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BBC Inside Science

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BBC Inside Science

A weekly programme that illuminates the mysteries and challenges the controversies behind the science that's changing our world.

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Recent Episodes of BBC Inside Science


Can we get plastic waste under control?

Can we get plastic waste under control?

As the UN tries to get a global agreement on plastic waste we hear from two delegates at the conference in Ottawa; John Chweya, a Kenyan waste picker, and plastics scientist, Steve Fletcher, discuss the impacts of plastic pollution and the possible solutions.

Taylor Swift’s new album, The Tortured Poets Department, exposes the pain a break up can cause. Heartbreak is a common theme in music and art – but what does science have to say about it? Florence Williams, science journalist and author of Heartbreak: A Personal and Scientific Journey, talks us through the research on what a...

Episode 23 May 2024 27m and 44s


Do we need a new model of cosmology?

Do we need a new model of cosmology?

Earlier this week, some of the world's leading astrophysicists came together at The Royal Society to question the very nature of our Universe. Does the Lambda Cold Dark Matter model, which explains the evolution of the cosmos and the Big Bang, need a rethink? Dr Chris North, an astrophysicist from the University of Cardiff, joins us in the studio to explain what this model says, and why it might need to be changed.

The last few weeks seem to have been a non-stop cycle of depressing climate stories, with floods in Pakistan, mass coral bleaching and last...

Episode 16 May 2024 31m and 39s


Bird flu outbreak in cows

Bird flu outbreak in cows

A strain of highly pathogenic bird flu, H5N1, has been spreading unchecked through wild bird, and some mammal, populations for the past few years. Last week, news of a large number of dairy cows in the USA being infected with bird flu has alarmed the public and virologists alike. One farm worker has also picked up the virus and although they are not seriously ill, the jump between cattle and humans raises serious concerns over how the virus is moving and adapting. Virologist Dr Tom Peacock has the details.

Also this week, thousands of eyes across...

Episode 9 May 2024 31m and 41s


200 years of dinosaur science

200 years of dinosaur science

In 1824, 200 years ago, Megalosaurus was the first dinosaur to ever be described in a scientific paper. William Buckland studied fossils from Stonesfield in Oxfordshire in order to describe the animal.

In this episode, Victoria Gill visits palaeontologist Dr Emma Nicholls at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, who shows her those very fossils that launched the new science of palaeontology. Danielle Czerkaszyn then opens the archives to reveal the scientific illustrations of Megalosaurus by Mary Morland, which helped shape Buckland's description.

But this was just the beginning. Over the coming decades, remains kept being...

Episode 2 May 2024 27m and 52s


Inside Your Microbiome

Inside Your Microbiome

Microbiomes are a multi-million-pound industry. Every week, many people send off poop samples to be examined so we can learn about our own ecosystems of bacteria, virus and fungi that live in our guts, with a view to improving health. But how accurate are these tests? Microbiologist Prof Jacques Ravel is calling for better controls in what is currently an unregulated industry. He joins us along with Prof Tim Spector, scientific co-founder of personalised nutrition app ZOE, to discuss the areas of concern, and potential benefits, of this direct-to-consumer model.

Nobel prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman has died...

Episode 25 April 2024 28m and 10s


Our Accidental Universe

Our Accidental Universe

Professor and presenter, Chris Lintott, talks about his new book Our Accidental Universe; a tour of chance encounters and human error in pursuit of asteroids, pulsars, radio waves, new stars and alien life. Even with incredible technological developments, the major astronomical events of the past century are largely down to plain ol’ good luck; discovered not, as you might assume, by careful experiment, but as surprises when we have been looking for something else entirely. For instance, the most promising habitat for life beyond Earth turns out to be Saturn's tiny moon Enceladus, whose oceans were revealed when NASA's Ca...

Episode 18 April 2024 36m and 14s


World’s oldest forest fossils

World’s oldest forest fossils

The world’s oldest fossilised forest was uncovered in Somerset last week. We head to palaeobotanist, Dr Christopher Berry’s, lab at Cardiff University to learn about these cladoxylopsids. They lived 390 million years ago and although they are not the ancestors of today’s trees, they reveal some extraordinary evolutionary secrets.

Also, Marnie speaks to Dr Chris Thorogood of the University of Oxford Botanic Gardens about his new book Pathless Forest: The Quest to Save the World’s Largest Flowers. Called “Rafflesia” plants and found in the remotest parts of South East Asia, their flowers burst from the rain fores...

Episode 11 April 2024 28m and 14s


How pure is the water from your tap?

How pure is the water from your tap?

A recent study on how to get rid of microplastics in water sparked presenter Marnie Chesterton’s curiosity. When she turns on the tap in her kitchen each day, what comes out is drinkable, clean water. But where did it come from, and what’s in it? Dr Stewart Husband from Sheffield University answers this and more, including listener questions from around the UK. Is water sterile? Should I use a filter? And why does my water smell like chlorine?

Also, new research indicates that bumblebees can show each other how to solve puzzles too complex for them...

Episode 4 April 2024 28m and 12s


Dimming the Sun

Dimming the Sun

Switzerland has submitted a proposal to create a United Nations expert group on solar geoengineering to inform governments and stakeholders. The idea was discussed at the UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya, this week. Professor Aarti Gupta shares how, after tense negotiations, the different member states could not agree, and the proposal was withdrawn. Why is solar geoengineering a controversial issue? How would dimming the sun even work? And should we consider it a genuine option in our fight against climate change? Dr Pete Irvine and Professor Joanna Haigh join presenter Marnie Chesterton in the studio to discuss.

<...

Episode 28 March 2024 33m and 14s


Laboratory-Grown Meat

Laboratory-Grown Meat

Professor Ben Garrod guest presents.

As a new 'meaty rice' is created and Fortnum & Mason launch a scotch egg made with cultivated meat that they hope to have on sale as early as next year, we investigate the world of laboratory-grown meat.

Mark Post made the first ever synthetic meat in 2012 to the tune of £200,000. He tells us how these lab-grown meats are made and how, he thinks, they could play an important role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and feeding a growing population. Jenny Kleeman, author of Sex, Robots and Vegan Meat, is more s...

Episode 21 March 2024 28m and 10s

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