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Podcast Profile: Science Weekly

podcast imageTwitter: @guardianscience
Site: www.theguardian.com/science/series/science
300 episodes
2021 to present
Average episode: 16 minutes
Open in Apple PodcastsRSS

Categories: News-Style

Podcaster's summary: Twice a week, the Guardian brings you the latest science and environment news

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List Updated: 2024-Apr-14 06:46 UTC. Episodes: 300. Feedback: @TrueSciPhi.

Episodes
2024-Apr-11 • 16 minutes
The senior Swiss women who went to court over climate change, and won
The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Switzerland’s weak climate policy had violated the rights of a group of older Swiss women to family life. Ian Sample and Ajit Niranjan discuss why the women brought the case and what the ruling could mean for climate policy
2024-Apr-10 • 17 minutes
Remembering physicist Peter Higgs
The Nobel prize-winning British physicist Peter Higgs has died aged 94. Higgs theorised the existence of the Higgs boson particle, part of an attempt to explain why the building blocks of the universe have mass, five decades before its existence was confirmed in 2012. Ian Sample and Madeleine Finlay look back on the life and legacy of a giant of science
2024-Apr-09 • 17 minutes
Horny tortoises and solar mysteries: what scientists can learn from a total eclipse
For scientists a total solar eclipse can be a fleeting chance to understand something deeper about their field of research. Madeleine Finlay meets professors Huw Morgan and Adam Hartstone-Rose to find out what they hoped to learn from 8 April’s four minutes of darkness
2024-Apr-04 • 19 minutes
The science of ‘weird shit’: why we believe in fate, ghosts and conspiracy theories
Psychologist Chris French has spent decades studying paranormal claims and mysterious experiences, from seemingly-impossible coincidences to paintings that purportedly predict the future. Ian Sample sits down with French to explore why so many of us end up believing in, what he terms, ‘weird shit’, and what we can learn from understanding why we’re drawn to mysterious and mystic phenomena
2024-Apr-02 • 15 minutes
Hypermobility: a blessing or a curse?
Being more flexible than the average person can have its advantages, from being great at games such as Limbo to feeling smug in yoga class. But researchers are coming to understand that being hypermobile can also be linked to pain in later life, anxiety, and even long Covid. Madeleine Finlay hears from the science correspondent Linda Geddes about her experience of hypermobility, and finds out what might be behind its link to mental and physical health
2024-Mar-28 • 16 minutes
The virus that infects almost everyone, and its link to cancer and MS
On 28 March it’s the 60th anniversary of the discovery of Epstein-Barr virus, the most common viral infection in humans. The virus was first discovered in association with a rare type of cancer located in Africa, but is now understood to be implicated in 1% of cancers, as well as the autoimmune disease multiple sclerosis. Ian Sample meets Lawrence Young, professor of molecular oncology at Warwick Medical School, to hear the story of this virus, and how it might help us prevent and treat cancer and other ill...
2024-Mar-26 • 15 minutes
What could a severe solar storm do to Earth, and are we prepared?
The sun is currently ramping up to hit the peak of its 11-year activity cycle. In the past few days, powerful solar eruptions have sent a stream of particles towards Earth which are set to produce spectacular auroras in both hemispheres. But these kinds of geomagnetic storms can also have less appealing consequences. Madeleine Finlay speaks to Dr Lisa Upton, a solar scientist at the Southwest Research Institute, about how the mysterious inner workings of the sun create space weather, how solar events can si...
2024-Mar-21 • 16 minutes
Havana syndrome: will we ever understand what happened?
In late 2016, US officials in Cuba’s capital began experiencing a mysterious and often debilitating set of symptoms that came to be known as Havana syndrome. Ian Sample speaks to the Guardian’s Julian Borger and consultant neurologist Prof Jon Stone about what could be behind the condition
2024-Mar-19 • 17 minutes
Should forests have rights?
A growing movement of ecologists, lawyers and artists is arguing that nature should have legal rights. By recognising the rights of ecosystems and other species, advocates hope that they can gain better protection. Madeleine Finlay speaks to the Guardian’s global environment editor, Jonathan Watts, about where this movement has come from and why the UK government has dismissed the concept, and hears from Cesar Rodriguez-Garavito of NYU School of Law about how he is finding creative ways to give rights to na...
2024-Mar-14 • 19 minutes
A waterworld with a boiling ocean and the end of dark matter? The week in science
Ian Sample and science correspondent Hannah Devlin discuss some of the science stories that have made headlines this week, from a new theory challenging the existence of dark matter to an alarming study about the possible impact of microplastics on our health and a glimpse of a ‘waterworld with a boiling ocean’ deep in space
2024-Mar-12 • 18 minutes
Why do we lose our hair as we age, and what can we do about it? – podcast
Madeleine Finlay speaks to one man about how it affected him and to hair specialist Dr Sharon Wong about what is going on when our hair thins and what treatments are available to help
2024-Mar-07 • 14 minutes
What’s behind the rapid rise of cancer in the under-50s?
Ian Sample speaks to health editor Andrew Gregory about the worrying global rise in cancers in under-50s, and hears from Yin Cao, an associate professor in surgery and medicine at Washington University in St Louis, who is part of a team conducting a huge study into why young people are developing bowel cancer at record rates
2024-Mar-05 • 17 minutes
Classic older child? What the science says about birth order and personality
Madeleine Finlay meets Dr Julia Rohrer, a personality psychologist at the University of Leipzig, to unpick the science behind our intuition about birth order
2024-Mar-02 • 15 minutes
The Guardian’s new podcast series about AI: Black Box – prologue
The prologue to our new series about Artificial Intelligence, Black Box
2024-Feb-29 • 19 minutes
The debilitating impact of tinnitus, and how a new app could help
It’s thought that about 15% of us are affected by tinnitus, and despite its potentially debilitating impact on mental health and quality of life, there isn’t any cure for the condition. Madeleine Finlay speaks to John, who has used CBT techniques to learn to live well with his tinnitus, and Dr Lucy Handscomb, a tinnitus researcher who is involved in trialling a new app that could hold promise for sufferers.
2024-Feb-27 • 16 minutes
How green are electric cars?
Electric cars might seem like a no-brainer on a warming planet, but there are plenty of people who remain sceptical about everything from their battery life to their carbon impact and the environmental and human rights costs of their parts. Madeleine Finlay consults Auke Hoekstra, known as the internet’s ‘EV debunker in chief’, to unpick the myths, realities and grey areas surrounding electric cars
2024-Feb-22 • 19 minutes
Mistakes, fakes, and a giant rat penis: why are so many science papers being retracted?
A record 10,000 research papers were retracted in 2023. To find out what’s driving this trend, Ian Sample speaks to Ivan Oransky, whose organisation Retraction Watch has been monitoring the growing numbers of retractions for more than a decade, and hears from blogger Sholto David, who recently made headlines when he spotted mistakes in research from a leading US cancer institute.
2024-Feb-20 • 17 minutes
Nitazenes and xylazine: what’s behind the rise of dangerous synthetic drugs?
Social affairs correspondent Robert Booth tells Madeleine Finlay why a class of synthetic opioids called nitazenes, first developed in the 1950s, is leading to a worrying number of fatal overdoses in the UK. And she hears from toxicology and addiction specialist Dr Joseph D’Orazio about a tranquilliser called xylazine that has been showing up in alarming volumes in the US illegal drug supply and is now starting to appear in toxicology reports in the UK
2024-Feb-15 • 15 minutes
What apes can tell us about the origins of teasing
Ian Sample talks to prof Erica Cartmill about her work on apes and teasing and asks, given how annoying teasing is, why do apes, and humans, do it?
2024-Feb-13 • 15 minutes
Retinol, acids and serums for kids? A dermatologist’s guide to age appropriate skincare
Dermatologists warn children as young as eight years old are using potentially damaging anti-ageing skin care products. Madeleine Finlay discusses this trend, and alternative skincare, with Dr Emma Wedgeworth
2024-Feb-08 • 16 minutes
Why are we still waiting for a male contraceptive pill?
Ian Sample speaks to bioethicist Prof Lisa Campo-Engelstein of the University of Texas and Prof Chris Barratt from the University of Dundee to find out why male contraceptives have been so difficult to develop, and what kind of options are in the pipeline
2024-Feb-06 • 14 minutes
What happens now bird flu has reached the Antarctic?
The Guardian’s biodiversity reporter, Phoebe Weston, tells Ian Sample why the spread of bird flu through the Antarctic’s penguin colonies would be so catastrophic
2024-Feb-01 • 17 minutes
A fasting prime minister and a mind-reading billionaire: the week in science
Ian Sample and science correspondent Hannah Devlin discuss the big science stories of the week – from news that Elon Musk’s Neuralink has implanted its first chip into a human, to research suggesting Alzheimer’s can pass between humans in rare medical accidents, and the revelation that Rishi Sunak begins each week with a 36-hour fast
2024-Jan-30 • 16 minutes
Secrets of the microbiome: the skin
Ian Sample meets professor in cutaneous biology Julie Thornton who tells him how it helps with everything from wound healing to immunity
2024-Jan-25 • 16 minutes
Secrets of the microbiome: the vagina
Madeleine Finlay meets Ina Schuppe Koistinen, associate professor at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, and author of the book Vulva: Facts, Myths and Life-Changing Insights. Ina explains what makes the vaginal microbiome special, why it could hold the key to understanding pregnancy complications, and how we can better care for and protect it
2024-Jan-23 • 21 minutes
Secrets of the microbiome: the gut
Ian Sample speaks to colorectal surgeon and researcher, James Kinross, about the miraculous world of our gut microbiome, and what we can all do to look after it
2024-Jan-18 • 17 minutes
How to stop doomscrolling and reclaim your brain
The author Catherine Price tells Madeleine Finlay how her own excessive phone use inspired her to investigate the science behind our relationships with our devices, and what we know about how to break the cycle. And Prof Barbara Sahakian of Cambridge University explains why many of us are drawn to looking at bad news on our phones, and what it’s doing to us
2024-Jan-16 • 17 minutes
Is guilt-free flying on the horizon?
In November, a plane powered by 100% ‘sustainable’ jet fuel took off from London to New York. It was hailed by some as a milestone in reducing the carbon footprint of air travel, which accounts for about 2.5% of global CO2 emissions. Could this be the start of a greener way to fly? Madeleine Finlay speaks to Guy Gratton, associate professor of aviation and the environment at Cranfield University, to find out if the future of aviation can ever truly be guilt-free.
2024-Jan-11 • 17 minutes
Our science predictions for 2024
Ian Sample and science correspondent Hannah Devlin discuss the big stories likely to hit the headlines and share their predictions for 2024
2024-Jan-09 • 16 minutes
What the science says about how to get active (and make it stick)
As parks and gyms fill with people hoping to make 2024 their year of fitness, Ian Sample speaks to Martin Gibala, professor of kinesiology at McMaster University in Canada, about how much exercise we should be doing, the benefits of interval training, and how to make a new regime stick
2024-Jan-04 • 35 minutes
Revisited: Weight of the world, the climate scientists who hold out hope
The Australian climate scientists Lesley Hughes, Ove Høegh-Guldberg and Graeme Pearman take stock as they look back on their life’s work. How does it feel for them to carry this burden of knowledge? Could they have done more? And what hope do they hold for the future?
2024-Jan-03 • 42 minutes
Weight of the world revisited: the climate scientists who copped it
In part two of Weight of the world, three Australian climate scientists reveal the professional and personal toll of their predictions. Lesley Hughes tells us about the axing of the country’s Climate Commission, a group tasked with educating the public about climate science and the need to cut carbon emissions; Graeme Pearman talks of the pushback from government and industry; and Ove Hoegh-Guldberg speaks of the personal attacks and death threats that followed his warnings
2024-Jan-02 • 36 minutes
Revisited: Weight of the world – the climate scientists who saw the crisis coming
In part one of this three-part series, three climate change scientists reveal the moment they realised the planet was heading for certain catastrophe. What did they do when they found out? How did they think the world would respond? And how do they feel today, looking back on that moment of cognisance?
2023-Dec-28 • 27 minutes
Best of 2023, Killing the Skydancer: episode three, An Open Secret
In this special Age of Extinction mini-series from Science Weekly, which first aired in 2023, the Guardian’s biodiversity reporter, Phoebe Weston, explores the illegal killing of birds of prey on grouse moors
2023-Dec-27 • 27 minutes
Best of 2023, Killing the Skydancer: episode two, The Perfect Crime
In this special Age of Extinction mini-series from Science Weekly, which first aired in August 2023, the Guardian’s biodiversity reporter, Phoebe Weston, explores the murky world of the illegal killing of birds of prey on grouse moors, and asks why it is so difficult to solve these crimes. In episode two, Phoebe speaks to the people trying to protect these rare birds but, as she digs deeper, she encounters a surprising silence around the killing of a hen harrier’s chicks
2023-Dec-26 • 22 minutes
Best of 2023: Killing the Skydancer episode one, Susie’s chicks
In this special Age of Extinction mini-series from Science Weekly, which first aired in August 2023, the Guardian’s biodiversity reporter, Phoebe Weston, explores the illegal killing of birds of prey on grouse moors and asks why it is so difficult to solve these crimes. In episode one, Phoebe hears about the case of Susie, a hen harrier whose chicks were killed while being monitored on camera. As she starts to investigate the case, she hears from conservationist Ruth Tingay about why hen harriers are target...
2023-Dec-21 • 20 minutes
All the buzz and no hangover? The next generation of alcohol-free drinks
Christmas can feel like one long hangover – but a new generation of alcohol-free alternatives is emerging which claim to offer the fun of alcohol without the painful morning-after. Madeleine Finlay, Ian Sample and Hannah Devlin investigate
2023-Dec-19 • 20 minutes
Can machines ever be like us? Prof Michael Wooldridge on the future of AI
In the year that AI was supercharged by Chat GPT, Prof Michael Wooldridge is giving the Royal Institution’s Christmas lectures on the truth about AI. Madeleine Finlay hears from him and science correspondent Nicola Davis in this Science Weekly Christmas special
2023-Dec-13 • 14 minutes
Cop28: what just happened?
A deal has been announced at Cop28 in Dubai, and depending who you talk to, it’s either a historic achievement or a weak and ineffectual agreement full of loopholes. Ian Sample speaks to the Guardian environment editor Damian Carrington, who explains what the deal on fossil fuels will mean in practice, how small island states have responded, and whether it will help us stay within the crucial limit of 1.5C of global heating
2023-Dec-12 • 18 minutes
The incredible world of animal perception, and what it can teach us
Ian Sample meets Ed Yong, who recently won 2023’s Royal Society book prize for An Immense World, which delves into the incredible world of animal senses. From colours and sounds beyond our perception, to the weird and wonderful ways that animals grow new ears and experience smell, Ed explains why understanding how animals perceive the world can transform our own experience of life on Earth
2023-Dec-07 • 17 minutes
All the drama from the first week of Cop28
Madeleine Finlay hears from the biodiversity and environment reporter Patrick Greenfield, who is reporting for the Guardian from Cop28 in Dubai. He describes the rollercoaster first week of highs and lows and sets out what is still on the table as the second week of negotiations gets under way
2023-Dec-05 • 17 minutes
Why are we still struggling to get contraception right?
As the pill becomes available over the counter and free of charge in England, Madeleine Finlay talks to science correspondent Nicola Davis about the problems women in the UK face in getting access to appropriate contraception, and how unwanted side-effects and lack of support have led to a rise in the popularity of fertility awareness-based methods. She also hears from Katie about her own journey trying to find the right contraception for her body
2023-Nov-30 • 16 minutes
Everything you need to know about Cop28 as the summit begins
Every year the world’s leaders gather for the UN climate change conference, and after a year of record temperatures, this year’s summit has been called the most vital yet. As Cop28 begins in Dubai, Ian Sample hears from Guardian environment editor and resident Cop expert Fiona Harvey. She explains why this summit proved controversial before it even began, what the main talking points will be, and how countries can still collaborate to meet the goals set out in 2015’s Paris agreement
2023-Nov-28 • 37 minutes
Weight of the world – the climate scientists who saw the crisis coming
In part one of this three-part series, three climate scientists reveal the moment they realised the planet was heading for catastrophe. What did they do when they found out? How did they think the world would respond? And how do they feel today, looking back on that moment of cognisance?
2023-Nov-23 • 16 minutes
What have we learned from the James Webb space telescope so far?
Madeleine Finlay sits down with science correspondent Hannah Devlin to discuss the amazing discoveries the James Webb space telescope has made in the year since it became operational. From planets that rain sand, to distant galaxies, Hannah explains how some of these discoveries could fundamentally change our understanding of the universe
2023-Nov-21 • 19 minutes
Superyachts and private jets: the carbon impact of the ‘polluter elite’
Madeleine Finlay hears from the Guardian’s Europe environment correspondent Ajit Niranjan, and from wealth correspondent Rupert Neate, about the highly polluting transport habits of the ultra-wealthy. From private jets to superyachts, the emissions produced by the super-rich as they travel around the globe are contributing to staggering inequalities in carbon footprints between the richest 1% and the rest of humanity
2023-Nov-16 • 18 minutes
The mysteries of volcanoes: what’s going on beneath the ground in Iceland?
As Iceland braces for a volcanic eruption, Madeleine Finlay hears from volcanologist Helga Torfadottir about how the country is preparing, and why this is happening now. She also speaks to Cambridge professor of volcanology Clive Oppenheimer about how scientists predict volcanic activity, and what it feels like to stare into a smouldering volcanic crater
2023-Nov-14 • 14 minutes
CBD: what’s the science behind the wellness trend?
An estimated one in ten people in the UK have used products containing cannabidiol (CBD), and many users believe it can help with a range of ailments like sleep, anxiety and pain. But is there any evidence for the supposed benefits? Ian Sample talks to Dr Will Lawn of Kings College University who has studied the health effects of CBD, to find out
2023-Nov-09 • 17 minutes
Why is the Amazon rainforest drying up?
Ian Sample talks to Guardian global environment editor Jon Watts about the withering drought currently devastating the Amazon rainforest. Jon explains the complex mix of factors that are driving the drought, and considers whether it might be a catalyst for more concerted climate action in Brazil and beyond
2023-Nov-07 • 17 minutes
Understanding the science of addiction
After Matthew Perry’s death, a clip of the actor debating the science of addiction went viral. Ian Sample discusses our understanding of addiction with the director of the US National Institute on Drug Abuse, Nora Volkow
2023-Nov-02 • 18 minutes
Nuclear fusion, new drugs, better batteries: how AI will transform science
Ian Sample joins Madeleine Finlay to consider some of the huge benefits AI could bring to science. Madeleine also hears from prof Mihaela van der Schaar, an expert in machine learning in medicine, about how AI could transform healthcare
2023-Oct-31 • 16 minutes
What could near-death experiences teach us about life, death and consciousness?
Ian Sample meets Sam Parnia, an intensive care doctor and associate professor at NYU Grossman school of medicine in New York City who has spent his career exploring the boundary between life and death. He tells Ian how he believes near-death experiences can be explained and what medicine can learn from them
2023-Oct-26 • 22 minutes
Black holes, but backwards: unlocking the mysteries of white holes
Ian Sample meets the Italian physicist Carlo Rovelli to find out about his cutting-edge research into white holes, which are essentially time-reversed black holes. Rovelli explains why he thinks these hypothetical objects are worth exploring and reveals how they could explain one of the greatest mysteries of physics
2023-Oct-24 • 15 minutes
‘We’ve lost control’: what happens when the west Antarctic ice sheet melts?
Environment editor Damian Carrington explains why Antarctic ice may be melting even faster than we thought – and pays tribute to his predecessor John Vidal
2023-Oct-19 • 16 minutes
Could AI help diagnose schizophrenia?
Madeleine Finlay meets neuroscientist and psychiatrist Matthew Nour, whose research looks at how AI could help doctors and scientists bring precision to diagnosis of psychiatric conditions
2023-Oct-17 • 16 minutes
Scarier than lions: how fear of ‘super predator’ humans is shaping the animal kingdom
Ian Sample meets the conservation biologist Liana Zanette, whose recently published research demonstrates that humans are now the super predator, inciting more fear in wild animals than even lions. She explains the ramifications of this knowledge for conservation techniques and the protection of endangered animals
2023-Oct-12 • 20 minutes
Inside the UK’s first gaming disorder clinic
In 2018 the World Health Organization formally included gaming disorder in its diagnostic manual for the first time. Nearly four years into running the only NHS gaming disorder clinic, Prof Henrietta Bowden-Jones tells Madeleine Finlay about how her team are learning to help those impacted, while a former patient explains how his gaming got out of hand, and how the clinic helped him to regain control
2023-Oct-10 • 19 minutes
What’s really going on with Paris’s bedbug crisis?
Angelique Chrisafis tells Madeleine Finlay about the explosion in bedbug sightings in Paris, and how residents and officials have reacted. And Prof Jerome Goddard explains what makes the creatures so difficult to eradicate, and why the biggest threat they pose may be to our mental health
2023-Oct-05 • 21 minutes
All the news and science from the Nobel Prizes
Guardian science correspondents Linda Geddes, Nicola Davis and Hannah Devlin give Madeleine Finlay the lowdown on the Nobel Prizes for medicine, physics and chemistry that were announced this week
2023-Oct-03 • 21 minutes
Everything you need to know about the menopause
Madeleine Finlay meets menopause expert Dr Louise Newson to find out about some of the myths surrounding the menopause, how women can prepare for this stage in life, and why information and support can be so difficult to access
2023-Sep-28 • 17 minutes
Could we end migraines for good?
Dehenna Davison recently resigned as a UK minister, explaining that chronic migraines were making it impossible for her to do her job. Madeleine Finlay meets Prof Peter Goadsby, whose research underpins a new drug for acute migraines, to find out whether we might one day be able to wave goodbye to migraines for good
2023-Sep-26 • 15 minutes
Deja vu’s lesser-known opposite: why do we experience jamais vu?
There’s a sensation many of us might have experienced: when something routine or recognisable suddenly feels strange and unfamiliar. It’s known as jamais vu, or ‘never seen’. Research into this odd feeling recently won an Ig Nobel prize, which is awarded to science that makes you laugh, then think. Ian Sample speaks to Ig Nobel recipient Dr Akira O’Connor about why he wanted to study jamais vu, what he thinks is happening in our brains, and what it could teach us about memory going right, and wrong
2023-Sep-21 • 15 minutes
The mystery of Europe’s heat death hotspot
Ian Sample hears from the Guardian’s Europe environment correspondent, Ajit Niranjan, about the reporting he has been doing for the launch of our new Europe edition. He talks about Osijek, a Croatian city that has the highest heat mortality rate in Europe … but no one knows why
2023-Sep-19 • 17 minutes
Will our bees survive the Asian hornet invasion?
Asian hornets have been spotted in the UK in record numbers this year, sparking concern about what their presence could mean for our native insects, and in particular bee populations. Madeleine Finlay speaks to ecologist Prof Juliet Osborne about why this species of hornet is so voracious, how European beekeepers have been impacted by their arrival, and how scientists and the government are attempting to prevent them from becoming established here
2023-Sep-14 • 19 minutes
Should American bully XLs be banned?
The UK home secretary, Suella Braverman, is pushing for a ban on American bully XL dogs after an attack on an 11-year-old girl in Birmingham. Madeleine Finlay hears from Guardian Midlands correspondent Jessica Murray about how this relatively new breed became so popular, and from bioethicist Jessica Pierce about whether we need to reevaluate our expectations of dog ownership
2023-Sep-12 • 19 minutes
Teen mental health and social media: what does the evidence tell us?
Ian Sample talks to Dr Amy Orben, who leads the digital mental health programme at the Medical Research Council’s cognition and brain sciences unit
2023-Sep-07 • 19 minutes
First African climate summit: can development and climate action coexist?
Madeleine Finlay hears from the Guardian’s east Africa global development correspondent, Caroline Kimeu, about the challenges and tensions at play at the inaugural climate summit
2023-Sep-05 • 16 minutes
Everything you need to know about the new Covid variant
The UK Health Security Agency has announced plans to bring forward its autumn Covid-19 vaccination programme, and scale up testing and surveillance, after the emergence of the BA.2.86 variant. Madeleine Finlay and Ian Sample discuss where current infection rates stand, the characteristics of the new variant, and how prepared the UK is for a new wave
2023-Aug-31 • 13 minutes
Why are scientists so excited about the vagus nerve? – podcast
Science correspondent Linda Geddes tells Ian Sample about her recent investigation into the hype and science surrounding the vagus nerve, and also whether her own experiment with an allegedly nerve-stimulating device is having any effect
2023-Aug-29 • 18 minutes
Iris scans: proof of our humanity in an AI future, or marketing gimmick?
Madeleine Finlay speaks to the Guardian’s technology reporter Hibaq Farah about Worldcoin, a new cryptocurrency offering users tokens in exchange for a scan of their eyeballs. Farah explains what the motives behind the company are, why they think we all need to become ‘verified humans’, and how governments have responded to the project
2023-Aug-24 • 17 minutes
The Y chromosome has finally been sequenced: here’s why it matters
Twenty years after the first pass at sequencing the entire human genome, the Y chromosome has finally been fully decoded. Madeleine Finlay speaks to Mark Jobling, professor of genetics at the University of Leicester, about why it has proved so tricky, the role of the Y chromosome in our bodies, and the likelihood of it eventually dying out altogether
2023-Aug-22 • 16 minutes
Apple cider vinegar gummies: what’s the science behind the weight loss trend?
Apple cider vinegar is touted as a cure-all for everything from excess weight to digestion issues and blood sugar spikes. Supplement ‘gummies’ are the latest trend, billed as a tastier way to incorporate apple cider vinegar into our diets. Posts promoting them have been viewed millions of times on TikTok, but are the health claims backed up by the science? Madeleine Finlay speaks to Carol Johnston, a professor in the College of Health Solutions at Arizona State University who has been studying vinegar for 2...
2023-Aug-17 • 27 minutes
Killing the Skydancer: episode three, An Open Secret
In this special Age of Extinction mini-series from Science Weekly, Guardian biodiversity reporter Phoebe Weston explores the illegal killing of birds of prey on grouse moors, and asks why it is so difficult to solve these crimes. In the third and final episode, Phoebe finds out more about the pressures that drive people to commit raptor persecution, discovers how the police investigation into the case of Susie’s crushed chicks unfolded, and how Susie is doing now
2023-Aug-16 • 26 minutes
Killing the Skydancer: episode two, The Perfect Crime
In this special Age of Extinction mini-series from Science Weekly, Guardian biodiversity reporter Phoebe Weston explores the murky world of the illegal killing of birds of prey on grouse moors, and asks why it is so difficult to solve these crimes. In episode two, Phoebe speaks to the people trying to protect these rare birds, but as she digs deeper encounters a surprising silence around the killing of Susie’s chicks
2023-Aug-15 • 22 minutes
Killing the Skydancer: episode one, Susie’s Chicks
In this special Age of Extinction mini-series from Science Weekly, Guardian biodiversity reporter Phoebe Weston explores the murky world of the illegal killing of birds of prey on grouse moors and asks why it is so difficult to solve these crimes. In episode one, Phoebe hears about the case of Susie, a hen harrier whose chicks were killed while being monitored on camera. As she starts to investigate the case, she hears from conservationist Ruth Tingay about why hen harriers are targeted and finds out about ...
2023-Aug-10 • 17 minutes
Summer picks: are we any closer to understanding long Covid?
In this episode from March 2023, Ian Sample hears from Scotland’s Astronomer Royal, Prof Catherine Heymans, about her experience of long Covid and how it has affected her life. He also speaks to Prof Danny Altmann, an immunologist at Imperial College London, about the scientific understanding of the condition, and whether we’re any closer to a treatment
2023-Aug-08 • 15 minutes
Summer picks: should we ban artificial grass?
Installing artificial grass is becoming an increasingly popular way to achieve a neat, green lawn without much effort. But with environmental and potential health costs associated with plastic turf many campaigners and gardeners would like to see it banned. In this episode from April 2023, Madeleine Finlay speaks to Guardian feature writer Sam Wollaston and urban ecologist Prof Rob Francis about why people go for artificial grass, its environmental impact, and whether it’s time we rid ourselves of the idea ...
2023-Aug-03 • 19 minutes
Summer picks: could the multiverse be real?
The film Everything Everywhere All at Once won the 2023 Academy Award for Best Picture. In this episode from March 2023, just before the Oscars, Ian Sample spoke to the theoretical physicist and philosopher Sean Carroll about why we seem to be drawn to the idea of multiple worlds, and what the science says about how the multiverse might actually work
2023-Aug-01 • 12 minutes
Summer picks: what’s the reality behind the ‘Love Island smile’?
As the 10th series of the ITV show finishes, viewers may have noticed the perfectly straight, white teeth of the contestants. But are there risks associated with achieving a flawless smile? In this episode from January 2023, Madeleine Finlay speaks to dentist Paul Woodhouse about some of the dangers of dental tourism
2023-Jul-27 • 15 minutes
Canadian lake could mark the start of new geological epoch
Plutonium from nuclear weapons, industrial waste, and human activity more broadly have left such a mark on the Earth that a new epoch called the Anthropocene has been proposed. Why have scientists picked a quiet lake in Canada as the spot to define this epoch?
2023-Jul-25 • 14 minutes
What can doppelgangers tell us about nature v nurture?
The thing about doppelgangers is that despite looking almost identical, they aren’t biologically related. So, what makes them appear so similar?
2023-Jul-20 • 22 minutes
Extreme heat: what does it do to us and how can we adapt?
As record temperatures spread across the world, Ian Sample sets out to understand what heat does to our bodies and what we can do to mitigate it without causing more damage to the environment. He visits Prof Lewis Halsey’s team at the University of Roehampton and learns first-hand about the body’s response to heat. He also hears from scientists Prof Jean Palutikof and Dr Aaron Bach about how we can adapt buildings and working conditions in a changing climate.
2023-Jul-18 • 18 minutes
What’s at stake if we mine the deep sea?
As the International Seabed Authority gathers in Jamaica to thrash out regulations for mining the deep sea, Chris Michael of the Guardian’s Seascape team gives Ian Sample the background to this highly contested decision. Ian also hears from the marine biologist Dr Diva Amon about why some scientists are sounding the alarm
2023-Jul-13 • 15 minutes
Has a 25-year-old bet taken us a step closer to understanding consciousness?
Twenty-five years ago in a German bar, neuroscientist Christof Koch bet philosopher David Chalmers that we’d understand the neural basis for consciousness by 2023. Last month, the winner of the bet received a case of wine. Ian Sample talks to Christof and David about why they made the bet, who won, and where we are now in our understanding of this most fundamental aspect of existence
2023-Jul-11 • 18 minutes
The awe-inspiring intelligence of octopuses
Madeleine Finlay speaks to science correspondent Nicola Davis about why octopuses are more similar to us humans than we might believe. She also hears from Prof David Scheel about our increasing understanding of the sophistication of these cephalopods, and how that should influence our treatment of them
2023-Jul-06 • 20 minutes
Why inflammation matters, and what we can do to fight it
Ian Sample talks to Dr David Furman, an expert on inflammation and ageing at Stanford University. He explains how chronic inflammation is affecting our health and how lifestyle choices can help us fight it
2023-Jul-04 • 17 minutes
Why are windfarms turning record profits for the crown estate?
Madeleine Finlay speaks to the Guardian’s energy correspondent, Jillian Ambrose, about how offshore windfarms are generating record profits for the crown estate, and why King Charles has asked for the money to be used for the wider public good. She also hears from economist Guy Standing about how the seabed became a source of income for the crown and what it means for our view of the oceans as ‘commons’
2023-Jun-29 • 18 minutes
Euclid: will the mission uncover the secrets of dark matter and dark energy?
Ian Sample speaks to the cosmologist Dr Andrew Pontzen about the European Space Agency’s Euclid mission, which hopes to uncover more about two of the universe’s most baffling components: dark energy and dark matter. Pontzen explains what the probe will be looking for and how its findings will contribute to our understanding of the structure and evolution of the cosmos
2023-Jun-27 • 19 minutes
Why are orcas attacking boats and is the behaviour spreading?
Since 2020, orcas off the coast of Spain and Portugal have been ramming boats, biting rudders and, in a few cases, sinking entire vessels. Now it has been reported that a similar encounter has happened off Shetland. Madeleine Finlay speaks to marine biologist and orca expert Hanne Strager about what might be behind these incidents and where our fascination with orcas comes from
2023-Jun-22 • 17 minutes
Synthetic human embryos: can the law keep pace with the science?
Scientists have created synthetic human embryos using stem cells in a groundbreaking advance that sidesteps the need for eggs or sperm. Madeleine Finlay speaks to science correspondent Hannah Devlin about her world exclusive story on this development, what it could mean for medical research, and whether the ethical and regulatory classifications of these embryos are keeping pace with the science
2023-Jun-20 • 19 minutes
Cybercrime: what does psychology have to do with phishing?
As ransomware and phishing attempts become increasingly common, Ian Sample speaks to the Yale law professor and author Scott Shapiro about the costs of cybercrime, how attacks hack into our psychology, and what individuals and governments could do to stop it
2023-Jun-15 • 17 minutes
Will new treatments change the way we view cancer for good?
Ian Sample speaks to the Guardian’s health editor, Andrew Gregory, and Dr Roy Herbst about the world’s biggest annual gathering of oncology professionals. What were the standout research advances, and could they lead to permanent changes in the way we treat, think about and live with cancer?
2023-Jun-13 • 17 minutes
Kakhovka dam destruction: why is Ukraine calling it ‘ecocide’?
Madeleine Finlay speaks to Doug Weir from the Conflict and Environment Observatory about why the collapse of the Kakhovka dam is likely to be so damaging for biodiversity, access to clean water and levels of pollution. He explains why the environment has become such a central part of the narrative and considers what this increased focus could mean for Ukraine’s eventual recovery
2023-Jun-08 • 17 minutes
Why is Nasa looking into UFOs and what has it found so far?
Ian Sample talks to Prof David Spergel, the independent chair of a Nasa panel established to investigate sightings of UFOs, about what they hope to find and why there is so much stigma attached to this field
2023-Jun-06 • 24 minutes
‘It’s taught me everything about living’: Rachel Clarke on delivering palliative care from the NHS to Ukraine
Ian Sample talks to Dr Rachel Clarke about her experience working in palliative care in the NHS and now with hospices in Ukraine. She tells him what dying can teach the living, what we can learn from the Covid pandemic, and reveals the anguish and defiance of trying to provide a dignified death in the midst of war
2023-Jun-01 • 16 minutes
Why are food allergies on the rise and is a cure on the horizon?
Food allergies appear to be increasing globally, but as scientific understanding improves, some experts believe we may one day be able to eliminate them altogether. Ian Sample speaks to Dr Kari Nadeau, an allergy specialist at Harvard School of Public Health and author of the book The End of Food Allergy, to discuss why food allergies are on the rise and what we can do to prevent – and possibly even cure – them
2023-May-30 • 16 minutes
Six months to Cop28: will the most vital summit yet make meaningful progress?
With six months to go until the Cop28 UN climate change conference, the world remains on track for a catastrophic 2.7C of warming by the end of the century. Progress has never been more critical and this year it lies in the hands of the United Arab Emirates, a country that has plans to expand its already extensive oil and gas productions. Madeleine Finlay talks to environment correspondent Fiona Harvey about Cop28’s hosts and president, why this year is particularly key, and how close we are getting to irre...
2023-May-25 • 18 minutes
Japanese knotweed: why is it so damaging and can it be stopped?
Since it was introduced to the UK in 1850, Japanese knotweed has gone from novel ornamental plant to rampant invasive species. Madeleine Finlay speaks to journalist Samanth Subramanian about the huge costs associated with finding it on a property, and Dr Sophie Hocking explains what the plant, and our attempts to control it, might be doing to the environment.
2023-May-23 • 23 minutes
What will we eat in a post-1.5C world?
We now know that global temperatures are likely to temporarily exceed 1.5C above pre-industrial levels in the next five years. Breaching this crucial threshold will have serious consequences, including on our food. In the second of a special series of episodes looking at what a future world might look like, science editor Ian Sample explores how our diets could change as the world heats up, exploring climate-resilient vegetables, trying out mealworms, and discovering how to make flour out of microbes
2023-May-18 • 16 minutes
Menopause: could a new brain-based treatment cure hot flushes?
A first-of-its-kind non-hormonal drug to treat hot flushes has been approved in the US. Madeleine Finlay speaks to endocrinologist and menopause specialist Prof Annice Mukherjee to find out what we know about the mechanism that causes hot flushes, how this new drug targets connections in the brain, and what it might mean for those experiencing menopause in the future
2023-May-16 • 18 minutes
Is it the beginning of the end for scientific publishing?
More than 40 leading scientists have resigned en masse from the editorial board of a top science journal. Ian Sample speaks to Hannah Devlin about the lucrative business of scientific publishing and hears from Prof Chris Chambers about what was behind the recent mass resignation
2023-May-11 • 16 minutes
First UK baby born with DNA from three people: what happens next?
The pioneering IVF procedure known as mitochondrial donation therapy (MDT) could prevent children from being born with devastating mitochondrial diseases. Madeleine Finlay speaks to Prof Darren Griffin, an expert in genetic diseases and reproduction, about how MDT works, the ethical considerations attached, and what techniques like it could mean for the future of reproduction
2023-May-09 • 17 minutes
Will psychedelic drugs transform mental health treatment?
Ian Sample speaks to science correspondent Hannah Devlin about the evidence behind using psychedelics as medicines, and hears from Prof Celia Morgan about how they work, what we know about the risks and what’s left to learn
2023-May-04 • 17 minutes
How AI is making non-invasive mind reading a reality
For the first time, researchers have found a way to non-invasively translate a person’s thoughts into text. Using fMRI scans and an AI-based decoder trained on a precursor to ChatGPT, the system can reconstruct brain activity to interpret the gist of a story someone is listening to, watching or even just imagining telling. Ian Sample speaks to one of the team behind the breakthrough, to find out how it works, where they hope to use it, and whether our mental privacy could soon be at risk
2023-May-02 • 19 minutes
Can cities help us fight climate change?
As the planet warms, and intense heatwaves become the norm, our urban environments need a radical rethink to keep them habitable. So what do we want the cities of the future to look like? In the first of our special series of episodes looking at what a future world could look like, Madeleine Finlay speaks to author and historian Ben Wilson, Prof Jessica Davies and Prof Diane Jones Allen about how to create cities that are fairer, greener and more self-reliant.
2023-Apr-27 • 14 minutes
Europe’s ‘carbon bomb’ petrochemical plant: can it be stopped?
The environmental law charity ClientEarth and 13 other groups headed into a Flemish court this week in an effort to stop Ineos building a petrochemical plant that would be the biggest project of its kind in Europe for 30 years. Madeleine Finlay hears from correspondent Sandra Laville about how plastics are made, the environmental and health impacts of the process and what needs to be done to get a handle on plastic pollution
2023-Apr-25 • 17 minutes
Why are black women four times more likely to die from childbirth?
Experts and campaigners have been pointing out the racial disparities in maternal healthcare for years. The latest report to highlight the issue comes from the House of Commons women and equalities committee. MPs behind the report have condemned the government’s failure to address the gulf in outcomes. So why are black and Asian women still more at risk from childbirth? Madeleine Finlay hears what it can be like to navigate the maternity system as a woman of colour, and speaks to Guardian health editor Andr...
2023-Apr-20 • 18 minutes
How did ultra-processed foods take over, and what are they doing to us?
Sliced supermarket bread, ham, cheese, crisps, a fruit-flavoured yoghurt and a fizzy drink. If this sounds like a standard lunch, you’re not alone. The average person in the UK gets more than 50% of their calories from ultra-processed foods – otherwise known as ‘industrially produced edible substances’. Madeleine Finlay speaks to Dr Chris van Tulleken about what ultra-processed foods are really made of, how they have become a major part of our diets, and the impact they are having on our health
2023-Apr-18 • 12 minutes
Could virtual reality gaming help people overcome anxiety?
Madeleine Finlay speaks to science correspondent Linda Geddes about trying out a virtual reality game that challenges you to keep your heart-rate down while facing a terrifying monster, why it could help with tackling anxiety, and whether the gamification of coping strategies could be the best way to integrate them into our every day lives
2023-Apr-13 • 14 minutes
Juice Mission: why has the search for alien life moved to Jupiter’s moons?
The European Space Agency’s long-awaited Juice Mission is about to blast off for Jupiter’s moons. Its goal: to find out whether the oceans below their icy surfaces could be capable of supporting life. Madeleine Finlay speaks to Dr Stuart Clark about why moons are the new Mars for scientists seeking life, how magnetic fields can help us understand these mysterious lunar oceans, and what Juice might mean for our understanding of life beyond the solar system
2023-Apr-11 • 15 minutes
Should we ban artificial grass?
Artificial grass has become a hugely popular way to achieve a neat, green lawn all year round. But what are the costs of a hassle- and mud-free garden? Madeleine Finlay speaks to Guardian feature writer Sam Wollaston and urban ecologist Prof Rob Francis about why people go for artificial grass, its environmental impacts, and whether it’s time we rid ourselves of the idea of the perfect lawn altogether
2023-Apr-05 • 17 minutes
What’s feeding the 5,000-mile blob of seaweed growing in the Atlantic?
The Great Atlantic Sargassum Belt, the biggest seaweed bloom on the planet, is already beginning to coat beaches in Florida, Mexico and the Caribbean in dangerous, smelly goop. Madeleine Finlay speaks to sargassum expert Prof Brian Lapointe about what’s feeding it, and whether anything can be done
2023-Apr-04 • 15 minutes
Why does the UK government want to ban laughing gas?
The UK government recently announced plans to make the possession of laughing gas for recreational use a criminal offence. Ian Sample speaks to science correspondent Nicola Davis about the reasons behind banning nitrous oxide, risks associated with its use and what else experts think could be done to prevent harm
2023-Mar-30 • 16 minutes
Glass beads full of water on the moon: what does the discovery mean for space exploration?
More than half a century after humans last walked on the moon, researchers have made a discovery that makes lunar living an increasing possibility. The moon’s surface is littered with tiny glass beads containing water, which could be extracted and used by visiting astronauts. Ian Sample speaks to Professor Mahesh Anand, part of the team that made the discovery, about where these beads come from and what they mean for future moon missions
2023-Mar-28 • 16 minutes
Could faecal transplants be the next frontier in health?
Madeleine Finlay hears from science correspondent Linda Geddes about her experience becoming a faecal transplant donor, how getting a dose of someone else’s gut bacteria could treat illnesses like arthritis, diabetes and cancer, and asks whether a pill made from poo is an idea we are ready to swallow
2023-Mar-23 • 18 minutes
Three years on: are we any closer to understanding long Covid?
Ian Sample hears from Scotland’s Astronomer Royal Catherine Heymans about her experience of long Covid and how it has impacted her life. He also speaks to Professor Danny Altmann, an immunologist at Imperial College London, about the current scientific understanding of the condition, and whether we’re any closer to a treatment.
2023-Mar-21 • 16 minutes
Willow Project: what could the ‘carbon bomb’ mean for the environment?
Madeleine Finlay speaks to Guardian West Coast reporter Maanvi Singh about the Biden administration’s approval of a controversial new oil drilling project on Alaska’s North Slope. She also hears from Kristen Monsell, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, which is part of a coalition that’s filing a lawsuit to challenge the decision.
2023-Mar-16 • 16 minutes
How will gene editing change medicine and who will benefit?
Ian Sample speaks to Guardian science correspondent Hannah Devlin about the latest developments and debates about gene editing to emerge from a summit at the Francis Crick Institute in London. The summit heard from the first person with sickle cell disease to be treated with a technique known as CRISPR. He also hears from Prof Claire Booth about ensuring these cutting edge treatments are made available to everyone who needs them
2023-Mar-14 • 15 minutes
The Last of Us: could the next pandemic be fungal?
Madeleine Finlay speaks to Guardian science correspondent Linda Geddes about the possibility of a fungal pandemic like the one depicted in apocalyptic thriller The Last of Us. They discuss the strange world of fungi, the risks of infections and treatment resistance, and what we can do to protect ourselves from future fungal threats
2023-Mar-09 • 18 minutes
Everything Everywhere All at Once: could the multiverse be real?
The film Everything Everywhere All at Once has enjoyed critical acclaim and awards success. Ahead of the Oscars, where it’s tipped to sweep the board, Ian Sample speaks to theoretical physicist and philosopher Sean Carroll about why we seem to be drawn to the idea of multiple worlds, and what the science says about how the multiverse might actually work
2023-Mar-07 • 13 minutes
Matt Hancock’s messages: how scientifically literate should our politicians be?
Ian Sample speaks to mathematical biologist Kit Yates about what Matt Hancock’s leaked WhatsApp messages reveal about scientific understanding at the heart of government during the pandemic, and what should be done to prepare for the future
2023-Mar-02 • 16 minutes
What should we do about the rise in children vaping?
Madeleine Finlay speaks to former Guardian health editor Sarah Boseley about the rise in vaping among under-18s and what can be done to discourage more children from taking up the habit. She also hears from Prof Linda Bauld about the impact of vaping on young people
2023-Feb-28 • 14 minutes
What are ‘forever chemicals’ and why are they causing alarm?
Madeleine Finlay speaks to environmental journalist Rachel Salvidge about PFAS, also known as ‘forever chemicals’, which have been found at high levels at thousands of sites across the UK and Europe. Rachel explains what they are, how harmful they can be, and what can be done to mitigate their harmful effects
2023-Feb-23 • 16 minutes
15-minute cities: mundane planning concept or global conspiracy?
Madeleine Finlay speaks to the Guardian’s architecture and design critic, Oliver Wainwright, about why the relatively obscure concept of the 15-minute city has become a magnet for conspiracy theories in recent weeks. And hears from Dr Richard Dunning about how the theory can be implemented in a way that’s fair to all residents
2023-Feb-21 • 13 minutes
Are weight loss injections the solution to the obesity crisis?
Ian Sample speaks to Guardian science correspondent Nicola Davis about the news that Wegovy, an appetite suppressant popular with celebrities in the US, will soon be sold at UK pharmacies. It’s a prescription drug aimed at helping people with obesity lose weight, but some argue it doesn’t tackle the root cause of the disease
2023-Feb-16 • 15 minutes
Online misogyny: what impact is it having on children?
Madeleine Finlay speaks to Guardian education correspondent Sally Weale, and to consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist Dr Dickon Bevington, about the impact online misogyny is having on children in the real world
2023-Feb-14 • 14 minutes
Antibiotic resistance: where do we go next?
Ian Sample speaks to science correspondent Hannah Devlin about genetically modified bacteria, plant toxins, and the hunt for bacteria-killing viruses
2023-Feb-09 • 16 minutes
What can we really learn from home blood testing kits?
Private blood tests offer customers a way to check their health from the comfort of their home. But what happens if there’s an abnormal result? Madeleine Finlay speaks to health journalist Emma Wilkinson and consultant chemical pathologist Dr Bernie Croal about how these tests work, how to interpret your results and whether an already overstretched NHS is being left to deal with the worried well
2023-Feb-07 • 14 minutes
How has the Russia-Ukraine war disrupted science?
As we approach a year since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Ian Sample talks to physicist Professor John Ellis, and Arctic governance expert Svein Vigeland Rottem, about how the world of science has had to adapt
2023-Feb-02 • 15 minutes
Can we restore England’s lost wildlife?
This week the government published a major environmental improvement plan for England, including pledges on green spaces, wildlife habitat restoration and tackling sewage spills. Madeleine Finlay speaks to the Guardian’s environment editor, Fiona Harvey, about the state of nature in the UK, what this plan promises to do and whether it’s likely to deliver.
2023-Jan-31 • 12 minutes
How to spot the exotic green comet (and what might get in the way)
This week star gazers will be hoping to catch sight of an exotic green comet that last passed by Earth 50,000 years ago. But, unlike the view our Neanderthal ancestors would have had, light pollution will make witnessing this celestial event an impossibility for many. Ian Sample speaks to astronomy journalist Dr Stuart Clark about how best to see the comet, and why it’s time to rethink our relationship with the night sky
2023-Jan-26 • 15 minutes
How will ChatGPT transform creative work?
Ian Sample speaks to Prof John Naughton about how ChatGPT works, hears from author Patrick Jackson about how it will change publishing, and asks where the chatbot technology could end up
2023-Jan-24 • 14 minutes
Overcoming burnout: a psychologist’s guide
The resignation of New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern has prompted a renewed focus on burnout. Madeleine Finlay speaks to cognitive scientist Professor Laurie Santos about its symptoms, causes, and the best ways to recover
2023-Jan-19 • 12 minutes
Could the return of El Niño in 2023 take us above 1.5C of warming?
Scientists have predicted the return of the El Niño climate phenomenon later this year. Its arrival will result in even higher global temperatures and supercharged extreme weather events. Ian Sample speaks to environment editor Damian Carrington about what we can expect from El Niño and whether we’re prepared
2023-Jan-17 • 12 minutes
What’s the reality behind the ‘Love Island smile’?
As the ninth series of ITV show Love Island kicked off yesterday, viewers may have noticed contestants’ perfectly straight, white teeth. But are there risks associated with achieving a flawless smile? Madeleine Finlay speaks to dentist Paul Woodhouse about some of the dangers of dental tourism
2023-Jan-12 • 15 minutes
How did we save the ozone layer?
A UN report has found the Earth’s ozone layer is on course to be healed within the next 40 years. Madeleine Finlay speaks to atmospheric scientist Paul Newman about this momentous achievement and whether it really is the end of the story
2023-Jan-10 • 16 minutes
Our science predictions for 2023
Ian Sample and science correspondent Hannah Devlin discuss the major stories they are expecting to hit the headlines in 2023.
2023-Jan-05 • 15 minutes
Best of 2022: James Webb space telescope – thousands of galaxies in a grain of sand
Astronomer Prof Ray Jayawardhana speaks to Ian Sample about the first spectacular images from the JWST – and what they tell us about the cosmos
2023-Jan-03 • 16 minutes
Best of 2022: Why aren’t women being diagnosed with ADHD?
In this episode first broadcast in May 2022, Madeleine Finlay speaks to Jasmine Andersson about her experience of getting a late ADHD diagnosis, and asks Prof Amanda Kirby why the condition is so often missed in women and girls
2022-Dec-29 • 14 minutes
Are we finally nearing a treatment for Alzheimer’s?
Back in November, researchers hailed the dawn of a new era of Alzheimer’s therapies. After decades of failure, a clinical trial finally confirmed that a drug, lecanemab, was able to slow cognitive decline in patients with early stages of the disease. Ian Sample speaks to Prof Nick Fox about what these results mean, and what it could mean for the future of Alzheimer’s disease treatments.
2022-Dec-27 • 18 minutes
Exploded heads and missing fingers: Dame Sue Black on her most memorable cases
From a fragment of skull in a washing machine to a finger bone found by a dog walker, forensic anthropologist Prof Dame Sue Black has investigated a lot of strange and mysterious evidence. Nicola Davis hears from Sue Black about giving the Royal Institution Christmas lectures this year, the most unforgettable cases she helped solve, and the secret scientific clues hidden in our bodies
2022-Dec-22 • 13 minutes
The science of how to give better gifts
As Christmas approaches, many of us will have spent weeks trying to pick out the perfect presents for our friends and family. But what does science say about how to avoid unwanted gifts and unpleasant surprises? Ian Sample speaks to Julian Givi about his research unwrapping what we all really want under the tree
2022-Dec-20 • 14 minutes
What does Cop15’s buzzword ‘nature positive’ mean?
One of the key guiding phrases for the Cop15 summit has been becoming ‘nature positive’. But what does this really mean? Madeleine Finlay speaks to biodiversity reporter Phoebe Weston and biodiversity professor EJ Milner-Gulland about ‘nature positive’ and how to stop it becoming another way to greenwash.
2022-Dec-15 • 15 minutes
‘Nothing is impossible’: the major breakthrough in nuclear fusion
This week, American researchers achieved a major breakthrough in nuclear fusion – successfully generating more energy from a fusion reaction than was used to start it. Ian Sample speaks to Alain Bécoulet how close we are to using nuclear fusion to power our homes, and whether it will become the clean, safe, and abundant source of energy the world so desperately needs.
2022-Dec-13 • 14 minutes
Will Cop15 tackle the growing problem of invasive species?
Invasive species are one of the key drivers of biodiversity loss around the world, and often have a large economic impact on the areas they inhabit. At the UN’s biodiversity Cop15 countries will be discussing how best to tackle this growing issue. Ian Sample gets an update on how Cop15 is progressing from biodiversity reporter Patrick Greenfield, and speaks to Prof Helen Roy about why invasive species pose such a massive risk to native wildlife
2022-Dec-07 • 14 minutes
‘The biggest meeting for humanity’: Why Cop15 has to succeed
Yesterday, negotiators from around the world landed in Montreal, Canada for Cop15. The UN’s biodiversity conference comes at a critical time for nature: a million species are currently at risk of extinction and wildlife populations have plunged by an average of 69% between 1970 and 2018. Madeleine Finlay speaks to Prof Alexandre Antonelli about his passion for plants, concerns for biodiversity, and hopes for Cop15.
2022-Dec-06 • 16 minutes
Why are children in the UK at risk of serious strep A infections?
At least eight children in England and Wales have now died after contracting the Group A streptococci bacteria, and parents across the UK are being urged to look out for possible infections in their children. Madeleine Finlay speaks to Chrissie Jones about Strep A symptoms, and hears from Shiranee Sriskandan on how the bacteria evades our immune systems and if a vaccine could be on the horizon
2022-Dec-01 • 16 minutes
‘A possible extinction event’: the UK’s worst bird flu outbreak
The UK is in the middle of its worst outbreak of bird flu. To find out how both wild and captive bird populations are coping, Ian Sample speaks with Phoebe Weston, a biodiversity writer for the Guardian, and Paul Wigley, a professor in animal microbial ecosystems at the University of Bristol
2022-Nov-29 • 11 minutes
What are leap seconds, and why have we scrapped them?
Scientists and government officials recently voted to scrap leap seconds, which are added to synchronise atomic time and astronomical time. Madeleine Finlay speaks to scientist JT Janssen about what can go wrong when this happens
2022-Nov-24 • 14 minutes
How should we prepare for an ageing global population?
Last week the world’s population reached 8 billion, according to the UN. A lot of that growth has been among older age groups. So what happens when humanity gets older, and eventually begins to decline? Ian Sample speaks to Prof Vegard Skirbekk about how we got here and how we prepare for demographic change
2022-Nov-22 • 16 minutes
Will the Qatar World Cup really be carbon neutral?
It’s supposed to be the first ever carbon neutral World Cup, according to organisers Fifa and host Qatar. But with several new stadiums and fans flying in from around the world, that claim has come under scrutiny. Madeleine Finlay hears from sports reporter Paul MacInnes about the environmental impact of the tournament and asks whether football is ready to face up to its carbon footprint
2022-Nov-17 • 16 minutes
Cop27: where do climate scientists find hope?
Last year at Cop26 we heard from two climate scientists, Peter Stott and Katharine Hayhoe about their thoughts on progress. A year on, Ian Sample calls them back up to find out how they’re feeling now
2022-Nov-15 • 16 minutes
Cop27: has there been any progress in Sharm el-Sheikh?
As we head into the second week of Cop27, Madeleine Finlay hears from biodiversity reporter Patrick Greenfield about what it’s been like in Sharm el-Sheikh, and from environment editor Fiona Harvey about whether we could see any progress on staying within 1.5C of global heating
2022-Nov-09 • 15 minutes
Cop27: Is it time to rethink endless economic growth?
Many of the world's economies depend on growth, and an ever-increasing GDP. But is this really possible on a rapidly warming planet with finite resources? Ian Sample speaks to environmental economist Tim Jackson about reimagining economic growth, and what a sustainable economy could look like
2022-Nov-08 • 17 minutes
Cop27: Who are the real climate leaders?
At Cop27 yesterday, world leaders began making speeches about carbon targets and the impacts of climate breakdown. But offstage, indigenous leaders are still trying to get their voices heard. Madeleine Finlay speaks to Nina Lakhani about the need for climate justice, and hears from Nonhle Mbuthuma about her fight to protect South Africa’s Wild Coast
2022-Nov-03 • 15 minutes
Cop27: a chance for change – or more of the same?
With the UN’s climate change conference Cop27 beginning on Sunday, Madeleine Finlay hears from Guardian Australia’s climate and environment editor Adam Morton about the current path to catastrophic heating, claims of greenwashing and what’s likely to be on the agenda this year
2022-Nov-01 • 15 minutes
Could a prescription of surfing help with depression?
A new trial is exploring if prescriptions of surfing, gardening and dance classes can reduce anxiety and depression in people aged 11 to 18. NHS mental health trusts in 10 parts of England will use a range of sports, arts and outdoor activities with 600 young people to see if it can stop conditions worsening while the sufferers are on waiting lists for care. This kind of support is known as ‘social prescribing’, allowing health professionals to refer patients to a range of community groups and organisations...
2022-Oct-27 • 17 minutes
Stories from a medieval graveyard: worms, wounds, and wonky toes
Crushed by a cart, infected with parasitic worms and painful bunions. These may sound like curses you’d wish on your worst enemy, but researchers have discovered they were probably a normal part of medieval life. Madeleine Finlay hears from Nicola Davis as she investigates what old skeletons can reveal about the injuries and afflictions of those in centuries gone by
2022-Oct-25 • 14 minutes
Is it ethical to put human brain cells in a rat?
Researchers have transplanted human neurons into the brains of rats. Ian Sample speaks to the philosopher and bioethicist Julian Savulescu about how they managed it and how we decide where to draw the line in such an ethically complex field of science
2022-Oct-20 • 15 minutes
Can rituals help with our grief for the natural world?
Madeleine Finlay speaks to Prof Claire White about how performing rituals can help to manage our emotions and channel them into action, and hears a eulogy for a lost glacier
2022-Oct-18 • 14 minutes
How a scientific scandal could force sport to rethink concussion
Dr Paul McCrory is a world-renowned concussion expert whose work shaped concussion policy across global sport for the past 20 years. Last week, the British Journal of Sports Medicine retracted nine of his articles and attached an ‘expression of concern’ to another 74. Ian Sample hears from senior sports writer Andy Bull about what this means and what happens next.
2022-Oct-13 • 12 minutes
Could moth larvae be the answer to our plastic problem?
Madeleine Finlay speaks to environment editor Damian Carrington about how the saliva of wax worms can break down plastic bags – and where else we might find waste solutions in the natural world
2022-Oct-11 • 12 minutes
Why does Elon Musk want to buy Twitter?
Elon Musk’s controversial takeover of Twitter has been full of twists, turns and lawsuits. For now, it seems as if the acquisition is going ahead. But why does Musk even want to own Twitter? Ian Sample speaks to global technology editor Dan Milmo about Twitter’s influence, spambots and what could happen next
2022-Oct-06 • 15 minutes
Why is the government in Iran shutting down the internet?
Madeleine Finlay speaks to Azadeh Akbari about the government in Iran blocking internet access after the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini – and to Alp Toker about how they, and other governments around the world, are able to do it
2022-Oct-04 • 12 minutes
Covid-19: is there a ‘twindemic’ coming?
The UK is currently experiencing another surge in Covid-19 cases, with numbers in England going up by 42% in recent weeks. Ian Sample talks to Prof Peter Openshaw about where we’re at right now, the spectre of a Covid and flu ‘twindemic’ this winter and what we can do to reduce the risk
2022-Sep-29 • 14 minutes
Why did Nasa smash its spacecraft into an asteroid?
This week, Nasa scientists successfully smashed a spacecraft into an asteroid, in a test to see whether it will be possible to deflect a killer space rock headed our way. Ian Sample speaks to Prof Colin Snodgrass, who worked on the mission, to find out how they pulled it off, if there are other ways to knock asteroids off course, and whether we could ever mine them for resources
2022-Sep-27 • 17 minutes
How a man and his dogs discovered the cause of narcolepsy
Madeleine Finlay speaks to one of the winners of this year’s Breakthrough prize, Prof Emmanuel Mignot, about how he uncovered the cause of narcolepsy, why it is similar to diabetes, and how his work may finally result in a treatment for the condition
2022-Sep-22 • 17 minutes
Why is the NHS in crisis, and can it be fixed?
Ian Sample hears from acute medicine consultant Dr Tim Cooksley about what’s happening within the NHS, and speaks to the Guardian’s health policy editor, Denis Campbell, about how the UK’s health and social care systems ended up in crisis and whether they can be fixed
2022-Sep-20 • 18 minutes
How will Jacob Rees-Mogg tackle the energy and climate crises?
Against a backdrop of a cost of living crisis caused in part by soaring energy prices, the UK’s new prime minister, Liz Truss, appointed MP Jacob Rees-Mogg as secretary of state for business and energy. Madeleine Finlay speaks to Fiona Harvey about his plans to extract ‘every last drop’ of North Sea oil and gas, and the government’s commitment to green energy
2022-Sep-15 • 12 minutes
How air pollution is changing our view of cancer
A groundbreaking new study has revealed how air pollution can cause lung cancer, and promises to rewrite our understanding of the disease. Madeleine Finlay speaks to Hannah Devlin about how scientists uncovered the link
2022-Sep-13 • 12 minutes
Why do we grieve the death of public figures?
Ian Sample talks to Prof Michael Cholbi about what grief is, how losing a public figure can have such a profound impact on our lives, and why there’s value in grieving
2022-Sep-08 • 16 minutes
Could a new vaccine tackle rising rates of Lyme disease?
As cases of tick-borne Lyme disease grow around the world, a new vaccine will soon be tested on thousands of volunteers. Madeleine Finlay speaks to Dr Eoin Healy about what causes Lyme disease and how the vaccine works, and hears from a special guest about their own experience of getting ill with the disease.
2022-Sep-06 • 13 minutes
What could go wrong at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant?
The recent shelling of attack of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant – Europe’s largest – has triggered international concern. But what are the risks of a nuclear disaster? Ian Sample speaks to Prof Claire Corkhill about what will happen if the plant loses power, and how a nuclear meltdown could be avoided
2022-Sep-01 • 14 minutes
100 days until Cop15: what next to save nature?
It is now less than 100 days until Cop15, the UN convention on biological diversity. With the Earth experiencing the largest loss of life since the dinosaurs, these talks will be critical for the future of the planet and humanity. Madeleine Finlay speaks to Phoebe Weston about how negotiations have been going so far, and what’s next on the road to Cop15
2022-Aug-30 • 12 minutes
What is raw sewage doing to the UK’s rivers and seas?
Raw sewage, containing wet wipes, excrement and used sanitary products, is being regularly discharged into British rivers and seas. Last year, water companies released untreated sewage into waterways for 2.7m hours. Madeleine Finlay speaks to reporter Helena Horton about why this is happening and the damage it is doing to the environment
2022-Aug-25 • 16 minutes
What’s going on with UK teenagers’ mental health?
Todays’ teenagers don’t have it easy – they are faced with the aftermath of the pandemic, a cost of living crisis, the impacts of social media and an uncertain future caused by the climate crisis. It may be no surprise they are increasingly reporting mental health problems. But is this the full picture? And how do we best help adolescents?
2022-Aug-23 • 15 minutes
How did mammals come to rule the world?
Mammals first appeared on Earth at least 178 million years ago, and have since shared the planet with dinosaurs, survived an asteroid, and made it through an ice age. Now, they’re facing their biggest threat yet – humans. Nicola Davis describes the incredible history of mammals and what it can tell us about their, and our, future
2022-Aug-18 • 12 minutes
From the archive: Will Silicon Valley help us live to 200 and beyond? – podcast
Billions are being poured into scientific efforts to understand and stave off the effects of ageing. Ian Sample finds out about how Silicon Valley startups aim to keep the rich younger and healthier for longer
2022-Aug-16 • 17 minutes
From the archive: What are the hidden costs of our obsession with fish oil pills?
A study found more than 1 in 10 capsules were rancid. Yet, these supplements are part of a billion-dollar industry mining one of the most productive marine ecosystems on Earth
2022-Aug-11 • 12 minutes
From the archive: Are western lifestyles causing a rise in autoimmune diseases?
Ian Sample investigates whether western lifestyles, from fast foods to urbanisation, could be behind the rapid rise in autoimmune diseases around the world
2022-Aug-09 • 16 minutes
From the archive: Why are climate and conservation scientists taking to the streets?
Madeleine Finlay speaks to conservation scientist Dr Charlie Gardner about why many researchers around the world are leaving their labs to protest – and why he thinks civil disobedience is the only option left
2022-Aug-04 • 16 minutes
James Lovelock and the legacy of his Gaia hypothesis
Global environment editor Jonathan Watts describes the incredible legacy left behind by the scientist, inventor and maverick James Lovelock. Best known for the Gaia hypothesis of the Earth as a self-regulating system, Lovelock’s immense influence on the environmental movement will continue to be felt in the critical decades ahead
2022-Aug-02 • 11 minutes
Is it time for a complete overhaul of car wreck rescue techniques?
Anand Jagatia speaks to Linda Geddes and Dr Tim Nutbeam about new research on the best way to free someone from a wreckage
2022-Jul-28 • 13 minutes
Which Tory leadership candidate is the ‘greenest’?
Ian Sample chats to Fiona Harvey about which of the final two Tory leadership candidates is the ‘least bad’ when it comes to green policies, and why one of the world’s most urgent issues has taken a back seat in the contest
2022-Jul-26 • 15 minutes
Learning how to cope with ‘climate doom’
Anand Jagatia speaks to psychotherapist Caroline Hickman about climate anxiety, and how we can turn feelings of doom into positive action
2022-Jul-21 • 13 minutes
Have Biden’s climate pledges just been killed off?
Ian Sample speaks to Prof Elizabeth Bomberg about recent developments that have hobbled the US government on climate action
2022-Jul-19 • 14 minutes
‘Falling from the sky in distress’: the deadly bird flu outbreak sweeping the world
Avian influenza is sweeping across the world, killing millions of birds. In the UK, wild seabird populations are being hit hard. Phoebe Weston tells Madeleine Finlay about the devastating impact
2022-Jul-14 • 15 minutes
James Webb space telescope: thousands of galaxies in a grain of sand
Astronomer Prof Ray Jayawardhana speaks to Ian Sample about the first spectacular images from the JWST – and what they tell us about the cosmos
2022-Jul-12 • 13 minutes
Why have Australian honeybees been put into lockdown? Podcast
Madeleine Finlay finds out why the varroa mite, a deadly parasite, poses such a threat and what it means to put bees into lockdown
2022-Jul-07 • 16 minutes
Roe v Wade: why vasectomies are no answer to abortion restrictions
The US supreme court recently overturned Roe v Wade, making abortions illegal in roughly half the country. The ruling sparked debate around men’s reproductive choices and vasectomies as a contraceptive method. Madeleine Finlay explores the dark history of vasectomies and busts some myths around the procedure
2022-Jul-05 • 14 minutes
New Covid wave: Is this what ‘living with covid’ looks like?
Another wave of Covid has hit the UK, driven by even more transmissible variants of Omicron BA.4 and BA.5. Ian Sample asks whether this will translate into hospitalisations and deaths, and whether we should now expect ongoing cycles of Covid waves in the months and years to come
2022-Jun-30 • 12 minutes
Is polio in our sewage as worrying as it sounds?
Ian Sample speaks to epidemiologist Nicholas Grassly to find out how worried we should be about poliovirus in London sewage, and what it means for the global effort to eradicate polio.
2022-Jun-28 • 17 minutes
Shitcoins: are pointless cryptocurrencies a scam or a gamble?
Madeleine Finlay speaks to UK technology editor Alex Hern about how his identity was stolen to flog a doomed cryptocurrency, and what it revealed about scams, gambling and the culture of digital, decentralised coins
2022-Jun-23 • 13 minutes
Rewilding with wolves: can they help rebuild ecosystems?
Phoebe Weston talks to Ian Sample about whether wolves have the power to regenerate landscapes – and what that means for the reintroduction debate
2022-Jun-21 • 16 minutes
Seagrass meadows: can we rewild one of the world’s best carbon sinks?
Seagrass meadows support an incredible array of biodiversity but they have disappeared at a frightening pace. Science Weekly’s Madeleine Finlay visits a rewilding project in Hampshire and speaks to marine biologist Tim Ferrero about the challenges of replanting them
2022-Jun-16 • 12 minutes
How Google’s chatbot works – and why it isn’t sentient
AI researcher Kate Crawford speaks to Ian Sample about how Google’s AI system actually works, and why it’s unlikely to have a life of its own.
2022-Jun-14 • 13 minutes
How much does smoking damage our mental health?
According to some estimates smoking causes one in 10 deaths worldwide. A lesser known side-effect of cigarettes is the damage they cause to our mental health. Madeleine Finlay speaks to Dr Gemma Taylor about the link between smoking and mental heath and how to bust the myth that smoking is a stress reliever
2022-Jun-09 • 16 minutes
Why would Boris Johnson want to bring back imperial units?
Science editor Ian Sample speaks to metrology historian James Vincent about how measurement has always been deeply entwined with politics and power – and why it’s unlikely we’ll be getting rid of pints in pubs any time soon.
2022-Jun-07 • 13 minutes
Is pollution making us fat?
According to a major scientific review, chemical pollution in the environment is supersizing the global obesity epidemic. Madeleine Finlay speaks to Damian Carrington about these ‘obesogens’ and how they are changing our bodies
2022-Jun-02 • 20 minutes
The hidden science of bisexuality with Julia Shaw
Dr Julia Shaw talks about the history of measuring bisexuality, sexual behaviour in the animal kingdom, and how we can improve health outcomes for bi people.
2022-May-31 • 12 minutes
Why are there so few drugs you can take during pregnancy?
Only two new medicines have been approved for use during pregnancy in the last 40 years. Ian Sample talks to women’s health professor Peter Brocklehurst about why pregnant women are so often excluded from pharmaceutical research and development, and how we can make sure they benefit from modern medicine
2022-May-26 • 13 minutes
What should we do about monkeypox?
Ian Sample talks to virologist Oyewale Tomori about why monkeypox is flaring up, whether we should fear it, and what we can learn from countries such as Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo
2022-May-24 • 14 minutes
What will the cost of living crisis do to our health?
Millions in the UK are now struggling with higher food and energy prices. Madeleine Finlay hears from Prof Michael Marmot about the ways poverty makes you sicker. This cost of living crisis could be “austerity squared”, he warns
2022-May-19 • 13 minutes
The destruction of Gran Chaco, forgotten sister of the Amazon rainforest
It’s a wake-up call for the world’s forests. Madeleine Finlay hears from biodiversity reporter Patrick Greenfield about what his trip deep inside Argentina’s precious region showed him and what’s needed to end deforestation by 2030, as promised at Cop26
2022-May-17 • 13 minutes
Is the world keeping Cop26’s climate promises?
Six months on from Cop26, Ian Sample speaks to environment correspondent Fiona Harvey about progress made and how much the war in Ukraine could derail efforts to achieve climate goals
2022-May-12 • 15 minutes
Why aren’t women getting diagnosed with ADHD?
Madeleine Finlay speaks to Jasmine Andersson about her experience of getting a late ADHD diagnosis, and Prof Amanda Kirby on why the condition is so often missed in women and girls
2022-May-10 • 11 minutes
‘It’s a hellfire!’: how are India and Pakistan coping with extreme heat?
India and Pakistan have experienced their hottest April in 122 years. Temperatures are nearing 50C. Ian Sample talks to Shah Meer Baloch about what such extremes do to the body and how south Asia is adapting to inevitable heatwaves.
2022-May-05 • 10 minutes
Why is the UK suffering HRT shortages?
The UK is short of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) products, medications that make a big difference to those going through menopause. Madeleine Finlay speaks to Nicola Davis about why demand isn’t being met and what impact this is having on people’s lives
2022-May-03 • 15 minutes
Will the Large Hadron Collider find a new fifth force of nature?
Madeleine Finlay speaks to Hannah Devlin and Prof Jon Butterworth about a mysterious finding at the Large Hadron Collider that could be pointing to the existence of a fifth fundamental force of nature
2022-Apr-28 • 10 minutes
What’s behind the mysterious global rise in childhood hepatitis?
Guardian science editor Ian Sample speaks to Prof Deirdre Kelly about the unusual increase in children with severe hepatitis
2022-Apr-26 • 14 minutes
Preventable author Devi Sridhar on how she handles Covid trolls
Ian Sample speaks to Prof Devi Sridhar about her experience as a scientist during the Covid-19 pandemic, what it was like working alongside politicians, and what we should learn from the last few years
2022-Apr-21 • 13 minutes
Space junk – how should we clean up our act?
Ian Sample talks to Prof Don Pollacco and Prof. Chris Newman about the threat posed by space junk, and how we can tackle the problem
2022-Apr-19 • 13 minutes
Manifestation: why the pandemic had many of us seeing ghosts - Science Weekly podcast
Madeleine Finlay asks why the past couple of years may have prompted a surge in reports of paranormal activity and what it tells us about our own psychology
2022-Apr-14 • 12 minutes
Does China need to rethink its zero-Covid policy?
After putting its 26 million residents into lockdown, Shanghai has struggled to contain the spread of Covid-19 and provide residents with basic necessities. As a result, it is now easing restrictions. Madeleine Finlay speaks to Vincent Ni about whether this could be a sign of the end for China’s zero-Covid policy
2022-Apr-12 • 15 minutes
Why are climate and conservation scientists taking to the streets?
Madeleine Finlay speaks to conservation scientist Dr Charlie Gardner about civil disobedience – and why he thinks it’s the only option left
2022-Apr-07 • 13 minutes
Why has the UK (finally) expanded its Covid symptoms list?
After scrapping free rapid tests, and with the highest levels yet of Covid-19, this week the UK expanded its official Covid symptom list. Madeleine Finlay asks, why now?
2022-Apr-05 • 15 minutes
Why is England keeping the abortion ‘pills by post’ scheme?
Last week MPs voted to keep the ‘pills by post’ abortion service introduced at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Madeleine Finlay finds out about the benefits of self-managed medical abortions and whether ‘Plan C’ could ever become available from pharmacies
2022-Mar-31 • 12 minutes
Can the science of PTSD help soldiers in Ukraine?
Experiencing distressing events, such as wars, can cause people to develop post-traumatic stress disorder. Ian Sample looks at why some end up with this debilitating condition, and how understanding more about the psychology of PTSD could help build emotional resilience
2022-Mar-29 • 14 minutes
COP15: is 2022 the year we save biodiversity?
Government negotiators from around the world are gathered in Geneva to hammer out the details of a Paris-style agreement for nature. But with time running out to stem the destruction of life-sustaining ecosystems, will it be enough?
2022-Mar-24 • 13 minutes
Two years on, what have we learned about lockdowns?
Ian Sample speaks to Prof Adam Kucharski about how well lockdowns have worked around the world since 2020
2022-Mar-22 • 14 minutes
As the energy crisis bites, could fracking ever actually work?
Amid soaring energy prices the UK government has said it is considering all options for securing supplies and dampening costs – including fracking. Anand Jagatia explores why fracking is back on the table and whether it could ever really be a viable solution
2022-Mar-17 • 12 minutes
Covid cases are rising again – how worried should we be?
Science correspondent Nicola Davis speaks to Anand Jagatia about the increase in coronavirus infections and what it could mean.
2022-Mar-15 • 11 minutes
10% of the world’s wheat comes from Ukraine - will war change that?
Together, agricultural exports from Russia and Ukraine account for about 12% of global food calories. Madeleine Finlay finds out how the war between the two countries could impact the supply and cost of food around the world
2022-Mar-10 • 14 minutes
How come some people haven’t had Covid yet?
There are countless individuals who have knowingly been exposed to Covid-19, often multiple times, but have never had a positive test. Madeleine Finlay speaks to Linda Geddes about how scientists are trying to solve the mystery of why some people don’t catch Covid
2022-Mar-08 • 13 minutes
Is Russia losing the information war?
Since the start of the Russia-Ukraine war, disinformation and propaganda has been rife across both state-controlled media and digital platforms. Ian Sample finds out about the myths propagated online, and who is winning the disinformation war
2022-Mar-03 • 14 minutes
What have fossil fuels got to do with the invasion of Ukraine?
Madeleine Finlay speaks to Fiona Harvey about how Vladimir Putin has weaponised Russia’s fossil fuels, and how Europe could reshape its energy supplies for the future
2022-Mar-01 • 15 minutes
Act now: understanding the latest warnings in the IPCC report
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued its bleakest warning yet, showing a rapidly narrowing window for action to avoid the worst impacts of climate breakdown. Ian Sample speaks to environment editor Damian Carrington about the report’s findings, and what it means for the future of humanity
2022-Feb-24 • 13 minutes
Covid-19: what’s the evidence for vaccinating kids?
When the announcement came that all children aged five to 11 in England will be offered a Covid vaccine, emphasis was placed on parental decision-making. But for many it won’t be an easy choice. Ian Sample hears how the evidence stacks up.
2022-Feb-22 • 14 minutes
Will storms like Eunice become the norm?
The UK has been hit with a series of storms whose high winds and heavy rain have brought widespread flooding, travel chaos, and damaged infrastructure. But does climate breakdown mean that this rare event will happen more often? Could these kinds of storms get worse, too?
2022-Feb-17 • 12 minutes
Will Silicon Valley help us live to 200 and beyond?
Billions are being poured into scientific efforts to understand and stave off the effects of ageing. Ian Sample finds out about how Silicon Valley start-ups aim to keep the rich younger and healthier for longer
2022-Feb-15 • 14 minutes
What will ‘living with Covid’ actually mean?
All Covid regulations in England are due to be abolished on 24 February. Madeleine Finlay hears about the scientific evidence for this decision and what the changes could look like
2022-Feb-10 • 14 minutes
Why does Elon Musk want to read your mind?
Elon Musk’s company Neuralink is now recruiting for a director to run clinical trials of their brain-computer interface in humans. Madeleine Finlay asks how far the technology has come, what benefits it could have, and if in the future we could all end up storing our memories on the cloud
2022-Feb-08 • 11 minutes
How worried should we be about the new Omicron subvariant?
The new Omicron subvariant BA.2 appears to be even more transmissible than its close relative BA.1, Omicron, which rapidly spread across the globe last November. So what do we know about it, and how worried should we be? Ian Sample investigates
2022-Feb-05 • 49 minutes
Weekend: episode one of a new podcast
In our first episode, Marina Hyde reflects on another less than stellar week for Boris Johnson, Edward Helmore charts the rise of Joe Rogan, Laura Snapes goes deep with singer George Ezra, and Alex Moshakis asks, “Are you a jerk at work?”
2022-Feb-03 • 13 minutes
Are we getting any closer to understanding long Covid?
With researchers beginning to unravel the mystery of long Covid, a disorder with symptoms ranging from extreme fatigue to tinnitus and rashes, Ian Sample asks what we do and don’t know about long Covid and whether we’re getting any closer to treatments
2022-Feb-01 • 15 minutes
Alternative menopause treatments: empowering or exploitative?
Madeleine Finlay speaks to Linda Geddes about the evidence behind the huge range of menopausal products and treatments available today
2022-Jan-27 • 17 minutes
What are the hidden costs of our obsession with fish oil supplements?
A recent study has found that more than 1 in 10 fish oil capsules are rancid. Yet, these supplements are part of a billion-dollar industry mining one of the most productive marine ecosystems on Earth. Is it time we rethought our obsession with fish oil? Madeleine Finlay investigates
2022-Jan-25 • 13 minutes
Are animals the future of human organ transplantation?
Ian Sample talks to Prof Art Caplan about the science behind the world’s first transplant of a genetically altered pig heart into a living person
2022-Jan-20 • 11 minutes
Are western lifestyles causing a rise in autoimmune diseases?
Ian Sample investigates whether western lifestyles, from fast foods to urbanisation, could be behind the rapid rise in autoimmune diseases around the world
2022-Jan-18 • 10 minutes
Covid-19: the Omicron wave is slowing - what lies on the other side?
Madeleine Finlay speaks to Nicola Davis about when the Omicron wave might end – and what we should expect after it does
2022-Jan-13 • 16 minutes
Why Theranos’s blood-testing claims were always too good to be true
Madeleine Finlay speaks to Rupert Neate and Dr Ben Mazer about the conviction of Elizabeth Holmes, and why her claims seemed impossible from the start
2022-Jan-11 • 12 minutes
Is the world’s most important glacier on the brink of collapse?
The Thwaites glacier in Antarctica is melting at an increasing pace, and currently contributes 4% of annual global sea level rise. Ian Sample finds out about a new mission to study it, and why it’s known to some as the most important glacier in the world
2022-Jan-06 • 14 minutes
Why are so many people getting re-infected with Covid-19?
3.5 million people in the UK caught Covid last week, and for many this won’t be the first time. So how many of us are getting reinfected? And what could monitoring these cases tell us about what public health measures are required?
2022-Jan-04 • 13 minutes
Why is it so hard to lose that festive weight – and keep it off? – podcast
Madeleine Finlay speaks to health journalist David Cox on the science of metabolism, and what it means for our health
2021-Dec-30 • 22 minutes
From the archive: Carlo Rovelli on how to understand the quantum world (part two)
In the second of two episodes, Ian continues his conversation with Carlo Rovelli as they discuss how we should think about quantum physics, and how it affects our understanding of the world
2021-Dec-28 • 24 minutes
From the archive: Carlo Rovelli on the weirdness of quantum mechanics (part one)
In the first of two episodes, Ian Sample sits down with physicist Carlo Rovelli to discuss the ideas in his book Helgoland, and the strange consequences of quantum theory
2021-Dec-23 • 16 minutes
Covid-19: what will Omicron mean for 2022? podcast
A day after the UK recorded 106,122 new daily cases, Madeleine Finlay speaks to the Guardian’s science editor Ian Sample about what the weeks and months ahead might look
2021-Dec-21 • 18 minutes
Environment stories you might have missed in 2021
Madeleine Finlay hears about the top environment stories of the year, from wood burners to wild bison
2021-Dec-16 • 14 minutes
The climate crisis and devastating drought in eastern Africa
As countries in eastern Africa suffer its third poor rainy season, millions are facing starvation and both livestock and wildlife are dying in large numbers. So what’s causing the droughts, and what can be done to help people in these regions?
2021-Dec-14 • 14 minutes
Covid-19: Will boosters be enough to slow down Omicron?
Madeleine Finlay speaks to Ian Sample about the spread of Omicron, and what we can do to prevent a tidal wave of hospitalisations and deaths
2021-Dec-09 • 11 minutes
Nasa’s new space telescope and its search for extraterrestrial life
Ian Sample is joined by Prof Beth Biller to talk about the James Webb space telescope, which is scheduled to launch on 22 December, and could give us a view of the universe deeper and more sensitive than we’ve ever had before
2021-Dec-07 • 11 minutes
Covid-19: How fast is the Omicron variant spreading? podcast
Madeleine Finlay speaks to Nicola Davis for update on the Omicron variant, and how quickly it might be spreading
2021-Dec-02 • 12 minutes
Is TikTok giving people Tourette’s Syndrome?
Madeleine Finlay talks to Sirin Kale and Dr Seonaid Anderson about the apparent increase in young people on social media developing Tourette’s-like tics and seizures
2021-Nov-30 • 13 minutes
Covid-19: how worried should we be about Omicron?
Madeleine Finlay speaks to Ian Sample about new Covid variant: what we know about it and what it could mean for the coming weeks and months
2021-Nov-25 • 11 minutes
Do lobsters have feelings? – podcast
A review of more than 300 scientific papers has found strong evidence that crustaceans, such as lobsters, crabs and crayfish, have feelings. So what does this mean for how we treat – and eat – them?
2021-Nov-23 • 15 minutes
Astronaut Chris Hadfield on life in space
Chris Hadfield, former astronaut and viral sensation, speaks to Ian Sample about life in space, the new race to the moon, and his new novel
2021-Nov-18 • 11 minutes
Inside Delhi’s air pollution crisis
Delhi is engulfed in its seasonal thick brown smog – air so toxic that schools and offices have closed. But where does all this air pollution come from, and what is India doing about it?
2021-Nov-16 • 12 minutes
Why does Covid-19 make things smell disgusting?
Growing numbers of people with Covid-19 are experiencing an unpleasant distortion of odours known as parosmia, where smells can trigger feelings of intense disgust. Madeleine Finlay talks to Linda Geddes and Dr Jane Parker about how parosmia affects people, and what might cause it.
2021-Nov-12 • 17 minutes
Cop26: the final day – have we made any progress on saving the planet?
Today, Science Weekly host Madeleine Finlay talks to the Guardian’s environment correspondent, Fiona Harvey, and environment editor, Damian Carrington, on how the final hours of Cop26 negotiations are going
2021-Nov-11 • 15 minutes
Cop26: can gas guzzling go green?
Today, Science Weekly host Madeleine Finlay speaks to environment reporter Oliver Milman about electric cars, ‘environmentally-friendly’ planes and the need to rethink transport
2021-Nov-10 • 16 minutes
Cop26: what do scientists think about the progress in Glasgow?
Today, the Guardian’s global environment editor, Jonathan Watts, talks to Katharine Hayhoe and Peter Stott about their work as climate scientists and how they feel Cop26 is progressing
2021-Nov-09 • 15 minutes
Cop26: solutions from the frontline
Today, Science Weekly host Madeleine Finlay and Guardian reporter Nina Lakhani attend the People’s Summit which brings together movements from across the world to build solutions for climate change
2021-Nov-08 • 12 minutes
Cop26: can our seas save us?
Today, the Guardian’s biodiversity reporter, Phoebe Weston, talks to one of the world’s leading marine ecologists, Dr Enric Sala, about the role our oceans can play in preventing climate catastrophe
2021-Nov-05 • 14 minutes
Cop26: are we finally saying goodbye to coal?
Today, host Madeleine Finlay talks to the Guardian’s energy correspondent Jillian Ambrose about plans to end coal use. And as Cop26 week one draws to a close, John Kerry gives his thoughts
2021-Nov-04 • 13 minutes
Cop26: can capitalism actually go green?
The Science Weekly podcast is in Glasgow, where we are bringing listeners daily episodes from Cop26. Each morning you will hear from one of the Guardian’s award-winning environment team. Today, host Madeleine Finlay talks to the Guardian’s biodiversity and environment reporter, Patrick Greenfield, and shadow Cop26 president Ed Miliband about the announcements from finance day
2021-Nov-03 • 14 minutes
Cop26: have we just saved our forests?
The Science Weekly podcast is in Glasgow where we will be bringing listeners daily episodes from Cop26. Each morning you will hear from one of the Guardian’s award-winning environment team. Today, host Madeleine Finlay, talks to Jon Watts about a significant announcement made by global leaders on forest and land use, and we hear from an indigenous leader in Guyana about why it might not be enough.
2021-Nov-02 • 12 minutes
Cop26 – the world leaders arrive
The Science Weekly podcast is in Glasgow where we will be bringing listeners daily episodes from Cop26. Each morning you will hear from one of the Guardian’s award-winning environment team. Today, host Madeleine Finlay hears why the Bahamas are under imminent threat from the climate crisis and what Guardian environment reporter Fiona Harvey makes of India’s commitment to be net zero – by 2070.
2021-Nov-01 • 13 minutes
Cop26: it’s finally here
The Science Weekly podcast is in Glasgow where we will be bringing listeners daily episodes from Cop26. Each morning you will hear from one of the Guardian’s award-winning environment team. Today, environment correspondent Fiona Harvey explains why this climate summit is so critical
2021-Oct-28 • 13 minutes
Daylight saving time could be bad for our health – should we get rid of it?
The clocks go back in the UK this Sunday – but research suggests it could be bad for the body. Anand Jagatia speaks to Linda Geddes and Prof Till Roenneberg about whether we should get rid of daylight saving time permanently
2021-Oct-26 • 11 minutes
Covid-19: with cases on the rise, will ‘plan B’ be enough in England?
Madeleine Finlay speaks to Nicola Davis about the UK’s recent rise in Covid cases and what early interventions could help us avoid longer-lasting measures
2021-Oct-21 • 12 minutes
Who are Insulate Britain and what do they want?
Eco-activist group Insulate Britain’s tactics may not be popular, but experts agree that meeting their demands would bring widespread benefits – from carbon emissions to jobs. So why aren’t we taking insulation more seriously?
2021-Oct-19 • 12 minutes
Covid-19: how 43,000 false negative tests were uncovered as wrong
Dr Kit Yates, a mathematical biologist, explains why it took so long for errors to be traced back to a Wolverhampton lab, and what the consequences could be
2021-Oct-14 • 13 minutes
The world finally has a malaria vaccine. Why has it taken so long?
Anand Jagatia speaks to Dr Latif Ndeketa and Prof Chris Drakeley about how the new RTS,S vaccine works and why it’s been so difficult to produce
2021-Oct-12 • 14 minutes
Is gene editing the future of food?
With the UK’s announcement that it will ease the rules for growing gene-edited crops, we investigate what this could mean for our food in a changing climate
2021-Oct-07 • 11 minutes
Covid-19: will there soon be a pill that stops us getting sick?
Madeleine Finlay talks to Guardian science correspondent Hannah Devlin about a pill that early reports from clinical trials suggest halves hospitalisations and deaths
2021-Oct-05 • 13 minutes
Could machines sucking carbon out of the air help fight the climate crisis?
To keep temperature rises to below 2C, we’ll need to pull CO2 back out of the atmosphere. Shivani Dave explores projects around the world trying to do just that
2021-Sep-30 • 20 minutes
CoolSculpting, Botox and fillers are on the rise – but are they safe?
After supermodel Linda Evangelista has said she is ‘permanently deformed’ from having a cosmetic procedure called CoolSculpting, we take a look at the safety of non-surgical aesthetic treatments
2021-Sep-28 • 14 minutes
Fleeing a war zone is traumatic – so is what happens next
As Britain begins its commitment to take in 20,000 people fleeing Afghanistan, we look at the psychological impacts of trying to start again in a new country.
2021-Sep-23 • 13 minutes
Covid-19: how effective are face masks, really?
We don’t have to wear face coverings, but should we be masking-up anyway? A year and a half into the pandemic, Madeleine Finlay asks what we now know about how masks protect us and when it’s worth putting one on
2021-Sep-21 • 14 minutes
Egg-freezing just got more attractive – but is it worth it?
Egg-freezing – it’s expensive, invasive and often unsuccessful. But, with a new limit of 55-years when freezing for social reasons, could it be the chance some need to preserve their fertility?
2021-Sep-16 • 13 minutes
Jaws made us scared of sharks but is a lack of sharks scarier?
Anand Jagatia speaks to Phoebe Weston about the recent update to the IUCN ‘red list’, which warns that over a third of all shark and ray species now face extinction
2021-Sep-14 • 18 minutes
Flu season: are we in for a bumpier ride this year?
With warnings that we could be facing a more serious flu season this year, Science Weekly explores the challenges of tackling influenza during a pandemic
2021-Sep-09 • 10 minutes
Are third vaccines and vaccine boosters the same thing?
Shivani Dave speaks to Eleanor Riley, professor of immunology and infectious disease at the University of Edinburgh, and Guardian science correspondent Nicola Davis about the distinctions between booster jabs and third jabs
2021-Sep-07 • 13 minutes
Why swearing is more complicated than you think
Shivani Dave speaks to psychologist Timothy Jay to find out why people swear and whether or not there are any benefits to using swear words
2021-Sep-02 • 16 minutes
Can we really solve the climate crisis by planting trees? (part two)
Getting trees into the ground isn’t simple. Reforestation often involves trade-offs and challenges. Phoebe Weston checks in on two projects where people are planting trees, and one where it’s not humans doing the planting at all
2021-Aug-31 • 17 minutes
Can we really solve the climate crisis by planting trees? (part one)
Patrick Greenfield and Phoebe Weston lead you through the science and controversy behind the idea that planting trees can solve the climate crisis
2021-Aug-26 • 13 minutes
Why aren’t children being vaccinated in the UK?
Shivani Dave speaks to Natalie Grover about the pros and cons of the children in the UK being offered Covid-19 vaccines
2021-Aug-24 • 13 minutes
What should we be feeding our cats?
In mid-June this year, some brands of cat food were recalled as a precaution after a sudden increase in cases of feline pancytopenia, a rare blood disease that can be fatal. Shivani Dave speaks to Daniella Dos Santos, a practicing small animal and exotic pet vet and the senior vice-president of the British Veterinary Association, to understand what the food recall means for cat owners, and to find out how best to feed our feline friends
2021-Aug-19 • 17 minutes
From the archive: the secret, sonic lives of narwhals
From 2020: Nicola Davis speaks to Evgeny Podolskiy about capturing the sonic world of narwhals
2021-Aug-17 • 30 minutes
From the archive: Are alternative meats the key to a healthier life and planet?
From 2019: how do protein substitutes compare with the real deal? Graihagh Jackson investigates
2021-Aug-12 • 19 minutes
From the archive: are national parks failing nature? (part 2)
From 2020: Patrick Greenfield and Phoebe Weston explore the impact that conservation and national parks can have on Indigenous communities and the biodiversity surrounding them
2021-Aug-10 • 22 minutes
From the archive: Are national parks failing nature? (part 1)
From 2020: Patrick Greenfield and Phoebe Weston investigate whether national parks benefit the environment and biodiversity, or if there might be a better way of doing things
2021-Aug-05 • 15 minutes
Are hair relaxers causing breast cancer in black women?
Research from the Black Women’s Health Study has found that long-term and frequent users of hair relaxers had roughly a 30% increased risk of breast cancer. Shivani Dave speaks to Dr Kimberly Bertrand about the research and to Tayo Bero about the effects these findings could have on the black community
2021-Aug-03 • 15 minutes
The billionaire space race
Shivani Dave speaks to Robert Massey, the deputy executive director at the Royal Astronomical Society, to understand what, if any, positives might come from what has been called ‘the billionaire space race’
2021-Jul-29 • 16 minutes
Testosterone in women’s athletics
Katrina Karkazis, a professor of sexuality, women’s and gender studies, specialising in ‘sex testing’ and sport regulations speaks to Shivani Dave about the rules that ban female athletes with naturally high testosterone
2021-Jul-27 • 17 minutes
Sporting super spikes: how do they work?
In the lead-up to the athletics competitions at the Tokyo Olympic Games, Shivani Dave speaks to Geoff Burns, a biomechanist at the University of Michigan, about so-called ‘super spikes’
2021-Jul-22 • 16 minutes
How does the human body cope with extreme heat? (part two)
In the second part of our discussion on extreme heat, Shivani Dave speaks to Prof Mike Tipton about the impacts of extreme heat on the human body and what can be done to alleviate them
2021-Jul-20 • 14 minutes
Why are extreme weather events on the rise? (part one)
In the first of a two-part exploration on extreme heat, Shivani Dave speaks to Jonathan Watts about extreme weather events and why they look set to become more likely
2021-Jul-15 • 17 minutes
What are the risks of England unlocking on 19 July?
Nearly all coronavirus restrictions in England are set to be lifted from Monday 19 July. But what are the risks of unlocking when we could be in the middle of a third wave of infections? The Guardian’s science editor, Ian Sample, talks to Anand Jagatia about how cases, hospital admissions and deaths are modelled to increase in the coming weeks, as well as the risks from long Covid and new variants
2021-Jul-13 • 18 minutes
Covid-19: do we need to reframe the way we think about restrictions?
As ‘freedom day’ approaches, Shivani Dave speaks to Prof Stephen Reicher about how mixed messages surrounding restrictions can affect our behaviour