah's Serpent20171102Adam 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 and says that climate change is the largest single threat to global health. Climate scientist Peter Cox talks about his stark findings on the increase in the number of vulnerable people exposed to heat waves between now and the turn of the century.

We hear anecdotes and concerns from listeners following our item last week on the catastrophic decline in flying insects in the last quarter century and the disappearance of moth snow storms.

What can the social lives and brains of whales and dolphins tell us about the evolution of our species cognitive capacities and white matter? Adam talks to Susanne Shultz of the University of Manchester.

Everyone's favourite indoor firework, the Pharoah's Serpent, is under scientific scrutiny from chemists Tom Miller and Andrea Sella at University College London.

A major global study finds that climate change has already damaged the health of millions.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Everyone's favourite indoor firework, the Pharoah's Serpent, is under scientific scrutiny from chemists Tom Miller and Andrea Sella at University College London.

Adam Rutherford investigates the news in science and science in the news.

Climate Change - State Of The World's Plants - Antibiotic Resistance - Telephone Metadata - Bat Detective20160519How can complex science tell us what to do about the effects of climate change?

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

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, and in doing so they were nominally committing to keep global temperatures well below 2C. So now comes the tricky bit: How best to do that - and what is the scientific evidence for policymakers to decide? Climate change expert Dr Tamsin Edwards of the Open University joins Adam Rutherford to help us unpick the research.

Last week a major new report on the State of the World's Plants was unveiled at Kew Gardens in London. There are some 391,000 vascular plants known to science - that's ones with vessels, xylem and phloem - and over 2000 were discovered last year alone. But just over a fifth of all plants are estimated to be threatened with extinction - and global climate change forms part of this threat. Our reporter Cathy Edwards met Professor Kathy Willis, Director of Science at Kew, to find out how plants are responding to the changing climate, and also spoke to Professor Yadvinder Malhi, Oxford University, and Kay Havens, Chicago Botanic Garden.

The Review on Antimicrobial Resistance, headed by economist Jim O'Neill, was published today. Molecular microbiologist Professor Matt Hutchings from the University of East Anglia, gave us a brief summary.

A new paper out this week looks into exactly what the act of making a phone call can reveal. The study, which was led by Patrick Mutchler and Jonathan Mayer at Stanford University in the States, is the culmination of work looking into what metadata really can show - you may have seen reports of some of their findings, as they've been revealing them in the public interest since 2013. They collected metadata volunteered by 823 participants, in total, more than 250,000 calls, and 1 million text messages. Stephen Murdoch from the Information Security Research Group at University College London joined us to put this into context.

As part of the BBC's Do Something Great season celebrating volunteers, Adam joined Professor Kate Jones from University College London on a Hampstead Heath bat watch, part of the citizen science project Bat Detective.

Producers: Marnie Chesterton and Jen Whyntie.

Producers: Marnie Chesterton & Jen Whyntie.

Climate Change Questions - Animal Computer Interaction - Sounds - Meaning Across World's Languages20161110Climate change - listeners' questions answered.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Climate change is in the news this week. The international Paris agreement to curb global temperature rise has just come into effect but President Elect Donald Trump has said he would take the United States out of the process. In BBC Inside Science, Adam Rutherford puts listener's questions and views about climate change to experts, such as the emissions reduction impact of becoming a vegan to a proposed technology to remove carbon dioxide from the planet's atmosphere. Myles Allen and Peter Scarborough of the University of Oxford, and Anna Harper of the University of Exeter are consulted.

The programme also visits a lab at the Open University which studies the way animals interact with computer technology. Research includes technology to enable dogs to phone the emergency services if humans get into trouble, and using dogs to detect cancer. Reporter Marnie Chesterton meets researcher Clara Mancini and dogs Ozzie and Tory.

Are there commonalities across the world's languages between the sounds in particular words and the meanings of those words? The traditional thinking in linguistics says no. But new research surveying the meaning and sounds of words across 6,000 languages from the Americas, Asia, Europe and Australasia finds otherwise. The 'r' sound is used in words for the colour 'red' all around the world at frequencies much higher than by chance. The case is the same for the words for 'nose' and other parts of the body. Morten Christiansen of Cornell University talks to Adam Rutherford about the research.

Co2 - Rice - Underground Farming - Ancient Interstellar Asteroid - Microplastics Air Pollution20180524New 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 scientists behind the finding, and consults Marco Springmann of the Future of Food project at the University of Oxford.

Is the future of farming subterranean? Marnie Chesterton visits a farm called Growing Underground for some answers. Specialising in salad and herbs, it is located beneath Clapham Common in South London in an old Second World War air-raid shelter.

Has an interstellar asteroid been lurking in our solar system for more than four billions years? It's a possibility according to the astronomers who've watched and plotted its strange orbit. It travels around the Sun in the opposite direction to most of the planets, asteroids and comets. Asteroid specialist Alan Fitzsimmons of Queens University Belfast talks to Adam about this astronomical oddity and assesses the evidence for it being a traveller from the stars, captured by our solar system during its early childhood.

Stephanie Wright of Kings College London explains about what we do and don't know about the abundance and health risks of microplastic particles in the air we breathe.

Producer: Andrew Luck-Baker.

Will rising CO2 levels make rice less nutritous?

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Producer: Andrew Luck-Baker.

Cod Fisheries - Our Connection To Nature - Domestic Electricity - Gamma Ray Bursts20170727News that the Marine Stewardship Council has reopened the North Sea cod fishery is met by some concern from marine biologist Professor Callum Roberts at the University of York. He says, this may be good news for cod and cod fishermen, but other marine species getting caught up in the drag nets may not be so capable of bouncing back.

In a report out this week, the UK Government announced they are funding £246 million for major changes to the way electricity is produced and stored. New rules will make it easier for people to generate their own power with solar panels, and store it in batteries. But do we have the technology to make it work in a cost effective way? Steven Harris, a consultant in sustainable energy, thinks we'll soon have smart domestic appliances in our homes which better manage the fluctuating supply and demand for power. Expert in energy systems, at the University of Newcastle, Professor Phil Taylor, is researching the next generation of smart appliances and domestic storage batteries.

A new study reports that 69% of Brits feel they have lost touch with nature. Dr. Rachel Bragg, at the Green Exercise Research Unit at the University of Essex and Care Farming UK, unpicks the anecdotal evidence from the facts and explores why a connection with the natural world is so important, why the connection is being broken and what we need to do about it.

Professor of Extragalactic Astronomy at the University of Bath, Carole Mundell, explains how she and other astronomers captured the most complete picture yet of the most powerful type of explosion in the universe - Gamma Ray Bursts. These short-lived bursts of the most energetic form of light, shine hundreds of times brighter than a supernova and trillions of times brighter than our sun.

Cod; connection to nature; domestic electricity; gamma ray burst.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Adam Rutherford explores the science that is changing our world.

Professor of Extragalactic Astronomy at the University of Bath, Carole Mundell, explains how she and other astronomers captured the most complete picture yet of the most powerful type of explosion in the universe - Gamma Ray Bursts. These short-lived bursts of the most energetic form of light, shine hundreds of times brighter than a supernova and trillions of times brighter than our sun.

Colliding Neutron Stars - Krakatoa - Centigrade Vs Celsius20171019Adam Rutherford talks to astrophysicists about the astronomical discovery of the year, if not the last couple of decades: the collision of two neutron stars and the cosmic gold-forging aftermath. The discovery of this long-hypothesized event on 17th August came from the much awaited marriage of the capabilities of the gravitational wave detectors LIGO and Virgo with those of ground-based and space-based telescopes. Samaya Nissanke of Radboud University, Sheila Rowan of the University of Glasgow and Nial Tanvir of the University of Leicester take Inside Science through the story.

What made the infamous 1883 eruption of Krakatoa so devastating? Roland Pease meets the earth scientists trying to answer the question by recreating in the lab the conditions under the volcano prior to the eruption.

Following a temperature-related faux pas by Adam in the last episode, Michael de Podesta of the National Physical Laboratory explains the difference between Celsius and Centigrade.

Producer: Andrew Luck-Baker.

Astronomy enters a new age as gravitational waves locate the collision of neutron stars.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Adam Rutherford investigates the news in science and science in the news.

Producer: Andrew Luck-Baker.

Comet 67p Images - Etna Eruption - Brain Navigation - Octopus Intelligence20170323The 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 over 2 years. This week analysis of 18000 67P pictures are out of the shade and into the sunlight. Adam Rutherford talks to study leader Raamy El Maary on the intriguing insights and what they suggests about the evolution of comets as they pass through our solar system.

And while no-one has any doubt that volcanoes are extremely dangerous forces of nature, Science correspondent Rebecca Morelle was caught in an unusual and terrifying eruption last week. She tells BBC Inside Science the perils of reporting up close from the side of Etna and the rare kind of eruptions that are unique to snowy volcanoes.

What are our brains doing when we're navigating through towns and cities? A new study from a team at University College London has made detailed maps of brain activity when negotiating the very windy London streets of Soho and compared it to what our brains are up to when we're simply following a sat nav. Hugo Spiers discusses the results and how this kind of neuroscience has a role to play in the future design of new street networks and cities.

And we feature the private life of the octopus - a seemingly alien intelligence right here on Earth as philosopher Peter Godfrey-Smith discusses his new book "Other Minds: The Octopus and the Evolution of Intelligent Life", in which he literally dives into the oceans and delves in to the workings of the octopus mind

Producer Adrian Washbourne.

Comet 67P images, Etna eruption, brain navigation, octopus intelligence.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Complexity In Biology20180906Adam Rutherford takes the show to Dublin this week, to wrestle with great matters of biological complexity. Trinity College Dublin has organised a mass gathering of some of the world's leading researchers in the life sciences to mark the 75th anniversary of one of the most influential series of lectures in the 20th century. The talks were delivered by the celebrated physicist Erwin Schrodinger in 1943 who applied his mind to a fundamental biological question: what is life? Some of his ideas were an influence on Francis Crick as he worked on the structure of DNA.

Seventy five years on, Adam is joined by four of the many scientists delivering their own lectures this week. They tackle subjects of complexity in biology, ranging from the origin of complex life, the increasingly messy structure of life's evolutionary tree, the functioning of the human brain as a network of many component parts, and the place of neuroscience discoveries in the building of artificial intelligences.

The guests are:

Nick Lane, evolutionary biochemist at University College London,
Beth Shapiro, evolutionary geneticist of the University of California Santa Cruz,
Danielle Bassett, physicist and neuroscientist at the University of Pennsylvannia,
Murray Shanahan, artificial intelligence researcher at Imperial College London and Google's DeepMind

The podcast version ends with a question and answer session with the show's audience who include a surprise celebrity guest.

Producer: Andrew Luck-Baker.

Adam Rutherford wrestles with biological complexity with help from guests in Dublin.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Producer: Andrew Luck-Baker.

Control Of Ai - Deep Carbon - Icesat-2 - Autonauts In Antarctica - Rapid Evolution In Khoe San20181213We are now in an age where big decisions about our lives, from health care to recruitment, are being governed by computer programmes and data. The Royal Society has been running a series of events in its ongoing “You and AI” series and the most recent, held earlier this week, chewed over the ethics and the problems behind the control of machine learning. One of those taking part was theoretical neuroscientist and technologist Vivienne Ming and she discusses our often problematic relationship with the big technology companies with Gareth Mitchell.

Jonathan Amos, BBC Science Correspondent, reports from the American Geophysical Union meeting on the surprising finding from the Deep Carbon Observatory that a vast amount of carbon is locked up underground and on the high resolution images of the earth captured by NASA's ICESat-2.

Reporter Hannah Fisher goes to see an unmanned automated vessel, called the AutoNaut being tested in icy conditions.... in a cold room at the University of East Anglia. The remotely-operated vessel will be used to explore uncharted waters around Antarctic ice sheets to collect data on ice-melt and sea-level rise. But first it needs to have a coating that won't ice up.

Between a third and a half of all members of the Khoe San indigenous people in southern Africa have been found to carry a pigment gene associated with lighter skin. New research from Brenna Hann, an anthropologist at University of California Davis, suggests that this gene was introduced as recently as 2,000 years ago, through pastoralists who migrated from what is now Tanzania. It would have come in with only a handful of people, yet it rapidly became widespread in this indigenous population. How did it happen so quickly? It must have been a case of significant positive selection. Brenna Hanna tells Gareth why this gene could have helped people to adapt to living in settled communities around sheep and goats.

Vivienne Ming says be wary of how artificial intelligence is making decisions for us.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

We are now in an age where big decisions about our lives, from health care to recruitment, are being governed by computer programmes and data. The Royal Society has been running a series of events in its ongoing “You and AI ? series and the most recent, held earlier this week, chewed over the ethics and the problems behind the control of machine learning. One of those taking part was theoretical neuroscientist and technologist Vivienne Ming and she discusses our often problematic relationship with the big technology companies with Gareth Mitchell.

Coronavirus - Lockdown Efficacy - Viral Testing - Surface Survival - Dog Walking Safety20200326Last 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 system, how long the virus lives on your door handles and whether your dog can spread coronavirus. Joining us to answer your questions are Jonathan Ball, Professor of Virology at the University of Nottingham, and BBC Radio Science presenter and reporter Roland Pease.

On Monday evening, Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the British people to ‘stay at home'. How stringent is the UK's lockdown compared to other countries, and is it likely to be effective?

The only real way we can know about the incidence and prevalence of the coronavirus is to test. Listener Andrew in Didcot wants to know more about testing and when antibodies appear in us. We discuss how the current testing system works, and why there are limitations on testing.

One question that lots of scientists have been asking is: can people with mild or no symptoms spread the coronavirus? And so we delve into the evidence for asymptomatic spreading.

Listeners Eleanor and Andy have been wondering about passing the virus from person to surface to person. Roland Pease looks into the virus' survival on surfaces and elsewhere, and asks how that might be affecting spread.

Finally, reporter Geoff Marsh tackles a quandary facing dog owners: Is it safe to walk your pet? Can dogs spread the virus?

Presenter: Marnie Chesterton
Producers: Fiona Roberts and Jennifer Whyntie

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

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Coronavirus - Models - Being 'led By The Science' - Mars500 Isolation Tips - Kids' Science - Singing Glasses20200402Marnie Chesterton reveals how important the models and graphs are in informing government strategies for the Covid-19 pandemic. Christl Donnelly, Professor of Statistical Epidemiology at Imperial College London and Professor of Applied Statistics at the University of Oxford, and Dr Kit Yates, Senior Lecturer in Mathematical Biology at the University of Bath and author of 'The Maths of Life and Death', explain what epidemiological models can and can't tell us about the progression of the disease, infection rates and death rates, and how testing will provide the essential data to make these models more accurate. They also give their take on the current inundation of social media with graphs and infographics created by non-epidemiologists - the ‘epidemic of armchair epidemiologists'.

The European Space Agency's Diego Urbina was one of the Mars500 participants. He spent 520 days in a human mission to Mars, shut up in a fake spacecraft with his fellow astronauts. So who better to get tips for home isolation from?

Are you stuck in with the kids and want to try some science experiments that you can do at home? The Royal Institution is about to launch ExpeRimental Live - a live stream of home science experiments, designed to educate, entertain and inform your children with some cheap and easy science. And its existing ExpeRimental series of short films for parents are already available online. They were produced and directed by science teacher and writer Alom Shaha, who helps BBC Inside Science producer Jennifer Whyntie to have a go at making singing wine glasses with her children.

Producers - Fiona Roberts and Jennifer Whyntie

Models and graphs informing government strategy; Isolation tips; Fun science for kids.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Illuminating the mysteries and challenging the controversies behind science today

Coronavirus - The Types Of Vaccine - How The Uk Is Scaling Up Vaccine Production20200910Vaccination has eradicated smallpox, a disease that decimated populations through the 20th century. Polio is almost gone too, and measles is no longer the pervasive childhood threat it once was. It's clear that vaccination is our best tool to halt the threat of SARS CoV 2, and allow the return to a less restricted way of life. But it takes time to develop and test vaccines although the technologies used to create them have moved on significantly over the last few decades.

Professor Jonathan Ball, a virologist at Nottingham University, talks Adam Rutherford through the several types of vaccine that are being explored in the effort to stop the coronavirus pandemic, and how they work. These include live attenuated virus vaccines that are genetically modified to appear to be SARS CoV 2 to the immune system, and RNA subunit vaccines that trick the body into recognising the virus. He discusses the way different vaccines work against disease, and how they trigger different types of immune response.

Before a vaccine is approved for general use it has to pass through three trial phases, and Jonathan discusses the vaccines that are already going through phase 2 and 3 in the UK.

If and when a vaccine gets approved, it needs to be produced to exacting standards and in quantities great enough to immunise the whole population. The UK Vaccine Manufacturing Taskforce was set up in May to coordinate the effort to make a vaccine. Steve Bagshaw, part of the Taskforce, explains that some vaccines have already been produced around the UK, prior to clinical approval in an effort to ensure that any approved vaccine is ready to be distributed as fast as possible to those at risk. This is unprecedented, and means the pathway to vaccine distribution could be faster than any that have gone before.

Presented by Adam Rutherford
Produced by Fiona Roberts and Rory Galloway

Coronavirus: the types of vaccine; how the UK is scaling up vaccine production.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Coronavirus Conspiracy - Listeners' Mask Questions - Solar Orbiter Gets Close To The Sun20200618Coronavirus conspiracies, listeners' mask questions, Solar Orbiter gets close to the Sun

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

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 article online, or a text forwarded, could be true and sounds about right, but how do you know that it's accurate? When scrolling through your social feed, how do you decipher fact from fiction? A new report, by Kings College London and Ipsos MORI, reveals that those of us who get our news from social media are more likely to believe misinformation about the pandemic.

Marnie talks to Jack Goodman of the Anti-Disinformation Unit at BBC Online, a new team set up to tackle the problem. She finds out how science fact turns to science fiction online, and what the team is doing to try to counter this.

Now that wearing face masks are now mandatory in a number of situations, a lot of us are making our own. BBC Inside Science listeners sent in lots of ideas about the design, maintenance and durability of face masks, and other ways to protect against spreading the coronavirus. We asked Professor of Materials & Society at UCL Mark Miodownik in to comment.

In February this year, the European Space Agency's Solar Orbiter, SolO, successfully launched, escaping this planet before most of us went into lock-down.
Professor Lucie Green from the Mullard Space Science Lab at University College London, is a solar scientist and part of the team that will be using a telescope to take images of the Sun in extreme ultraviolet light. The orbiter is now in it's ‘Cruise Phase' which means most of its instruments have now been tested and calibrated, but aren't yet up and running. One instrument that has been operational since just after launch is the magnetometer, which will collect data on the Sun's complex and dynamic magnetic field.

Presenter - Marnie Chesterton
Producers - Fiona Roberts and Beth Eastwood

Illuminating the mysteries and challenging the controversies behind science today

Coronavirus Outbreak In China - Genetic Diseases In Amish Communities - Getting An Egyptian Mummy To Speak20200123With 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 speaks to BBC Inside Science's resident virologist Professor Jonathan Ball from Nottingham University, who says one of the most urgent things to do is to find out where the virus came from, and what animal it jumped to humans from.

The Anabaptist Amish communities are some of the fastest growing populations on the planet. They came to the US from the Swiss-German border in the 18th and 19th centuries and have maintained their plain, simple community-minded way of life. Partly because they all descended from the same geographical area and partly because they tend to marry within their own communities, they can suffer from a particular spectrum of genetic disorders. Professor Andrew Crosby and Dr. Emma Baple from Exeter University have been studying these diseases, including a number new to medicine, and in return they are helping the Amish to understand and treat some of these debilitating diseases.

He may currently sound more like a sheep baa-ing, but in a proof of concept experiment, Professor David Howard, an electrical engineer at Royal Holloway University of London, has been able to scan, 3D print and electronically reanimate the vocal tract of Nesyamum, a 3000 year old Egyptian mummy. The eventual hope is to recreate his tongue and try to get him to sing.

Producer - Fiona Roberts

Coronavirus outbreak in China, Amish genetic diseases and Egyptian mummy speaks.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Coronavirus Questions - Hms Challenger - Ocean Acidification - Sean Carroll's Quantum World20200220Adam Rutherford is joined by Professor of Virology at Nottingham University, Jonathan Ball, to help answer some of your questions on the latest coronavirus outbreak. Will it become endemic, and once infected and recovered how long are we resistant to the virus? And can face masks and alcohol hand gels help prevent infection?

In the 1870's the scientific research ship, HMS Challenger, sailed all the world's oceans measuring sea temperatures, ocean depths and sampling the geology of the seabed. But it's the seawater samples, containing microscopic zooplankton, preserved for 130 years which intrigued climate scientist Dr. Lyndsey Fox. She has been measuring the thickness of the shells of Foraminifera - tiny single-celled organisms - as a way of measuring how much the ocean has acidified over time. The shells are made of calcium carbonate, that is much harder to accrete when the pH drops.

Theoretical physicist Sean M. Carroll is very good at explaining the unexplainable. He chats to Adam about his latest book - Something Deeply Hidden: Quantum Worlds and the Emergence of Spacetime.

Producer: Fiona Roberts

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

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Coronavirus R Number - Genome Study Of Covid-19 Survivors - Using Aircraft Messages To Assess Aviation20200514Coronavirus R number, genome study of Covid survivors and assessing aviation with big data

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Illuminating the mysteries and challenging the controversies behind science today.

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. As part of the government's briefing on Sunday, it appeared in a pseudo-equation, the infographic - 'COVID alert level = R + number of infections' - the Government called R the 'Rate of Infection', but it is commonly known as the 'Reproduction Number'. So what exactly is R, and what does it do?
Mathematical Biologist, Kit Yates, from the University of Bath, clears up the confusion, and explains how R was first calculated for covid-19. And one of the scientists tracking R in the UK is Petra Klepac, who is Assistant Professor in Infectious Disease Modelling at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She explains how crucial R is in tracking the pandemic and how it's now being used to shape the way we get out of lockdown.

There are so many variables about who will survive Covid-19 and who, unfortunately, will not. Many people will only experience mild symptoms, but a minority will have a severe or even life-threatening response. Whilst some of the difference can be explained by age, or underlying health conditions, the reasons why men and some ethnic minorities and a number of apparently fit younger people become so ill, is one of the great puzzles of this pandemic. Some of the uncertainly is down to environmental effects. But a lot of the variability could be down to our genomes.
To try and find out, this week Genomics England announced funding for a study - The GenOMICC - COVID Genomics UK (CoG-UK) Partnership for Severely Ill Patients to sequence the whole genomes of 20,000 severely ill and 15,000 asymptomatic or very mild patients. Led by Genomics England, these genomes will be compared with those held in the 100,000 Genomes Project dataset.

The coronavirus pandemic is really highlighting the need for fast, accurate ways to analyse data on a global and national scale. Be that data on the number of people dying or track and trace data from various apps. But do we realise how much data we leave about ourselves online even in normal times? This is something Professors Tobias Preis and Suzy Moat in the Data Science Lab, at the Warwick Business School get very excited about. They use rapid analysis of big data to try and understand our behaviour as a way to rapidly inform economists and policy makers on how the world works.
They have been looking at alternative data sources to give us quicker estimates of what's happening in the world – travel patterns, economic indicators, how many people have a given disease.

This is going to become invaluable both during and in the aftermath of the pandemic, when understanding the economic fallout will be key to helping the economy recover. Take their latest work – where they're gathering much quicker estimates on the contributions of air travel to the UK's GDP.

Presenter – Marnie Chesterton

Producers – Fiona Roberts and Beth Eastwood

Coronavirus Update - Typhoid Mary - 200th Anniversary Of The First Sighting Of Antarctica20200130With the recent coronavirus outbreak spreading around the world, and concerns about people being infectious before they exhibit any symptoms. Professor of Virology at Nottingham University Jonathan Ball explains infection rates, quarantines and why he's worried about it spreading to the developing world.

'Alice in Typhoidland' is a new exhibition in Oxford recording how that city dealt with typhoid. It's called that after one of its 19th century residents, Alice Liddell (the girl after whom Alice in Wonderland was named). Her father Henry Liddell was the Dean of Christchurch College and together with his friend Henry Ackland was instrumental in closing off Oxford's open sewers and thereby combating some of the causes of the disease. The exhibition also explores the fate of Typhoid Mary – one of the most famous asymptomatic disease carriers in history.

Exactly 200 years ago, 30th January 1820, at 3:30 local time, the continent of Antarctica was spotted for the first time by a British expedition captained by Edward Bransfield, on the Merchant Ship The Williams. But they weren't the very first: 3 days earlier - on 27 January - a Russian expedition led by Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen and Mikhail Lazarev spotted what is now known as the Fimbul Ice Shelf. The UK Antarctic Heritage Trust is spearheading celebrations. Camilla Nichol is its CEO and she describes the history of the icy continent and how it's become the protected scientific reserve it is now.

Producer - Fiona Roberts

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

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Coronavirus Variants And Vaccines - Climate Change Resistant Coffee - Dare To Repair And How To Get Rid Of Moths20210422This 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 other countries including the UK. Virologist Dr Muge Cevik looks at the emerging evidence around vaccines and new variants.
Climate change threatens coffee crops so it's exciting to know that researchers have found an ancient coffee variety that is drought resistant and can tolerate higher temperatures than the highly prized Arabica coffee used to make your latte - but it wasn't easy to find. In Sierra Leone Daniel Sarmu spent 4 years searching for it and Dr Aaron Davis from Kew helped to track it down using historic samples from the Herbarium at the Royal Botanic Gardens.

Clothes moths do enormous damage to our jumpers and carpets, Marnie finds out how best to protect your clothes. And we hear from Mark Miodownik about the right to repair.

Coronavirus variants, climate change resistant coffee, dare to repair and clothes moths.

A weekly programme looking at the science that's changing our world.

Coronavirus-free Science - The Impact Of Lockdown On Climate Change - The Odds Of Both Life - Intelligent Life Existing -20200521Marnie Chesterton brings us some coronavirus-free science breakthroughs since lockdown.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

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 Science Correspondent Jonathan Amos.

Inching back to pandemic news, Marnie investigates the fallout of the lockdown from a climate perspective. In many countries, citizens have been asked to stay at home and not to travel unless it's strictly necessary. As a result, the hubbub of normal life has slowed to a trickle. What impact has this had on levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere? Corinne Le Quéré, the Royal Society Professor of Climate Change Science at the University of East Anglia, explains just how dramatically these emissions have been affected around the world.

And the chances that intelligent life exists on other planets. David Kipping, Assistant Professor of Astronomy at Columbia University in the US, has calculated the odds of both life and intelligent life existing if he were to re-run earth's history.

Presenter - Marnie Chesterton
Producer - Beth Eastwood

Illuminating the mysteries and challenging the controversies behind science today

Covid In Families - Earthquake Under Aegean Sea - Camilla Pang Wins Science Book Prize20201105We 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 residents of Izmir to help them prepare for earthquakes.

In the last of our interviews with the authors shortlisted for the Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize 2020 Adam Rutherford meets the winner, Dr Camilla Pang. At the age of eight she was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Struggling to understand the world around her, she went in search of a blueprint or a manual that would help her navigate the curious world of human social customs. Nearly two decades on, Camilla has produced one herself, entitled: Explaining Humans: What Science Can Teach Us about Life, Love and Relationships.

Presenter: Marnie Chesterton
Editor: Deborah Cohen

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

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Covid Mutation - On The Facial Expression Of Emotions - A Mystery Object20201217Dr 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 Professor Jonathan Ball of the University of Nottingham describes, there have been many slight mutations and changes to the DNA in the virus since it first emerged, and most are of no added danger. But it is important that new ones - and new combinations of them - are tracked through collaborations and networks such as COG-UK, who provide an almost real-time track of the spread of new mutations. The new one this week is of some interest as it involves a slight change to the protein of the binding area on the virus, but much lab work remains to be done,

Is an angry face always an angry face? A paper in the Journal Nature this week uses Machine Learning to scan millions of videos of faces on YouTube to shed light on an old problem - the universality of facial expressions in people. The authors - working with Google - suggest that broadly speaking, in a number of contexts such as weddings and sporting events, people in much of the world tend to pull the same faces. But as Lisa Feldman Barrett - who wrote an accompanying commentary in the same journal - suggests, the way Machine Learning approaches in this area require very human perceptions to train the algorithm in the first place, means care must be taken before inferring too much.

This year BBC Inside Science has been showcasing some of the mystery objects the Science Museum has uncovered in the course of moving its collections to a new home in Wroughton, Wiltshire. Jessica Bradford talks to Alex about our next one. If you have any ideas what it might be for, you can let them know by dropping a note or memory to mysteryobject@sciencemuseum.ac.uk

Presented by Alex Lathbridge
Produced by Alex Mansfield

Made in Association with The Open University

Tracking Covid variants, AI v. the expression of human emotions, a mystery museum object.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Covid Operation Moonshot - Big Compost Experiment - Gulf Of Mexico Meteorite - New Life20201119Earlier 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 Mexico bringing the reign of the dinosaurs to a cataclysmic conclusion. It was also the beginning of a new chapter in the history of life on Earth. The impact may have caused an apocalypse of earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions and the darkness of a nuclear winter; but it may also have created a haven for new life forms to emerge. Roland Pease has been talking to two geologists, David Kring and Tim Bralower, who have found evidence for the return of life in the crater after the carnage of the meteorite strike.

Presented by Anand Jagatia
Produced by Melanie Brown

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

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Covid Reinfections - Susannah Cahalan Questions Psychiatry - Sense Of Smell - Covid20201022If 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 Rosenhan. His famous study was published in Science under the title ‘Being Sane in Insane Places' and describes using ‘pseudo-patients' to test whether they would be spotted presenting at psychiatric institutions in the US. They weren't! His findings proceeded to shape modern psychology and psychiatry. It has been a study that Susannah, has come to find rather mysterious, with elaborate descriptions that don't always seem to add up. Mental illness and applied neuroscience remain tricky disciplines to navigate, but Susannah has had personal experience with her own misdiagnosis of schizophrenia when she has an autoimmune brain disease.

COVID does funny things to your sense of smell: Adam got a heightened sense of smell, producer Fi totally lost her sense of smell, and Inside Science reporter, Geoff Marsh – well… his sense of smell just got weird. To find out why, Geoff called in Professors Mathew Cobb, an expert on smell at the University of Manchester, and Tim Spector from Kings College London whose symptom tracker app was instrumental in getting changes to sense of smell on the symptom list for COVID.

Presenter – Adam Rutherford

Producers– Fiona Roberts and Andrew Luck-Baker

Produced in collaboration with the Open University

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

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Illuminating the mysteries and challenging the controversies behind science today

Covid-19 In Winter - Acoustics Of Stonehenge - Dog Years20200917As 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 like the common cold and influenza, will the coronavirus have a distinct season and will the incidence of COVID get worse in the winter? A pre-print study of over 7000 hospitalised patients across Europe and China during the early days of the pandemic plotted severity of the disease with outside temperature. In European countries as we came out of winter, into spring and then summer, Professor Gordan Lauc, lead researcher on the study, found that the severity decreased as it got warmer outside. He took outside temperature as a proxy for indoor humidity (as it gets colder, we turn on our heating, stay indoors more and the humidity in our homes, and especially our bedrooms drops). He explains to Marnie Chesterton that the subsequent drying out of our mucosal membranes in our noses and throats could be the reason we might expect things to get worse over the winter.

We learn a lot about what our ancestors got up to by visualising a scene. Take Stonehenge for example, years of detective work has ascertained that 4,000 years ago, Stonehenge was made up of an outer circle of 30 standing stones called ‘sarsens', which surrounded five huge stone arches in a horseshoe shape. There were also two circles made of smaller ‘bluestones' – one inside the outer circle and one inside the horseshoe. But what did it sound like if you were in the middle of all these stones in prehistoric times? Last year, acoustic engineer at the University of Salford, Trevor Cox, and his team built and measured a 1:12 acoustic scale model of Stonehenge to find out. They've now completed the full analysis of those first measurements and Trevor caught up with Adam Rutherford to find out whether knowing the acoustics of a monument can tell us anything about how it might have been used.

If you own a dog and like to calculate the equivalent human age of your pup, you might think that every year of your dog's age equals 7 years in humans. So a one year old hound is 7 years old. Not so! As Geoff Marsh investigates - it's much more complicated than that. Of course it is!

Presenter – Marnie Chesterton
Producer – Fiona Roberts

COVID-19 in winter; acoustics of Stonehenge; dog years.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Illuminating the mysteries and challenging the controversies behind science today.

Creation Of Island Britain - Sleep Gene - Mary Kelly Forensics - Global Tree Search Survey20170406Adam Rutherford examines a new study published this week which reveals how a megaflood and giant waterfalls severed our connection to what is now France, resulting in the creation of island Britain and the watery moat of the English Channel. Jenny Collier of Imperial College London uncovers the ancient evidence dating back 450 000 years ago.

The dream of unbroken sleep is a complex interaction between our environment and our genes, and new research is a step towards understanding the genetics of sleeping patterns. Jason Gerstner of Washington State University discusses his isolation of a gene that seems to play a crucial role in sleep across a number of species including humans.

Turi King played a pivotal role in the identification of Richard III from bones discovered in a Leicester car park She's now involved in another infamous cold case - that of Jack the Ripper. Her interest is in the last of his five canonical victims, known as Mary Kelly, and she's authored a commissioned report on the possibility of identifying the body of Mary Kelly using DNA.

And Paul Smith from Gardens Conservation International discusses the new Global Tree Survey - the biggest and the most comprehensive database of all the trees in the world - accumulated from 500 papers, and nearly four centuries of dendrology.

Producer Adrian Washbourne.

How a megaflood severed Britain's connection to what is now France 450,000 years ago.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Cretaceous Catastrophe Fossilised - Ligo - Virgo - Corals - Forensic Shoeprint Database20190404About 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. It gouged the Chicxulub crater 18 miles deep; threw 25 trillion tonnes of debris into the atmosphere, much of which was hotter than the Sun, created huge seismic waves and massive tsunamis churning the Gulf of Mexico, tearing up coastlines and peeling up 100's of metres of rock. 75% of the Earth's forest burned. Debris was thrown out across the Solar System and North America was showered by a fan of glassy molten rock droplets. This geological event marked the end of the Cretaceous period and the start of the Palaeogene. Most people accept that this massive event caused the last great extinction, the end of the dinosaurs and a period of intense cold. Many fossil finds back this theory up. But very little fossil evidence showing the impact of the actual event has been found. Until now. Hundreds of miles from Chicxulub in a fossil site called Tanis, in North Dakota, part of the vast Hell Creek formation, is a fossil find that depicts the turmoil 10's of minutes after the asteroid hit. Marine and freshwater fish are found tangled together with these glassy droplets crammed in their gills, Charred trees are mixed up with hundreds of mangled animal bones, amber perfectly preserving drops of what was molten Earth. It's got palaeontologists including Professor Phil Manning at Manchester University very excited.

The gravitational wave detectors LIGO and VIRGO have been recently upgraded and made more sensitive to the miniscule signals that denote ripples in gravity - gravitational waves. Professor Sheila Rowan of the University of Glasgow explains to Gareth Mitchell that she hopes that with this third run of the detectors, they will be finding not just one or two signals that provide evidence of massive events in our universe, but hundreds, maybe even thousands.

In the quest to understand how corals are affected by rising sea temperatures we need to understand the symbiotic relationship they have with dinoflagellates, the single-celled algae that live in, and use photosynthesis to make food for the coral. When coral gets too hot and undergoes 'bleaching', this is the algae leaving the coral. Yixian Zheng at the Carnegie Institution of Washington takes Roland Pease on a tour of her coral tanks and explains that she's hunting for a model coral organism to study this process at the genetic and molecular level.

A crime has been committed in the studio. Gareth's tea has been drunk and his biscuits have been nibbled. Luckily evidence was left at the scene of the crime - a shoeprint with distinctive wear patterns. One quick phone call and the director of the Leverhulme Research Centre for Forensic Science at the University of Dundee, Professor Niamh Nic Daeid is on the case. She's asking the public to help build up a database of footwear prints. The project is the largest ever study into the variation in footwear marks made by the same shoes across different surfaces and activities so that the variation observed can be used to explore links between the shoe and the mark it makes. In order to do this, she's asking thousands of individuals to take part in a large-scale citizen science project by taking pictures of their footwear and the marks they make. This will help the Dundee team build a substantial database for use in their research to aid the scientific validation of footwear marks as evidence for use in the criminal justice system.

Producer (and biscuit thief) - Fiona Roberts

Cretaceous catastrophe fossilised, LIGO and Virgo, corals and forensic shoeprint database

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Crime - Volcanoes - Ghosts - How We Are Influenced By The Genes Of Unrelated Others20170126The 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 , in mice at present but the plan is to try to extend this to human interactions. If accepted this has potentially far reaching consequences for studying heritability and also perhaps modern medicine as the findings suggest an illness can in part be influenced by those we live with.

The use of DNA evidence in criminal cases has sometimes been given far more weight than it deserves. In the worst examples there have been miscarriages of justice where DNA evidence has been misinterpreted. The fiction of DNA as a 'magic bullet' pervades TV drama and films - but views of DNA evidence as infallible are also widely held amongst the public, police and lawyers. Forensic specialists explain what we can and can't find from DNA evidence.

Oxford's Bodleian library has manuscripts stretching back to medieval times depicting volcanos discovered in the 6th century. These manuscripts also contain remarkable interpretations of eruptions and associated volcanic events, often mixed with mythology. Although those recording such events did not understand what they were scientifically, some of the depictions and ideas of what was happening are surprisingly accurate. Roland Pease and Professor David Pyle take a look at this remarkable collection.

Nearly a hundred years ago, Oliver Lodge, eminent physicist and the first to demonstrate radio waves, published a book about life after death. It was entitled 'Raymond' after his son who was killed in the First World War. Lodge was a believer in ghosts and telepathy, and conducted experiments to test their existence. Adam Rutherford and Samira Ahmed look at how Oliver Lodge squared his scientific and spiritualist beliefs - and how the latter led to him, as Britain's most well know scientist of his time, being written out of scientific history.

How the genes of unrelated others can influence our health and behaviour.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Data Scraping20180322The 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, explains how data mining or scraping actually works and how it is used by many scientists to find ways of improving human health.

The Government Office for Science published a massive report this week, entitled the 'Future of the Sea' which sets out the UK's stall with regard to our future relationship with the seas, and to put science front and centre in that plan. Professor Ed Hill, Executive Director at the National Oceanographic Centre in Southampton, is one of the authors and tells Adam Rutherford about future exploitation of the sea.

Debris in space is a huge issue - it's estimated that there are more than 170 million fragments of satellites, rockets and other stuff that we've sent up, all orbiting the Earth at ballistic speeds. All of these have the potential to lethally strike a working satellite or worse, a crewed space station. Graihagh Jackson met Professor Guglielmo Aglietti at Surrey University who's researching the best technology to safely remove space junk.

Dinosaurs were incredibly successful and lived on earth for over 150 million years. Francois Therrien from the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Alberta, Canada, and colleagues explored how living crocodiles and birds, the descendants of dinosaurs, rear their eggs. Dr Therrien told Adam how their findings have suggested that dinosaurs used a variety of ways to hatch their eggs in the many environments on earth.

Data scraping, Future of the Sea report, Cleaning up space junk, Dinosaur eggs and nests.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Democracy In Space20180208This 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 least unconventional, and for those involved in promoting space science it presents a quandary. Is such a mission largely a publicity stunt or is it useful for engaging people in the potential of space exploration? Gareth Mitchell looks at one project which enables schoolchildren to programme computers on the International Space Station and he talks to the European Space Agency about why a rock concert might be a good avenue for exploring space science.

As more and more of our everyday lives are conducted online we ask what are the cyber-security threats of today, and how can science be used to counter them. Do we now need new kinds of science to locate, understand and stop new kinds of threat?

Can bat science help human ageing research? New findings have show that some long lived bat species do not age in the same way as other mammals. They don't even seem to posses the DNA repair enzyme most commonly found in the animal kingdom. We look at the mystery of why bats seem to have evolved in this way.

And have you lost a satellite? Don't worry: a computer geek will find it for you. That's exactly what's happened - an amateur space sleuth has detected signals from a NASA satellite thought to have been 'lost' for years.

How space science is getting down with the kids.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

And have you lost a satellite? Don't worry: a computer geek will find it for you. That's exactly what's happened - an amateur space sleuth has detected signals from a NASA satellite thought to have been 'lost' for years.

Did Typhoid Kill The Aztecs - Dna Stored In Bitcoin - Glow-in-the-dark Plants - Levitating Humans20180125What 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 the New World. Pandemics hit the population who had little immunity to diseases carried by people and livestock. One outbreak responsible for killing millions started in 1545 and was locally called 'cocoliztli'. But for the last 500 years, exactly what this deadly disease was has remained a mystery. Adam talks to Johannes Krause of the Max Planck Institute who has analysed the teeth of 10 individuals from a mass grave for pathogens and found remnants of typhoid fever DNA. Could this be, in part, responsible for the deaths of millions? Historian Caroline Dodds Pennock from the University of Sheffield discusses the difficulties of knowing for definite what killed so many millions of people.

In 2015, Nick Goldman issued a challenge. If anyone could decode the information he had stored on some DNA by 21st January 2018, they could win a bitcoin. When Nick bought the bitcoin it cost about £200. To claim the bitcoin, the winner would have to sequence the DNA and then decrypt a code. In late 2017, Nick thought he would be keeping his bitcoin, now worth thousands of pounds. But PhD student Sander Wuyts got in touch with Nick to claim his prize. Marnie Chesterton follows the story.

Adam talks to MIT scientist, Michael Strano about his new techniques to make plants glow in the dark. Could these plants be used as street lighting in the future?

And how can sound be used to levitate humans? Professor of Ultrasonics at the University of Bristol, Bruce Drinkwater explains how his team have managed to overcome a size limit on the use of acoustic beams to trap and move objects in space. With no theoretical upper limit on the size of object which can be levitated, he explains how the technology could be used in medicine to deliver powerful drugs to a very specific place. This would leave the rest of the body unharmed or could help in the dispersal of kidney stones.

Did typhoid kill the Aztecs? DNA and Bitcoin, Glow-in-the-dark plants, Human levitation.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

And how can sound be used to levitate humans? Professor of Ultrasonics at the University of Bristol, Bruce Drinkwater explains how his team have managed to overcome a size limit on the use of acoustic beams to trap and move objects in space. With no theoretical upper limit on the size of object which can be levitated, he explains how the technology could be used in medicine to deliver powerful drugs to a very specific place. This would leave the rest of the body unharmed or could help in the dispersal of kidney stones.

Dinosaur Auction - Who Owns The Genes Of The Ocean Life - Cancer Immunotherapy20180607A 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. Academic palaeontologists are not happy about the sale. Anjali Goswami of the Natural History Museum and Steve Brussatte of Edinburgh University air their views to Adam Rutherford on the legal and illegal markets for premium vertebrate fossils.

Who owns the genetic biodiversity of the oceans? One single multinational corporation - the chemicals giant BASF - has registered almost half of all known patents on genetic sequences from marine organisms. This is the headline finding of a survey of marine genetic resource ownership by David Blasiak of the Global Resilience Centre at Stockholm University.

Immunotherapies for cancer have been in the news in the last week. Adam talks to cancer researchers Sophie Papa of Kings College, London and Samra Turaljik of the Royal Marsden Hospital about the principles behind immunotherapy and the different approaches in the clinic and under clinical trials.

Producer: Andrew Luck-Baker

Should dinosaurs be sold to the high bidder?

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Producer: Andrew Luck-Baker

Dinosaur Extinction - Neanderthals In Gibraltar - Music Appreciation - A Year Of New Horizons20160714Dinosaur extinction, Neanderthals in Gibraltar, music appreciation; a year of New Horizons

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Disobedient Particles - Noisy Gorillas - Sharks - Fictional Languages20210408In 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 magnet had to take a 2000km detour via New Orleans to get to its new home. This was the start of the “muon g-2” experiment. Last week, Fermilab announced some of their results, and they don't quite add up. UK experiment lead Professor Mark Lancaster from Manchester University tells us what they have discovered about the tiny particle that is disobeying the laws that govern how our entire universe fits together.

Mountain gorillas are among the most impressive and powerful primates alive today. Living in the dense forests of eastern and central Africa, they are able to communicate with other gorillas a mile away by cupping their hands and beating their chests. Primatologist Edward Wright and colleagues have been studying male silverback gorillas and explains how gorillas use chest beating to attract potential mates and suss out competitors.

And Professor Corey Bradshaw from Adelaide, South Australia sheds light on a more fearsome animal: sharks. His research has investigated the likelihood of shark attacks around the Australian coast into the future, up to 2066, and asked what would happen to those figures if everyone wore an electrical emitter that interferes with the sharks electrical senses. He finds that shark attacks are remarkably low already, but these emitters could reduce bites by up to 3000 over the next 50 years.

Super fans around the world have learned to speak fluent Klingon, a fictional language originating from Star Trek. In a quest to understand the science behind these languages often dismissed as gobbledygook, Gaia Vince has been speaking to some of the linguists responsible for creating these languages. It's time for her to relax the tongue, loosen those jaw muscles and wrap her head around the scientific building blocks embedded in language and what languages like Klingon tell us about prehistoric forms of communication.

Presented by Marnie Chesterton
Produced by Rory Galloway

Disobedient particles, noisy gorillas, sharks and fictional languages.

A weekly programme looking at the science that's changing our world.

A weekly programme looking at the science that is changing our world.

Does Pluto Have An Ocean - Antarctica's Oldest Ice - Meat Emissions - Swifts Fly Ten Months Non-stop20161117Does Pluto have an ocean under its ice crust?

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Dragonfly On Titan - Retreating Glaciers - Surge Testing - Acoustic Lighthouses20210429Now that NASA engineers have successfully flown a helicopter remotely on Mars planetary scientists are exploring how to use the technology elsewhere. Marnie Chesterton talks to Elizabeth "Zibi" Turtle, from Johns Hopkins University who is working on a mission to fly a drone, called Dragonfly, above Titan, one of Saturn's moons.

A new report that has measured the state of over 200 000 of the world's glaciers has just been published. Bob McNabb of the University of Ulster explains why it's not good news as glaciers are melting at a faster pace than before. He says it could have a particular impact on people who live in low lying areas.

At the start of April cases of the South African variant of SARS-Cov 2 were found in a number of London boroughs. In order to stop the further spread of these variants, a programme of surge testing was announced. It's just come to an end and Marnie finds out from Public Health England's regional director for London, Professor Kevin Fenton, how it worked.

Birds aren't very good at adapting to human additions to the landscape, particularly tall buildings. Could extra sonic elements - so-called acoustic lighthouses - help? From William and Mary University in Virginia, Timothy Boycott and John Swaddle joined Marnie to explain how these can make a difference.

Dragonfly on Titan, Retreating Glaciers, Surge Testing for Covid 19, Acoustic lighthouses.

A weekly programme looking at the science that's changing our world.

Drug Abuse In Athletes - Last Common Ancestor - Lichens - Beatrix Potter - Philae Farewell20160728Drug abuse in athletes, Last Common Ancestor, Lichens and Beatrix Potter, Philae farewell.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Much of the Rio Olympics build-up in the last few weeks has centred around drug abuse. The recent report from World Anti-doping Agency has resulted in 67 Russian athletes being barred, as well as bans for swimming, canoeing, and sailing. Adam Rutherford visits the Drugs Control Lab at Kings College London to meet its director David Cowan. He ran the drugs testing lab at the London Olympics four years ago and discusses how science is addressing new methods to evade detection.

Many scientists think life first emerged not in a primeval soup, but in hydrothermal vents at the bottom of the ocean. But we don't have much of an idea of what that life would have been like. We call it LUCA - the 'last universal common ancestor' - basically the root of all life on Earth. Professor of Biochemistry Bill Martin has used the genomes of living organisms to piece together the first ever profile of LUCA.

Lichens cover gravestones and rocks and trees all over the planet. But they're scientifically fascinating because a lichen is not one organism at all. Lichens have been described as dual organisms, one an alga and the other a fungus living in symbiotic harmony. But as researcher Toby Spribille reveals, we've been wrong about that for more than a century. Lichen is not one organism, or two, but a very comfortable ménage a trois.

Who can forget the joy we all felt when the Rosetta Mission deployed its solar-powered lander Philae onto the surface of the comet 67p in November 2014. Yesterday, the European Space Agency switched off the Electrical Support System Processor Unit on-board the Rosetta orbiter, meaning that communications with the Philae lander are at an end. Project scientist Matt Taylor bids farewell to Philae

Producer Adrian Washbourne.

Earliest Hunting Scene Cave Painting - Animal Domestication Syndrome20191212A 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 figures (called therianthropes), hunting large mammals with spears and ropes. It is thought to be the oldest representation of a hunting scene in human history, and perhaps Homo sapiens' oldest known figurative rock art. Adam Brumm at Griffith University in Brisbane is part of an international team that has been exploring this cave complex. He speculates with Adam Rutherford about who the artists were and what they were trying to depict.

A famous Russian farm fox study has been running since the 1950's. The researchers essentially took foxes bound for the fur trade and selected for tameness by choosing to keep and breed from the animals that showed less fear and more friendliness towards humans. After years of selection, the tamer foxes also showed physical changes (floppier ears, curlier tails, white spots, redder fur) as well as changes in breeding times. As a way to study the evolution of domestication of animals, this study is taught to students all over the world. However a chance discovery at a Fox Museum on a Canadian Island, shows the original foxes were taken from fur farms in Canada and had already been bred for tameness. Elinor Karlsson at the Broad Institute at MIT and Harvard University discusses with Adam whether we have to rethink the Animal Domestication Syndrome.

Producer - Fiona Roberts

Earliest prehistoric hunting scene; fox domestication study flaw

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Earliest Modern Human Skull - Analysing Moon Rocks - Viruses Lurking In Our Genomes20190711A 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 site is found to be a Neanderthal from 170,000 years ago. These findings suggest that modern humans left Africa earlier and reached further than previously thought.

Analysing moon rocks
The Apollo missions were scientific explorations, bringing back hundreds of kilograms of moon rock to help us understand the formation of the Moon, the Earth and life itself. We are still studying the rocks that were bought back from between 1969 and 1972. Roland Pease went to the Diamond Light Source Syncotron in Oxfordshire, where scientists are still studying these moon rocks.

Viruses lurking in our genomes
When it comes to our genomes, there is no such thing as 100% human. Our genetic code is a patchwork of DNA that we have picked up or lost along the way. 8% of our DNA comes from viruses. So what does this mean? Much of the viral DNA is thought to have been involved in forming our immune systems, fighting against pathogenic viruses. But it's not all good news, new work suggests that these human endogenous retroviruses or HERVs might also be the missing causative link in major 'unsolved' neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis [MS], amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease [ALS] and schizophrenia [SCZ].

Presenter: Adam Rutherford
Producer: Caroline Steel

Earliest modern human skull, analysing moon rocks, and viruses lurking in our genomes.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Early Humans Were Even Earlier Than We Thought20170608Early human fossils from Morocco suggest our ancestors walked the earth much earlier than previously thought. Human ancestral fossils from the area were first discovered in the 1960's, but now a re-examination of these and more recent finds suggests they are from an early form of us - Homo sapiens - living in the area around 300,000 years ago.

We have news of a one in a million stellar observation: light bending around a distant star. This is the first time the phenomenon has been observed outside our solar system, and is further proof of Einstein's theory of General Relativity. It involved measurements millions of miles away and many times smaller than the width of a human hair.

Gold mining is a highly polluting process involving toxic chemicals. Marnie Chesterton visits a Scottish gold mine and looks at attempts to make the extraction of gold more environmentally friendly by replacing the toxic chemicals with ingredients more commonly found in vitamins and natural fertilisers.

And US President Trump has announced his intention to pullout of the Paris climate agreement. We look at the implications of the decision for global emissions reduction.

Homo sapiens walked the earth at least 300,000 years ago.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Adam Rutherford explores the science that is changing our world.

And US President Trump has announced his intention to pullout of the Paris climate agreement. We look at the implications of the decision for global emissions reduction.

Earth's Earliest Life - The Benefits Of Pollution - Sexuality - Science - New Ideas On Evolution20170302The World's oldest sedimentary rocks reveal traces of our earliest ancestors. New analysis shows life forms existed more than 3.7 billion years ago which were very similar to those found in our deepest oceans today, microbial life around hydro thermal vents.

Some pollution might be good for the world oceans. New finding from China show how iron oxide pollution from power generation and industry has been turned into a source of nutrients for phytoplankton - by interacting with other chemical pollutants. The researchers say this is increasing the ability of the ocean to lock up atmospheric carbon dioxide and so reduce the impact of man made greenhouse gasses. They query whether reducing this kind of pollution could have a negative impact.

This week The Royal Society celebrated LGBT history month and 50 years since the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in England and Wales
Rory Galloway meets Sir Dermot Turing, the nephew of renowned computer scientist Alan Turing, to discuss Alan's Legacy for LGBT scientists today, and we look at the continued impacted of homophobia in science.

And we hear about a new test for ideas in Evolution. This involves recreating the ancestors of fruit flies. The findings have overturned an established theory on genetic inheritance in these alcohol tolerant flies.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Ebola Model - Partula Snails - Malaria Origin20191017Zoonotic diseases are infections that transfer from animals to people, and include killers such as bubonic plague, malaria, ebola and a whole host of others. Trying to understand how diseases make the leap from animals to humans – so called spillover – and how outbreaks occur is a crucial part of preventing them. But outbreaks are complex and dynamic, with a huge number of factors playing a role: What animal is hosting the disease, the environment in which it lives, the changing climate, human presence and impact on the local area and many other factors. Kate Jones is professor of ecology and biodiversity at University College London, and has been tracking ebola in Africa. Her team has just published a new study that models how and when spillover might happen in the future.

On the lushly forest islands of French Polynesia, there lives a very special snail. Partula are around 100 species of tiny snails who give birth to live young and feed on decomposing plants. Each species is uniquely adapted to a particular ecological niche. But in 1967, the highly edible Giant African Land Snail was introduced to the islands as a source of food. They quickly became pests, and in response, the French Polynesian government then introduced carnivorous Rosy Wolf Snails - aka Euglandina rosea - to quell the spread of the introduced Giant Land snails. Reporter Naomi Clements-Brode picks up the story with scientist Ann Clarke, along with Dave Clarke and Paul Pearce-Kelly at ZSL London Zoo.

Finally this week, malaria is, as best we can account for it, the single greatest killer in human history. The vast majority of malaria is caused by a type of single celled protozoan called Plasmodium falciparum, carried by mosquitos. But according to new research published this week, it started out around fifty thousand years ago not in us, but as a gorilla disease, and in one particularly unlucky gorilla, two simultaneous infections prompted the mutation and rise of the plasmodium parasite that would go on to kill millions. Dr Gavin Wright from the Wellcome Sanger Institute in Hinxton lead the team behind this molecular archaeology.

Ebola model, partula snails, malaria origin.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

El Nino - Echolocation - Seasons - Snakes20150521
El Nino Special20160107How the current El Nino event is affecting lives in the UK and around the world.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

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

This weather event arrives every 2-7 years but it's hard to work out how profound it will be. Back in May last year, the Met Office climate scientist Adam Scaife correctly predicted an El Niño. He returns to give an overview of this phenomenon.

How does an altered weather pattern in the Pacific end up altering the weather in Cumbria. Tim Stockdale and Richard Allan at Reading University explain the science behind the current events.

The rains are coming to drought-ridden California as a result of El Niño. Jack Stewart explains why this is not entirely a good thing.

Professor Sue Page from Leicester University and Professor Martin Wooster from KCL study the Indonesian fires exacerbated by an El Niño event. They describe the devastating effects of these fires. An estimated 15,000 deaths can be attributed to the previous El Niño burning and it has added 300 million tonnes of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.

Electronic Brain Probe - Rural Stream Biodiversity - Arctic Weather Research Trip - Science Book Prize20180830Scientists 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. Researchers at the University of Cambridge, are aiming to create something more specific to the part of the brain with the problem. Professor Malliaras tells Marnie Chesterton about the unique properties of this new implant, which could be used for a range of brain-related conditions from Parkinson's tremors to brain tumours.

Many of Britain's cleaner urban rivers are home to levels of biodiversity not seen for decades. But rural rivers, even in places without pollution, tell a different story. Up in the hills of central Wales, just north of the Brecon Beacons, lies the Llyn Brianne observatory and its surrounding system of beautiful streams. Professor Steve Ormerod from Cardiff University has been taking stock of the dwindling number of specialist invertebrates and the subtle ways the decline is happening which points to an extinction crisis that has gone unnoticed.

Marnie Chesterton checks in with bubble physicist Dr Helen Czerski. She's part of a team of researchers aboard the icebreaker Oden research vessel, which is trying to understand arctic weather patterns and how the contents of open water between ice flows influence cloud behaviour. It's a race against time to gather data before any water refreezes as the arctic winter approaches.

Inside Science has been profiling authors shortlisted for the prestigious Royal Society science book prize. This week it's the turn of materials scientist Mark Miadownik, His new book “Liquid: The delightful and dangerous substances that flow through our lives” is about fluids and how their particular properties allow life to flourish.

Presenter Marnie Chesterton

Producer: Adrian Washbourne

Electronic brain probe; River biodiversity; Arctic weather expedition; Science book prize

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Inside Science has been profiling authors shortlisted for the prestigious Royal Society science book prize. This week it's the turn of materials scientist Mark Miadownik, His new book “Liquid: The delightful and dangerous substances that flow through our lives ? is about fluids and how their particular properties allow life to flourish.

Producer: Adrian Washbourne

Embryos From Non Egg Cells - Gaia Galaxy Census - Stratolites - Female - Male Body Clocks20160915Embryos from non egg cells; Gaia galaxy census; stratolites; female and male body clocks.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Scientists have shown for the first time that mice embryos can be made from non egg cells. They've succeeded in creating healthy baby mice by tricking sperm into believing they were fertilising normal eggs. Adam Rutherford talks to lead researcher Tony Perry from Bath University. Might it one day be possible to achieve a similar result in humans using cells that are not from eggs?

The spaceship Gaia launched in 2013 to create the most accurate 3D map of the Milky Way ever. Yesterday, we got back Gaia's first data dump that contains mysteries yet unexplored, and new information on more than a billion stars. Gerry Gilmore from Cambridge University is the mission boss. What has Gaia has been up to in its first 1000 days in space?

Many of us would love to go into space but, almost 60 years after the dawn of the space age, very few can afford it. But there might soon be a cheaper option. BBC Future Space Correspondent, Richard Hollingham, reports from Tucson, Arizona, where a balloon company is planning to fly tourists high into the stratosphere and also take on services provided by satellites - such as communications and weather forecasting - with 'stratolites'.

Research suggests that women on average are less alert late at night, and are far more prone to insomnia than men. We're not sure why these differences exist, largely because women are underrepresented in sleep research. Diane Boivin from McGill University in Montreal discusses her new research that has specifically attempted to address this historical shortfall with surprising outcomes.

Producer Adrian Washbourne.

Engineering Out Of Lockdown - Should We Castrate Male Dogs?20200611Engineering solutions to reduce the spread of Covid-19, and should we castrate male dogs?

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Illuminating the mysteries and challenging the controversies behind science today

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 infected people exhale droplets and aerosols, containing the virus, and how we can then either inhale them, or transfer them to our faces by touching contaminated surfaces. Many shops already have screens and physical barriers, while schools and offices are re-configuring desks and walkways.

What role does the environment play in our overall risk of becoming infected and what can we do about it? This is the focus of the SAGE Environmental Working Group. Marnie talks to its Chair, Catherine Noakes, Professor of Environmental Engineering for Buildings at Leeds University. Minimising the risks that contaminated surfaces pose is a key challenge that engineers are now trying to address. Marnie asks Birmingham University Research Scientist, Felicity de Cogan, about the surface she created which kills bacteria in seconds. She's now re-purposing the technology to kill the virus that causes Covid-19. If her laboratory studies prove that it kills the virus as quickly, as she hopes, the technology could be used to create antiviral PPE that can be re-used rather than thrown away.

Epidemiology has been thrust into the spotlight in recent months, helping us track the viral threat facing all of us. But companion animal epidemiology - which studies disease in pet populations - is a much younger field. It's one that's starting to search for the answers to another puppy-related conundrum that's been puzzling BBC Inside Science reporter Geoff Marsh - should he get puppy Kevin castrated? Neutering has become a cultural norm in the UK. But the health risks to neutered male dogs include cancers and joint disorders in some breeds. The operation and anaesthetic carries some risk as does the age of the dog when the operation is carried out. The risk of dog populations exploding with hundreds of un-neutered dogs is low, because most owners control their dogs to such a degree the chance of unplanned mating doesn't come up. But neutering can help with some behavioural problems in pet dogs. So what is the answer? Will Kevin remain intact?

Presenter - Marnie Chesterton
Producers - Beth Eastwood and Fiona Roberts

Eu Membership - Uk Science - Quantum Games - Fixing Genes20160421What are the consequences for UK science of leaving the EU? Adam investigates.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

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 this week.

UK researchers placed a high value on collaboration opportunities afforded by EU membership.

A number also believe the UK would lose its ability to influence EU science policy in the event of leaving - something that's disputed by pro-Brexit campaigners. To debate the ins and outs of being in or out of the EU, Adam is joined by Viscount Matt Ridley, a member of the committee, and Professor Paul Boyle, the Vice Chancellor of Leicester University and former president of Science Europe.

Scientists at Aarhus University in Denmark are developing a quantum computer. To help them solve a particular problem, they have turned to human brain power, harnessing our ability to play computer games. The team have designed video games, such as Quantum Moves - that are helping them to understand the problem of 'slosh'- that atoms move about, when moved, like water sloshing in a cup.

Many diseases are caused by a particular type of DNA error called a 'point mutation'. In our genomes, the substitution of a single letter of genetic code can be the root cause of diseases such as Alzheimer's, sickle cell anaemia, and a whole range of cancers. Recently, a new technique for editing DNA, called CRISPR, a precise genetic engineering tool, was developed, which might help combat these diseases. The problem is that the cell often reacts to this editing; trying to mend what it perceives as damage to its DNA. This week, David Liu, from Harvard University, published new research showing how his team have managed to switch out a single letter, a base pair, whilst tricking the cell into not correcting this edit.

European Heatwave - Climate Change - Eugenia Cheng - Next Generation Batteries For Electric Cars - Joseph Hooker Exhibition -20170810The current heat wave in Europe is proving deadly. High day and night temperatures, coupled with high humidity, can be a very dangerous combination. A new study has calculated the risk of deadly heat on a global basis, and shown that between 48% and 74% of the world's population will be subjected to life-threatening heat and humidity for at least 20 days a year. Ed Hawkins, Professor of Climate Science at the University of Reading, discusses the findings. Gareth also asks BBC weatherman, Darren Betts, whether the recent wave of climate trend animations, or gifs, doing the rounds on social media, are a helpful tool in communicating climate change risks.

Professor of Mathematics, Eugenia Cheng, is one of the shortlisted authors for the Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize 2017. She talks Gareth through the inspiration for her book "Beyond Infinity: An expedition to the Outer Limits of the Mathematical Universe".

The UK Government announced last week that it was aspiring to remove all petrol and diesel vehicles from roads by 2040. Current battery technology relies on lithium-ion batteries. Are lithium, and the other metals required for batteries, sustainable for a totally electric transport system? And do they have the charge capacity to make them a reliable alternative to fossil fuels? Dr Billy Wu, of the Dyson School of Design Engineering at Imperial College London, goes through the alternatives and the next generation of battery technology.

To mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of one of Victorian Britain's most important scientists, Joseph Hooker (1817-1911), Kew Royal Botanic Gardens is holding an exhibition titled Joseph Dalton Hooker: Putting plants in their place. It's a fascinating selection of his photographs, journals and paintings. Gareth is taken on a tour by the curators - historian Professor Jim Endersby of the University of Sussex and Galleries and Exhibitions Leader at RBG Kew, Maria Devaney. They explain how as a tireless traveller and plant collector, Hooker was the founder of modern botanical classification and a close friend of Charles Darwin.

Produced by Fiona Roberts
Presented by Gareth Mitchell.

Heat waves; Eugenia Cheng's book; next generation batteries; Joseph Hooker exhibition.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Adam Rutherford explores the science that is changing our world.

Produced by Fiona Roberts
Presented by Gareth Mitchell.

Extinction Rebellion - Uk Net Zero Emissions - Climate Change - Nobel Prizes20191010Extinction 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 that it was overruling its own Planning Inspectorate, by approving in principle new gas-fired turbines at the Drax power station in North Yorkshire. The Inspectors had advised that the new developments would undermine UK climate policies on carbon emissions. In the UK we are committed to reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050, in order to comply with our ratification of the Paris agreement, which aims to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees. So what are we to do? Are the government policies and commitments enough, and are we sticking to them? Adam Rutherford discusses these questions with Jim Skea, Professor of Sustainable Energy at Imperial College, London, and co-chair of the Working Group tackling reducing emissions of greenhouse gases, part of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

This week has been the annual jamboree and drama of the Nobel Prizes: the announcements of the biggest gongs in science. The Physiology or Medicine Prize went to William Kaelin from Harvard University, Sir Peter Ratcliffe from the Crick Institute in London and Gregg Semenza from Johns Hopkins University for their work on how the body responds to changing oxygen levels. The Physics Prize went to James Peebles of Princeton for cosmological discoveries, and Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz, then at the University of Geneva, for the 1995 discovery of the first exoplanet, 51 Pegasi b. And the Chemistry Prize was awarded for the invention of something that we utterly rely on every day, the lithium battery. The winners are John Goodenough, University of Texas at Austin, Stanley Whittingham, State University of New York, and Akira Yoshino of the Asahi Kasei Corporation in Japan. These awards offer plenty to discuss, so Adam is joined by Lisa Kaltenegger, Director of Carl Sagan Institute & Associate Professor of Astronomy, Andrew Pontzen, Professor of Astrophysics at University College, London, and reporter and presenter Marnie Chesterton, who spent some time with chemistry laureate John Goodenough.

XR protest \u2013 how best to reach net zero emissions? And science and culture of Nobel Prizes

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Face Recognition - 'thug' Plants - Cancer Funding Inequalities - Feynman's 100th Birthday20180517Facial 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 identifying people using the technology. But are their results really that bad? Professor Hassan Ugail tells Adam Rutherford that – though there is room for improvement – the results may not be as catastrophic as critics claim.

Wild flowers are being outcompeted by ‘thug' plants on our roadside verges, a study by the charity Plantlife has found. Pollution from cars and poor management practices by local councils has meant that nitrogen-loving plants outcompete wildflowers. Dr Trevor Dines explains to Adam Rutherford what actions can be taken to help our verges regain their natural biodiversity.

A new study reveals that for every pound a female scientist receives for her cancer research a male scientist will get one pound and forty pence. This gender imbalance in cancer funding highlights wider issues around women in science and how funding councils operate. Adam Rutherford discusses the problem with chief scientist at Cancer Research UK, Karen Vousden, and Professor Henrietta O'Connor, who co-authored the study.

This week Adam Rutherford marks the birthday of one of the greatest of all physicists: Richard Feynman. Professor Jonathan Butterworth talks about Feynman's legacy as a scientist and science communicator but also about his highly problematic views on women.

How good is face recognition technology? Adam Rutherford investigates.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

This week Adam Rutherford marks the birthday of one of the greatest of all physicists: Richard Feynman. Professor Jonathan Butterworth talks about Feynman's legacy as a scientist and science communicator but also about his highly problematic views on women.

Adam Rutherford investigates the news in science and science in the news.

Falling Carbon - Rising Methane - Unsung Heroes At The Crick20190228Efforts 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 East Anglia. The study suggests that policies supporting renewable energy and energy efficiency are helping to reduce emissions in 18 developed economies. The group of countries represents 28% of global emissions, and includes the UK, US, France and Germany. The research team analysed the various reasons behind changes in CO2 emissions in countries where they had declined significantly between 2005 and 2015. They show that the fall in CO2 emissions was mainly due to renewable energy replacing fossil fuels and to decreasing energy use.

Methane is many times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. However, it breaks down much more quickly than CO2 and is found at much lower levels in the atmosphere. During much of the 20th century levels of methane, mostly from fossil fuel sources like coal and gas, increased in the atmosphere but, by the beginning of the 21st century, they had stabilised. Then, surprisingly, levels starting rising in 2007. That increase began to accelerate after 2014 and fast growth has continued.
Studies suggest these increases are more likely to be mainly biological in origin. However, the exact cause remains unclear. Some researchers believe the spread of intense farming in Africa may be involved, in particular in tropical regions where conditions are becoming warmer and wetter because of climate change. Rising numbers of cattle – as well as wetter and warmer swamps – are producing more and more methane. This idea is now being studied in detail by a consortium led by Professor Euan Nisbet, at Royal Holloway, University of London. Another, more worrying source for the increase in methane could be that it's not been broken down in the atmosphere as efficiently. Natural chemicals in the atmosphere, which help to break down methane, may be changing because of temperature rises, causing them to lose their ability to deal with the gas.

The Francis Crick Institute is a biomedical discovery institute researching the biology underlying human health. This vital research is carried out by some of the best scientists in their field. However, many, many more people are involved behind the scenes. ‘Craft and Graft' is a new exhibition at the Francis Crick Institute celebrating these ‘unsung heroes', and opens on 1 March, focusing the spotlight on the technicians, engineers and support staff that are vital in supporting the scientists and their work by ensuring the glassware is washed, the equipment runs smoothly and the cells are all looked after and categorised correctly. Hannah Fisher was granted special access behind the scenes to meet some of the people who inspired the exhibition.

Producer: Fiona Roberts

Falling carbon and rising methane, and unsung heroes at the Francis Crick Institute.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

False Positives In Genetic Test Kits - Impact Of Fishing On Ocean Sharks - Sex-change Fish20190725Dr Adam Rutherford uncovers the worrying number of false positive results that the DNA sequencing technologies used by 'direct to consumer' genetic test kits are producing. Many of these tests offer analysis on your ancestry, but some also offer to check you out for the likelihood of you being at risk of some genetic diseases like cystic fibrosis or certain types of breast cancer. The tests look for variants in your genome, little changes in your DNA that alter the risk of developing a number of genetic diseases. The trouble is the rarer the variant, the more likely it is to be disease-causing. But the rarer the variant, the more likely the simple genetic tests are to get it wrong. And with more and more people sending off their raw genetic data to third-party websites for analysis and annotation, the risk of a false positive result increases to up to 80%. It's a small number of people affected, but a serious one if you're told out of the blue that you are at extreme risk of a serious disease. The advice is to keep an eye on family disease traits and if you are worried, go and see your doctor and get a proper diagnostic test.

Deep sea pelagic sharks, like the great white, silky, tiger, porbeagle and blue are much more vulnerable than their scary reputation suggests. In fact, many shark species are in decline as a result of industrial fishing rapidly encroaching upon their territories, and an increased value of the sharks themselves. The oceans are big and sharks range far and wide, so understanding these movements is not easy. Professor David Sims, from the Marine Biological Association of the UK and the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton, is part of a huge international consortium of marine biologists who have been tracking 11 species of shark all over the high seas using satellite technology. We've been fishing for more than 40,000 years, but our exploitation of the seas got serious in the last 50 years.

In nature, sex can be quite fluid, and in some species, sex changes are just a normal part of every day life. Especially in fish. This type of behaviour is called sequential hermaphroditism, and is common in fish. It's been known about for years, but the underlying genetic mechanisms are mysterious, which is strange for such a radical transformation. In the Blueheaded wrasse, when a dominant male is lost from the shoal, the largest female will immediately begin transforming into a male. Neil Gemmell from the University of Otago in New Zealand has lead a study which for the first time has uncovered the genetics of how the sex change happens.

Producer: Fiona Roberts

False positives in genetic test kits, impact of fishing on sharks, and sex-change species.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Farewell To Cassini - The Epic 20 Year Mission To Saturn20170914Adam Rutherford explores the science that is changing our world.

As Cassini's epic journey to Saturn finally ends tonight, Adam Rutherford celebrates the incredible discoveries of a mission that has changed the way we see our solar system. BBC Science Correspondent Jonathan Amos is at Mission Control in Pasadena as scientists assemble to witness the final few hours of the Saturnian observations beforeCassini completes its death dive into the planet. We also hear from key scientists who've played a role in capturing and interpreting the multitude of data from the last 12 years.

With contributions from Michele Dougherty, Professor of space physics at Imperial College
Robert Brown, Professor Planetary surface processes Arizona University
Carl Murray, Professor of Astronomy, Queen Mary,University of London
Ellen Stofan, former chief NASA scientist

Producer Adrian Washbourne.

Farewell to Cassini - the latest and final results of the 20 year mission to Saturn.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Fatty Food - Event Horizon Of A Black Hole - Gene Editing Technology Patents20161006What controls our preference for fatty food?

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Fighting Antimicrobial Resistance20160609What can be done to tackle antimicrobial resistance, a massive threat that humans face?

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

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 result of antibiotic resistance, and the O'Neill Report suggests that this will rise to 10 million people per year by 2050. Today, we're focussing on the attempts to discover new antibiotics, and alternative therapies for combating bacterial infection. Firstly, we wanted to know why new antibiotics aren't being produced. Dr Jack Scannell, an expert on the drug development economics, told Adam Rutherford why money has been the main barrier.

Most of the antibiotics we use were discovered in the mid-20th century, but as the threat of drug resistant infections increases, the race is on to find new organisms that make novel medicines. We have only identified a tiny fraction of the microbes living on Earth and are bioprospecting for useful ones in wildly different locations. Microbiologist Matt Hutchings has been looking to the oldest farmers in the world - leaf cutter ants.

From exotic locations to under your fridge: Dr Adam Roberts runs a scheme called Swab and Send. It's a citizen science project that asks members of the public to swab a surface and send the sample to him – he'll analyse them to look for the presence of new antibiotic-producing bacteria. We joined in the hunt by swabbing spots around the BBC: Adam's microphone, the Today programme presenters' mics, our tea kitchen's sponge, the revolving entryway doormat, and lastly, the Dalek standing on guard outside the BBC Radio Theatre.

Antibiotics are not the only weapon in the war against bacteria. A hundred years ago, a class of virus that infect and destroy bacteria were discovered. They're called bacteriophages. Phage therapies were used throughout the era of Soviet Russia, and still are in some countries, including Georgia. Phage researcher Prof Martha Clokie told us whether phage therapy might be coming to the UK.

First Human Drawing - Cycling Genes - Oden Arctic Expedition - Hello World20180913A 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 fragment - which some say looks a bit like a hashtag - puts the date of the earliest drawing at 73,000 years ago. As archaeologist Chris Henshilwood tells Adam Rutherford, the discovery is a "a prime indicator of modern cognition" in our species.

Nearly half the human genome contains genes that regulate what your organs should be doing at a specific time of day, This has enormous potential importance to the efficacy of drugs - what time of day you take them could be a real issue. John Hogenesch from Cincinnatti Children's Hospital has been studying the genes that cycle with our daily lives. His new database of cyclic genes could help plan the best timing for a host of therapeutic interventions

Physicist Helen Czerski has been in the Arctic for the last five weeks, aboard the Swedish research vessel and ice breaker Oden. As the expedition comes to a close we hear about the team's attempts to elucidate the driving forces behind the unusual weather patterns around the North Pole.

Inside Science has been profiling authors shortlisted for the prestigious Royal Society science book prize. This week it's mathematician Hannah Fry's new book, Hello World: How to be human in the Age of Machines. You can hear extracts from it on Book of the Week on Radio 4 all this week too.

Producer Adrian Washbourne.

First human drawing; cycling genes; Oden Arctic expedition; Hello World.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Producer Adrian Washbourne.

First Stars - Life On Mars - Climate Update - Control Of Crispr - Jamestown Forensic Genetics20181227Adam Rutherford and guests discuss 2018 in space, climate science and genetics and listeners' questions. Dr Emma Chapman of Imperial College chooses the discovery by the EDGES telescope of the first stars as her highlight of the year and answers a question from Evgeniy Osievskyi about searching for life on Mars in lava tubes. Dr Tamsin Edwards of Kings College London talks about the international approach to keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees and explains the processes going on in the ocean when it absorbs carbon dioxide in response to a query from Derek McComiskey. Pete Stokes asks if the scientific community could come up with a global and hopefully binding agreement to control CRISPR gene editing on humans. Adam and Professor Turi King of Leicester University discuss this possibility. Looking back at 2018 Turi picks the role of forensic genetics in finding the Golden State killer in the US.

Looking ahead to 2019, Emma is hoping for more insights into the very early universe and into dark matter and dark energy, Tamsin is getting ready to research the role of ice sheets in sea level rise and Turi is applying genetic genealogy to find out if a skeleton found at Jamestown, the first permanent British colony in America, is really that of the Governor of Virginia, Sir George Yeardley.

2018 in space, climate science and genetics with Adam Rutherford and guests.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Adam Rutherford investigates the news in science and science in the news.

Fish Farming - Climate Change - Gigantic Fungus - Robot Swarms - Gaming In Schools - Drones20181220Wester Ross Fisheries says over half the salmon at one of its sites have been wiped out because of high seawater temperatures. This highlights yet another damaging effect of climate change, at a time when aquaculture is playing an ever-greater role in feeding us all. Professor of Food Security at the University of Stirling, Rachel Norman, discusses the challenges of farming fish in the age of climate change with Gareth Mitchell.

Under the ground in a forest in Michigan in the USA lives a gigantic fungus. It weighs at least 400 tonnes and is 2,500 years old. For the last thirty years of its long life, Myron Smith form Carleton University has been studying it. With modern genetic analysis he has discovered that it has remarkably stable DNA with very low rates of mutations.

In a paper in Science Robotics, biologist James Sharp and roboticist Sabine Hauert demonstrate how hundreds of tiny robots can move together as a swarm. It is not unlike the behaviour biologists see in schools of fish or flocks of birds. Dr Hauert explains how one day these robots may aid rescuers to find victims of natural disasters.

Reporter Roland Pease visits Sir Bernard Lovell Academy to meet students and teachers who are using video games in education. He speaks to Laura Hobbs of Lancaster University's "Science Hunters" team who has been running the sessions.

The runway at Gatwick airport was closed last night as two drones were seen flying within the perimeter fence. Sussex Police have described the incident as a ‘deliberate act of disruption'. Rob Siddall, a researcher from Imperial College London, discusses the issues of drones in our airspaces with Gareth Mitchell. One solution to keeping the skies clear is to train eagles to take out drones that stray into dangerous areas.

Rachel Norman says that climate change will influence what fish we can farm in the future.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Gareth Mitchell investigates the news in science and science in the news.

Adam Rutherford investigates the news in science and science in the news.

Fixing The Future20160602From the Hay Festival, Adam Rutherford and guests ask how science can fix the future.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

From the Hay Festival, Adam Rutherford asks how science can save the world from disaster.

Adam Rutherford and guests, geneticist Professor Steve Jones, mathematician Professor Marcus du Sautoy and writer Gaia Vince, discuss what science can tell us about the state of our planet. Can research stop humans destroying the Earth?

Flu - Coffee Yeasts - Wave Machine - Cochlear Implants20160324Predicting how the flu virus mutates could help make better vaccines to fight it.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

The flu season is running later this year. And it has been unusually virulent.

Professor Wendy Barclay, virologist at Imperial College London, tells Tracey Logan about the constant race to keep up with flu mutations in order to build an effective vaccine.

Wine has a microbial terroir which is thought to affect its taste. A new paper suggests coffee and chocolate might do too. Aimee Dudley from the Pacific Northwest Diabetes Research Institute in Seattle has studied global populations of yeast found on cacao and coffee beans. She explains that these yeast varieties are genetically diverse. Tracey Logan travels to coffee supplier Union, to meet scientist-turned-coffee-buyer, Steve Macatonia, and unpick the flavours of coffee.

In Delft, the world's biggest artificial waves are pitted against a new kind of super-strong sea wall. The Delta Flume team, led by Mark Klein Breteler, has created a giant concrete channel with a wave generator. Reporter Roland Pease turns up in time to see the team testing their artificial waves against a 10 metre dyke.

People with cochlear implants hear a degraded version of speech. Using subtitles helps train the brain to understand it faster. Matt Davis and Ed Sohoglu from the Medical Research Council's Cognition and Brain Science Unit in Cambridge suggest that this feeds into a model of how the brain learns called Perception Learning.

Forensic Science Provision - Optimal Garden Watering Strategy - - A Mystery Knee Bone20190509A 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 gave evidence to the Science and Technology Committee, gives her reaction and suggests how a combination of unsatisfactory regulation, profit and austerity pressures in a uniquely commercialised sector, and some surprising gaps in the science knowledge base has lead to a sorry situation.

Spring has sprung and it's probably not too late to get the tomato plants in, but should you water them little and often, or more but less often? Madeleine Finlay reports from Wisley, where The Royal Horticultural Society's Janet Manning has set up a new experiment this year to answer that question. Janet is the first Garden Water Scientist at the RHS, and hopes to demonstrate that giving plants less frequent, but more generous, bouts of hydration encourages deeper root growth, building in resilience for those periods when water is harder to come by whilst also allowing gardeners ultimately to use less.

Do you have a fabella? Or maybe two fabellae? Michael Berthaume, "Anthroengineer" at Imperial College London tells us about a curiously under-studied bone that some people have in their knees. Present in certain primates and quadruped mammals, but thought to have disappeared from human anatomy, it seems to have made a bit of a comeback in certain populations around the world over the last century or so. Quite why, quite how, and quite what it's for, seems something of a mystery.

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

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Forensics Centre In Dundee - D'arcy Thompson Centenary - Scottish Science Adviser - Coffee - Climate20170622The Leverhulme Research Centre for Forensic Science at the University of Dundee has expanded to test new psychoactive substances. Adam Rutherford talks to Professors Sue Black and Niamh Nic Daeid, who jointly run the Centre, about how they can keep up with the many new illegal drugs coming onto the market and about how they intend to modernise forensics.

2017 is the centenary of the publication of On Growth and Form, the book by D'Arcy Thompson that influenced many people from mathematical biologists to architects. Adam discusses the man and the book with Matthew Jarrron in the D'Arcy Thompson Museum at the University of Dundee.

Astrophysicist Sheila Rowan has been the Chief Science Adviser to the Scottish Government for just over a year. Adam asks her about the role and how she deals with controversial issues such as GM crops.

And Aaron Davis of Kew Gardens explains the impact of climate change on coffee growing in Ethiopia.

Dundee University forensics science centre expands to test new psychoactive substances.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Adam Rutherford explores the science that is changing our world.

And Aaron Davis of Kew Gardens explains the impact of climate change on coffee growing in Ethiopia.

Fracking Moratorium - Bloodhound - Big Compost Experiment - Transit Of Mercury20191107The Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced an indefinite moratorium this week on mining of shale gas by hydraulic fracturing, aka fracking, in the UK, citing fears of earthquakes and seismic activity caused by fracking in the past. In August this year, a 2.9 magnitude earthquake was recorded at the Preston New Road fracking site in Lancashire, which prompted an immediate shutdown, as required by the strict protocols that we have in place. Adam Rutherford talks to Dr James Verdon, a geophysicist at Bristol University and a co-author of one of the Oil & Gas Authority studies on the Preston New Road, about the science of fracking.

Bloodhound is the latest British attempt at the supersonic land speed record. All this week Wing Commander Andy Green has been burning across a dried out lake in the Kalahari Desert, as he and his team are building up to break the sound barrier at 740mph, and his own land speed record of 763 mph. BBC science correspondent Jonathan Amos reports from the trackside.

The Big Compost Experiment is a new citizen science project about the wonderful, rich, fruity and essential substance you can produce by doing not that much at all. Architect Danielle Purkiss and Mark Miodownik, material scientist at UCL tell Adam why they are launching this experiment.

The planet Mercury, messenger of the Gods, passes between us and the Sun on average just thirteen times a century. This astronomical event will be visible in the UK – weather permitting – next Monday, 11th November. Solar physicist Lucie Green explains how to see the transit of Mercury.

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

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Future Risk Planning - Millennium Seed Bank - Urban Trees20201210Dr 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 humanity? James Arbuthnot, chair of a House of Lords select committee tasked to look at risk planning, and fellow committee member Martin Rees discuss their meeting this week and the assessment of the scientists invited to share their interpretations of future threats like AI, solar flares and volcanic eruptions. They are inviting evidence submissions until January 28th 2021.

The Millennium Seed Bank was setup as a safety net to protect and conserve rare, threatened and useful wild plants for generations to come. As it celebrates 20 years of operation it can claim to host 16 per cent of the world's bankable flora in its sturdy underground vaults. Alex heads down to the Royal Botanic Gardens in Wakehurst, Sussex, and meets the team coaxing seeds to life to check their viability or using cryopreserving on those seeds less convivial to being preserved. One key project is protecting farmed crops that have lost genetic diversity over time and are at risk from climate change. Through collecting and researching the wild ‘cousins' of our modern day crops Wakehurst, Kew Gardens and its partners are researching and harnessing the resilient traits found in these less pampered crop relatives.

Treezilla.org is a citizen science project designed to increase understanding of all the urban tress in the UK. Scientists, together with the public, are getting their tape measures out and cataloguing the trees to better ascertain how they influence the environment in towns and cities across the UK, to map their ages, species, sizes and health, and to help future planners to put the knowledge to work. Kate Hand is a researcher at the Open University who is looking at ways to increase our knowledge of the values trees bring to our urban environments – specifically through the lens of Milton Keynes which, it transpires, is quite the urban arboretum.

Future risk planning; Millennium Seed Bank; Urban trees.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Gain-of-function Research - Mindfulness - Women In Science - Snake Locomotion20160310Tracey Logan investigates whether there is some science that is just too dangerous to do.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Series that investigates the news in science and science in the news.

Gene-edited Twins - Placenta Organoids In A Dish - When The Last Leaves Drop20181129Claims 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 work, which was carried out in secret, has not been officially published or peer reviewed, but if the claims are to be taken seriously, this work severely flaunts international ethical guidelines at many levels. BBC Health and Science Correspondent James Gallagher explains the story so far.

Little is known about the placenta and how it works, despite it being absolutely essential for supporting the baby as it grows inside the mother. When it doesn't function properly, it can result in serious problems, from pre-eclampsia to miscarriage, with immediate and lifelong consequences for both mother and child.
Our knowledge of this important organ is very limited because of a lack of good experimental models. Animals are too dissimilar to humans to provide a good model of placental development and implantation, and stem cell studies have largely proved unsuccessful. But one group of University Cambridge researchers have now created ‘mini-proto placentas' – a cellular model, growing long-term, in 3D of the early stages of the placenta – that could provide a ‘window' into early pregnancy and help transform our understanding of reproductive disorders.

The Woodland Trust want you to tell them when you notice a tree, you regularly see, loses all of its leaves. Its part of their long term phonological study, Nature's Calendar. They hope to keep track of the effect of climate change on the timings of annual tree events.

Gene-edited twins; placenta organoids in a dish; when the last leaves drop.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Gene-editing Human Embryos - Spacemans Eyes - Science Book Prize - Sexual Selection In Salmon20170803Adam Rutherford explores the science that is changing our world.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is the heart condition that can lead to seemingly super-fit athletes collapsing with heart failure. It affects one in 500 people, and is a heritable disorder. Scientists using the precise gene-editing technique, Crispr CAS 9, have identified one of the genes responsible for the disease and 'fixed' it. This is in very early stage human embryos, prior to implantation. Dr. Fredrik Lanner at the Karolinska institute, is a leader in this field and he describes the work as purely at the experimental stages, but the team have managed to overcome various issues with the technique.

Despite the obvious benefits of being an astronaut... exploring new worlds, seeing Earth from space, and of course the glory and fame, it can take a real toll on the body. Astronauts' skeletons and muscles deteriorate in zero gravity, their immune system weakens, and they experience nasal congestion and sleep disturbance. Many symptoms persists once they're back on Earth. But, there's another to add to the list, space flight-associated neuro-ocular syndrome or SANS. Ophthalmologist at Houston Methodist Hospital, Dr Andrew Lee explains that the build-up of fluid in the brain can squeeze the eye and optic nerve and lead to visual disturbance and even vision loss.

The shortlist for the Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize 2017 has just been announced. Adam pesters judge Claudia Hammond for the name of the winner (she doesn't tell!) and discusses the criteria for this £25,000 prestigious award. The top 6 books will be featured over the next 6 weeks on BBC Inside Science.

Sexual selection - who you decide to have babies with - is usually decided at the dating stage. But the choice does not have to stop at copulation. Post-mating sexual selection is a thing. Mechanisms such as sperm competition, and cryptic female choice, can happen after sex, but before the sperm fertilises the egg. It's not just an internal thing either, it happens in 'external fertilizers', where eggs are laid, and then fertilized by the male sperm outside the female's body, like come fish do in water. Professor Neil Gemmell, at the University of Otago in Dunedin in New Zealand, has been studying just such processes in Chinook salmon. His findings are surprising and could inform us about human reproduction and fertility.

Produced by Fiona Roberts.

Gene-editing Human Embryos - Spaceman's Eyes - Science Book Prize - Sexual Selection In Salmon20170803Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is the heart condition that can lead to seemingly super-fit athletes collapsing with heart failure. It affects one in 500 people, and is a heritable disorder. Scientists using the precise gene-editing technique, Crispr CAS 9, have identified one of the genes responsible for the disease and 'fixed' it. This is in very early stage human embryos, prior to implantation. Dr. Fredrik Lanner at the Karolinska institute, is a leader in this field and he describes the work as purely at the experimental stages, but the team have managed to overcome various issues with the technique.

Despite the obvious benefits of being an astronaut... exploring new worlds, seeing Earth from space, and of course the glory and fame, it can take a real toll on the body. Astronauts' skeletons and muscles deteriorate in zero gravity, their immune system weakens, and they experience nasal congestion and sleep disturbance. Many symptoms persists once they're back on Earth. But, there's another to add to the list, space flight-associated neuro-ocular syndrome or SANS. Ophthalmologist at Houston Methodist Hospital, Dr Andrew Lee explains that the build-up of fluid in the brain can squeeze the eye and optic nerve and lead to visual disturbance and even vision loss.

The shortlist for the Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize 2017 has just been announced. Adam pesters judge Claudia Hammond for the name of the winner (she doesn't tell!) and discusses the criteria for this £25,000 prestigious award. The top 6 books will be featured over the next 6 weeks on BBC Inside Science.

Sexual selection - who you decide to have babies with - is usually decided at the dating stage. But the choice does not have to stop at copulation. Post-mating sexual selection is a thing. Mechanisms such as sperm competition, and cryptic female choice, can happen after sex, but before the sperm fertilises the egg. It's not just an internal thing either, it happens in 'external fertilizers', where eggs are laid, and then fertilized by the male sperm outside the female's body, like come fish do in water. Professor Neil Gemmell, at the University of Otago in Dunedin in New Zealand, has been studying just such processes in Chinook salmon. His findings are surprising and could inform us about human reproduction and fertility.

Produced by Fiona Roberts.

Gene-editing human embryos; spaceman's eyes;science book prize; sexual selection in salmon

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Genes - Education - John Goodenough - Caring Bears - Hunting20180329A widely reported study published last week suggests that on average children at selective schools have more gene variants associated with higher educational attainment than children at non-selective schools. It also suggests that selective schools achieve better GCSE exam results because their selection procedures favour children with those genetic variants, and not because of the teaching and facilities at private and grammar schools. Adam Rutherford talks to the senior researcher Robert Plomin of the Institute of Psychiatry in London, and Ewan Birney, director of the European Bioinformatics Institute near Cambridge.

John Goodenough invented the lithium ion battery, the power pack that makes our smart phones, tablets and laptops possible. At the age of 95, in his lab at the University of Texas, he's now working with colleagues such as Portuguese physicist Helena Braga on an even better next generation battery technology: one that could transform the prospects for electric vehicles and renewable energy storage. Roland Pease meets the jovial battery pioneer and his team.

Hunting regulations in Sweden are having a profound effect on the behaviour of brown bears in the country. Since the 1980s, hunters are not allowed to shoot female bears with cubs. Historically, mother bears stayed with their cubs for 1.5 years but as hunting rates increased, mothers began to keep their offspring with them for an additional year. Now more than a third of mothers look after their cubs for 2.5 years. According to Andreas Zebrosser of the University of Southeastern Norway and Joanie van der Walle of the Universitie de Sherbrooke, hunting appears to be acting as a powerful evolutionary force on the species' reproductive behaviour.

Adam Rutherford looks at the latest study on genetics and education.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Hunting regulations in Sweden are having a profound effect on the behaviour of brown bears in the country. Since the 1980s, hunters are not allowed to shoot female bears with cubs. Historically, mother bears stayed with their cubs for 1.5 years but as hunting rates increased, mothers began to keep their offspring with them for an additional year. Now more than a third of mothers look after their cubs for 2.5 years. According to Andreas Zebrosser of the University of Southeastern Norway and Joanie van der Walle of the Universitie de Sherbrooke, hunting appears to be acting as a powerful evolutionary force on the species' reproductive behaviour.

Genetic Testing - Pugs On Treadmills - Frankenstein20170706Adam Rutherford explores the science that is changing our world.

The results of the first large-scale field study looking at neonicotinoid pesticides and their impact on bees has caused controversy. It was carried out by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) and commissioned and funded by the agricultural chemical companies Syngenta and Bayer. However, both companies have expressed dissatisfaction with the paper. Adam Rutherford talks to Dr Peter Campbell from Syngenta and Dr Ben Woodcock from CEH about the results.

In a separate project, beekeepers have been trying to improve hive health by breeding 'hygienic bees'. These nifty insects love to keep their homes clean and free from disease, improving colony numbers and reducing the need to use antibiotics. Reporter Rory Galloway embarks on some fieldwork at the University of Sussex, with Luciano Scandin, Honeybee Research Facility Manager and Francis Ratnieks, Professor of Apiculture.

What happens when you rap inside an MRI scanner? Neuroscientist Sophie Scott wanted to find out. She's been making movies of the internal workings of some extraordinary voice boxes, owned by beatboxers, opera singers and rappers, like biochemist Alex Lathbridge aka Thermoflynamics.

Presenter: Adam Rutherford
Researcher: Caroline Steel
Producer: Michelle Martin.

Genetic Testing - Pugs On Treadmills - Frankenstein20170713What can genome science do for you? Chief Medical officer Dame Sally Davies recently published her annual report, issuing a plea for a revolution in the use of genetic information in the NHS. She wants DNA tests to be as routine as biopsies or blood tests. Adam chats to geneticist Ewan Birney, head of the European Bioinformatics Institute in Hinxton, about the potential uses and limitations of genetic testing.

Pugs are set to become Britain's most popular breed in the next couple of years. Together with similar dogs, like bulldogs and Frenchies, they are classed 'brachycephalic', having short snouts and compact skulls which makes them susceptible to a breathing problems. Veterinary surgeon Jane Ladlow has studied 1,000 dogs to improve their health today and in future generations. Reporter Graihagh Jackson went to visit the team at Cambridge Veterinary School.

To mark the forthcoming 200th anniversary of the publication of Frankenstein, a new edition has been created especially for scientists and engineers. Adam talks to editor David Guston, from Arizona State University about the lessons this cautionary tale contains for science today.

Presenter: Adam Rutherford
Producer: Michelle Martin.

What areas of medicine will benefit from genetic testing? Has its promise been overstated?

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Adam Rutherford explores the science that is changing our world.

Presenter: Adam Rutherford
Producer: Michelle Martin.

Genetics - Education - Eyam Plague - Pint Of Science - Labradors - Chocolate20160512Adam Rutherford investigates a small but significant link between genetics and education.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

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 factors influence this trait, but genes also play a small role. In the new study, a large team of researchers looked at over 300,000 people and identified 74 genetic variants, slight differences in our DNA, that do seem to associate with how long those individuals stayed in formal education. Senior author Dan Benjamin, University of Southern California, and social genetics researcher Eva Krapohl from Kings College London helped steer us through this complex quagmire.

The Derbyshire village of Eyam is famous amongst Plague historians because when the disease arrived in a bale of cloth in 1665, the local vicar took a bold step and quarantined the whole village. 260 villagers died, but the sacrifice is thought to have saved surrounding populations. This noted event yielded a rich data set, which Eyam residents Francine Clifford and her late husband John meticulously mined over the last few decades. When epidemiologist Xavier Didelot of Imperial College London visited the local museum whilst on holiday, he couldn't resist investigating.

Later this month, in pubs around Britain, and bars in 11 other countries, audiences will gather to hear about everything from black holes to cancer treatments - all part of a phenomenon called 'Pint of Science'. Marnie Chesterton went to The Castle in Farringdon to hear more.

Finally, last week we met Poppy, one of the Labradors likely to have a newly discovered genetic reason for eating her owners out of house and home. Poppy's most notable devouring was of a large birthday cake, resulting in a trip to the vet's to get her stomach pumped. A fellow cake-eating-Lab-owning listener got in touch to ask why this procedure was necessary. It all comes down to the flavour of the cake: Chocolate.

Producers: Marnie Chesterton and Jen Whyntie.

Producers: Marnie Chesterton & Jen Whyntie.

Genetics - Privacy - Global Plastic - Great Ape Dictionary - Ocean Discovery X Prize20170720Should our genomes be private? Professors Tim Hubbard and Nils Hoppe join Adam Rutherford to discuss concerns about data security and privacy of our genetic data. Once our DNA has been extracted, sequenced and stored as a digital file, what is done with it, who gets to see it and what say do we have in all this?

Back in the 1950's at the dawn of the new plastic age, its everlasting properties were a major selling point. Now, we're dealing with escalating plastic pollution and bulging landfill. But how much plastic are we dealing with? Dr. Roland Geyer has calculated the production, use and fate of all plastics ever made.

Chimpanzees are very communicative animals: they tend to use gestures foremost with vocalisation just to emphasise the flick of a wrist or a stretch of the hand. In an attempt to get a grasp on why, and how, we humans made the shift from gesture-led communication to talking, we need to see how well we can decipher our ape relatives. A new online study called the 'Great Ape Dictionary' wants you to have a go.

The bottom of our seas remains a mysterious other world. Yet, adventuring into the deep depths of the ocean is a major challenge, which is probably why only 5% of it has ever been explored - even though it covers more than 70% of our planet. So to start learning more about our own planet, the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE is awarding a total of $7 million to teams that develop autonomous, unmanned vehicles to map and image the bottom of the seas. Dr Jyotika Virmani tells Adam why ocean exploration is so important, and why it tends to take a backseat to adventuring into space.

Presented by Adam Rutherford
Produced by Fiona Roberts.

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

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Adam Rutherford explores the science that is changing our world.

Presented by Adam Rutherford
Produced by Fiona Roberts.

Global Carbon Emissions - Parker Solar Probe - Simulating Swaying Buildings20191205Reports 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 enough, to change things. The World Meteorological Organisation's provisional State of the Climate 2019 report lists atmospheric carbon dioxide reaching record levels. Global mean temperatures for Jan-Oct 2019 were 1.1+/-0.1 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The Arctic ice extent minimum in Sept 2019 was the second lowest on satellite record. Tropical cyclone Idai was the strongest cyclone known to make landfall. These are all concerning statistics. According to the Global Carbon Emissions figures that have just been released, carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is still increasing: the slightly good news is that the rate of increase has slowed. Adam Rutherford talks to climate expert at the Tyndall Centre at the University of East Anglia, Corinne Le Le Quéré, to find out more.

“Safe as houses" is a cliché built on the solidity of the buildings we put up. But at Bath University engineers are working in the opposite direction. They are asking just how strong does a building have to be - especially in an age of ever taller sky-scrapers, which inevitably sway, particularly when the wind picks up. It's not that there's any danger they'll fall down - but the movement can be unsettling to the occupants. So they've developed a virtual tower - a windowless cabin not much bigger than a caravan stuck on top of a set of hydraulic pistons with virtual reality screens to mimic window views that allow psychologists to monitor volunteers' experiences of living and working in high, flexible spaces.

Our Sun is so much more than a giant ball of burning gas. Its core is a nuclear reactor which creates billions of looping and tangling magnetic fields. Its layers are puzzling variations of hot temperatures and its solar wind has some very peculiar properties. These are just some of the reasons NASA launched its Parker Solar Probe in August 2018 on a mission to get close (3.8 million miles) to our star's surface and study its properties. The first scientific reports from the mission are out and solar expert Professor Lucie Green at UCL reveals what the car-sized, armour-plated craft has been finding out so far. She says "our Sun is more dynamic than expected and we might be getting clues to why the sun spins more slowly than theory predicts."

Producer - Fiona Roberts

Global Carbon Emissions; Simulating swaying buildings and Parker Solar Probe

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Global Food Security - Reactive Use-by Labels - Origins Of The Potato20190627On 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 Food Security, who recently held a competition for young food researchers to present their work in a compelling way in less than 3 minutes. Maia and the winner, Claire Kanja of Rothamstead Research discuss with Adam the broader issues “Food Security” seeks to address, and also how best to communicate often esoteric specialized interest to a broader audience that includes food-consuming tax-payers.

A Threat to Wheat
Claire's work is looking into a threat to world wheat harvests known as Fusarium Head (or Ear) Blight. She is trying to categorize the proteins that the fungus uses firstly to evade Wheat's defences, and then to kill the plant cells for its own food.

Food Freshness Sensor
Meanwhile, at Imperial College, Hannah Fisher reports on new work to make cheap-as-chips gas sensitive food labels that could detect levels of gases inside a food packet that indicate it is gone off or decayed. You could even read them with the NFC chip in most smartphones.

The Origins and Adaptations of the European Potato
Talking of chips, published this week is a genetic history of the cultivated European potato. Using DNA from museum specimens going back centuries, the authors describe a very complicated to-and-froing between continents that enables modern varieties to avoid certain blights and even to form decent sized potatoes when growing in different day-lengths. Sandy Knapp of the Natural History Museum in London was one of the authors.

Presenter: Adam Rutherford
Producer: Alex Mansfield

Global Food Security, a threat to wheat, future use-by labels and origins of the potato.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Gm Plants - Svalbard Seed Vault - Directed Evolution - Dolphin Snot20160526Adam Rutherford examines the science of GM plants as the Royal Society takes on the issue

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Good Cop Bad Cop - Shotgun Lead Persistence - Featherdown Adaptation20210225Illuminating the mysteries and challenging the controversies behind science today

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

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 pollution can be tackled jointly within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals”. But it also offers clear and digestible messages that governments, institutions, businesses and individuals can act upon. Concluding BBC Inside Science's month-long look at some of the challenges ahead of COP26 in Glasgow later this year, and its sister biodiversity meeting in China, Vic speaks with the report's co-lead Prof Sir Robert Watson FRS and the Tyndall Centre's Prof Rachel Warren, also a contributing author. Can all the ills of the natural world really be tackled at once?

Game-shooting, for sport and food, has traditionally used the toxic metal lead for ammunition. In other parts of the world its use has been banned for the dangers to the human food chain and to the pollution in natural environments, and even deaths of wildfowl from poisoning. But not so in the UK. A year ago, as reported on Inside Science at the time, the shooting community announced a voluntary five year transition period to alternative shot materials. But researchers including profs Rhys Green and Debbie Pain from Cambridge University have discovered that a year on, little seems to have changed. Gathering game sold for food across the UK, they found that all but one bird in their sample of 180 contained lead shot.

Meanwhile, up in the Himalayas, Smithsonian scientist Dr Sahas Barva was enjoying the scenery on a cold day off in 2014 when he saw and heard a tiny Goldcrest, thriving in temperatures of -10C. Wondering how such a tiny thing could keep its body insulated, he decided to investigate feathers, and utilizing the huge numbers of specimens in the Smithsonian's collection he found some striking commonalities in the thermal properties and adaptations of birds everywhere. The higher up they live, the fluffier their coats.

Presented by Victoria Gill

Produced by Alex Mansfield

Made in association with The Open University.

UN Environment Programme publishes Making Peace With Nature report ahead of COP 26.

Gravitational Wave Detection - Exo-mars Landing - Royal Society Book Prize - Gait Biometrics20160901Gravitational wave detection, Exo-Mars landing, Royal Society book prize, gait biometrics.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Adam Rutherford explores the science that is changing our world.

Gravitational Waves - Uk Spaceport - Big Brains - Extinction Risk - Conservation In Papua New Guinea20160218Adam Rutherford puts listeners' gravitational wave queries to cosmologist Andrew Pontzen.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

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 collision of two black holes. Adam Rutherford puts a selection of listener questions to UCL cosmologist Dr Andrew Pontzen.

In March 2015, Campbeltown, Glasgow Prestwick, Stornoway, Newquay, Llanbedr and Leuchars were shortlisted by the government as possible sites for a cosmodrome or spaceport. With the UK space industry worth an estimated £40 billion by 2030, various stakeholders met for the UK spaceport conference at the Royal Aeronautical Society in London to discuss the progress of the project. What would the impact be for scientists, industry and the public?

Big brains have traditionally been considered an advantage. Animals with larger brains are better at using tools, working as a social group and assessing how to react to predators. But when Dr Eric Abelson cross referenced relative brain size against the mammals on the endangered list, he found something surprising. Many animals with the bigger brains are threatened within extinction. He talks to Adam about why that may be.

Tim Cockerill, ecologist and adventurer, returns from Papua New Guinea to discuss how one group of indigenous people have decided to work with scientists in order to conserve and study their local environment.

Gravitational Waves Special20160211Gravitational waves detected - scientists prove Einstein right after 100 years.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Series that investigates the news in science and science in the news.

Gravity Wave Breakthrough - The Antibiotic Pipeline - Microbial Waste Recycling - Fausto - An Ai Opera20170928The gravitational waves produced by two massive black holes colliding have for the first time been detected by three gravitational wave detectors. Professor Sheila Rowan of the University of Glasgow explains the importance of this new three way observation.

The World Health organisation reports that there are too few new candidate antibiotics in the development pipelines to replace those becoming obsolete through the rapid spread of antibiotic resistance. Professor Willem van Shaik of the University of Birmingham and pharma-biotech analyst Dr Jack Scannell discuss where the problems and solutions might lie.

Could bacteria recycle all of our waste? Waste disposal is a growing concern as nations run out of space and ecosystems are increasingly polluted. Microorganisms may hold the key for turning household waste into biodegradable plastic and perhaps one day even into food and basic chemical feedstocks. Hans Vesterhoff, Professor of Systems Biology at Amsterdam University is developing microbial networks with the aim of converting all carbon-based waste into useful or edible stuff.

AI and Opera: Prof Luc Steels, an AI and language researcher at the Institute for Advanced Studies of Catalonia is also a composer. He has just had his new opera premiered. With a libretto written by a neuropsychiatrist colleague, the opera 'Fausto' is a re-telling of the Faust story. It explores the dangers and flawed thinking of silicon-based transhumanism. In the opera, the Faust character is a social media-obsessed hipster and Mephistopheles is a malevolent AI in the cloud. In a twist on the original, Fausto trades his body rather than his soul so that he can be uploaded and reunited with his lover in the cloud.

How can we avert the antibiotic resistance crisis?

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Adam Rutherford explores the science that is changing our world.

AI and Opera: Prof Luc Steels, an AI and language researcher at the Institute for Advanced Studies of Catalonia is also a composer. He has just had his new opera premiered. With a libretto written by a neuropsychiatrist colleague, the opera 'Fausto' is a re-telling of the Faust story. It explores the dangers and flawed thinking of silicon-based transhumanism. In the opera, the Faust character is a social media-obsessed hipster and Mephistopheles is a malevolent AI in the cloud. In a twist on the original, Fausto trades his body rather than his soul so that he can be uploaded and reunited with his lover in the cloud.

Greenland Ice Sheet Melting - Gingko Biloba - Co2 - Jodrell Bank - Quantum Compass20181206The rate the Greenland Ice Sheet is melting is possibly the highest in 8000 years. New work looking at layers of melt in ice cores, from the second biggest ice sheet in the world, has shown that in the past 20 years the rate of melting has increased by 250-575%. The resultant fresh water run off not only adds to sea level rise, but impacts important ocean currents in the Atlantic.

When trying to understand how plants are reacting to increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, scientists count their stomata. Stomata are the tiny pores found on leaves which allow for carbon dioxide (plant food) uptake and oxygen release. They also are the route by which plants lose water. So there is always a trade-off. More stomata, more potential for CO2 uptake, but more chance of drying out due to water loss. This means that the number of pores in a leaf is carefully calibrated to the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. If you take a 200 million year old leaf from a gingko tree, it's got a lot more stomata than a gingko leaf now. This is because levels of the greenhouse gas were much higher then. But how are modern gingkos and other plants adapting to increasing carbon now?

Jodrell Bank Observatory, part of Manchester University, is famous for its telescopes and work on radio astronomy. But what's not so well known is its work tracking communications from spacecraft, which came about completely by accident. Starting with the tracking of Sputnik 1 in the 1950s, scientists at Jodrell Bank tracked flights throughout the US Russian Space Race. Recently, Professor of Physics and Associate Director of the observatory, Tim O'Brien found a box of audio tapes, which turned out to be recordings of these communications, annotated by Sir Bernard Lovell himself. These tapes are a time capsule back to when the world was racing to get into space.

News this week that the UK will not be part of the Galileo satellite positioning system when we leave Europe is worrying, especially as so many British funds and innovation have already been spent. But what if we can come up with a way of knowing where you are without the need to use triangulation of signals from expensive satellites? A quantum compass harnessing super-cooled atoms, in a state where lasers can gauge changes in their speed. In other words, it's an accelerometer like the one in your phone, except in this case with atomic accuracy.

Producer: Fiona Roberts

Greenland ice sheet melting; gingko biloba and CO2; Jodrell Bank and Quantum compass.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Marnie Chesterton investigates the news in science and science in the news.

Halfway To Net Zero - Hydrogen As A Fuel - Fagradalsfjall - Iceland's Active Volcano20210325The 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, according to a new Carbon Brief analysis. This means the UK is now halfway to meeting its target of “net-zero” emissions by 2050.' Simon Evans explains his predictions from the report, outlines how we define net zero and what is required from the next few decades to ensure that the UK meets its 2050 goal.

Much of Europe is attempting to replace fossil fuels, transforming transport and domestic heating to run on electrical alternatives, such as batteries and heat pumps. But where electrification isn't possible or cost effective, such as in many homes, an alternative is still needed. Natural gas is responsible for over 30% of the UK's total carbon emissions. Hydrogen would, theoretically, appear to be the perfect alternative, as combustion only produces water as a by product. Gaia discusses the options with hydrogen strategist, Dr Jenifer Baxter, and Dr Angela Needle of Cadent explains the pilot projects the company is carrying out to introduce 20% hydrogen into gas going into our homes.

Last Friday, Fragradalsfjall began erupting for the first time in 800 years. The volcanic system is located in the West of Iceland close to the capital city of Reyjkavik. Dr Evgenia Ilynskaya of Leeds University has been out measuring the gases emitted by the eruption and she describes the experience of working on an active volcanic system.

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

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

A weekly programme looking at the science that's changing our world.

Hay Festival20180531Adam Rutherford and his guests at the Hay Festival, neurologist Dr Suzanne O'Sullivan, acoustic engineer Professor Trevor Cox and science writer Dr Philip Ball discuss what scientists learn when things go wrong. Suzanne O'Sullivan, author of Brainstorm, talks about how she helps her patients with strange and unusual forms of epilepsy; Trevor Cox, whose new book is called Now You're Talking, describes cases where our voices change, such as stammering and foreign language syndrome; and Philip Ball, who is part of Created out of Mind, a Wellcome funded project about dementia and the arts, explores what happens when our brains age.

Adam Rutherford and guests at the Hay Festival on what science learns when things go wrong

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Adam Rutherford and his guests at the Hay Festival, neurologist Dr Suzanne O'Sullivan, acoustic engineer Professor Trevor Cox and science writer Dr Philip Ball discuss what scientists learn when things go wrong. Suzanne O'Sullivan, author of Brainstorm, talks about how she helps her patients with strange and unusual forms of epilepsy; Trevor Cox, whose new book is called Now You're Talking, describes cases where our voices change, such as stammering and foreign language syndrome; and Philip Ball, who is part of Created out of Mind, a Wellcome funded project about dementia and the arts, explores what happens when our brains age.

Adam Rutherford investigates the news in science and science in the news.

Hfc Ban - Human Cell Atlas - Origin Of Hunting With Dogs20161020A map of the 37 trillion cells in the body and when did humans first use dogs for hunting?

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

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 of 37 trillion cells and if you look in a text book, it will say there are about 200 distinct varieties of cells. But this is a grand underestimate. There could in fact be 10,000. The Human Cell Atlas project aims to identify every type and subtype of cell in every tissue of the body - a massive endeavour which, the cell mappers argue, will have profound benefits for medicine.

Adam Rutherford also talks to zoological archaeologist Angela Perri whose research is aimed at discovering when our ancestors first started to use dogs as 'hunting' technology. Her work involves joining hunts with dogs in the modern day as well as traditional archaeological field work.

He also explores the science behind exploding smart phone batteries and the new international climate agreement to rid the world of hydrofluorocarbons.

Higgs Boson - Neutrinos - Antarctic Echo Locator - Rainforest Fungi - Alabama Rot20140123
Hiquake - Plate Tectonics@50 - Sonic Weapon Puzzle - The Chinese Typewriter20171005Gareth Mitchell talks to Gillian Foulger of Durham University about HiQuake, the world's largest database of human-induced earthquakes. Professor Foulger and her colleagues have so far compiled close to 750 seismic events for which there are reasonable cases to be made for anthropogenic triggers. Triggers include mining operations, fossil fuel extraction, reservoir filling, skyscraper construction and tunnelling. Among the surprises is the fact that the US state of Oklahoma is more seismically active than California because of quakes and tremors set off by the local oil and gas industry.

The theory of plate tectonics is 50 years old. It's as fundamental to understanding the Earth as evolution by natural selection is to understanding life. Roland Pease meets geologists such as Dan McKenzie, John Dewey and Xavier Le Pichon who played key roles in proving the hypothesis in the late 1960s.

The United States has removed more than half of its diplomats from its embassy in Havana, Cuba. A signficant number of staff have complained of ailments such as hearing loss, dizziness, headaches and nausea, and there has been speculation that some kind of sonic or acoustic weapon might be responsible. Trevor Cox, professor of acoustic engineering at the University of Salford, discusses the likelihood with Gareth.

Stanford University's Tom Mullaney is the author of 'The Chinese Typewriter: A History'. He talks to Gareth about the great engineering and linguistic challenge in the 19th and 20th centuries of getting the Chinese language onto a table top machine. The survival of the ancient language or China's entry into the modern world depended on the success of numerous inventors. In fact one consequence was the development of predictive text in the Chinese IT world long before it appeared in the West.

Note: In the podcast version of this programme, there is an additional item on new research on the role of the world's botanical gardens in global plant conservation. One of the scientists involved, Dr Paul Smith of Botanical Gardens Conservation International, tells Gareth that there's good news about these institutions' contributions and there are areas where there is room for improvement.

Producer: Andrew Luck-Baker

Earthquakes caused by human activities - a new global database

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Hiquake Plate Tectonics - Sonic Weapon Puzzle - The Chinese Typewriter20171005Adam Rutherford explores the science that is changing our world.

Gareth Mitchell talks to Gillian Foulger of Durham University about HiQuake, the world's largest database of human-induced earthquakes. Professor Foulger and her colleagues have so far compiled close to 750 seismic events for which there are reasonable cases to be made for anthropogenic triggers. Triggers include mining operations, fossil fuel extraction, reservoir filling, skyscraper construction and tunnelling. Among the surprises is the fact that the US state of Oklahoma is more seismically active than California because of quakes and tremors set off by the local oil and gas industry.

The theory of plate tectonics is 50 years old. It's as fundamental to understanding the Earth as evolution by natural selection is to understanding life. Roland Pease meets geologists such as Dan McKenzie, John Dewey and Xavier Le Pichon who played key roles in proving the hypothesis in the late 1960s.

The United States has removed more than half of its diplomats from its embassy in Havana, Cuba. A signficant number of staff have complained of ailments such as hearing loss, dizziness, headaches and nausea, and there has been speculation that some kind of sonic or acoustic weapon might be responsible. Trevor Cox, professor of acoustic engineering at the University of Salford, discusses the likelihood with Gareth.

Stanford University's Tom Mullaney is the author of 'The Chinese Typewriter: A History'. He talks to Gareth about the great engineering and linguistic challenge in the 19th and 20th centuries of getting the Chinese language onto a table top machine. The survival of the ancient language or China's entry into the modern world depended on the success of numerous inventors. In fact one consequence was the development of predictive text in the Chinese IT world long before it appeared in the West.

Note: In the podcast version of this programme, there is an additional item on new research on the role of the world's botanical gardens in global plant conservation. One of the scientists involved, Dr Paul Smith of Botanical Gardens Conservation International, tells Gareth that there's good news about these institutions' contributions and there are areas where there is room for improvement.

Producer: Andrew Luck-Baker

Hiroshima Radiation - Anthropocene - Bonobo Noises - Physicist Henry Moseley20150806Adam Rutherford presents discussion on the radiation effects from the Hiroshima bomb.

In the 70 years since the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, what are the long term effects of exposure to radiation? Adam Rutherford talks to Professor Richard Wakeford who has been studying radiation for many years about his research following the nuclear bombings as well as nuclear accidents at Chernobyl and Fukushima. Marnie Chesterton talks to one of the short-listed entries for the Royal Society Winton book prize, Gaia Vince for her book, Adventures in the Anthropocene: A Journey to the Heart of the Planet we Made. Other short-listed entries are:

*The Man Who Couldn't Stop by David Adam - a scientific and personal memoir of a life with OCD.

*Life on the Edge: The Coming of Age of Quantum Biology by Johnjoe Mcfadden and Jim Al-Khalili

*Alex Through the Looking-Glass: How Life Reflects Numbers and Numbers Reflect Life by Alex Bellos

*Smashing Physics by Jon Butterworth - an insider's account of the discovery of the Higgs boson

*Life's Greatest Secret: The Story of the Race to Crack the Genetic Code by Matthew Cobb

Also, Adam talks to Zanna Clay about research into our closest relatives, the bonobos and the unique 'peep' noises they make and why they could provide clues to the evolution of human language. Roland Pease reports on one of Britain's great yet little known physicists, Henry Moseley. He died in the First World War but in just 18 months of research transformed ideas about X-rays and the atom and the Periodic Table of elements.

Hiv Protective Gene Paper Retraction - Imaging Ancient Herculaneum Scrolls - Bill Bryson's The Body20191003In November 2018 news broke via YouTube that He Jiankui, then a professor at Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, China had created the world's first gene-edited babies from two embryos. The edited gene was CCR5 delta 32 - a gene that conferred protection against HIV. Alongside the public, most of the scientific community were horrified. There was a spate of correspondence, not just on the ethics, but also on the science. One prominent paper was by Rasmus Nielsen and Xinzhu Wei's of the University of California, Berkeley. They published a study in June 2019 in Nature Medicine that found an increased mortality rate in people with an HIV-preventing gene variant. It was another stick used to beat Jiankiu – had he put a gene in these babies that was not just not helpful, but actually harmful? However it now turns out that the study by Nielsen and Wei has a major flaw. In a series of tweets, Nielsen was notified of an error in the UK Biobank data and his analysis. Sean Harrison at the University of Bristol tried and failed to replicate the result using the UK Biobank data. He posted his findings on Twitter and communicated with Nielsen and Wei who have now requested a retraction. UCL's Helen O'Neill is intimately acquainted with the story and she chats to Adam Rutherford about the role of social media in the scientific process of this saga.

The Herculaneum Library is perhaps the most remarkable collection of texts from the Roman era. Discovered two centuries ago in the villa of Julius Caesar's father in law, many of the papyrus scrolls bear the writings of the house philosopher, Philodemus. Others are thought to be the works of the philosophers and poets he admired. However, the big drawback is that the villa was buried in the eruption that engulfed Pompeii, and the heat from the volcanic ash turned them all to charcoal. To make life even more difficult, the ink the scribes used was also made of carbon – think black on black. However, now a team from the University of Kentucky are hoping to decipher the texts using X-rays, and have just scanned two complete scrolls, and some fragments at the Diamond Synchrotron in near Oxford.

When renowned author Bill Bryson decided to apply his unique eye for anecdote and trivia to the human body he thought he's start at the head and work down. But as he reveals to Adam, it's a lot more complicated and interconnected than that. His book "The Body - A Guide for Occupants" is an indispensable guide to the inner workings of ourselves.

Producer: Fiona Roberts

HIV protective gene paper retraction, imaging Herculaneum scrolls, Bill Bryson's The Body.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Homo Naledi - First Humans In America - Dark Matter Detector - New Theory Of Dark Matter20170427Controversy 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 primitive features led scientists to believe it was up to three million years old. This week it's been revealed that this estimate was wrong. New dating evidence suggests the skeletons are only 200 000 to 300 000 years old and that means they may have lived alongside other homo species.

Previously, humans were thought to have travelled to America via a land bridge between eastern Siberia and modern day Alaska, somewhere between 17 000 - 40 000 years ago when sea levels were lower than they are today. Researchers from the San Diego Natural History Museum now present evidence that suggests this transition could have been much earlier - nearly 100 000 years earlier. Adam talked to Chris Stringer, researcher in human evolution at the Natural History Museum in London, to unpick the evidence.

Dark matter is a mystery that has evaded scientists for decades. Now the biggest and most sensitive detector is being built in South Dakota and scientists believe the Lux-Zeppelin experiment will soon be able to detect one of the candidates for dark matter, the elusive particle known as a weakly interacting massive particle (WIMP). Graihagh Jackson got a sneak peak of the key components, including the 'eyes' of the detector, before they're sent off for installation.

Adam Rutherford talks to cosmologist Carlos Frenk from the University of Durham and learns of an alternative theory to describe this mysterious dark matter - a whole new dark sector. This sector contains a vast range of different dark particles, from photons to bosons, that could interact with normal particles.

Homo naledi; first humans in America; dark matter detector; new theory of dark matter.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Adam Rutherford talks to cosmologist Carlos Frenk from the University of Durham and learns of an alternative theory to describe this mysterious dark matter - a whole new dark sector. This sector contains a vast range of different dark particles, from photons to bosons, that could interact with normal particles.

Homo Naledi - New Spacesuit - Quantum Biology - A Possible Cure For Motion Sickness20150910Tracey Logan investigates an ancient human and a zero-gravity space suit.

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 known yet but could it be evidence of the origin of the genus homo? Astronauts' spines can elongate as much as 7 centimetres in space because of the loss of gravity potentially causing severe back problems. Tracey talks to David Green from Kings College, London about a new elastic suit he has helped develop to mimic the effects of gravity. What exactly is quantum biology? Marnie Chesterton talks to Jim Al Khalili and Johnjoe McFadden authors of 'Life on the Edge, The coming of age of Quantum Biology which is short-listed for the Royal Society Winton Book prize. Tracey meets Dr Qadeer Arshad at Charing Cross hospital to try a new potential cure for sea sickness. By applying an electric current to the scalp is it possible to prevent the symptoms of nausea? A limited number of tickets for Write on Kew are available by emailing writeonkew@kew.org with BBC Inside Science in the subject line.

How Maths Underpins Science20190530Adam Rutherford and guests at the Hay Festival discuss how maths underwrites all branches of science, and is at the foundation of the modern world.

His guests are the following.

Professor Steve Strogatz, of Cornell University, the author of a new book on calculus, Infinite Powers. He's worked on all kinds of problems including some biological ones such as the shape of DNA, how fireflies create light and the grandness of small world theories.

Dr Emily Shuckburgh, is a climate change scientist at University of Cambridge, who has a PhD in maths studying fluid dynamics. She is the co-author of the Ladybird book on Climate Change with Prince Charles,

Sir Venki Ramakrishnan, is President of the Royal Society, and was originally a physicist, who moved into biology, to study the 3-dimensional shape of one of the most important biological structures, the ribosome, for which he won the Nobel prize winner.

How mathematics underpins science, recorded at the Hay Festival.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

How Sperm Swim - The Theory Of Soil - The Big Compost Experiment Update20200806Adam reveals new research which overturns received wisdom about how sperm swim. More than three centuries after Antonie van Leeuwenhoek peered down his early microscope to observe human sperm or ‘animalcules' swimming with a ‘snakelike movement, like eels in water', high-tech observations now reveal that this was, in fact, an optical illusion.

Hermes Gadelha from Bristol University used 3D microscopy, a high-speed camera and mathematics, to reconstruct the true movement of the sperm tail. Much to his amazement, sperm have a highly sophisticated way of rolling as they swim. They do this to counter the numerous irregularities in their morphology which would otherwise send them swimming in circles. In doing so, they are able to propel themselves forwards. This highly complex set of movements, seen in 3D, is obscured in 2D when sperm appear to use a symmetrical eel-like motion to swim.

Also on the programme, Adam gets an update from Mark Miodownik on the Big Compost Experiment, the citizen science project that wants to know what you compost, how you do it and, most importantly, how quickly the stuff breaks down. Mark reveals how confused participants are, about what they can compost, and explains why items marked ‘compostable' or biodegradable' won't compost at home.

Staying with soil, healthy soil is being lost at an alarming rate due to intensive agricultural practices. In England and Wales, a recent survey found that nearly forty percent of arable soils were degraded. Inside Science reporter Madeleine Findlay visits Andrew Neil from Rothamsted Research who has devised a new way of thinking about soil. They've solved the mystery of why adding carbon through organic material, like compost, improves soil health.

PRODUCERS: Beth Eastwood & Fiona Roberts

How sperm actually swim, the theory of soil and an update on the Big Compost Experiment.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Hubble Not-so Constant - Synthetic E - Coli - The Adventures Of Alexander Von Humboldt20190516The Hubble Constant
The Hubble constant is the current expansion rate of the universe but it seems to have changed over time. Hiranya Peiris, Professor of Astrophysics from University College London and Adam Riess, Professor of Physics and Astronomy from Johns Hopkins University, are both using different methods to obtain a value for the Hubble constant. But there is a discrepancy in their values. It used to be that the error bars on the two values overlapped, and so cosmologists thought they would converge as the experiments got more precise. But instead, as the error bars have shrunk, the discrepancy is getting more serious, and something must be wrong. They chat to Adam about potential reasons for this difference in calculations and what it could mean for our cosmological model of the universe. Is new physics required to evolve the description of the age of the universe as we know it to be more accurate?

A synthetic E. Coli genome
Jason Chin and Colleagues at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge have published this week in the Journal Nature their latest work to completely synthesise a new genome of an E. coli bacteria. Not only was the genome designed and manufactured by human means, it was also recoded in a way not used by nature, involving some 18000 edits. In natural DNA, several different codes can do the same job. As Roland Pease reports, the new genome instead uses fewer of these duplicates, demonstrating all sorts of possibilities for future designs of synthetic cells.

Von Humboldt
Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich Alexander von Humboldt was a celebrated Prussian geographer, naturalist and explorer. He influenced Darwin and was the first person to describe human-induced climate change, based on his observations from his travels. Yet he has slipped into relative obscurity, at least in the English-speaking world.

Andrea Wulf is an acclaimed author who has previously written about Alexander von Humboldt and is now back with another book about the explorer: The Adventures of Alexander von Humboldt. It's a graphic novel (illustrated by Lillian Melcher) that celebrates the 250th anniversary of Humboldt's birth and depicts his adventures on his 5 year expedition through South America. Adam Rutherford chats to Andrea about her book, why she chose to make it a graphic novel and how Humboldt's views on the environment can be interpreted today.

Producer: Alex Mansfield

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

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Human Consciousness - Could A Brain In A Dish Become Sentient?20180426As the field of neuroscience advances, scientists are increasingly growing brain tissue to study conditions like autism, Alzheimer's and Zika virus. But could it become conscious? And if so, how far away is that scenario?

Wind, changing water temperatures and salt are all factors known to control ocean currents. But new research suggests there's another element in the mix. When sea monkeys amass, the thousands of swimming legs can create powerful currents that mix hundreds of meters of water.

Whenever a baby is born, we ask whether it's a girl or a boy. But when it comes to puppies, the question is often about the breed, especially with mongrels. And when we think we know what it is, we make assumptions about how that dog will behave. For instance, if you think there's some golden retriever parentage, you may expect it to be good at playing fetch. But do our perceptions of dog breeds change the way it behaves? That's the question of a new citizen science project called MuttMix, which asks you to guess the ancestry of various mongrels.

Finally, Charles Dickens is known as one of the best novelists of the Victorian era but a new exhibition is questioning whether he should be also known as a man of science. Dickens campaigned for paediatrics and his powers of description lead to a new conditions being medically recognised. The exhibition will be at the Charles Dickens Museum and it opens in May.

Could a brain grown in a dish become sentient? Adam Rutherford investigates.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Finally, Charles Dickens is known as one of the best novelists of the Victorian era but a new exhibition is questioning whether he should be also known as a man of science. Dickens campaigned for paediatrics and his powers of description lead to a new conditions being medically recognised. The exhibition will be at the Charles Dickens Museum and it opens in May.

Human Embryo Research - Ethics - Sperm Whale Social Learning - Antikythera Mechanism20210318We 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 understand why. Couples going through IVF donate spare embryos for research and scientists are permitted to study them in a test tube, or in vitro, allowing them to grow and develop for up to 14 days. This 14 day rule is abided by globally, and it's enshrined in the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act in the UK. Thirty years ago no-one could keep these embryos alive for more than a few days but recently the techniques have moved on and they have been cultured for nearly 14 days. So should the 14 day rule be extended? Gaia Vince discusses this question with bioethicist professor Insoo Hyun of Case Western University and Harvard Medical School.

There are other ways of studying this early development that don't involve growing an actual embryo, and that's by using just a few stem cells from it. These are cells that haven't yet specialised into any type of body cell and so they have the potential to become any cell type. Researchers can grow these cells into structures that resemble embryos, although they could never survive inside a woman's womb, and these artificial embryos aren't subject to the 14 day rule. Gaia talks to Dr Naomi Moris of the Crick Institute in London about her work on what she calls gastruloids.

Whaling was a huge industry in the 19th century, and populations of sperm whales plummeted, as hunters sought the oil in their heads that was used everywhere for lighting. The whalers who were hunting in the North Pacific kept meticulous records that have been recently made public. Biologists have been studying them, and picking out unexpected changes in the patterns of whale capture. Dr Luke Rendell of St Andrews University explains how he and his colleagues worked out that that the whales seemed to be learning from each other how to avoid the boats.

A piece of intricate Ancient Greek engineering called the Antikythera mechanism, that was found by sponge divers in 1901 in the Mediterranean, has fascinated many people. Last week a team from University College London published the latest explanation of how the device worked. Science writer Jo Marchant herself became so obsessed with the mechanism that she published a book on it called Decoding the Universe and she talks to Gaia about the object and what the new research tells us about how the Greeks understood the cosmos two thousand years ago.

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

A weekly programme looking at the science that's changing our world.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Human Embryos - Transit Of Mercury - Fishackathon - Fat Labradors20160505Scientists can keep human embryos alive for longer. Should they?

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Hyabusa 2 At Ryugu - Deadly 1918 Flu Pandemic - Ww2 Bombing - Ionosphere - Teenage Brain20180927Japan'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 successfully sent probes onto the surface and is sending pictures back to Earth. Gareth Mitchell discusses the achievement with BBC Science Correspondent Jonathan Amos.

A hundred years ago, the 1918 flu pandemic killed between 50 and 100 million people worldwide and infected around half a billion. Seasonal flu accounts for about 650,000 deaths per year. As this year's flu season approaches, there are new insights into how the influenza virus causes disease and why some strains like the 1918 one (a subtype of the avian strain H1N1) are so deadly compared with the seasonal kind. In the most serious cases, there's an extreme immune reaction in the lungs, and people can effectively suffocate. The latest research from the universities of Cambridge and Oxford has uncovered a molecule that might be behind that immune overreaction. Dr Aartjan te Velthuis explains the findings and the implications for novel treatments.

The massive bombing raids on cities in World War Two lead to terrible human tragedy, Now a historian and a physicist have been looking at how shock waves from some of the major bombing over Berlin caused the upper atmosphere above Slough to wobble. Specifically they're interested in the layer eighty to a thousand kilometres up that reflects radio waves, the ionosphere. Historian Patrick Major and meteorology expert Christopher Scott, both professors at the University of Reading, tell Gareth about their collaboration and how monitoring changes in the ionosphere today can reveal both man made and natural explosive events.

And Adam Rutherford talks to Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore of UCL about her book, Inventing Ourselves: the Secret Life of the Teenage Brain, the last on this year's shortlist for the Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize.

Hayabusa2, the deadly 1918 flu pandemic, WW2 bombing and the ionosphere, the teenage brain

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Hyabusa Mission - Protodune Neutrino Detector - Caledonian Crow Skills - Koala Microbiome20180628Yesterday 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 Science Correspondent Jonathan Amos dissects the aims of this audacious sample-return mission and the initial images that have just arrived back on earth.

There's a plethora of neutrinos flowing through your body right now. Adam Rutherford goes inside 'protoDune', the world's latest and largest neutrino detector whose prototype is about to be filled with over 700 tonnes of liquid argon and hopefully pick up a few signals generated by interactions from these elusive particles. We hear from project leader Christos Touramanis who is a particle physicist from Liverpool University.

Caledonian crows craft tools with greater sophistication than most animals, and can learn to modify their tools to make them gradually more effective. This "cultural accumulation" is commonplace amongst humans - where we pass on information socially. But it's extremely rare in other animals to see them passing on knowledge in this way. Sarah Jelbert from Cambridge University discusses her new evidence that suggests crows manage to transmit their tool designing skills from one bird to another in this sophisticated way

Our gut bacteria are emerging as key determinants of our health and the microbiome may even influence our behaviour. The interaction between ubiquitous bacteria and the food wild animals eat is beginning to be studied all over the world. Could manipulating the microbiome prove a new tool for conservation in animals whose food supply is under threat? Ecologist Ben Moore from Western Sydney University has been studying the eating habits of koalas and whether faecal transplants could alter the eating habits of this highly fussy herbivore.

Producer Adrian Washbourne.

Adam Rutherford discusses the latest space mission to grab samples from an asteroid.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Producer Adrian Washbourne.

Insect Decline - Gut Microbiome - Geomagnetic Switching20190214A 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 researchers have collated other people's research, including the big 27 year study from Germany, that showed 75% loss of insects by weight (biomass). The basic headlines are quite scary: 40% of insect species are declining; 33% are endangered; we're losing a total mass of 2.5% of insects every year. The reviewers blame habitat loss by conversion to intensive agriculture as the main driver for the declines, plus agro-chemicals, invasive species and climate change adding to the burden. Adam Rutherford speaks to insect expert Professor Adam Hart from the University of Gloucestershire to discuss numbers and consequences.

It's quickly being realised that the composition of microbes in our guts is vital to our health. Scientists working on the gut microbiome have discovered and isolated more than 100 completely new species of bacteria from healthy human intestines. It's hoped that these new techniques to isolate and grow these novel bugs, will give us insight into how our microbiome keeps us healthy.

After covering the story about the Earth's early core accretion and the clues found in rocks about the early magnetic field, listener Neil Tugwell emailed BBC Inside Science to ask for more information about geomagnetic switching. Are we heading for another flip of the magnetic poles? And what might be the impact on GPS? Adam gets the answers from Dr. Robert Wicks, lecturer in space risk in the UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction.

Producer: Fiona Roberts

Insect decline, gut microbiome and geomagnetic switching.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Insects Disappearing - Dna Biosensor - Dog Faces - Bandit Dinosaur20171026The 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, made in Germany, has shocked many, but should we in the UK be worried too? The answer is yes, according to Adam Rutherford's guests Dave Goulson, professor of biology at the University of Sussex, and Michael McCarthy, environmental journalist and author of 'The Moth Snow Storm.'

The speed and ease of precise infection diagnosis could be transformed by synthetic biologists at Imperial College, London. Paul Freemont tells Adam about a simple DNA biosensor that turns green in the presence of a pneumonia-causing bacterium that is a particular problem for people with Cystic Fibrosis. He adds that the technology is adaptable to any kind of bacteria and may also aid efforts to curb the spread of antibiotic resistance.

When dogs know you are looking at them, they ramp up the expressiveness of their faces. Marnie Chesterton visits the Dog Cognition Centre at the University of Portsmouth to talk to the researchers who made this discovery, and to meet Jimmy the Staffy.

Palaeontologists at the University of Bristol have figured out the colour patterning on a dinosaur that lived 120 million years ago. Sinosauropteryx was a small feathered dinosaur. Two spectacular fossils of it were found in northeast China. The specimens are so well preserved that remnants of pigment remain in the feathers. This allows Jakob Vinter and colleagues to see that Sinosauropteryx was reddish brown in colour, with light stripes on its tail, light and dark counter-shading on its body and a dashing bandit-style face mask.

Producer: Andrew Luck-Baker.

Where have all the insects gone?

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Producer: Andrew Luck-Baker.

Adam Rutherford investigates the news in science and science in the news.

Interstellar Visitor - Svante Paabo - Synthetic Biology - Plight Of The Axolotl20171123On 19th October, a mysterious object sped through our solar system. It was first spotted by astronomers with a telescope in Hawaii. Its trajectory and speed told of its interstellar origins. It is the first body to be detected from outside our solar system. Scientists are now publishing their papers on the enigmatic visitor. They estimate that it was about 400 metres long and bizarrely elongated in shape. Adam Rutherford talks to astronomer Alan Fitzsimmons of Queens University in Belfast.

Twenty years ago, geneticist Svante Paabo began a revolution in human evolution science when he extracted fragments of DNA from the 40,000 year old bone of a Neanderthal. Among other first, he went onto sequence the entire genome sequence of Homo Neanderthalenisis. Professor Paabo was in the UK this week at a conference on DNA and human evolution at the Wellcome Genome Campus to mark the anniversary. He tells Adam about one of the new directions of research for him now.

What does the future hold for synthetic biology? Who will be the practitioners of this fast-growing branch of bioengineering and what will be its impact on the world - for good and possibly ill? Experts in the field have just published a horizon-scanning report in the journal eLife. One of its authors, Jenny Molloy of the University of Cambridge, talks to Adam about the nascent democratisation of the discipline and where this might lead the field and society.

The paradoxical plight of the axolotl: popular aquarium pet, laboratory animal and critically endangered species in the wild. This species of salamander is a wonder of nature. It's the amphibian that never grows out of its larval stage yet it's able to reproduce. Most remarkable is its ability to regrow limbs, which is of great potential interest to researchers developing regenerative medicine. There are many thousands of axolotls in labs and homes around the world. But in the wild, in their native Mexico, they are on the very edge of extinction. Inside Science talks to conservation biologist Richard Griffiths of the University of Kent and axolotl researcher Tatiana Sandoval Guzman of the Technical University in Dresden, Germany.

Producer: Andrew Luck-Baker.

Oumuamua - the first known visitor from beyond the solar system.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

The paradoxical plight of the axolotl: popular aquarium pet, laboratory animal and critically endangered species in the wild. This species of salamander is a wonder of nature. It's the amphibian that never grows out of its larval stage yet it's able to reproduce. Most remarkable is its abilty to regrow limbs, which is of great potential interest to researchers developing regenerative medicine. There are many thousands of axolotls in labs and homes around the world. But in the wild, in their native Mexico, they are on the very edge of extinction. Inside Science talks to conservation biologist Richard Griffiths of the University of Kent and axolotl researcher Tatiana Sandoval Guzman of the Technical University in Dresden, Germany.

Producer: Andrew Luck-Baker.

Inuits - Denisovans - Sex - Woodlice - Peace Through Particle Physics - Caspar The Octopus In Peril?20161222Can Inuits survive the Arctic cold thanks to deep past liaisons with another species?

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Inventing Gps - Carbon Nanotube Computer - Steven Strogatz - Monty Lyman Discuss Calculus - Skin20190905Global 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 miniaturised atomic clocks and launched them in Earth orbit satellites. This was part of the US Department of Defense's plan to track ships and aircraft and guide targeted missiles. In the intervening years, Brad and Hugo had no idea just how far the civilian applications of GPS would go. Alongside Richard Schwartz and James Spilker, they have just been awarded the prestigious the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering.

The age of silicon chip based computing could be coming to an end. Difficulties in shrinking silicon transistors, or switches, into ever smaller processors led researchers at MIT to search for alternative semiconducting materials to replace them. Cue carbon nanotubes, tubes of carbon atoms many tens of thousands of times narrower than a human hair. Electrical engineer Max Shulaker and his team have overcome spaghetti-like tangles of CNTs and varying levels of conductivity to create a 16bit processor. He says that rather than a straight forward replacement to silicon, the initial hope is that CNT chip technology can be added to existing silicon wafers.

Steven Strogatz and Monty Lyman have been shortlisted for the Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize this year.
In "Infinite Powers", Professor of applied maths at Cornell University, Steven Strogatz tells Adam Rutherford the story of calculus and why his book has a warning saying "this book is dangerous, it will make you love mathematics!" And in "The Remarkable Life of the Skin" Dr. Monty Lyman takes Claudia Hammond on an intimate journey across our surface. They discuss advances in skin treatments, new research on the importance of our diet and our skin and the vital role our largest organ plays in our lives.

Producer - Fiona Roberts
Presenter - Gareth Mitchell

Inventing GPS, carbon nanotube computer, RS Prize shortlisted books on calculus and skin.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Gareth Mitchell goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Ipcc Report - Cairngorms Connect Project - Grass Pea - The Sun Exhibition At Science Museum20181011Adam Rutherford speaks to Dr Tamsin Edwards, a lecturer in Physical Geography at Kings College London and a lead author for the latest IPCC report. Dr Edwards describes what happens in the making of the report, including the summarising of the wealth of scientific literature available into an understandable document for the policy makers.

Cairngorms National Park in Scotland is part of an ambitious project to restore the habitat to its former natural state. Four organisations have joined together as the 'Cairngorms Connect' project – Scottish Natural Heritage, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Wildland Limited and Forest Enterprise Scotland. Graeme Prest of Forest Enterprise Scotland explains how the project team will start to restore the habitat.

The grass pea is a resilient and highly nutritious legume but it contains varying level of toxins. Marnie Chesterton visits the John Innes Centre in Norwich to meet the researchers working on making the grass pea less poisonous, which could aid food security, particularly in sub-Saharan.

The Sun is technically a G-type main sequence star, which means it's a giant continuous nuclear fusion reaction plasma, spewing out extremely dangerous matter and energy in every direction, and when it hits the Earth, this can cause all sorts of problems. Adam visits the Science Museum in London to meet Harry Cliff, a physicist and curator of a new exhibition: ‘The Sun: Living With Our Star', which explores our relationship with the closest star to earth.

Adam also finds out from Professor Chris Scott of Reading University about a citizen science project called Protect our Planet from Solar Storms.

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

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Italy's Quakes - Ebola Virus - Accidental Rocket Fuel - China In Space20161103Italy's earthquakes: is there a pattern?

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

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 decades. In late August, another struck near Amatrice, causing 300 lost lives. Adam Rutherford talks to seismologist Ross Stein about why this part of the Italian peninsula is so prone to shaking, whether there is a pattern in the recent activity and whether the scientists are getting any better at earthquake forecasting.

The recent Ebola epidemic in West Africa was the largest and most deadly of its kind so far. More than 11,000 people were killed by the virus. Now two groups of virologists have discovered that early in the epidemic's course, the Ebola virus underwent a genetic change which allowed it to infect human cells more easily. Could this mutation explain the terrible scale of the outbreak of 2013 to 2016?

Also in the show, the chemists who are aiming to make ammonia fertiliser production more environmentally friendly but made rocket fuel instead; and the past and future of the Chinese space programme.

Juno - Nanotech Art Conservation - Robots Fix The City - Eel Conservation20160630Nasa's Juno space mission approaches Jupiter.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

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 other spacecraft in history. Juno is constructed like an armoured tank, because Jupiter is surrounded by a belt of very intense radiation that can quickly fry most spacecraft electronics. On July 4, Juno's engines will attempt to slow the probe down so it can be sucked into Jupiter's orbit. The slightest error could mean Juno misses this window, putting an end to the $1.1 billion mission. The man in charge is Dr Scott Bolton, and he speaks to Adam from Pasadena in California.

Traditional art conservation tends to focus on paintings - how to stop paint from peeling. But contemporary art uses a much broader range of materials; plastics, rubber; pickled sharks. This means that an ever-increasing array of techniques are needed to conserve those materials. A new project is looking at the role nanotechnology can play, as Rob Thompson reports.

It's National Robot Week. There is a fear that robots will replace many of the jobs done by humans. But what if robots just stuck to emptying the gutters and fixing potholes; the chores that humans find tedious? Professor Phil Purnell from Leeds University has just launched a project that aims to use robots to fix bits of the city - finding and patching tiny defects before they turn into massive sinkholes.

The European eel may be mysterious, and delicious but it is also critically endangered.

The only reason we know this is because of organisations like the Zoological Society of London. They do the unglamorous job of monitoring these fish caught in traps in rivers around the UK. Marnie Chesterton went along to count eels in rainy Brentford with ZSL's Joe Pecorelli, who shares his knowledge of this creature's epic life journey.

Juno - Space Debris - Fake Tumours - Risky Plants20160707Welcome to Jupiter: Juno mission unlocks secrets of this giant gas ball of a planet.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

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 to fire a rocket engine in a tricky and precise manoeuvre in order to brake and become ensnared by Jupiter's gravity.

Fran Baganal is a mission scientist for Juno and tells Adam Rutherford what measurements Juno is now in position to make.

Space is full of junk left over from past space missions: from flecks of paint to used rockets, dead satellites, also debris from past collisions of space junk. This junk is speeding around the Earth at several thousand miles per hour. At those speeds even small pieces of rubbish just fractions of a millimetre across can damage communication satellites which are vital for the web, mobile phones, and satellite navigation on earth.

The Surrey Space centre team are preparing to launch the world's first space litter-picking mission. The RemoveDebris team share their clean up designs with Adam.

Researchers have had success growing body parts like windpipes and ears in the laboratory for use in transplants. A group of scientists at Barts Cancer Institute in London are making own tumours; tissues we don't want. However, it is important to study how they grow, and co-opt other cells in the body. Reporter Anand Jagatia heads to their tissue lab to see what they've grown.

All animals take risky decisions all the time. The ability to assess the potential gain from the potential harm, and make the right choice, gives the animal an evolutionary advantage. A new study suggests that plants are capable of making similar calculations, despite not having brains. Alex Kacelnik at Oxford University is one of the scientists behind the experiment that suggests that pea plants are willing to gamble.

Presenter: Adam Rutherford

Producer: Adrian Washbourne.

Adam Rutherford explores the science that is changing our world.

Killer Robots - Myths - Superstitions - Conservation - Science Book Prize Nominee - Cordelia Fine - Taxidermy20170824Once again, the ethical side of fully autonomous weapons has been raised, this time by over 100 leading robotics experts, including Elon Musk of SpaceX and Tesla, and Mustafa Suleyman of DeepMind. They have sent an open letter to the United Nations urging them to take action in order to prevent the development of "killer robots". The letter says "lethal autonomous" technology is a "Pandora's box", once opened it will be very difficult to close - they have called for a ban on the use of AI in managing weaponry. Gareth asks AI expert, Professor Peter Bentley from University College London, if this is the right approach or is this just an attempt to delay the inevitable?

When a paper titled "Fantastic Beasts and Why to Conserve Them" is printed in the journal Oryx, we had to take a closer look. Far more than a publicity stunt, this work by George Holmes, an expert in conservation and society at the University of Leeds, covers an important point. It explores the dangers of neglecting local beliefs, myths and superstitions about the natural world, and animals in particular, when trying to come up with conservation strategies.

Cordelia Fine is a professor of the history and philosophy of science at the University of Melbourne. She is the third shortlisted author of the Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize. Her book "Testosterone Rex" explores the science behind gender. She argues that testosterone isn't necessarily the basis for masculinity and that there is so much more to gender than merely our biological sex.

200 years ago, taxidermy was a crucial part of zoological teaching and research, and in the days before BBC wildlife films, often the only way that many people could see strange and exotic wildlife from other lands. Lots of those early specimens are incredibly valuable, and can still be found in museums around the world, although being so old they are often in need of urgent repair. Usually this happens out of sight behind the scenes, but not so at the Grant Museum of Zoology in London, which has been doing its conservation live in the gallery for all to see, to draw attention to the art and science of taxidermy. Some of the more serious repairs get sent to taxidermy conservator Lucie Mascord in Lancashire.

Produced by Fiona Roberts
Presented by Gareth Mitchell.

Killer robots; myths and conservation; Cordelia Fine's book - Testosterone Rex; taxidermy.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Killer Robots Myths - Superstitions - Conservation Science Book Prize Nominee - Cordelia Fine Taxidermy20170824Adam Rutherford explores the science that is changing our world.

Once again, the ethical side of fully autonomous weapons has been raised, this time by over 100 leading robotics experts, including Elon Musk of SpaceX and Tesla, and Mustafa Suleyman of DeepMind. They have sent an open letter to the United Nations urging them to take action in order to prevent the development of "killer robots". The letter says "lethal autonomous" technology is a "Pandora's box", once opened it will be very difficult to close - they have called for a ban on the use of AI in managing weaponry. Gareth asks AI expert, Professor Peter Bentley from University College London, if this is the right approach or is this just an attempt to delay the inevitable?

When a paper titled "Fantastic Beasts and Why to Conserve Them" is printed in the journal Oryx, we had to take a closer look. Far more than a publicity stunt, this work by George Holmes, an expert in conservation and society at the University of Leeds, covers an important point. It explores the dangers of neglecting local beliefs, myths and superstitions about the natural world, and animals in particular, when trying to come up with conservation strategies.

Cordelia Fine is a professor of the history and philosophy of science at the University of Melbourne. She is the third shortlisted author of the Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize. Her book "Testosterone Rex" explores the science behind gender. She argues that testosterone isn't necessarily the basis for masculinity and that there is so much more to gender than merely our biological sex.

200 years ago, taxidermy was a crucial part of zoological teaching and research, and in the days before BBC wildlife films, often the only way that many people could see strange and exotic wildlife from other lands. Lots of those early specimens are incredibly valuable, and can still be found in museums around the world, although being so old they are often in need of urgent repair. Usually this happens out of sight behind the scenes, but not so at the Grant Museum of Zoology in London, which has been doing its conservation live in the gallery for all to see, to draw attention to the art and science of taxidermy. Some of the more serious repairs get sent to taxidermy conservator Lucie Mascord in Lancashire.

Produced by Fiona Roberts
Presented by Gareth Mitchell.

Land Use - Zoonoses - California's Earthquake Risk - The Tuatara Genome20200813COVID19 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 bubonic plague are all serious infectious diseases that sat in a host species before crossing to us. But what causes this to happen? Individual case studies suggest that we are partly to blame in the way we use the land, either through urbanisation or agriculture. But how widespread is this, and do our global patterns of land use systematically put us at risk? Adam talks to environmental biologist David Redding from the Zoological Society of London, and his team, whose new study suggests they do.

Jessica Bradford, the Keeper of Collection Engagement at the Science Museum, asks for your help with another mystery object that they've uncovered during their recent collection move.

Roland Pease reports on the chain of interconnected faults which has stimulated Los Angeles' preparation for “the big one”, after southern California was hit by one of the biggest earthquakes in the area for decades.

Adam also asks Neil Gemmell from the University of Otago in New Zealand about the weird and wonderful Tuatara, whose colossal genome he's just sequenced.

Presenter: Adam Rutherford
Producer: Beth Eastwood

Land use and zoonoses, Los Angeles' earthquake risk and the Tuatara genome.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Leonardo's Drawings - Super-mendelian Inheritance In Mice - The Weddell Sea Expedition20190124In February The Royal Collection will be holding the largest exhibition of Leonardo da Vinci's work in more than 65 years to mark the 500th anniversary of his death. Adam Rutherford gets up close and personal with some of Leonardo's drawings in the Royal Collection at Windsor Castle. Curator and Leonardo expert, Martin Clayton explains how modern scientific, non-invasive, techniques have revealed some interesting insight into the great artist and scientist's mind and his creative process.
The exhibition - Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing - will start exhibiting at a number of venues nationwide, before coming together, at the Queen's Gallery in Buckingham Palace and The Queen's Gallery Palace of Holyrood House in Edinburgh.

In normal Mendelian inheritance, genes are inherited according to a particular pattern. Basically, you have two copies of each gene, but a sperm or egg only has one, and so there is a 50% chance of one of those genes going into one of the sex cells, sperm or egg. However there are ways of massively increasing the chance of one gene making it through to the next generation. We call these ‘gene drives'. By harnessing these naturally occurring systems, there's been plenty of work on engineering gene drives in such a way that they could, for example eradicate malaria, by driving resistance genes into some insects, which would rapidly spread to the whole population. So far this has been limited to insects, but the genetic engineering technique CRISPR-CAS9 is changing all that. Kimberly Cooper from the University of California in San Diego explains to Adam how she and her team have taken this gene drive concept, and modified it so they can try to control how to push a particular gene into the next generation of mice, in order that it can be used as a tool for modelling diseases that have multiple genetic causes. This new technique could significantly increase the efficiency of making transgenic mice to study genetic diseases.

A major international scientific expedition are exploring one of the coldest, harshest and most remote locations in the world, the Weddell Sea, off Antarctica. Using underwater robots, drones and other state-of-the-art technology the Polar scientists are studying the Larsen C iceshelf. The team led by Julian Dowdeswell, director of the Scott Polar Research Institute, are also looking for the wreck of the Endurance, Earnest Shackleton's ship that was famously stuck in the Antarctic ice in 1915 for 10 months before it was crushed by the ice and sunk, thwarting his attempt at the South Pole.

Producer: Fiona Roberts

Leonardo's drawings, Super-Mendelian inheritance in mice and the Weddell Sea Expedition

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

In February The Royal Collection will be holding the largest exhibition of Leonardo da Vinci’s work in more than 65 years to mark the 500th anniversary of his death. Adam Rutherford gets up close and personal with some of Leonardo's drawings in the Royal Collection at Windsor Castle. Curator and Leonardo expert, Martin Clayton explains how modern scientific, non-invasive, techniques have revealed some interesting insight into the great artist and scientist's mind and his creative process.
The exhibition - Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing - will start exhibiting at a number of venues nationwide, before coming together, at the Queen's Gallery in Buckingham Palace and The Queen's Gallery Palace of Holyrood House in Edinburgh.

In normal Mendelian inheritance, genes are inherited according to a particular pattern. Basically, you have two copies of each gene, but a sperm or egg only has one, and so there is a 50% chance of one of those genes going into one of the sex cells, sperm or egg. However there are ways of massively increasing the chance of one gene making it through to the next generation. We call these ‘gene drives’. By harnessing these naturally occurring systems, there’s been plenty of work on engineering gene drives in such a way that they could, for example eradicate malaria, by driving resistance genes into some insects, which would rapidly spread to the whole population. So far this has been limited to insects, but the genetic engineering technique CRISPR-CAS9 is changing all that. Kimberly Cooper from the University of California in San Diego explains to Adam how she and her team have taken this gene drive concept, and modified it so they can try to control how to push a particular gene into the next generation of mice, in order that it can be used as a tool for modelling diseases that have multiple genetic causes. This new technique could significantly increase the efficiency of making transgenic mice to study genetic diseases.

A major international scientific expedition are exploring one of the coldest, harshest and most remote locations in the world, the Weddell Sea, off Antarctica. Using underwater robots, drones and other state-of-the-art technology the Polar scientists are studying the Larsen C iceshelf. The team led by Julian Dowdeswell, director of the Scott Polar Research Institute, are also looking for the wreck of the Endurance, Earnest Shackleton’s ship that was famously stuck in the Antarctic ice in 1915 for 10 months before it was crushed by the ice and sunk, thwarting his attempt at the South Pole.

Life On Mars? Quantum Gravity - The Deep Origins Of Bird Song20161013New mission searching for signs of life on Mars about to arrive at the Red Planet

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

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 European Space Agency's ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter. Once the spacecraft starts work, it may solve the mystery of ebbs and flows of methane gas in the Martian atmosphere. It may answer whether the gas is being produced by life beneath the planet's cold dusty surface.

The American space agency Nasa already has a mission well underway on the Martian surface.. For four years, Curiosity has been exploring the deep geological past of a huge Martian crater and mountain. Recently possible signs of liquid water have been seen nearby. But rather than going closer to study it, Nasa wants the rover to avoid it. Project scientist Ashwin Vasavada explains why.

Carlo Rovelli is a theoretical physicist and writer. His latest book 'Reality is not what it Seems' explores the history of thought about the physical nature of the universe and one of the latest incarnations of that great quests - loop quantum gravity theory. He talks to Adam about the fine grain of space and time, and exploding black holes.

Palaeontologist Julia Clarke has discovered the oldest fossil of a bird's organ of song, the syrinx. At the University of Texas, Austin the delicate structure turned up in an X ray scan of a 66 million year old bird fossil from Antarctica. The fossil syrinx is so well preserved, it is possible to say what the call of this ancient bird Vegavis would have sounded like. It's also a massive boost in the quest to discover when birds first sang and recreating the dawn chorus back in the Age of Dinosaurs.

Liquid Water On Mars - Early Embryo Development - Earth Biogenome Project - Marine Wilderness20180726The 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 planet. The question of water on Mars has been around for years, and we've known about water ice, and there's been the possibility of seasonal flowing water on Mars for a while. But if this result is right, this is the first case of a substantial stable body of liquid water on Mars. Adam Rutherford talks to Roberto Orosei of the Radio Astronomy Institute in Bologna whose team made the discovery. Where should scientists be directing their efforts next in the light of this new finding? We hear from NASA's Chief Scientist Jim Green.

We've been growing embryonic cells in petri dishes for a few years now, to try to fill in the gaps in our understanding of early development, but the tissue that grows never really resembles an actual embryo. Magdalena Zernicka Goetz is a developmental biologist from Cambridge University and in a paper out this week has leapt over this hurdle in developmental biology using three types of stem cell, which - unlike previous efforts - push a ball of cells to becoming an embryo, which could help us understand why pregnancy can fail.

The Earth Biogenome Project aims to sequence the DNA of all the planet's eukaryotes, some 1.5 million known species including all known plants, animals and single-celled organisms. The project will take 10 years to complete and cost an estimated $4.7 billion. Harris Lewin from UC Davis is spearheading this scheme. How will he meet his ambition to curate all the DNA of life on Earth?

For the first time, scientists have assessed how much of the seas are untouched by the impact of human activity. They're referred to as Marine Wilderness, and qualify as such by being relatively untouched by things like fishing, pollution or agricultural run-off. According to the survey, published today, only 13% of the world's oceans remain as wilderness. James Watson from the University of Queensland discusss the action that needs to be taken if these precious ecological areas are to survive.

Producer : Adrian Washbourne.

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

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Producer : Adrian Washbourne.

Listeners' Questions20161229Adam Rutherford puts listeners' science questions to his team of experts.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Adam Rutherford puts listeners' science questions to his team of experts: physicist Helen Czerski, cosmologist Andrew Pontzen and biology Yan Wong. Queries include gravity on sci-fi space ships, how animals would evolve on the low gravitational field of the Moon, gravitational waves, mimicry in parrots, sea level rise, the accelerating university, dinosaur intelligence, the Higgs field and concerns about oxygen levels in the atmosphere.

Further questions are answered in the podcast version of the show. They cover Antarctic dinosaurs, reducing CO2 levels in the atmosphere by trapping it as limestone, and Neanderthal DNA.

Lockdown Lessons For Climate Change - The Carbon Neutral Cumbrian Coal Mine20200416Lockdown lessons for climate change and the carbon neutral Cumbrian coal mine.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

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 happening. Just like the Covid-19 pandemic, it will be the poorest people in the poorest countries that pay the highest price for the breakdown in our climate. But can we learn something from the current lockdown that can be applied to climate change? Can it provide the impetus for us to do things differently. Writer and environmentalist George Monbiot thinks so. He recently wrote that coronavirus is ‘a wake-up call for a complacent civilisation', and he discusses with Marnie Chesterton whether there is some hope that can be taken from the current crisis.

Last year, it was announced that a new coal mine in Cumbria was given cross-party backing in parliament. The Woodhouse colliery would be Britain's first new deep coalmine in 30 years, bringing much needed jobs to the community. The colliery, along the coast from Whitehaven, is planned to be producing coking coal for the steel industry. Cumbria County Council claimed the mine, which aims to process 2.5m tonnes of coking coal a year, would be carbon neutral, as locally produced coal, negates the need to ship it in from as far afield as the US, Canada, Russia and Colombia. It's perhaps unsurprising that climate campaigners think this is a huge step back and that the mine is unnecessary and incompatible with UK climate ambitions and that it will hold back the development of low-carbon steelmaking. BBC Inside Science sent reporter Geoff Marsh to explore the story that highlights the difficulties of balancing carbon costs and accounting, with employment and self-sufficiency.

Presenter - Marnie Chesterton
Producer - Fiona Roberts

Last year, it was announced that a new coal mine in Cumbria was given backing in parliament. The Woodhouse colliery would be Britain's first new deep coal mine in 30 years, bringing much needed jobs to the community. The colliery, along the coast from Whitehaven, is planned to be producing coking coal for the steel industry. Cumbria County Council claimed the mine, which aims to process 2.5m tonnes of coking coal a year, would be carbon neutral, as locally produced coal, negates the need to ship it in from as far afield as the US, Canada, Russia and Colombia. It's perhaps unsurprising that climate campaigners think this is a huge step back and that the mine is unnecessary and incompatible with UK climate ambitions and that it will hold back the development of low-carbon steelmaking. BBC Inside Science sent reporter Geoff Marsh to explore the story that highlights the difficulties of balancing carbon costs and accounting, with employment and self-sufficiency.

Illuminating the mysteries and challenging the controversies behind science today

Lovelock At 100 - Hydrothermal Vents - Antibiotic Resistance In The Environment20190801James 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 reaches of the atmosphere, Earth is one giant inter-connected and self-regulating system, has had an impact way beyond the world of science. As Lovelock celebrates his hundredth birthday (he was born on 26th July 1919) he is still writing books and thinking about science. Science writer Gaia Vince spoke to him about his work and how he came to his famous but controversial theory.

Most hydrothermal vents are in deep water far from land, making them incredibly inaccessible to divers. But in a fjord known locally as Eyjafjörður, off the coast of Iceland, is the hydrothermal vent Strytan. It's close enough that it can be accessed by scuba divers, and the algae and animals living in the hot chemical-laden plumes can be sampled. Geoff Marsh heads out with a team of scientists from the Natural History Museum in London and the University of Southampton to collect creatures living both in the hot vent water and in the icy cold fjord. The idea is to sample the genes to see what adaptations to temperature are evolving.

We are hearing more and more about antibiotic resistance. Overuse of antibiotics has led to more and more bacteria evolving and adapting ways to survive antimicrobial treatments. But did you know that the genes coding for this resistance can also float freely in water and on surfaces in the environment? A couple of recent studies have been sampling freshwater bodies and commonly touched surfaces (like handrails and toilet seats) in and around London and the amount of antibiotic resistance genes (either freely floating or in bacteria) is quite alarming. Environmental engineer at UCL, Professor Lena Ciric, explains to Marnie Chesterton what this means and whether we should be concerned.

Producer: Fiona Roberts

James Lovelock at 100, hydrothermal vents and antibiotic resistance in the environment

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Making Mozzies Safe With A Microbe - Co2 At 400 Ppm - Chixculub Crater Rocks - Why Mars Lander Failed20161027Fighting Zika and dengue virus with an insect bacterium.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Making The Uk's Dams Safe - Ai Spots Fake Smiles - How Many Trees Should We Be Planting?20190808In 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 collapse, questions inevitably arise as to how ‘future proofed' UK dams are? This is doubly worrying in light of climate change and the increasing likelihood of extreme weather events. With the average age of UK dams being over 100 years and the UK climate forecast to become wetter and warmer, should we be concerned? Gareth Mitchell speaks to Rachel Pether from the British Dam Society and Craig Goff, Technical Lead, Dams and Reservoirs from HR Wallingford, who explain the science and engineering involved in monitoring and safely managing UK dams in a changing climate.

When someone smiles at you, how can you tell whether that smile is genuine or fake and why would you want to know? According to Professor of visual computing at the University of Bradford, Hassan Ugail, it's all in the eyes! Humans are notoriously bad at picking up fake smiles, because we tend to focus our vision on the upturned corners of the mouth. Focus on specific movement of the eyes and the dynamic progression of a smile, however, and that's when a genuine smile is evident. Hassan explains how computers are over 90% successful at being able to detect fake smiles, and examines the purposes to which this facial recognition technology may be applied in our daily lives.

Inside Science listener, Thomas from New Zealand, has noticed the sudden surge in nations encouraging mass tree planting and reforestation. But how much of a difference is it all making? Professor of Agriculture, policy and development at the University of Reading Dr Martin Lukac discusses the impacts of, the soot and ash from the recent forest fires in Siberia, deforestation and even makes an educated guess at much forest you would have to plant to counteract the CO2 emissions emitted after using your family car for the year.

Producer - Fiona Roberts

Making the UK's dams safe; AI spots fake smiles and how many trees should we be planting?

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Gareth Mitchell goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Mars - Rovers V Humans? Forests - Carbon - Ethiopian Bush Crow20190221Nasa 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 Seward and BBC space correspondent, Jonathan Amos. Airbus are working with the European and Russian Space Agencies on the next rover, part of the Exomars mission. This new rover is called the Rosalind Franklin, after the UK scientist and when it hopefully lands in 2021, it'll be drilling down, deep into the surface of Mars to look for evidence of past life.

We know that trees help mitigate the effects of greenhouse gases on climate change by sucking up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. In fact forests are estimated to lock up 2 of every 10 carbon molecules released. But which forests do it best? Tom Pugh at the University of Birmingham has been looking at the age of forests to try and see if this is a factor. It turns out the pristine, ancient tropical forests like the Amazon, although doing a good job, just aren't as good as the younger, regrowth forests of the Boreal and Temperate zones in the northern hemisphere. It's all down to demographics and the balance between new trees and dying trees.

We keep hearing that this, or that, species is being threatened by climate change, but often the mechanisms are not that obvious. One particularly intriguing example comes in the form of the Ethiopian bush crow. An intelligent, seemingly adaptable bird, living in what seems like a general, widespread habitat in Southern Ethiopia, eating a wide and varied diet. Yet it's range is restricted to tiny pockets of land in a huge area of, what seems like a similar habitat. Ecologist, Andrew Bladon at Cambridge University thinks he has the answer to what's restricting this bird's range and how is a warming climate pushing this bird to extinction.

Producer: Fiona Roberts

Goodbye Mars Opportunity rover - what's next? Forests and carbon, Ethiopian bush crow

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Mars Insight Mission - Detecting Dark Matter - Redefining The Kilogram - Bovine Tb20181122The 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 the University of Nottingham, Malcolm Bennett, helps Adam Rutherford understand just how complex the TB bacterium is, how difficult it is to test for infection and why the vaccine BCG does and doesn't work and answers listener's question of why don't we vaccinate cows?

Citizen scientists and their smartphones are being recruited to test the supermassive particle theory of dark matter and dark energy. The CREDO (Cosmic-Ray Extremely Distributed Observatory) project utilises smartphone cameras to take 'dark photos' and hopefully capture a particle collision that could be from the cascaded decay of these early universe massive particles or WIMPS.

Metrologists from across the world have just voted to update the metric system. With the redefinition of the kilogram, alongside the units for temperature, electrical current and amount of substance. For the first time, we now have a measurement system defined by fundamental constants of the universe and not physical artefacts made by humans. Reporter Henry Bennie travelled with the UK's kilogram to Paris for the vote.

NASA's Mars InSight mission lander is expected to touch down on the red planet on Monday. BBC Science Correspondent, Jonathan Amos, explains to Adam just how this stationary science lab will explore Martian geology looking for signs that life could have existed at one time on our neighbour.

Producer: Fiona Roberts

Mars InSight mission, detecting dark matter, redefining the kg and more on bovine TB.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Measuring Human Impact On Earth - Awards For Engineers - Sounds Of Space Junk -20170209Quantifying 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 historical natural processes with contemporary man made changes. And we ask where current developments will take us in years to come.

The Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering has been awarded to the inventors of digital imaging sensors. First invented in the 1970's, many of us use this technology everyday. These sensor can be found inside every digital camera ever made, from the devices used on space probes to collect distant images from the far reaches of the universe to the ubiquitous pocket cameras in our mobile phones.

The earth is surrounded by junk - space junk. Many thousand of pieces of junk orbit the planet, left over from the history of everything we've ever sent into space. A new project has given a voice to this junk, and created a machine which plays simulated sounds of the junk as it passes overhead.

Producer: Julian Siddle

Presenter: Gareth Mitchell

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Meeting Mars - Melting Ice - Ozone On The Mend Again - - A Sea Cacophany20210211Victoria 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 Mars , and a third from NASA arrives next week, UK astronaut Tim Peake talks of the international collaboration in Mars research that is to come. And continuing BBC Inside Science's look at some of the issues facing COP26 delegates to Glasgow this autumn, Victoria is joined by cryosphere scientist Dr Anna Hogg,

Anna studies – sometimes from space - how polar and Greenland ice sheets are melting and shifting as our climate warms. But those giant volumes of ice and concomitant rising sea levels might not be the only threat to people's lives. It may be that the recent deadly flash flood in India was a result of a swiftly melting Himalayan glacier.

The Montreal treaty - prohibiting the production of CFCs to allow the man-made polar hole in the Ozone layer identified back in the 1980s to repair - has long been cited as the classic example of an effective international agreement to protect earth's environment. But just a few years ago in 2018 Luke Western and colleagues identified not just that CFC production was suddenly and unexpectedly rising, but that it was mainly emanating from an area in eastern China. It was speculated then that their use in foams for buildings was happening illicitly on a large scale. This week, they happily announce that those emissions seem to have ceased, and that the target of a healthy ozone layer is back on track.

The oceans are, since man first took to the waves, a noisy place. In a comprehensive paper published last week in the journal Science Carlos Duarte and colleagues describe how huge an impact the many anthropogenic noises that echo for miles across the sea beds have on virtually all aquatic life. He argues that it is one stressor, rather like CFCs, that we could and should take swift and effective action to address, that the time for that is ripe, and that doing so will see a swift rebound in many aquatic ecosystems. Humans are not naturally adapted to hear the noise underwater, but to illustrate the point, co-author digital artist Jana Winderen has made an acoustic demonstration for your benefit, of quite how noisy neighbours we are

Also, for listeners on BBC Sounds, the BBC's Roland Pease gives an update on where and how scientists think the covid-19 epidemic began, after a WHO team of scientists report on their recent mission to Wuhan and the infamous market. As Roland and WHO delegate Peter Daszak surmise, we still don't quite know, but it wasn't in a lab.

Presented by Victoria Gill
Produced by Alex Mansfield

Made in Association with The Open University.

Tim Peake on Mars, melting poles and glaciers, CFC anomaly disappears, Oceanic cacophany.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Microbead Impact - Remote Animal Logging - Royal Society Book Prize - Surgewatch20160908Microbead impact, remote animal logging, Royal Society book prize, Surgewatch.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Model Embryos From Stem Cells - Paul Steinhardt's Book On Impossible Crystals - Mother Thames20190912One 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 when the majority of pregnancies fail. Professor Magdalena Zernika-Goetz at Cambridge University is a leader in the field of making 'model embryos' in both mice and humans. Model embryos until now have been grown in the lab from donated fertilised eggs, but these are hard to come by and governed by strict laws and ethical guidelines. Now researchers in the University of Michigan have used human pluripotent stem cell lines (originally isolated from embryos, but kept and nurtured as clumps of dividing cells in petri-dishes for many years) to make a model embryo that has shown signs of development and organisation in the crucial 7-10 day window. Magdalena and Gaia Vince discuss how helpful these will be to understanding crucial early stage pregnancies and as a tool to test drugs, treatments and disease processes. The ethical side of growing human embryos from stem cells is addressed by Stanford University ethicist Professor Hank Greely.

Physicist Paul Steinhardt has spent a great deal of his career trying to understand crystals with seemingly impossible five fold symmetries. Most of this was with pen and pencil in his Princeton laboratory. But in his Royal Society Science Book Prize shortlisted book, 'The Second Kind of Impossible', he documents his adventurous quest for these 'quasicrystals' in the wilds of Russia's Kamchatka Peninsular.

In 1957 the River Thames was so polluted it was declared ecologically dead. But since then The Zoological Society of London in partnership with over 30 conservation and research organisations have been working to improve the health of the River Thames and bring back the plethora of life and biodiversity. They are set to publish the first complete analysis of the river in over 60 years this Autumn. They're calling it 'Mother Thames' in recognition of the now nurturing nature of one of Britain's biggest rivers.

Presenter - Gaia Vince
Producer - Fiona Roberts

Model embryos, Paul Steinhardt's book on impossible crystals and Mother Thames.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Gaia Vince goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world.

More Gravitational Waves - Ocean Floor Mapping - Selfish Gene 40th - Spoonies20160616Gravitational waves have been found for a second time. What's different this time?

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Adam Rutherford explores the science that is changing our world.

Mosaic Arctic Super-expedition - Likely Extinction Of The Bahama Nuthatch - Tim Smedley's Book On Air Pollution20190919On Friday, 20 September, a powerful icebreaker called The Polarstern will set sail from Tromsø, Norway, with the aim of getting stuck into the polar ice. The plan is for the ship to spend the next year drifting past the North Pole, and this should enable scientists to collect unprecedented data on the Arctic. The Polarstern is the ‘mothership' of a substantial international collaboration called the Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate (or project MOSAiC). Scientists from over seventy research institutions across 19 different countries are involved, and a total of six hundred experts will be aboard throughout the expedition. They plan to construct a ‘research city' around the vessel with different neighbourhoods, each focused on a particular scientific area including: ecosystem, bio-geo-chemistry, ocean, atmosphere and sea ice. Adam spoke to UCL's Professor Julienne Stroeve, who will be aboard The Polarstern for two months during the Arctic winter, looking at the depth and density of snow in order to improve our understanding of the Arctic, and enhance our ability to predict effects of global climate change.

The residents of the Bahamas are still struggling to come to terms with the devastation of Hurricane Dorian (which hit 2 weeks ago) and also with the additional impact of Tropical Storm Humberto which reached the islands on Friday night, bringing more heavy rain and more strong winds. But the human population is resilient and they will eventually rebuild and resume their lives on the Caribbean islands. But for the Bahama nuthatch, it's thought that Dorian was the final straw. The endemic bird, is (or was) one of the rarest birds in the western hemisphere, in fact it was already thought extinct (after the damage wrought by Hurricane Mathew in June 2016) until last year when Professor Diana Bell and her team of conservationists from the University of East Anglia rediscovered it. But now, after the hurricane it is feared lost forever, and it may not be the only irreversible ecological loss for the Bahamas.

Tim Smedley's book 'Cleaning the Air: The Beginning and End of Air Pollution' is shortlisted for the Royal Society's science book prize. Tim tells the full story of air pollution: what it is, which pollutants are harmful, and where they come from. It's scary stuff, but there is good news that air pollution can be avoided and drastically reduced with sensible measures.

Producer - Fiona Roberts

MOSAiC expedition, Bahama nuthatch and Tim Smedley's book on air pollution.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that's transforming our world.

Mrna Vaccinations - Bacterial Space Miners - Artemis Accords20201112Scientists 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 have been greeted in certain quarters with some discord.

Presented by Marnie Chesterton
Produced by Alex Mansfield

Made in collaboration with The Open University.

How do the new type of mRNA vaccines work actually work? And how lawless is space?

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Nasa's Perseverance - Will It Pay Off? - Spotting Likely Hosts For Future Pandemics20210218On Thursday 18th Feb 2020 Nasa's Perseverance Rover is due to touch down – gently and accurately – in the Jezero crater on Mars. Using similar nail-biting Sky Crane technology as its predecessor Curiosity, if successful it will amongst many other things attempt to fly the first helicopter in the thin Martian atmosphere, and leave small parcels of interesting samples for future missions to collect and return to earth. Unlike previous Martian landings of course, there are no mass-landing parties to be held because of Covid.

So Vic Gill invites you to join her and current Curiosity and future Rosalind Franklin (ESA's 2023 Rover) team scientists in nervously awaiting the signal of success.

Dr Susanne Schwenzer was so tense during Curiosity's final approach in 2012 that she managed to draw blood from her own hand from clutching her mobile phone too hard. BBC Inside Science expects nothing less this time round. Dr Peter Fawdon has been part of the team seand examining the landing site for ESA's Martian lander and Rover, currently slated to launch in 2022. The project has had a complicated history, having been delayed several times. But with so much at stake, it's worth getting right.

Meanwhile, at Liverpool University, computer scientist Dr Maya Wardeh and virologist Dr Marcus Blagrove have been collaborating to see if Machine Learning and AI can help predict which mammalian species are more likely to harbour the next big coronavirus. Pitting traits and genomes, species similarities, lifestyles and ecosystems of mammals and viruses, they highlight in a paper published in Nature Communications some of the potentially most potent combinations where different coronaviruses could meet and spawn a new breakout. Not just looking for the more quotidian viral mutations the world is increasingly and unfortunately aware of, they have been looking instead for those species where something called homologous recombination between two different viruses, producing a third completely novel type, may occur. It turns out there are many possibilities beyond just bats, which are highly suspected of being the crucible in which SARS-CoV2 was smelted.

To spot whatever comes next we should keep an eye on camels, rabbits, palm civets and even hedgehogs, according to the algorithm.

Presented by Victoria Gill
Produced by Alex Mansfield

Made in Association with the Open University.

Landing, driving, flying on Mars, and where on Earth to look out for the next big virus.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Illuminating the mysteries and challenging the controversies behind science today

National Insect Week - Venus' Electric Field - Green Mining - Wimbledon Grass Science20160623Adam Rutherford finds out why insects are being celebrated across the UK.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

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 them in such detail - particularly diamondback moths, which have recently arrived the UK in large numbers. On the first official (and rather rainy) day of summer, we went down to Butterfly Paradise at London Zoo for the event launch. Entomologist Adam Hart tells us what the Week is all about.

New research out this week suggests that a so called electric wind has stripped all the water away from the surface of Venus. Space scientist Glyn Collinson at NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre has led this electrical field study.

Wales has 1300 rivers with illegal levels of heavy metals. Toxic metals like lead, zinc and copper are a legacy left over from when the area was heavily mined. Natural Resources Wales and Innovate UK set a competition to look for technology that would clean up these rivers. One of the winners was Steve Skill from Swansea University, who has come up with some biotechnology that uses algae to suck the poison out of the rivers.

The Championships at Wimbledon start next week, and whatever the weather, the grass has to be perfect. Adam Rutherford headed to London's SW19 to find out how the ground staff are using scientific evidence to cultivate the courts.

Producers: Marnie Chesterton and Jen Whyntie.

Producers: Marnie Chesterton & Jen Whyntie.

Neanderthals - Plague - Wind Tunnel - Music Timing - Stem Cells20140130
Neonics Dispute - Hygenic Bees - Hip-hop Mri20170706The results of the first large-scale field study looking at neonicotinoid pesticides and their impact on bees has caused controversy. It was carried out by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) and commissioned and funded by the agricultural chemical companies Syngenta and Bayer. However, both companies have expressed dissatisfaction with the paper. Adam Rutherford talks to Dr Peter Campbell from Syngenta and Dr Ben Woodcock from CEH about the results.

In a separate project, beekeepers have been trying to improve hive health by breeding 'hygienic bees'. These nifty insects love to keep their homes clean and free from disease, improving colony numbers and reducing the need to use antibiotics. Reporter Rory Galloway embarks on some fieldwork at the University of Sussex, with Luciano Scandin, Honeybee Research Facility Manager and Francis Ratnieks, Professor of Apiculture.

What happens when you rap inside an MRI scanner? Neuroscientist Sophie Scott wanted to find out. She's been making movies of the internal workings of some extraordinary voice boxes, owned by beatboxers, opera singers and rappers, like biochemist Alex Lathbridge aka Thermoflynamics.

Presenter: Adam Rutherford
Researcher: Caroline Steel
Producer: Michelle Martin.

Disagreement over the results of the latest field study into neonicotinoids and bee health

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Net-zero Carbon Target - Science Policy Under Thatcher - Screen Time Measures20190613Net-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 Theresa May's announcement this week. The proposed legislation would commit the UK's greenhouse gas emissions to ‘net-zero' by 2050, which would mean that after reducing emissions as much as possible, any remaining emissions would be offset through schemes such as planting trees or investing in renewable energy infrastructure. Dr Jo House, from the department of Geography at Bristol University, has spent time advising the government on previous carbon budgets and was there in the build-up to the signing of the Paris Agreement in 2016. She talks to Gareth Mitchell about the proposal, what it means for the UK's climate future and how realistic she thinks the targets are.

Science Policy Under Thatcher
30 years ago a new Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, told her officials - in a break from the norm - that she would keep a personal eye on science policy in her government. By 1987, the relationship between government, university research and industrial research would be changed utterly. Prof Jon Agar has been scouring The National Archives and a wealth of hitherto private communications that shed light on how her approach to science policy formed. His new book is out this week and he discusses the events with Prof Dame Wendy Hall, a young scientist in the 80s but now fresh to the programme from hearing announcements at the London Technology Week regarding large investment and an industrial strategy towards Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.

Screen Time Measures
If you are using evidence to inform your policy, you need to make sure that evidence is as robust as you think it is. David Ellis of Lancaster University tells Gareth about his team's recent work to evaluate a certain type of self-reporting, particularly involving studies into our well-being with regards to technology use. How much time do you spend with your device? Your answer might not be completely aligned with reality, as revealed by actual screen-time data. Unfortunately, many of the headline-grabbing papers we read regarding health and screen time are based on self-reporting questionnaires, which David suggests might require more scepticism.

Presenter: Gareth Mitchell
Producer: Alex Mansfield

Gareth Mitchell discusses a new carbon emissions target, and Science Policy Under Thatcher

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Screen Time Measures
If you are using evidence to inform your policy, you need to make sure that evidence is as robust as you think it is. David Ellis of Lancaster University tells Gareth about his team's recent work to evaluate a certain type of self-reporting, particularly involving studies into our well-being with regards to technology use. How much time do you spend with your device? Your answer might not be completely aligned with reality, as revealed by actual screen-time data. Unfortunately, many of the headline-grabbing papers we read regarding health and screen time are based self-reporting questionnaires, which David suggests might require more scepticism.

New Cfc Emissions - Cannabis - The Environment - The Noisy Cocktail Party - Automated Face Recognition20190523New CFC emissions
Researchers say that they have pinpointed the major sources of a mysterious recent rise in a dangerous, ozone-destroying chemical. CFC-11 was primarily used for home insulation but global production was due to be phased out in 2010. But scientists have seen a big slowdown in the rate of depletion over the past six years. This new study published in the Journal Nature says this is mostly being caused by new gas production in eastern provinces of China.
Dr Matt Rigby of the University of Bristol and the BBC's Matt McGrath, who has also been following the trail, tell Gareth about the mystery.

Yeast to make cannabinoids
In California, where cannabis has become a major cash crop since legalisation there, researchers are trying to evaluate the environmental impacts of large scale agricultural planting. But, as Geoff Marsh reports, other researchers are finding other ways to produce various cannabinoids for potential future sale. Can humble yeast be modified to produce the active substances that some believe to have therapeutic benefits?

Hearing aids for cocktail parties
One of the most impressive properties of the human auditory system is the way most of us can overhear or eavesdrop on specific voices in an otherwise crowded room. Most hearing aids can't help with that: they can sometimes filter out noises that are not human voices, but cannot do the very human trick of sorting one voice from a sea of others. Nima Mesgarani from Columbia University reports in the journal Science Advances a proof of principle for a device that might be able to do just that. Firstly, a new algorithm can separate out one voice from another. Then brain waves from the wearer could be used to recognise which of those voices they are trying to hear. Then it's a simple case of turning that voice up, and lowering the volume of the others, all in nearly real-time.

Automatic face recognition
So called Neural Network computing techniques are revolutionising our lives. They are able to perform a host of tasks that not so long ago would be the preserve of human brains, and to process huge sets of data and “learn” very quickly. One of the things they are proving exceptional at is face recognition; being able to identify faces in a crowd, or on a street, from a set of images provided by a user. But with great computing power comes great computing responsibility. What are the implications for policing and personal privacy? Gareth discusses these issues with Stephanie Hare.

Producer: Alex Mansfield

New CFC emissions, Cannabis and Yeast, A Noisy Cocktail Party, Automated Face Recognition.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Hearing aids for cocktail parties
One of the most impressive properties of the human auditory system is the way most of us can overhear or eavesdrop on specific voices in an otherwise crowded room. Most hearing aids can't help with that, they can sometimes filter out noises that are not human voices, but cannot do the very human trick of sorting one voice from a sea of others. Nima Mesgarani from Columbia University report in the journal Science Advances a proof of principle for a device that might be able to do just that. Firstly, a new algorithm can separate out one voice from another. Then brain waves from the wearer could be used to recognise which of those voices they are trying to hear. Then it's a simple case of turning that voice up, and lowering the volume of the others, all in nearly real-time.

Automatic face recognition
So called Neural Network computing techniques are revolutionising our lives. They are able to perform a host of tasks that not so long ago would be the preserve of human brains, and to process huge sets of data and “learn” very quickly. One of the things they are proving exceptional at is face recognition; being able to identify faces in a crowd, or on a street, from a set of images provided by a user. But with great computing power comes great computing responsibility. What are the implications for policing and personal privacy? Gareth discusses with Stephanie Hare.

New Horizons' Next Mission - Helium At 150 - The Beautiful Cure - Oden Arctic Expedition20180809Astronomers 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 successfully passed Pluto in 2015 and is now on its way to Ultima Thule - a Kuiper belt object on the edge of the solar system. Marc Buie is just back from Senegal where he and a team of fellow astronomers have been observing this ancient rock to get a final look at its size and shape, before the momentous flyby on Jan 1st 2019. He explains why the encounter will be so valuable in unlocking key secrets in the formation of our solar system.

It's the 150th birthday of the discovery of helium, which, after hydrogen is the second most abundant element in the universe. It's surprisingly rare on Earth, but it makes up much of the content of the gas giants in our local neighbourhood, Jupiter and Saturn. Adam Rutherford hears from particle physicist and Science Museum curator Harry Cliff on how it was first discovered through a telescope rather than in a lab, and Jessica Spake of Exeter University who after an 18-year search has used similar techniques to discover helium around an exoplanet 200 light-years away.

We hear from scientist and author Dan Davis from the University of Manchester, the next in our preview of authors shortlisted for this year's Royal Society book prize. The Beautiful Cure, is the rollicking story of how the intricate immune system came to be understood.

And there's an update from physicist Helen Czerski. She's part of a 40-strong team of field scientists on board the Oden, a Swedish ice breaker and research ship. They're set to find a suitable iceberg, and moor to get to grips with the factors that guide the arctic weather patterns.

Producer: Adrian Washbourne.

New Horizons next mission, helium at 150, The Beautiful Cure, Oden arctic expedition.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Producer: Adrian Washbourne.

Next Gen Covid Vaccines - Man's Oldest Bestest Friend - Bilingual Brain Development20210128A 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 Imperial College are still working on their vaccine technology - called 'Self Amplifying RNA' or saRNA. A little bit behind their well financed corporate colleagues, this week they announced that instead of pressing ahead with a phase III trial, they will instead look to developing possible boosters and alternative targets just in case more and more serious mutations happen. But as Prof Anna Blakney explains from her lab at University of British Columbia, the possibilities of saRNA don't stop with coronaviruses.

Researchers in the journal PNAS report this week a new theory as to when and where dogs were first domesticated by humans, and suggest that they accompanied the first humans across the Bering straight into America. Inside Science's Geoff Marsh has a sniff around.

And Dr Dean D'Souza from Anglia Ruskin University describes in Science Advances work he has done looking at certain kinds of development in children who grow up in bilingual households. His work suggests a slightly faster and keener observation of detailed changes in visual cues, and that this seems to be a trait that survives into adulthood.

Presented by Alex Lathbridge

Produced by Alex Mansfield

Made in Association with The Open University

What will the next generation of Covid vaccines be like? And when was the first pet dog?

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Nobel Prizes - Hayabusa 2 Latest - Ipcc Meeting - North Pole Science20181004Adam 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. This can included a stressful condition known as Pre-Nobelitis and having unidentified Scandinavians turn up in the audiences of your scientific talks.

The Japanese space probe Hayabusa 2 dropped an exploratory robot onto the surface of the asteroid Rguyu early on Wednesday morning. The autonomous probe is called MASCOT. With 16 hours of battery life, it landed at one spot on the asteroid's southern hemisphere, took a slew of data and then jumped to another location for more image-taking, temperature and magnetic measurements and chemical analyses of the rocks. MASCOT project manager is Dr Tra-Mi Ho of the German Space Agency.

A critical meeting of the International Panel on Climate Change is underway in South Korea. Scientists and government representatives aim to finalise a policy road map to limit global warming to a 1.5 degree C increase by the end of the century. BBC News environment correspondent Matt McGrath is reporting from the meeting and explains why 1.5 degree C and not 2 degrees is the new preferred target for many scientists and nations. But will scientists and policy makers from around the world see eye to eye?

Physicist Helen Czerski provides Adam with a final report at the end of her 8 week expedition at the North Pole which aimed to explore the interactions of water, ice, atmosphere and life in shaping Arctic weather and climate. The adventure ended with a crunch and the loss of thousands of pounds worth of scientific kit.

Producer: Andrew Luck-Baker

Adam Rutherford investigates the news in science and science in the news.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Noise Pollution - Wildlife - No Till Farming - Cornwall's Geothermal Heat20191121The effects of human-made noise on the natural world has been surprisingly little studied. Hanjoerg Kunc at Queen's University in Belfast has collected all experimental data on the effects of anthropogenic noise on wild animals and found it to be overwhelmingly harmful., And Cambridge University's PhD student Sophia Cooke is looking at the impact of roads, including road noise on British birds, and the impact could be huge.

Last week we spoke to Jane Rickson at Cranfield University about how healthy soils are a good defence against the effects of, and indeed the process of, flooding. Many farmer listeners emailed in to tell us about their experiences with no till and minimum disturbance agriculture. Simon Jeffery at Harper-Adams University takes Adam through some of the points raised.

Last November, drilling began in Redruth, Cornwall to see if geothermal heat could be tapped from the hot rocks below. Graihagh Jackson went to catch up with the project and met with Lucy Cotton – the project geologist for the United Downs Deep Geothermal Power project.

Producer: Fiona Roberts

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

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

North Korea Bomb Tests - Warming Antarctic Sea Life - The Microbiome - Cuckoo Chuckle20170907The Democratic People's Republic of Korea claims to have successfully tested a thermonuclear weapon, a hydrogen bomb. Tom Plant, director of Proliferation and Nuclear Policy at the Royal United Services Institute, talks to Adam Rutherford about how the boast might be proved by monitoring technology around the world.

How will marine life respond to warming of the seas around Antarctica this century? Dramatically, according to the results of the most realistic attempt so far to warm the sea bed to temperatures predicted for the coming decades. The British Antarctic Survey installed gently heated panels at 12 metres depth off the West Antarctic coast to mimic rock surfaces and then over 9 months monitored how marine creatures colonised and grew on them. All creatures flourished on panels at 1 degree C above today's chilly waters and in fact grew astonishingly quickly on them. But a 2 degree increase saw some continue to flourish vigorously but many species fail. Experiment mastermind Lloyd Peck tells Adam what the findings may mean, and describes the extraordinary cold water diving skills that made the experiment a success.

'I contain Multitudes' is shortlisted for the Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize this year. Its subject is the microbiome - the trillions of benign , friendly and not so friendly bacteria which inhabit our bodies and those of all other animals.

For 30 years, Cambridge University zoologists have studied the evolutionary arms race between the cuckoo and the reed warbler that rears the cheating bird's offspring. They have figured out many of the deceptions and counter-tactics adopted by the two co-evolving species. The latest revelation concerns the strange chuckling call which the female cuckoo makes after laying her egg in the warbler's nest. Jenny York describes the experiments which show that the cuckoo is mimicking a predatory sparrow hawk which distracts the warblers and makes them much more likely to not recognise her egg as something they should reject from the nest.

Did North Korea test a hydrogen bomb?

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Adam Rutherford explores the science that is changing our world.

For 30 years, Cambridge University zoologists have studied the evolutionary arms race between the cuckoo and the reed warbler that rears the cheating bird's offspring. They have figured out many of the deceptions and counter-tactics adopted by the two co-evolving species. The latest revelation concerns the strange chuckling call which the female cuckoo makes after laying her egg in the warbler's nest. Jenny York describes the experiments which show that the cuckoo is mimicking a predatory sparrow hawk which distracts the warblers and makes them much more likely to not recognise her egg as something they should reject from the nest.

Northern White Rhino Preservation - Deep Sea Earthquake Detection - Twitter's Rare Heuchera Discovery - Human Roars20180705The 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 has adopted new techniques in reproductive medicine as a last ditch attempt to preserve these animals. Thomas Hildebrandt from Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research and Terri Roth, Director of Conservation Research at Cincinnati Zoo, discuss the ambition, and how realistic this approach is in future animal conservation.

Earthquakes are scientifically measured with seismometers, but few are present on the sea floor, where earthquakes that can cause tsunamis originate. But could communication cables traversing the oceans fill in the gaps? Giuseppi Marra from the National Physical Laboratory in Teddington, discusses his accidental discovery that fibre-optic cables might be registering the earth's vibrations.

For the first time in the annals of science, a tweet was the key reference in a paper reporting on a discovery that a rare wild variety of the gardener's favourite - Heuchera, thought to be limited to a few rocky outcrops in Virginia - is actually abundantly present 100km away. It's all come about because of a picture shared on Twitter. Reporter Roland Pease retraces the tale of the tweets with the key players.

Can the size of a roar be used to accurately determine physical strength?' Or can a roar deceive, and make you sound tougher than you actually are? That's what Jordan Raine from the University of Sussex decided to find out, not with lions or tigers or bears but in us.

Producer Adrian Washbourne.

Preserving white rhino, deep sea earthquake detection, Twitter's plant find, human roars.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Producer Adrian Washbourne.

Notre-dame Fire - Reviving Pig Brains - Exomars - Evolution Of Faces20190418The 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 dating from the 13th century, that meant it burned like a well-stacked bonfire? Guillermo Rein is Professor of Fire Science at Imperial College London , and he explains to Adam Rutherford how wood burns and how it was the intricate mixture of large and small beams, and very poor fire protection measures that made the iconic roof, so vulnerable.

An experiment to see whether isolated dead pig brains could be preserved at the cellular level in order to study post mortem brains, had a surprising outcome. The BrainEx technology of perfusing the brains with chemicals that should have just halted the rapid degradation of cellular structure in the brain, that occurs soon after death, actually caused them to start firing neurons, reacting to drugs and generally behaving as if they were alive. Although, it has to be stressed, there was no whole-brain connectivity or consciousness achieved, it does raise ethical questions about death, if this method was to be developed for use in humans. Bioethicist at Kings College London, Silvia Camporesi explores the facts that reveal that death is a process rather than a single event and what this might mean for patients that are diagnosed as brain dead.

Where is the Martian methane? This is the question Mannish Patel at the Open University has been left pondering after the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter came up empty handed in detecting the gas on Mars. Methane could be a signature of past of present life on the Red Planet, it's been measured by NASA's Curiosity rover and by telescopes on Earth, but the far more sensitive and specialised TGO has so far failed to detect the gas. It could be because methane levels in the thin Martian atmosphere is a seasonal event, we'll just have to ait for an entire Martian year of surveys to be able to solve this mystery.

Our faces are incredibly important in our lives, we feed through them, they are the conduit for our sensory interaction with the universe, via smell, hearing and vision; we speak, and we convey the subtlest emotions with a raised eyebrow, a wry smile, a clenched jaw or eyes wide open. It is the central importance of these features that has meant we've been intensively studying the evolution of the face for decades, to work out why we look the way we do, and how much of our looks reflects adaptations that enhanced our survival, and how much is just down to quirks of evolution. Anatomist, Paul O'Higgins from York University is interested in how all that has influenced our faces.

Producer: Fiona Roberts

Notre-Dame fire, reviving pig brains, ExoMars and evolution of faces.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Noxious Haze Over South Coast - In Pursuit Of Memory Book - Technosphere - Big Wasp Survey20170831Last weekend a chemical ‘haze' on the East Sussex coast saw 150 people needing hospital treatment after something in the air led to streaming eyes, sore throats and nausea. Leading theories so far include a chemical spill from shipping in the English channel, a localised spike in ozone levels and an algal bloom, where algae suddenly proliferate and release harmful gasses. Dr Simon Boxall of the National Oceanography Centre at the University of Southampton tells Gareth Mitchell why he's favouring the algal bloom theory.

We know about extinct species from fossils in rocks. But in the future there will be techno-fossils too, evidence of our civilisation. Katie Kropshofer has been finding out from Professors Jan Zalasiewicz and Sarah Gabbot of the University of Leicester what we're leaving for the hypothetical geologists of the future.

Neuroscientist Joseph Jebelli's book, In Pursuit of Memory: The Fight Against Alzheimer's, is the one of the six titles on the shortlist of the Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize. He explains to Gareth Mitchell that it was his grandfather's development of the condition that made him interested in Alzheimer's.

The Big Wasp Survey is a citizen project to trap wasps and send them off to teams at the University of Gloucester and University College London, so that scientists can then learn more about the distribution of different species around this land. One of the organisers, entomologist and professor of Science Communication at the University of Gloucester Adam Hart, talks to Gareth about why these unpopular insects are ecologically valuable.

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

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Adam Rutherford explores the science that is changing our world.

The Big Wasp Survey is a citizen project to trap wasps and send them off to teams at the University of Gloucester and University College London, so that scientists can then learn more about the distribution of different species around this land. One of the organisers, entomologist and professor of Science Communication at the University of Gloucester Adam Hart, talks to Gareth about why these unpopular insects are ecologically valuable.

Oceans - Ice - Climate Change - Neolithic Baby Bottles - Caroline Criado-perez Wins Rs Book Prize20190926The 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 melting, sea levels are rising and marine life is either moving or suffering the effects of temperature changes and acidification. Dr Phil Williamson, research fellow at the University of East Anglia, worked on the report and he explains to Adam Rutherford how the watery and icy parts of the planet connect to the atmosphere and climate.

It's a good job the small, round, spouted clay vessels found in 3000 year old baby graves in Bavaria weren't washed up very well. Crusts of food deposits have shown that these early baby bottles were used to give infants milk from ruminants such as cows, goats and sheep. This discovery, and previous discoveries of even earlier spouted vessels in Europe, indicate that settling down from hunter-gathering to agriculture in prehistoric Iron and Bronze-Age people impacted all ages. Dr Julie Dunne, organic geochemist at the University of Bristol, thinks that this more settled lifestyle with domesticated animals and cereals to supplement a baby's diet, led to earlier weaning and maybe more babies.

Caroline Criado Perez's ground-breaking gender bias exposé wins the 2019 Royal Society Science Book Prize. 'Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men' by writer, broadcaster and feminist campaigner Caroline Criado Perez, becomes the 32nd winner of the prestigious Royal Society Insight Investment Science Books Prize. Caroline explains to Adam how a range of case studies, stories and new research highlights ways in which women are ‘forgotten' on a daily basis. From government policy and medical research to technology, media and workplaces, she exposes the lack of gender-specific data that has unintentionally created a world biased against women

Producer - Fiona Roberts

Oceans, ice and climate change; Neolithic baby bottles; and Caroline Criado Perez

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Old Dogs - Physics In Space20181018How 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 before humans settled down and developed societies. Scientists in France have been looking at ancient dog DNA to try and work out whether people tamed and domesticated local dogs as they migrated across the planet, or brought dogs with them. The answer tells us much about the relationship - or rather lack of it, between early farmers and the hunter gathers they replaced throughout Europe.

And how many Bosons can you fit in a rocket? As they are rather small particles the answer will be quite a lot, but a team from Germany has succeeded in making a form of mater known as the Bose Einstein Condensate in a small rocket which they launched into the Earth's upper atmosphere. Potentially the success of their experiment could lead to new ways of detecting gravitational waves in space.

Back on earth a group of ‘A' level students have been looking at or rather listening to data from space, and published a scientific paper on their observation of a solar storm. In a unique partnership with university physics researchers, information on electromagnetic waves around our planet has been turned into audible data. The keen ears of the students identified events that had not previously been detected.

And how incriminating is your washing machine? Digital forensics, the unpicking of the data trails on our digital devices, from phones to TV tuners, even baby monitors and washing machines are now playing a part in criminal investigations, not just cases involving online fraud or cybercrime, but any investigation looking at what suspects were doing and when. A digital trail can act as evidence for time and place.

The dogs of Neolithic farmers and rocket science.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Oldest Cave Picture - The Anthropocene Under London - A New Scientist For The A350 Note20181108What 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 animal that could be a Banteng (wild cattle found in the region) is at least 40,000 years old.

Humans are now the greatest force in shaping the surface of the Earth. We now move more than 24 times as much rock, rubble and sediment than all the world's rivers. Dr Anthony Cooper of the British Geological Society has been weighing this anthropogenic global force. Closer to home, Adam Rutherford speaks to Professor Colin Waters at the University of Leicester, about the weight of human-created rubble he's found under the City of London.

When the new polymer £50 note is introduced in around a year's time, it'll have a scientist on the reverse. Industrialist Matthew Boulton and engineer James Watt will step aside for a British scientist nominated by the public. Sarah John, Chief Cashier at the Bank of England, explains the rules to Adam and science experts, Emily Grossman and Alice Bell debate the merits of some of the more popular front runners.

Oldest cave picture, the Anthropocene under London and a new scientist for the \u00a350 note.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Ordnance Survey - Britain's 220-year-old Tech Company - Launching Synthetic Voices - Personality Test20200213For 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 a 2 petabyte database which is updated up to 20,000 times a day. This adds up to 360 million updates a year. Since the development of the theodolite and the first detailed map in 1801 of the county of Kent, Ordnance Survey have used cutting edge technology, not only to map our lands, but to manipulate, understand and ask questions of the geography of our natural landscapes and built environment.

Voices on the train, public address announcements at the station, automated telephone banking, Alexa and Siri. We are surrounded by electronic voices. But very little research has been done of how we respond to synthetic speech. To investigate the impact of artificially generated voices in our lives, BBC R&D together with our favourite acoustic engineer, Professor Trevor Cox of the University of Salford, has just launched a study. The Synthetic Voices and Personality Test, is an online test we want you to take part in. Please go to https://voicestudy.api.bbc.co.uk and have a listen

Presenter Gareth Mitchell
Producer - Fiona Roberts

Ordnance Survey - 220-year-old tech company, synthetic voices and personality test.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Voices on the train, public address announcements at the station, automated telephone banking, Alexa and Siri. We are surrounded by electronic voices. But very little research has been done of how we respond to synthetic speech. To investigate the impact of artificially generated voices in our lives, BBC R&D together with our favourite acoustic engineer, Professor Trevor Cox of the University of Salford, has just launched a study. The Synthetic Voices and Personality Test, is an online test we want you to take part in. Please go to https://www.voicestudy.api.bbc.co.uk and have a listen

Organic Farming Emissions - Staring At Seagulls - Salt - Dementia20191024Switching to 100% organic food production in England and Wales would see an overall increase in greenhouse gas emissions. Although going fully organic would produce fewer direct emissions than conventional farming, researchers say it would limit food production. Making up the shortfall with imports from overseas would increase overall emissions. But is the sustainability of our food production about more than greenhouse gas emissions alone? Professor Dave Reay is Chair in Carbon Management & Education at the University of Edinburgh, and has recently acquired a smallholding in Scotland. He discusses the study and answer your questions about sustainable food and population growth.

Seagulls have become notorious food thieves in recent times as they move into towns to find new habitats and sustenance. Scientists at the University of Exeter have found that if you stare at a herring gull, it's much less likely to steal your chips. Reporter Graihagh Jackson went to Falmouth to meet with researchers Madeleine Goumas and Neeltje Boogert to see the tactic in action.

More than 800,000 people in the UK live with dementia, which is an umbrella term for over 200 specific diagnoses that all involve some form of neurodegeneration. Epidemiological evidence has suggested that high dietary salt intake may somehow be linked to developing cognitive impairment. A study released this week shows a mechanism for how this might occur biologically in the brains of mice who were fed a high salt diet. Professor Carol Brayne is Director of the Cambridge Institute of Public Health at the University of Cambridge, and she explains how this new research fits into the field and our understanding of dementia's causes.

Agriculture and greenhouse gases: We answer your questions

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Out Of Africa - Predicting Future Heatwaves - Virtual Reality Molecules - Life In The Dark20180712Scientists 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 south-east China, which is the furthest afield this type of tool has been located. The scientists who found them have put the date of these tools at 2.1 million years old, which is at least 300,000 years earlier than the current evidence for early human presence outside of Africa. John Kappelman, a paleoanthropologist at the University of Texas, discusses how we're now moving beyond a Eurocentric view of human evolution in Eurasia.

Much of northern Europe has been experiencing a heatwave - notable for its intensity and duration. It's caused by "atmosphere blocking". Can we predict when these blocks will come and how long they will last? Adam Rutherford talks to Jana Sillmann, director of the Centre for International Climate Research in Oslo, Norway, author of a new study that has modelled 40 years' worth of heatwaves and blocking, and looked to the end of the century in attempting to predict blocking patterns as the climate changes.

How can researchers get to grips with the shape of molecules in the digital world? Chemists have for years used ball and stick representations of the shapes their molecules come in. But when they publish, they have to flatten it all down onto a 2D a piece of paper losing crucial information. Bristol University's David Glowacki has put the power of virtual reality into the hands of the molecular magicians. Inside Science's Roland Pease went to his virtual lab, to see atoms dance in a molecular space odyssey.

Given that half the world is in the dark half of the time, and the depths of the oceans are perpetually hidden from sunlight, there's lot of darkness to explore. For those of us drawn to the shadows, a new exhibition at the Natural History Museum in London does exactly that. Geoff Boxhall, professor of invertebrate biology, gives Adam Rutherford a tour of Life in the Dark.

Producer Adrian Washbourne.

Out of Africa, predicting future heatwaves, virtual reality molecules, life in the dark.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Producer Adrian Washbourne.

Oxygen On Comet 67p - Bees - Antimicrobial Drugs - Reproducibility Of Science Experiments - Reintroduction Of Beavers20151029Oxygen on comet 67P

Molecular oxygen (O2) detected on comet Churymov-Gerasimenko 67P, has scientists baffled. Current models of the formation of our Solar System do not predict conditions that would allow for O2.

Bees and antimicrobial drugs

The antibacterial properties of honey have been exploited for thousands of years, but now scientists at the University of Cardiff are using honeybees to collect and identify plant-derived drugs which could be used to treat antibiotic resistant hospital pathogens. By screening honey for these plant compounds and identifying the plant through the pollen grains in the honey, researchers can narrow down the active ingredients and even exploit this to get bees to make medicinal honey.

Reproducibility of science experiments

A lot of science experiments, when redone, produce different result. Professor Dorothy Bishop chaired a report, out this week, on reproducibility in science. She explains why reproducibility is important, why failures are due to many factors beyond fraud, and how measures, such as pre-registration and collaboration on large expensive experiments, can help make science more robust and repeatable.

Reintroduction of beavers

In National Mammal Week and the Mammal Society UK is giving a whole day of its national conference at Exeter University over to the reintroduction of European beavers. In February last year a group of beavers were spotted apparently having been living and breeding on the River Otter in Devon for quite some time. By March this year an attempt by DEFRA to remove them had been challenged by local campaigners and now a 5 year watch period has been set up over which time the effects of the beavers on the ecosystem will be monitored. But how might the renegade rodents have been influencing the ecosystem? And with another project currently underway to reintroduce the Pine Marten, a large relative of the weasel, to Wales is there a new public focus on mammal reintroductions in the UK?

Producer: Fiona Roberts

Oxygen detected on comet 67P doesn't fit with models of early Solar System formation.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Oxygen on comet 67P
Molecular oxygen (O2) detected on comet Churymov-Gerasimenko 67P, has scientists baffled. Current models of the formation of our Solar System do not predict conditions that would allow for O2.

Bees and antimicrobial drugs
The antibacterial properties of honey have been exploited for thousands of years, but now scientists at the University of Cardiff are using honeybees to collect and identify plant-derived drugs which could be used to treat antibiotic resistant hospital pathogens. By screening honey for these plant compounds and identifying the plant through the pollen grains in the honey, researchers can narrow down the active ingredients and even exploit this to get bees to make medicinal honey.

Reproducibility of science experiments
A lot of science experiments, when redone, produce different result. Professor Dorothy Bishop chaired a report, out this week, on reproducibility in science. She explains why reproducibility is important, why failures are due to many factors beyond fraud, and how measures, such as pre-registration and collaboration on large expensive experiments, can help make science more robust and repeatable.

Reintroduction of beavers
In National Mammal Week and the Mammal Society UK is giving a whole day of its national conference at Exeter University over to the reintroduction of European beavers. In February last year a group of beavers were spotted apparently having been living and breeding on the River Otter in Devon for quite some time. By March this year an attempt by DEFRA to remove them had been challenged by local campaigners and now a 5 year watch period has been set up over which time the effects of the beavers on the ecosystem will be monitored. But how might the renegade rodents have been influencing the ecosystem? And with another project currently underway to reintroduce the Pine Marten, a large relative of the weasel, to Wales is there a new public focus on mammal reintroductions in the UK?

Producer: Fiona Roberts

Parker Solar Probe - Diversity In The Lab - Royal Society Book Prize - Arctic Circle Weather20180802The 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. It's a mission that's been on the drawing board for decades which space scientists have only dreamt of. It will fly into the mysterious solar corona, where so much of the action at 3 million degrees centigrade takes place. Nicola Fox from Johns Hopkins University is the Parker Probe Project Scientist. Adam Rutherford speaks to her from Cape Canaveral, where they are making the final adjustments for the most ambitious journey ever, to the Sun.

We meet two scientists who are making a real difference in promoting diversity and equality in the lab. Physicist Jess Wade has been chipping away at this issue, most recently in a heroic project to write up a Wikipedia entry for a scientist who is also a woman every day for the last 270 days and counting. Emma Chapman is an astrophysicist, and last month won the prestigious Royal Society Athena Prize for her work in driving policy changes about sexual harassment at universities.

Today the shortlist of the most prestigious of the literary prizes for the sciences was announced - the Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize. This is the 31st prize, and previous winners are a who's who in truly great science writing. Frances Ashcroft, Professor of Physiology at Oxford is the chair of the judges and discusses the books they have selected.

Physicist Helen Czerski and 40 colleagues are now aboard the Oden, a Swedish icebreaker and scientific research vessel that set sail earlier this week. They are en route to spend a month anchored to arctic sea ice to elucidate the mysterious behaviour of arctic weather. Before she set off she gave Adam Rutherford a preview of the research trip.

Producer Adrian Washbourne.

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

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Producer Adrian Washbourne.

Peatbog Wildfires - Coral Acoustics - Magdalena Skipper - Fuelling Long-term Space Travel20180719The wildfires on Saddleworth Moor may well be the most widespread in modern British history. Thanks to herculean efforts by Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service and the military, they are now extinguished, though the peat continues to smoulder. Now the longer term ecological impact is being assessed. Adam Rutherford talks to geochemist Chris Evans from the Centre for Hydrology and Ecology about what's been unleashed into the environment from the burning of the peat and lessons we've learnt in maintaining peatlands.

Coral reefs are noisy places filled with the clicks, pops, chirps and chattering of numerous fish and crustaceans. But a new study conducted on Australia's Great Barrier Reef shows that this noise has been quietened in areas damaged by bleaching and cyclones. Marine biologist Tim Gordon of Exeter University has examined how the changing coral acoustics are impacting on fish communities and whether a "choral orchestra" could help reduce the decline in local reef systems.

Adam Rutherford meets Magdalena Skipper, the new Editor-in-Chief of the journal Nature. It's a longstanding publication, founded in 1869 and is the cornerstone of scientific endeavour. But how will Nature evolve as the demands on research change and scientific publishing continues to undergo a revolution in the digital age?

In order to go very far in space, future astronauts will need some means of creating their own air and fuel. Katharina Brinkert at California Institute of Technology has succeeded in harvesting hydrogen from water in microgravity - overcoming a huge hurdle in the weightlessness of space, that may one day lead to a way to acquire fuel during a long-distance, crewed space mission.

Producer: Adrian Washbourne.

Peatbog wildfires, coral acoustics, Magdalena Skipper and fuelling long-term space travel.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Producer: Adrian Washbourne.

Personal Genetics Kits - Persister Cells - Earthquake Mapping - Scorpions20140116
Pesticides In British Farming20180412A 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 listeners wrote in about some issues that went unchallenged. So this week, Adam returns to the subject to get into the nuts and bolts of both organic and conventional farming.

Next week sees the launch of a NASA mission called TESS. The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite is surveying the brightest stars near Earth and looking for habitable planets. Roland Pease reports.

Traditionally, the move from Bronze Age to the Iron Age is estimated to be around 1200 BCE. But recent excavations of smelting sites in Uttar Pradesh in India suggest that this date might be a few centuries late and that it might even originate in Asia. Adam visits The Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire to see how a particle accelerator is revealing the details of the Indian Iron Age.

Our ancestors bore a very prominent brow ridge, which scientists think was a symbol of dominance. Modern humans, however, have lost this ridge in favour of a flatter forehead. Why? Dr Penny Spikins and her colleagues think the answer lies in social interaction and in particular, the ability to raise your eyebrows.

How widespread is pesticide use in British farming? Adam Rutherford presents.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Plastic-eating Bacteria - Foam Mattresses For Crops - The Evolved Life Aquatic - The Double Helix20180419A breakthrough for closed loop plastic recycling? Two years ago Japanese scientists discovered a type of bacteria which has evolved to feed on PET plastic - the material from which fizzy drink bottles are made It was isolated at a local recycling centre. An international team has now characterised the structure of the plastic-degrading enzyme and accidentally improved its efficiency. John McGeehan of the University of Portmouth led the team and talks to Adam about where the discovery may lead.

If you can't recycle plastic, you can re-use. Sheffield University chemist Tony Ryan is working to convert old polyurethane foam mattresses into hydroponic allotment beds so that people at a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan can grow their own crops. Roland Pease reports.

How southeast Asian sea nomads evolved the life aquatic.

The Double Helix, fifty years after its 1968 publication. Biologist and historian Matthew Cobb and science writer Angela Saini discuss the place of James Watson's compelling and controversial memoir in the annals of popular science writing. His account of the discovery of the DNA's structure was unlike any science book that had come before. Does it stand the test of time and what of its blantantly sexist treatment of the gifted X-ray crystallographer Rosalind Franklin? Her work was crucial to Crick and Watson's 1953 model of the DNA molecule.

Adam Rutherford investigates the plastic-eating bacteria in the news this week.

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

The Double Helix, fifty years after its 1968 publication. Biologist and historian Matthew Cobb and science writer Angela Saini discuss the place of James Watson's compelling and controversial memoir in the annals of popular science writing. His account of the discovery of the DNA's structure was unlike any science book that had come before. Does it stand the test of time and what of its blantantly sexist treatment of the gifted X-ray crystallographer Rosalind Franklin? Her work was crucial to Crick and Watson's 1953 model of the DNA molecule.

Predator Bacteria Therapy - New Money For Uk Science - Stick-on Stethoscope - Taming Fears In The Brain Scanner20161124Can we use predatory bacteria as treatments for antibiotic resistant infections?

Adam Rutherford goes inside science to explore the research that is transforming our world

Bdellovibrio is a small bacterium which preys and kills other bacteria. A team of researchers in the UK has shown in animal experiments that injections of the predator microbe can successfully treat infections. So how close does this take us to Bdellovibrio therapy for human patients and what part might it play in tackling the growing crisis of antibiotic resistance? Adam Rutherford talks to Professor Liz Sockett of the University of Nottingham.

The British government has announced that it will be spending an additional £2 billion on research and development by 2020. Commentators say it is the largest hike in public funding for science in a very long time. Dr Sarah Main of the Campaign for Science and Engineering, and Dr Arnab Basu, physicist and CEO of Kromek, discuss the new money and how it would be best used.

Also in the programme, materials and electronics engineers in the US have devised a small wearable heart monitor - the size and thickness of a sticking plaster. Adam talks to its lead designer Professor John Rogers of Northwestern University in Chicago. And could phobias be cured without exposure to the thing which frightens people? Dr Ben Seymour outlines an intriguing experiment which involved reading people's thoughts in a brain scanner, which suggests ultimately it may be possible.

Prehistoric Strong Women - Semi-synthetic Life - Listener Feedback - Artificial Superintelligence20171130More 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 times. Cambridge University anthropologist Alison Macintosh compared the arm bone dimensions and strength of women from these times with those of modern female athletes such as runners to rowers. Her conclusion is that average upper body strength of women through the Neolithic to the Iron age times exceeded that of today's semi-elite female rowers.

A laboratory at the Scripps Research Institute have created a semi-synthetic bacterium with two new man-made genetic letters in its DNA, in addition to the natural four A, G, T and C. What's more, the engineered microbe can use its enhanced genetic alphabet to build synthetic amino acids into the proteins it makes. Chemist Floyd Romesberg talks to Adam Rutherford about what we can learn from his team's extraordinary feat of synthetic biotechnology, what we might gain from it and why, in his opinion, we've no need to be worried.

Adam deals with some of your correspondence on axolotls by talking to laboratory salamander breeder Randal Voss at the University of Kentucky. He also notes listeners' comparisons of the recent visit by interstellar asteroid Oumuamua with th