The Naked Scientists Podcast

The Naked Scientists

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The Naked Scientists flagship science show brings you a lighthearted look at the latest scientific breakthroughs, interviews with the world's top scientists, answers to your science questions and science experiments to try at home.

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879 episodes

Reintroduction: Bringing Species Back

Last month saw a first in the UK: Bison were released into a woodland in Kent. An animal of this size and nature hasn't be known to be on UK soil for milennia, but now conservationists hope they can act as ecosystem engineers and help protect our woodlands. We explore how the European bison is able to exert such dramatic effects on its environment as well as dive into past reintroduction sucess stories, including the flight of the red kite and the nesting of the dormouse. Plus, we address the potential costs off adding a species into a new space, how learning to live alongside predators may... Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists https://www.thenakedscientists.com/donate

37m
Aug 09
Shorter Days and Binning Best Before Dates

In the world of science news this week, major supermarkets in the UK are removing their best before dates after data reveals just how much they sway our decisions to chuck food away. Plus, we dive into some physics to understand what influences how fast the Earth spins and how this fluctuates, the virtual robotic surgery techniques which helped separate Siamese twins in Brazil, and how gestures can make video meetings less fatiguing and more engaging. Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists https://www.thenakedscientists.com/donate

29m
Aug 05
Vaping Health Impacts: No Smoke Without Fire?

This week vaping, and the potential hidden health costs, go under the microscope as we also explore whether teens that would never smoke are being seduced by eCigarettes. Also, news of period impacts of the Covid-19 vaccines, woodpeckers and brain damage, signs that CRISPR could destabilise chromosomes, and a "wheely" good way to recycle old tyres... Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists https://www.thenakedscientists.com/donate

55m
Aug 02
A trip down the River Cam

Harry Lewis and James Tytko are off on a summer science special, a jolly down the River Cam with their Captain for the day Peter of Camboats. If you're willing to adhere to the safety rules of the vessel you'll be making pit stops to check out the local wildlife, sporting prowess of the University's rowing team, historical engineering works that still function perfectly and local residents taking it upon themselves to monitor the health of the water itself. But to kick it all off the boys will start by dipping their toes in the deep end, and making the most of what's on their doorstep... Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists https://www.thenakedscientists.com/donate

56m
Jul 26
The wine we drink and machines that can think

It's that time again where we round up some of the most pressing and perplexing science news stories from the past month. We analyse the first images from the James Webb telescope, discuss whether the protocol on rescue from car wrecks is based on any scientific evidence, and ask how data might be used to the detriment of period tracking app users in the wake of Roe vs Wade. Then, we'll find out why great white sharks are running scared near South Africa, question whether chatbots are on the verge of becoming sentient, and compare how the taste of wine is affected by the glass it is carried... Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists https://www.thenakedscientists.com/donate

55m
Jul 19
Gene-Editing: Food of the Future?

Could the potential food of the future be on its way to our supermarket shelves? Parliament is currently reviewing rules which would allow gene-edited food to be grown and sold in the UK, moving away from the more stringent rules it had adopted under EU regulations. The phrase 'genetically-modified' gained a bad repuation towards the end of the 20th century, with concerns around the safety of inserting foreign DNA into organisms, the mechanisms for doing so and the motivations behind its use. With the development of targeted gene-editing technologies, such as CRISPR-Cas9, modifying genetic... Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists https://www.thenakedscientists.com/donate

59m
Jul 12
Ghost pond resurrection

Ponds used to prosper alongside old agricultural practices. But 100 years' of modernisation has seen bodies of water on farmland disappear, although they never truly die. And this week we go in search of their ghostly remains and show how they can spring back to life. Plus, in the news, how dengue and Zika infection makes us more attractive to mosquitoes, a lunar mystery that has space agencies bickering, and how you may be able to help map the entire seabed by 2030... Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists https://www.thenakedscientists.com/donate

58m
Jul 05
Emerging Viruses: Monkeypox on the up

Emerging viral infections go under our microscope this week, including the recent surge in monkeypox, the world's largest bird flu outbreak to date, and learning points from Covid-19. Plus, in the news, the biggest bacterium ever seen, brain training - or brain draining - apps, polio circulating in London, and signs we make friends with people who smell like we do! Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists https://www.thenakedscientists.com/donate

59m
Jun 28
Venus, Volcanoes & Virtual Clothing

In this week's programme we are going to be sharing some science highlights - sci-lights, if you will - going in depth with some of the latest science news from the past month plus some fascinating science stories. We ask researchers what policies need to be in place to protect biodiversity as we enter a descivie decade for nature and take a look at the species living in the UK which are currently at risk. New resesearch from the week also gives us more clues about if life exists on venus and we hear how singing lava inside a volcano could help us better predict future eruptions. Plus, with... Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists https://www.thenakedscientists.com/donate

59m
Jun 21
Storing Energy: Watt does the Future Hold?

This week, should your house have a battery, the abandoned gold mine that's now pumping out power, and will your fridge talk to the grid in future to better manage your energy consumption? Continuing our theme of alternative energy, we turn to the questions of energy distribution and storage. Plus, why tyres may be worse for your health than exhaust emissions, will the 4-day working week work, samples from an early asteroid, and where chickens came from... Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists https://www.thenakedscientists.com/donate

57m
Jun 14
Winding up Wind Power

With energy prices sky high, we continue our alternative energy month with a look at wind power. We visit a traditional windmill to understand how humans have historically harnessed the wind, learn about the turbines which you can buy a stake in, a new generation of kites that turn wind into electricity, how better weather forecasts can de-risk wind power, and why undersea cables can send sea creatures off course. Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists https://www.thenakedscientists.com/donate

59m
Jun 07
Turning the Tide on Hydro Power

The UK harbours the leading expertise in marine renewables, but water itself remains to be a major contributor to the race for net zero. Why are these technologies lagging behind the other more favourable renewable sources and what does the next decade have in store? Also, news of a novel way to find new antibiotics, the Mars probe being forced into retirement, and an insight into why teenage girls are more likely to suffer from depression than their male peers... Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists https://www.thenakedscientists.com/donate

59m
May 31
Wasting our waters

The UK harbours the leading expertise in marine renewables, but water itself remains to be a major contributor to the race for net zero. Why are these technologies lagging behind the other more favourable renewable sources and what does the next decade have in store? In the news this week: a novel approach at identifying and engineering antibiotics, the Mars probe being forced into retirement and an insight into why teenage girls are more likely to suffer from depression than their male peers... Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists https://www.thenakedscientists.com/donate

59m
May 31
Wasting our waters

The UK harbours the leading expertise in marine renewables, but water itself remains to be a major contributor to the race for net zero. Why are these technologies lagging behind the other more favourable renewable sources and what does the next decade have in store? In the news this week: a novel approach at identifying and engineering antibiotics, the Mars probe being forced into retirement and an insight into why teenage girls are more likely to suffer from depression than their male peers... Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists https://www.thenakedscientists.com/donate

59m
May 31
Is Solar the Solution?

The warmer weather is here and, with it, solar energy is on my mind. Sun-thing tells me I'm into something good. Join us in the first of our series of programmes on renewable energy sources as the world faces a difficult energy challenge and the threat of an 'apocalyptic' food shortage crisis. We'll be speaking to some of the players, big and small, in the solar industry in this country and around Europe, all with the shared goal of trying to build a sustainable future in which nobody is left hungry and cold either this winter, or in the coming years... Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists https://www.thenakedscientists.com/donate

58m
May 24
Forensics

War crimes. Violations of international law, such as the targeted killing of civilians, which could lead to the prosecution of those responsible. As the horrors of conflict continue in Ukraine, claims of war crime are increasing. Proving a crime has been committed in these circumstances is a long process and can be incredibly tough. But science can provide vital evidence, specifically archaeology and anthropology. These are fields often associated with historical findings or learning about ancient life. But when applied within forensics, they can help solve crime. Through the use of context,... Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists https://www.thenakedscientists.com/donate

59m
May 17
Primates, Pi and (unconscious) Ponderings

A diverse range of expertise graces this month's "Q n May" panel show! Find out how we listen to our cosmos for signatures that herald the birth of the first stars, how gender labels help us understand our society, and whether or not your dreams might be worth remembering. We also probe your insights into the latest scientific discoveries in our new quiz, NEWSWORTHY. Unfortunately, there is no prize for the winner, but we'll give you bragging rights if you ace it... Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists https://www.thenakedscientists.com/donate

59m
May 10
Madvertising

From skateboarding bulldogs to drumming gorillas, modern advertising is teeming with wacky characters and far-fetched fantasies, often with little relation to the product actually being promoted. But why? If you have found yourself wondering how mad marketing in all its forms actually works to get us to buy things, join us as we take a look at the science supporting the strategies of the world's biggest brands. We'll be talking to marketing experts to uncover what makes a successful campaign, and the techniques agencies use to test the tautness of our heart strings while viewing their ads.... Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists https://www.thenakedscientists.com/donate

59m
May 03
The Coffee Conundrum

Stimulating isn't it. I recently came off the hard stuff and I've missed it ever since. I used to see coffee as a real treat, but that caffeine hit may soon be harder to come by. Scientists predict a drastic decline in suitable coffee growing land by up to 60% before 2050. In the show we'll put you in the hotseat to see how well you really know the UK's second favourite hot beverage. In the news: a change up at CERN could spell big changes for particle physicists universally, dinosaurs with coloured feathers and the happy hormone that makes old timers love life... Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists https://www.thenakedscientists.com/donate

57m
Apr 26
Frankenfoods, Formula 1 & Fake news

This week, we have an egg-cellent panel of spectacular science specialists who will be diving into their areas of expertise and sharing the goods! We hear about how formula 1 technology is changing the world, tools for coping with grief, some of the biggest controversies in science media and an update on the James Webb telescope as it preps for capturing the universe. Plus, we put our panel to the test with a science news quiz and follow clues on an easter egg trail which takes us all around the globe... Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists https://www.thenakedscientists.com/donate

58m
Apr 19
Contagious Cancers

Cancers are made from a person's own cells going rogue. If a cell acquires the right combination of mutations or changes in its genetic code, it can divide uncontrollably and lead to the formation of a tumour. As these cells contain a unique individual's DNA, if they were to end up in another person's body, they should sound the immune alarm, be recognised as foreign and destroyed - much like an Incompatible organ transplant. Some viruses, like the human papilloma virus or HPV, can also cause cancer by triggering changes in a cells genetic code and promoting tumour formation. In these cases,... Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists https://www.thenakedscientists.com/donate

59m
Apr 12
Science of the Silver Screen

SPOILER ALERT: May contain poorly formed bias opinions on this past year's blockbusters. Now though, it's time to dress up to the nines and hit the red carpet in scientific style as we bring you The Naked Scientists Science of the Silver Screen Awards. Tonight we'll hear about the sandy planet in the sci-fi Dune, the likelihood of improvising a musical as portrayed by Disney's Encanto, Don't Look Up's planet destroying comet and the mysterious bioweapon that finished off Daniel Craig's James Bond. We did tell you there would be spoilers! In the news, the muscle types responsible for your dog's... Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists https://www.thenakedscientists.com/donate

59m
Apr 05
Human Milk

Human milk is the special subject we're looking into this week, including how the cells it contains can jump into a baby's bloodstream - and literally make mum part of their offspring. We hear how biotechnology is aiming to produce human milk in the lab as an improved alternative to formula, and how donated human milk is helping sick babies, parents in need and cancer research. Plus, we dive into why online sales of human breast milk are on the rise due to a slightly surprising consumer group... Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists https://www.thenakedscientists.com/donate

57m
Mar 29
Bonus Podcast: Naked Reflections Showcase

From time to time here on the Naked Scientists we showcase episodes from some of the other programme strands that are part of our Naked family. Today we're sharing an episode of Naked Reflections, pertinent at the moment owing to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In this episode, host Ed Kessler is joined by Meryem Kalayci and James Smith to discuss the distressing issue of genocide. This Podcast includes some unique witness from a survivor of the Srebrenica massacre... Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists https://www.thenakedscientists.com/donate

31m
Mar 28
Energy in crisis: nuclear goes up the agenda

This week, AI-based facial recognition systems go live on the front in Ukraine, ozone exposure links to teenage depression, and evidence that sleeping with the light on can adversely affect your health. Plus, as the world grapples with an energy crisis, nuclear power is going up the energy agenda. We hear about Rolls-Royce's plans for a fleet of "off the peg" small modular nuclear reactors, and the efforts to harness nuclear fusion at JET... Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists https://www.thenakedscientists.com/donate

59m
Mar 22
Behaviour

Ever set a new year's resolution only for it to fall by the wayside after a few weeks? It is common for us to have goals and want to make change, but when it comes to turning those plans into reality, it can feel difficult. We often default back to old routines as more common behaviours take hold. Alongside trying to find ways to help us stick to our resolutions, we are exploring how our brain decides which way to act, how behaviours transition from being goal-directed to habitual, the disorders which can arise from alterations to these systems, and how research is trying to find methods to... Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists https://www.thenakedscientists.com/donate

59m
Mar 15
Cyberwarfare

Conflict around the world is no longer simply fought on the ground, in the water or in the air but also in the airwaves. As digital devices pervade our lives, so too do they become both agents of and targets for conflict. To navigate us between the bombs in the bitstreams, we speak with a young student from Ukraine, unpick cyberwarfare within society, tease apart the technicalities, investigate how this changes the rules of conflict, and ask what it means for the future... Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists https://www.thenakedscientists.com/donate

58m
Mar 08
Q&A: Defining AI, Dark Energy & Dr NO

It's that time again, where we compile all those lovely science questions you have sent in and form a crack squad of expertise, throw them on a panel together, and shove a mic under their noses! This week, you'll meet a Nobel laureate, figure out if the word 'dark' is put in front of complex theoretical physics topics to make them more attractive, and come face to face with our greatest bodily enigma: your armpit! Plus, with it being women in history month, we'll put your memory to the test to see how well you really know your great ladies of science... Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists https://www.thenakedscientists.com/donate

59m
Mar 01
Under the Microscope

Alongside analysing AI faces & how a heart beats, we will be putting microscopy under the microscope; from the first glimpses of life up close, to stepping inside the lens and experiencing microscopic specimens in virtual reality. Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists https://www.thenakedscientists.com/donate

59m
Feb 22
Xenotransplantation

Amidst the aftermath of COVID-19 waiting lists continue to grow for those in need of an organ transplant, whilst simultaneously in an American surgery a man recieves the heart of a pig. Animal donors may be the answer to our shortage of available organs, but the procedure isn't quite ready to become common place. Take a trip down memory lane and embark on the jounrey of transplantation, where it began, where we are right now and what the future might look like in the next decade. Plus, catch up on chimps applying insects to their wounds, the current uses of facial recognition and how tech can... Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists https://www.thenakedscientists.com/donate

56m
Feb 15