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Silicon - The World's Building Block

26:57 | Aug 28th, 2017

Silicon is literally everywhere in both the natural and built environment, from the dominance of silicate rocks in the earth crust, to ubiquitous sand in building materials and as the basis for glass. We've also harnessed silicon's properties as ...Show More
Re-engineering Life

26:59 | May 8th, 2017

Synthetic biology, coming to a street near you. Engineers and biologists who hack the information circuits of living cells are already getting products to the market. Roland Pease meets the experts who are transforming living systems to transform our...Show More
Why people have different pain thresholds?

26:28 | May 20th

Part 1: The Running Joke "How fast can a human run and would we be faster as quadrapeds?" This question flew in via Twitter from Greg Jenner. Is there a limit to human sprinting performance? In this episode we investigate the biomechanics of runnin...Show More
How do instruments make music?

28:24 | May 13th

"We play many musical instruments in our family. Lots of them produce the same pitch of notes, but the instruments all sound different. Why is this?" asks Natasha Cook aged 11, and her Dad Jeremy from Guelph in Ontario, Canada. In this new series of...Show More
A sense of time

26:28 | May 6th

Our senses create the world we experience. But do animals have a ‘sense’ of time, and does that differ between species, or between us and other animals? We know that animal senses reveal a wealth of information that humans can't access. Birds can s...Show More
Cat Hobaiter on communication in apes

26:51 | Apr 29th

Dr Catherine Hobaiter studies how apes communicate with each other. Although she is based at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, she spends a lot of her time in the forests of Uganda, at the Budongo Research Centre. There, she is endlessly fasc...Show More
Carlo Rovelli on rethinking the nature of time

26:48 | Apr 22nd

Carlo Rovelli is a theoretical physicist who became a household name when his book Seven Brief Lessons on Physics became an unexpected international bestseller. His concise, and poetic, introduction to the laws and beauty of physics has sold more tha...Show More
Corinne Le Quéré on carbon and climate

26:27 | Apr 15th

Professor Corinne Le Quéré of University of East Anglia talks to Jim Al-Khalili about tracing global carbon. Throughout the history of planet Earth, the element carbon has cycled between the atmosphere, the oceans and the biosphere. This natural cyc...Show More
Ken Gabriel on why your smartphone is smart

26:28 | Apr 8th

Jim Al-Khalili talks to Ken Gabriel, the engineer responsible for popularising many of the micro devices found in smartphones and computers. Ken explains how he was inspired by what he could do with a stick and a piece of string. This led to an engin...Show More
Donna Strickland and extremely powerful lasers

26:28 | Apr 1st

Donna Strickland tells Jim Al-Khalili why she wanted to work with lasers and what it feels like to be the first woman to win a Nobel Prize for Physics in 55 years. When the first laser was built in 1960, it was an invention looking for an application...Show More
Unbottling the past

29:43 | Mar 25th

Imagine finding a notebook containing the secret recipes of some of the world’s most iconic perfumes? Formulas normally kept under lock and key. That’s what happened to medical research scientist and trained chemist Andrew Holding. His grandfather...Show More
California burning

26:28 | Mar 18th

When Paradise burned down last year, it made the Camp Fire the most destructive and deadly in Californian history. A few months earlier the nearby Ranch Fire was the largest. In southern California, a series of chaparral fires have brought danger to ...Show More
ShakeAlertLA - California’s earthquake early warning system

28:26 | Mar 11th

Los Angeles is a city of Angels, and of earthquakes. Deadly earthquakes in 1933, 1971 and 1994 have also made it a pioneer in earthquake protection – for example with tough engineering standards to save buildings. Since 2013, with the help of scienti...Show More
From the Cold War to the present day

28:19 | Mar 4th

For more than 100 years chemical weapons have terrorised, maimed and killed soldiers and civilians alike. As a chemist, the part his profession has played in the development of these weapons has long concerned Andrea Sella, professor of chemistry at ...Show More
From the Crimean War to the end of World War Two

27:42 | Feb 25th

In the first of two programmes he looks back to the first attempts to ban the use of chemical weapons at the end of the 19th century. Heavily defeated in the Crimea, Russia succeeded in getting unanimous agreement at the 1899 Hague Convention that po...Show More
Tracks across time

26:58 | Feb 18th

In a dry creek bed in the middle of the Australian outback is a palaeontological prize like no other: 95-million-year-old footprints stamped in a sandstone slab by three species of dinosaur. One of the beasts was a massive, lumbering sauropod that ...Show More
Trouble in paradise

26:29 | Feb 11th

The atoll of Tetiaro is a string of tiny islands in French Polynesia, about 60km away from Tahiti. The islands – known as ‘motus’ to local Polynesians – are unique ecosystems that are crucial nesting sites for native seabirds. But invasive species ...Show More
Back from the Dead

27:47 | Feb 4th

The Night Parrot was supposed to be extinct and became a legend among birdwatchers in Australia: a fat, dumpy, green parrot that lived in the desert and came out at night. The last bird seen alive was promptly shot dead in 1912. Over 90 years later...Show More
Eye in the Sky

26:29 | Jan 28th

On this mission, SOFIA is setting out to study Titan, Saturn’s biggest moon, by flying into the faint shadow that it casts as it blocks the light from a faraway star. It’s a phenomenon called an occultation, and if the mission succeeds, it will revea...Show More
Kepler's Snowflake

26:28 | Jan 14th

The Six Cornered Snowflake, a booklet written by Johannes Kepler as a New Year's gift, sought to explain the intricate and symmetrical shape of winter's tiny stars of snow. His insightful speculations about minerals and geometry were the beginning of...Show More
Lucretius, Sheep and Atoms

26:28 | Jan 7th

2000 years ago Lucretius composed a long poem that theorised about atoms and the natural world. Written in the first century BCE, during a chaotic and frightening time when the Roman Republic was collapsing, Lucretius encouraged people to feel free t...Show More
Eddington's Eclipse and Einstein's Celebrity

26:28 | Dec 31st, 2018

Philip Ball's tale is of a solar eclipse 100 years ago observed by Arthur Eddington, a British astronomer who travelled to the remote island of Principe off the coast of West Africa and saw the stars shift in the heavens. His observations supplied th...Show More

27:49 | Dec 24th, 2018

On Christmas Eve in 1968 Bill Anders was in orbit around the moon in Apollo 8 when he took one of the most iconic photos of the last fifty years: Earthrise. The image got to be seen everywhere, from a stamp issued in 1969 to commemorate the success o...Show More
The Supercalculators

26:28 | Dec 17th, 2018

Alex Bellos is brilliant at all things mathematical, but even he can't hold a candle to the amazing mathematical feats of the supercalculators. Alex heads to Wolfsburg in Germany to meet the contestants at this year's Mental Calculation World Cup. Th...Show More
The China Syndrome

28:39 | Dec 10th, 2018

Plastic waste and pollution have become a global problem but is there any sign of a global solution? And how did we allow this to happen in the first place? Materials scientist and broadcaster, Professor Mark Miodownik, explores how we fell in love...Show More
How Much Plastic Can We Recycle?

26:27 | Dec 3rd, 2018

Plastics are fantastically versatile materials that have changed our lives. It is what we do with them, when we no longer want them, that has resulted in the global plastic crisis. Mark Miodownik explores our love hate relationship with plastics. P...Show More
Why We Fell In Love with Plastic

26:28 | Nov 26th, 2018

Plastic waste and pollution have become a global problem but is there any sign of a global solution? And how did we allow this to happen in the first place? Materials scientist and broadcaster, Professor Mark Miodownik, explores how we fell in love...Show More
Finding the Coelacanths

26:28 | Nov 19th, 2018

The first Coelacanth was discovered by a woman in South Africa in 1938. The find, by the young museum curator, was the fish equivalent of discovering a T- Rex on the Serengeti, it took the Zoological world by storm. Presenter Adam Hart tells the stor...Show More
The Big Bang and Jet Streams

26:28 | Nov 12th, 2018

Evidence for the big bang was initially thought to be a mistake in the recording. Jet streams in the upper atmosphere were revealed by the dust emitted by Krakatoa and a collection of interested citizen scientists. In the second three episodes about ...Show More
Viagra and CRISPR

26:28 | Nov 5th, 2018

Viagra’s effects on men were first discovered as an unexpected side-effect during trials for a medication meant to help patients with a heart condition. CRISPR cas– 9 is now a tool that can be used to modify and replace genes – but it was first noted...Show More
Tracking the First Animals on Earth

26:28 | Oct 29th, 2018

What were the earliest animals on Earth? The origin of the animal kingdom is one of the most mysterious chapters in the evolution of life on Earth. Our animal ancestors appeared and began to diversify about half a billion years ago. What might they h...Show More
Mary Anning and Fossil Hunting

26:28 | Oct 29th, 2018

Mary Anning lived in Lyme Regis on what is now known as the Jurassic Coast in the first half of the 19th century. Knowing the shore from childhood and with a remarkable eye for detection she was extremely successful in finding fossils. In 1812 she un...Show More
Cooling the City

26:27 | Oct 22nd, 2018

The summer of 2003 saw the largest number of deaths ever recorded in a UK heatwave - but by 2040 climate models predict the extreme summer temperatures experienced then will be normal. We will also be experiencing colder winters, and droughts and flo...Show More
Tourism and Transparency

26:27 | Oct 15th, 2018

In the second programme exploring the Chinese approach to organ transplantation, Matthew Hill looks at what is happening today. Where are the organs coming from today? Have the Chinese overcome their traditional opposition to donating them? There is ...Show More
Who To Believe?

26:28 | Oct 8th, 2018

For many years the Chinese sourced organs for transplant from executed prisoners. Around a decade ago the authorities acknowledged that this practice had gone on and announced that it was to be stopped. In the first programme exploring the Chinese ap...Show More
The Long Hot Summer - Part Two

26:28 | Oct 1st, 2018

This summer the Northern Hemisphere has been sweltering in unusually high temperatures. It has been hot from the Arctic to Africa. This has led to increased deaths, notably in Canada, and more wildfires, even in Lancashire and in Sweden. Can we say t...Show More
The Long Hot Summer

27:11 | Sep 24th, 2018

This summer the Northern Hemisphere has been sweltering in unusually high temperatures. It’s been hot from the Arctic to Africa. This has led to increased deaths, notably in Canada, and more wildfires, even in Lancashire and in Sweden. Can we say tha...Show More

26:28 | Sep 17th, 2018

Sophie Scott on why sodium powers everything we do, and why it might be the key to a new generation of pain killers. Putting sodium into water is one of the most memorable experiments from school chemistry lessons. It's this ability to react feroc...Show More

26:28 | Sep 10th, 2018

Beyond war and peace, Dr Andrew Pontzen explores how iron has shaped human biology and culture. From weapons to ploughshares, iron holds a key place as the element for the tools of the rise and destruction of human civilisations. As a grand scale ...Show More

26:28 | Sep 3rd, 2018

Chemist Andrea Sella tells the story of how the feared element ended up giving us better teeth, mood and health. Many chemists have lost their lives trying to isolate the periodic table’s most chemically reactive element – hence the nickname “the ...Show More
Hypatia: The Murdered Mathematician

26:28 | Aug 20th, 2018

Naomi Alderman's tale is a murder mystery, the story of Hypatia, the mathematician murdered by a mob in the learned city of Alexandria, around the year 415 CE. Hypatia was a communicator of science, tackling difficult maths and teaching it to her stu...Show More
Descartes' "Daughter"

28:36 | Aug 13th, 2018

There's a story told about French philosopher René Descartes and his daughter. He boards a ship for a voyage over the North Sea with a large wooden box which he insists be handled with such great care that the sea captain’s curiosity is aroused. When...Show More
Making Natural Products in the Lab

27:00 | Aug 6th, 2018

Philip Ball tells the science story of German chemist Friedrich Wöhler’s creation of urea, an organic substance previously thought only to be produced by living creatures. Yet in 1828 Wöhler created urea from decidedly non-living substances. It was e...Show More
The Real Cyrano de Bergerac

26:41 | Jul 30th, 2018

Philip Ball reveals the real Cyrano de Bergerac - forget the big nosed fictional character - and his links to 17th Century space flight. Cyrano was a soldier, gambler and duellist who retired from military exploits on account of his wounds around 163...Show More
The Nun’s Salamander

26:28 | Jul 23rd, 2018

A convent of Mexican nuns is helping to save the one of the world's most endangered and most remarkable amphibians: the axolotl, a truly bizarre creature of serious scientific interest worldwide and an animal of deep-rooted cultural significance in M...Show More
The Aztec Salamander

26:53 | Jul 16th, 2018

Victoria Gill tells the extraordinary story of the Mexican axolotl: an amphibian that is both a cultural icon and a biomedical marvel. In its domesticated form, the aquatic salamander is a valuable laboratory animal and a popular pet around the wor...Show More
Gateway to the Mind

26:52 | Jul 9th, 2018

The microbiome is the strange invisible world of our non human selves. On and in all of us are hoards of microbes. Their impact on our physical health is becoming clear to science, but a controversial idea is emerging too - that gut bacteria could al...Show More
Dirt and Development

26:52 | Jul 2nd, 2018

BBC Health and Science correspondent James Gallagher explores the latest research into how our second genome, the vast and diverse array of microbes that live on and in our bodies, is driving our metabolism and our health and how we can change it for...Show More
Manipulating Our Hidden Half

26:53 | Jun 25th, 2018

Are we on the cusp of a new approach to healthy living and treating disease? BBC Health and Science correspondent James Gallagher explores the latest research into how our second genome, the vast and diverse array of microbes that live on and in our ...Show More
Do Insects Feel Pain?

26:53 | Jun 18th, 2018

Insects such as fruit flies provide important insights into human biology and medicine. But should we worry whether insects experience pain and suffering in scientists’ hands? Entomologist Adam Hart visits the Fly Facility at the University of Ma...Show More
Killing Insects for Conservation

26:54 | Jun 11th, 2018

Prof Adam Hart stirred a hornet’s nest of controversy by asking the public to kill wasps for science. He explores why scientists kill insects to save them from extinction. The work of the entomologist often involves the killing of insects in large...Show More
What’s the Tiniest Dinosaur?

26:46 | Jun 4th, 2018

Two small creatures are at the heart of today’s questions, sent in to The Tiniest Dinosaur "What is the tiniest dinosaur?" asks young listener Ellie Cook, aged 11. Our hunt takes us from the discovery of dinosaurs right...Show More
Can Anything Travel Faster Than Light?

26:49 | May 28th, 2018

Two astronomical questions today sent in to for Drs Hannah Fry and Adam Rutherford to answer. The Cosmic Speed Limit "We often read that the fastest thing in the Universe is the speed of light. Why do we have this limitatio...Show More
Why Do We Dream?

26:48 | May 21st, 2018

Adventures in Dreamland "Why do we dream and why do we repeat dreams?" asks Mila O'Dea, aged 9, from Panama. Hannah Fry and Adam Rutherford delve into the science of sleep. From a pioneering experiment on rapid eye movement sleep, to a brand new ...Show More
Can We Use Chemistry to Bake the Perfect Cake?

26:50 | May 14th, 2018

Domestic science is on the agenda today, with two culinary questions sent in by listeners to The Curious Cake-Off Can chemistry help us bake the perfect cake? Listener Helena McGinty aged 69 from Malaga in Spain asks, "'I h...Show More
Why Do Some Songs Get Stuck in Your Head?

26:46 | May 7th, 2018

Two very annoying cases today sent in by listeners to to our scientific sleuths, mathematician Dr Hannah Fry and geneticist Dr Adam Rutherford. The Sticky Song Why do songs get stuck in our heads? And what makes some tunes ...Show More
Behaving Better Online

26:53 | Apr 30th, 2018

Humans have become the most successful species on earth because of our ability to cooperate. Often we help strangers when there is no obvious benefit to us as individuals. But today in the age when social media and the internet could be seen as a way...Show More
The Cooperative Species

26:53 | Apr 23rd, 2018

People are incredibly rude to each other on social media. Much ruder than they would ever be face to face. The great potential of the internet to bring humanity together in a glorious collaborating network seems naïve – instead of embracing a massive...Show More
Bringing Schrodinger's Cat to Life

26:56 | Apr 16th, 2018

Schrodinger's cat is the one that's famously alive and dead. At the same time. Impossible! Roland Pease meets the quantum scientists hoping to bring one to life in the laboratory. Not a real cat, to be fair. But large biomolecules, viruses, even bact...Show More
Bonus Podcast: Death in Ice Valley

03:12 | Apr 16th, 2018

A special preview of the new podcast Death in Ice Valley. An unidentified body. Who was she? Why hasn’t she been missed? A BBC World Service and NRK original podcast, investigating a mystery unsolved for almost half a century. Episode One was release...Show More
Barbara McLintock

26:52 | Apr 9th, 2018

Barbara McClintock’s work on the genetics of corn won her a Nobel prize in 1983. Her research on jumping genes challenged the over-simplified picture of chromosomes and DNA that Watson and Crick’s discovery has all too often been used to support. Dur...Show More
D'Arcy Thompson

26:53 | Apr 2nd, 2018

One hundred years ago D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson published On Growth and Form, a book with a mission to put maths into biology. He showed how the shapes, forms and growth processes we see in the living world aren’t some arbitrary result of evolution’s...Show More
The Far Future

26:53 | Mar 26th, 2018

How do we prepare for the distant future? Helen Keen meets the people who try to. If our tech society continues then we can leave data for future generations in huge, mundane quantities, detailing our every tweet and Facebook 'like'. But how long ...Show More
Why We Cut Men

26:28 | Mar 19th, 2018

Male circumcision is one of the oldest and most common surgical procedures in human history. Around the world, 1 in 3 men are cut. It’s performed as a religious rite in Islam and Judaism; in other cultures it’s part of initiation, a social norm or ma...Show More

26:33 | Mar 12th, 2018

The phrase 'essential 'element' is often incorrectly used to describe the nutrients we need, but can aptly be applied to iodine - without it we would suffer severe developmental problems. Iodine is a key component of thyroid hormones, responsible for...Show More

26:31 | Mar 5th, 2018

What links trade unions with urine, Syria with semiconductors, and bones and bombs? The answer is phosphorus, UCL Inorganic Chemistry Professor Andrea Sella, who is himself engaged in researching new phosphorus based materials, looks at this often ra...Show More

27:12 | Feb 26th, 2018

From the plumbing of ancient Rome, to lead acid batteries, paint, petrol and a dangerous legacy, the metal lead has seen a myriad of uses and abuses over thousands of years. In bullets, and poisons it has killed us both quickly and slowly, and yet it...Show More
The Power of Sloth

26:28 | Feb 19th, 2018

Zoologist and founder of the Sloth Appreciation Society, Lucy Cooke, unleashes her inner sloth to discover why being lazy could actually be the ultimate evolutionary strategy. The explorers of the New World described sloths as ‘the lowest form of ...Show More
Pain of Torture

26:48 | Feb 12th, 2018

Does knowing that someone is inflicting pain on you deliberately make the pain worse? Professor Irene Tracey meets survivors of torture and examines the dark side of pain. Producer: Geraldine Fitzgerald (Photo: A woman mourns during the funera...Show More
Controlling Pain

26:47 | Feb 5th, 2018

What if your brain could naturally control pain? Professor Irene Tracey and her colleagues are trying to unlock the natural mechanisms in the brain that limit the amount of pain we feel. We hear about how children learning judo are taught special ...Show More
Knowing Pain

26:50 | Jan 29th, 2018

Scientists reveal why we feel pain and the consequences of life without pain. One way to understand the experience of pain is to look at unusual situations which give clues to our everyday agony. Phantom limb pain was described in ancient times bu...Show More
Seeing Pain

26:49 | Jan 22nd, 2018

Mystery still surrounds the experience of pain. It is highly subjective but why do some people feel more pain than others and why does the brain appear to switch off under anaesthesia so we are unaware of the surgeon’s scalpel? Professor Irene Tracey...Show More
Humphry Davy

26:32 | Jan 15th, 2018

In Bristol in 1799, a young man started to experiment with newly discovered gases, looking for a cure for tuberculosis. Humphry Davy, aged 20, nearly killed himself inhaling carbon monoxide. Nitrous oxide was next. It was highly pleasurable, ‘particu...Show More
Lise Meitner

26:32 | Jan 9th, 2018

Philip Ball reveals the dramatic tale of Lise Meitner, the humanitarian physicist of Jewish descent, who unlocked the science of the atom bomb after a terrifying escape from Hitler's Germany. One of the most brilliant nuclear scientists working in Ge...Show More
The Day the Earth Moved

26:33 | Jan 1st, 2018

Roland Pease tells the story of how fifty years ago geologists finally became convinced that the earth’s crust is made up of shifting plates. The idea of mobile continents, continental drift, had been talked about, for example because it looked like ...Show More
Maria Merian

26:28 | Dec 25th, 2017

Maria Merian was born in 1647. At the time of her birth, Shakespeare had been dead for 30 years; Galileo had only just stood trial for arguing that the Earth moved around the Sun. And yet, here in Germany, was a child who would become an important bu...Show More
Alcuin of York

26:28 | Dec 18th, 2017

The Dark Ages are often painted as an era of scholarly decline. The Western Roman Empire was on its way out, books were few and far between, and, if you believe the stereotype, mud-splattered peasants ran around in rags. However, it was far more i...Show More
Cheating the Atmosphere

26:28 | Dec 11th, 2017

All countries are supposed to measure and report their greenhouse gas emissions but BBC environment correspondent, Matt McGrath, reveals there are gaping holes in national inventories. He uncovers serious failings in countries’ accounts of warming ga...Show More
Better Brains

27:33 | Dec 4th, 2017

Every three seconds someone is diagnosed with dementia, and two thirds of the cases are Alzheimer’s Disease. As the global population ages, this is becoming an epidemic, and with no cures currently available for the collection of neurodegenerative co...Show More
Black Hole and Sonic Weapons - Curious Cases of Rutherford and Fry

26:29 | Nov 21st, 2017

Two deadly cases today sent in by listeners to The Dark Star "What's inside a black hole and could we fly a spaceship inside?" asks Jorge Luis Alvarez from Mexico City. Astrophysicist Sheila Rowan explains how we know in...Show More
Poles and Spin

26:29 | Nov 20th, 2017

The Polar Opposite No one knows why the Earth's magnetic North and South poles swap. But polar reversals have happened hundreds of times over the history of the Earth. John Turk emailed to ask, “when is the next pole swap due...Show More
Balloons and Memory - The Curious Cases of Rutherford and Fry

26:28 | Nov 13th, 2017

The Astronomical Balloon "How far up can a helium balloon go? Could it go out to space?" asks Juliet Gok, aged 9. This calls for an experiment! Dr Keri Nicholl helps Adam launch a party balloon and track its ascent. But their test doesn't quite go ...Show More
Balloon and Memory

26:28 | Nov 13th, 2017

The Astronomical Balloon "How far up can a helium balloon go? Could it go out to space?" asks Juliet Gok, aged 9. This calls for an experiment! Dr Keri Nicholl helps Adam launch a party balloon and track its ascent. But their test doesn't quite go ...Show More
Cats and Itch – The Curious Cases of Rutherford and Fry

26:28 | Nov 6th, 2017

“How on earth do cats find their way back to their previous home when they move house?" asks Vicky Cole from Nairobi in Kenya. Our enduring love for our feline friends began when Egyptian pharaohs began to welcome domesticated moggies into their ...Show More
Bacteria and Blood – The Curious Cases of Rutherford and Fry

26:28 | Oct 30th, 2017

Science sleuths Drs Rutherford & Fry take on everyday mysteries and solve them with the power of science. Two cases in this episode concerning the inner workings of our bodies, and not for the faint hearted! The Broken Stool "Science tells us th...Show More
Sydney Brenner: A Revolutionary Biologist

26:28 | Oct 23rd, 2017

Sydney Brenner was one of the 20th Century’s greatest biologists. Born 90 years ago in South Africa to impoverished immigrant parents, Dr Brenner became a leading figure in the biological revolution that followed the discovery of the structure of DN...Show More
SOS Snail

26:42 | Oct 16th, 2017

This is a big story about a little snail. Biologist Helen Scales relates an epic tale that spans the globe and involves calamity, tragedy, extinction and we hope, salvation. It stars the tiny tree-dwelling mollusc from French Polynesia, Partula, a sn...Show More
Indian Science – The Colonial Legacy

26:28 | Oct 9th, 2017

For more than 200 years Britain ruled India, bringing many aspects of British culture to India - including European science developed during the enlightenment. However centuries earlier India had already pioneered work in astronomy, mathematics and e...Show More
India's Ancient Science

26:26 | Oct 2nd, 2017

We go behind the scenes of a new exhibition on India at London’s Science Museum. What can historical objects tell us about India’s rich, and often hidden scientific past? We look at the influential mathematics, metallurgy and civil engineering of anc...Show More
Africa’s Great Green Wall

26:28 | Sep 25th, 2017

Can Africa’s Great Green Wall beat back the Sahara desert and reverse the degrading landscape? The ambitious 9 miles wide and 5000 miles long line of vegetation will stretch all the way from Dakar in the west to Djibouti in the east. Thomas Fess...Show More
Internet of Things

26:58 | Sep 18th, 2017

Can we Control the Dark Side of the Internet? The Internet is the world's most widely used communications tool. It’s a fast and efficient way of delivering information. However it is also quite dumb, neutral, treating equally all the data it passe...Show More
Dark Side of the World Wide Web

26:59 | Sep 11th, 2017

With the coming of the World Wide Web in the 1990s internet access opened up to everybody, it was no longer the preserve of academics and computer hobbyists. Already prior to the Web, the burgeoning internet user groups and chat rooms had tested wha...Show More
The Origin of the Internet

26:58 | Sep 4th, 2017

Just how did the Internet become the most powerful communications medium on the planet, and why does it seem to be an uncontrollable medium for good and bad? With no cross border regulation the internet can act as an incredible force for connecting ...Show More
The Day the Sun Went Dark

26:43 | Aug 21st, 2017

For the first time in almost 100 years the USA is experiencing a full solar eclipse from coast to coast on August 21st 2017. Main image: Totality during the solar eclipse at Palm Cove on November 14, 2012 in Palm Cove, Australia. Credit: Ian Hit...Show More
Carbon - the backbone of life

26:58 | Aug 14th, 2017

Carbon is widely considered to be the key element in forming life. It's at the centre of DNA, and the molecules upon which all living things rely. Monica Grady, Professor of Planetary Science at the Open University, explores the nature of carbon, ...Show More
And then there was Li

26:59 | Aug 7th, 2017

From the origins of the universe, though batteries, glass and grease to influencing the working of our brains, neuroscientist Sophie Scott tracks the incredible power of lithium. It's 200 years ago this year that lithium was first isolated and nam...Show More
Oxygen: The breath of Life

26:57 | Aug 1st, 2017

Oxygen appeared on Earth over two billion years ago and life took off. Now it makes up just over a fifth of the air. Trevor Cox, professor of acoustic engineering at the University of Salford, England, tells the story of oxygen on Earth and in space....Show More
Mercury - Chemistry's Jekyll and Hyde

30:32 | Jul 24th, 2017

The most beautiful and shimmering of the elements, the weirdest, and yet the most reviled. Chemist Andrea Sella tell the story of Mercury, explaining the significance of this element not just for chemistry, but also the development of modern civil...Show More
Eating Well in Lyon: Healthy Diets to prevent Bowel Cancer

26:51 | Jul 17th, 2017

Anu Anand is in Lyon, looking at what we eat and drink and the risk of bowel cancer
Catching Prostate Cancer Early in Trinidad

26:42 | Jul 10th, 2017

Anu Anand on detecting and treating prostate cancer in Trinidad and Tobago.
The USA’s Deadly Racial Divide: Black Women & Breast Cancer

26:24 | Jul 3rd, 2017

Anu Anand explores why more black women are more likely to die of breast cancer in the US
Screening and Treating Cervical Cancer in Tanzania

26:24 | Jun 26th, 2017

Anu Anand on how vinegar and a head torch are used to tackle cervical cancer in Tanzania
Taking On Tobacco - Lung Cancer in Uruguay

26:22 | Jun 21st, 2017

For more than 65 years we have known that smoking kills. So how can it be that a Mexican wave of tobacco use, disease and death is heading at breakneck speed towards the world’s poorest people? Millions will die of lung cancer and it is hard to grasp...Show More
Dying in Comfort in Mongolia

26:22 | Jun 16th, 2017

The Mongolian matriarch who is helping people with terminal liver cancer die in comfort
Can Robots be Truly Intelligent?

26:58 | Jun 5th, 2017

From Skynet and the Terminator franchise, through Wargames and Ava in Ex Machina, artificial intelligences pervade our cinematic experiences. But AIs are already in the real world, answering our questions on our phones and making diagnoses about our ...Show More
Robots - More Human than Human?

26:59 | May 29th, 2017

Robots are becoming present in our lives, as companions, carers and as workers. Adam Rutherford explores our relationship with these machines. Have we made them to be merely more dextrous versions of us? Why do we want to make replicas of ourselves? ...Show More
History of the Rise of the Robots

26:58 | May 22nd, 2017

The idea of robots goes back to the Ancient Greeks. In myths Hephaestus, the god of fire, created robots to assist in his workshop. In the medieval period the wealthy showed off their automata. In France in the 15th century a Duke of Burgundy had his...Show More
Quantum Supremacy

28:06 | May 15th, 2017

IBM is giving users worldwide the chance to use a quantum computer; Google is promising "quantum supremacy" by the end of the year; Microsoft's Station Q is working on the hardware and operating system for a machine that will outpace any conventional...Show More
Hunting for Life on Mars

26:57 | May 1st, 2017

As a small rocky planet, Mars is similar in many respects to the Earth and for that reason, many have thought it may harbour some kind of life. A hundred years ago, there was serious talk about the possibility of advanced civilisations there. Even in...Show More
Lifechangers: Charles Bolden

27:00 | Apr 24th, 2017

In Lifechangers, Kevin Fong talks to people about their lives in science. Major General Charles Bolden – a former NASA administrator – talks to Kevin Fong about his extraordinary life, from childhood in racially segregated South Carolina to the fi...Show More
Lifechangers: Neil deGrasse Tyson

26:59 | Apr 17th, 2017

In Lifechangers, Kevin Fong talks to people about their lives in science. Astrophysicist and Director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York City, Neil deGrasse Tyson is well known in the US since he presented the TV series Cosmos: a spacetime odys...Show More
Lifechangers: George Takei

27:00 | Apr 10th, 2017

In the start of a new series of Lifechangers, Kevin Fong talks to three people about their lives in science. His first conversation is with a man better known for his life in science fiction, George Takei, the Japanese American actor who played Su...Show More
The Bee All and End All

26:49 | Apr 6th, 2017

Bees pollinate and can detect bombs and compose music. What would we do without them? The world owes a debt of gratitude to this hard working but under-appreciated insect. One third of the food we eat would not be available without bees, meaning our ...Show More
Extending Embryo Research

26:59 | Mar 27th, 2017

Since the birth of Louise Brown - the world’s first IVF baby - in England in 1978, many children have been born through in vitro fertilisation. IVF doesn’t work for everyone but over the last few decades basic research into human reproduction has bro...Show More
The Split Second Decision

26:59 | Mar 20th, 2017

As the pace of technology moves at ever greater speeds, how vulnerable are we when making split second decisions? Kevin Fong flies with the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service, making split-second, life-or-death decisions. He examines how we can com...Show More
Human Hibernation

26:59 | Mar 13th, 2017

Ever wished you could miss an entire cold dark winter like bears or dormice? Kevin Fong explores the possibilities than humans could hibernate. This ability could help us recover from serious injury or make long space flights pass in a flash. The ...Show More
Delivering Clean Air

26:28 | Mar 3rd, 2017

Internet shopping continues to rise worldwide. That means a lot more delivery vans on the streets of our towns and cities. Those vans and trucks, often powered by dirty diesel engines, are contributing to air pollution problems that can cause signifi...Show More
Make Me a Cyborg

27:29 | Feb 27th, 2017

Frank Swain can hear Wi-Fi. Diagnosed with early deafness aged 25, Frank decided to turn his misfortune to his advantage by modifying his hearing aids to create a new sense. He documented the start of his journey three years ago on Radio 4 in 'Hac...Show More
Singing and Navigating – The Curious Cases of Rutherford and Fry

27:00 | Feb 21st, 2017

Two challenges for the team today involving singing and navigating. The Melodic Mystery "Why is my mother tone deaf?" asks listener Simon, "and can I do anything to ensure my son can at least carry a tune?" Hannah admits to struggling to hold a ...Show More
Left-handedness – The Curious Cases of Rutherford and Fry

27:00 | Feb 13th, 2017

Neal Shepperson asks, "What determines left or right handedness and why are us lefties in the minority?" One in ten people are left-handed, but where does this ratio come from and when did it appear in our evolutionary past? Hannah talks to pri...Show More
Moon -The Curious Cases of Rutherford and Fry

26:59 | Feb 6th, 2017

Listener Paul Don asks: "I'm wondering what's the feasibility of terraforming another planet ie Mars and if it is possible to do the same thing with something like the moon? Or, why isn't there already a moon-base? Surely that is easier." Dr Adam ...Show More
Weight and Strength - The Curious Cases of Rutherford and Fry

26:59 | Jan 30th, 2017

Two cases today for Drs Adam Rutherford & Hannah Fry to investigate, involving strength and weight. The Portly Problem "Why do we have middle aged spread?" asks Bart Janssen from New Zealand. In this episode we ponder the science of fat, from o...Show More
Nothing - The Curious Cases of Rutherford and Fry

27:00 | Jan 23rd, 2017

"Is there any such thing as nothing?" This question from Bill Keck sparked a lot of head scratching. Dr Adam Rutherford and Dr Hannah Fry first consider the philosophy and physics of nothing. As Prof Frank Close, author of Nothing: A Very Short I...Show More
Sesame Open

26:59 | Jan 16th, 2017

There's a new light of hope in the Middle East. It's a scientific experiment called SESAME - intended to do world-class science and bring together researchers from divided nations. Its members include Palestine and Israel, Pakistan and Iran, Jordan,...Show More
The Future of the Climate Deal

37:53 | Jan 9th, 2017

The incoming administration of President Trump has frightened many in the international environmental community. The result of US election in November was announced during the 2016 Marrakech UN Climate Change Conference, a meeting where most delegate...Show More
Science Stories: Series 3 - Mesmerism and Parapsychology

26:58 | Jan 2nd, 2017

Anton Mesmer was a doctor who claimed he could cure people with an unknown force of animal magnetism. He was the subject to a committee that found there was no evidence for his powers. Phil Ball tallks to Simon Shaffer, Professor of History of Scienc...Show More
Science Stories: Series 3 - The Woman Who Tamed Lightning

26:30 | Dec 26th, 2016

Naomi Alderman tells the story of Hertha Marks Ayrton, the first woman to be admitted to the Institution of Electrical Engineers, who improved electric arc lights. Photo: Street lamps light up a road in Colombo, credit: Ishara S.KODIKARA/AFP/Getty I...Show More
Science Stories: Series 3 - Testosterone: Elixir of Masculinity

26:59 | Dec 19th, 2016

Testosterone has been claimed as one of the most important drivers of human life – through the agency of sex and aggression. In the 19th century, Charles-Eduoard Brown-Séquard injected himself with extracts from ground-up animal testicles, and made s...Show More
Science Stories: Series 3 - Making the Earth Move

26:58 | Dec 12th, 2016

Prior to 1543 it was generally believed that the earth lay static in the centre of the universe, while the Sun, moon, planets and stars revolved around it in various complex paths, some even looping back and forth, as described by the Egyptian astron...Show More
Origins of Human Culture

26:59 | Dec 5th, 2016

We humans are such a successful species. Homo sapiens have been around for only around 100 000 years and in that time we have utterly transformed the world around us. Our shelters allow us to live in all climates and from the poles to the tropics; o...Show More
Mind Reading

26:59 | Nov 28th, 2016

Whether it's gossiping over a drink, teaching our children, or politicians debating we use words to communicate with each other and share ideas. It’s what makes us human. But what if we can’t? Could it be possible to broadcast our thoughts directly f...Show More
Custom of Cutting

31:40 | Nov 21st, 2016

More than 200 million women and girls alive today have undergone female genital mutilation, or cutting. It is where parts or all of a girl's genitals are damaged or removed. There are no medical benefits to FGM, and people who undergo the practice ca...Show More
The Inflamed Mind

26:58 | Nov 14th, 2016

Depression or psychotic illness is experienced by hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of people in the UK. James Gallagher talks to the psychiatrists investigating this new understanding of mental illness and to people who may benefit from treat...Show More
The City that Fell into the Earth

26:28 | Nov 7th, 2016

How do you move a city? Lesley Riddoch travels to Arctic Sweden to find out. Kiruna is gradually sliding into Europe's biggest iron ore mine. The city has to be rebuilt two miles away. That requires an extraordinary blend of planning, architecture, ...Show More
The Sun King of China

26:28 | Oct 31st, 2016

Meet Huang Ming, the Chinese inventor who describes himself as, 'the number one crazy solar guy in the world'. One of the prize exhibits of his museum in northern China is a vintage solar panel. It is a water heater, installed by President Jimmy Cart...Show More
The Mars of the Mid-Atlantic

26:28 | Oct 24th, 2016

Ascension Island is a tiny scrap of British territory, marooned in the tropical mid-Atlantic roughly halfway between Brazil and Africa. It is the tip of a giant undersea volcano – rugged, remote and, up until around 150 years ago, almost completely d...Show More
Creating the Crick

26:59 | Oct 17th, 2016

The Francis Crick Institute, in the centre of London, is the UK’s brand new, game-changing centre for biology and medical research. Roland Pease joins the scientists as they move into the building. Sir Paul Nurse, Nobel Laureate, one of the UK’s top ...Show More
Black Holes: A Tale of Cosmic Death and Rebirth

26:59 | Oct 10th, 2016

The discovery of gravitational waves by the LIGO observatory opens up a new form of astronomy, which will allow scientists explore the ultimate fate of dead stars, Black Holes. Roland Pease reports. (Photo: Gravitational waves © Nasa)
The Whale Menopause

26:58 | Oct 3rd, 2016

Killer whales and humans are almost unique in the animal kingdom. The females of both species go through the menopause in their 40s or 50s, and then live for decades without producing any more offspring themselves. It is an extremely rare phenomenon....Show More
Reversing Parkinson's

26:59 | Sep 26th, 2016

Parkinson’s Disease is one of the major neurodegenerative conditions. Cells die, for reasons not fully understood, causing a reduction in the production of the neurotransmitter, dopamine, and a raft of physical and behavioural problems. Although effe...Show More
Space - The Curious Cases of Rutherford & Fry

27:00 | Sep 19th, 2016

Two spacey cases today for doctors Rutherford and Fry to investigate, both sent in to BBC Future via Facebook. The Stellar Dustbin 'Can we shoot garbage into the sun?' asks Elisabeth Hill. The doctors embark on an astronomical thought experiment ...Show More
Fainting and Counting - The Curious Cases of Rutherford & Fry

27:00 | Sep 13th, 2016

Swooning maidens and clever horses feature in today's Curious Cases, sent in by listeners to The Squeamish Swoon Science sleuths Hannah Fry and Adam Rutherford investigate the following question sent in by Philip Le Riche:...Show More
Traffic and Telephones - The Curious Cases of Rutherford & Fry

26:58 | Sep 5th, 2016

How does traffic jam? And, why do some people shout into their cellphones in public places? Two subjects guaranteed to annoy even the most patient listeners. The Phantom Jam Listener Matthew Chandler wrote to us: "I travel on the motorway for wor...Show More
Tea and Tears - The Curious Cases of Rutherford & Fry

26:59 | Aug 29th, 2016

A story of sorrow and comfort today, as Doctors Adam Rutherford and Hannah Fry investigate two mysteries sent in by listeners. The Psychic Tear Edith Calman challenges our scientific sleuths to answer the following question: “What is it about ex...Show More
Hair - The Curious Cases of Rutherford & Fry

27:00 | Aug 22nd, 2016

Doctors Adam Rutherford and Hannah Fry set out to solve the following perplexing cases sent in by listeners: The Scarlet Mark Sheena Cruickshank in Manchester asks, "My eldest son is ginger but I am blonde and my husband brunette so we are consta...Show More
China Science Rising

26:59 | Aug 15th, 2016

China is super-sizing science. From building the biggest experiments the world has ever seen to rolling out the latest medical advances on a massive scale and pushing the boundaries of exploration in outer space - China’s scientific ambitions are imm...Show More
The Power of Cute

26:59 | Aug 8th, 2016

Zoologist and broadcaster Lucy Cooke explores the science behind our seeming obsession with all things adorable. There has been an explosion in interest in cuteness, particularly online, with an ever growing number of websites dedicated to pandas, ki...Show More
Failing Gracefully

26:59 | Aug 1st, 2016

Dr Kevin Fong concludes his exploration of the boundaries between the medical profession and other industries for valuable lessons that might be of use to us all. In this final episode, Kevin talks to people who have spent their lives investigati...Show More
Going Lean: Health and the Toyota Way

26:59 | Jul 25th, 2016

In the third programme in the series, Dr Kevin Fong explores the concept of ‘lean’ in healthcare. He visits Toyota’s largest car assembly plant in the United States and discovers how the company’s legendary management philosophy – the Toyota Producti...Show More
“Faster, Better, Cheaper”

26:58 | Jul 18th, 2016

Kevin Fong explores the success and failure of NASA’s missions to Mars
The Business of Failure

27:00 | Jul 12th, 2016

Dr Kevin Fong flies with a US air ambulance crew and discovers why it’s seen as one of the most dangerous occupations in America.
Cleaning Up the Oceans

26:59 | Jul 4th, 2016

More than five million tonnes of plastic waste ends up in the oceans every year. The abandoned fishing gear and bags and bottles left on beaches can smother birds and sea life. Now there is also evidence that the small particles created as the plasti...Show More
Life on the East Asian Flyway - Part 4: The Arctic

27:00 | Jun 27th, 2016

After flying thousands of kilometres from faraway Bangladesh and New Zealand via the Yellow Sea, the shorebirds of the East Asian Flyway complete their northward migration. They touch down in the Arctic Russia and Alaska to breed. In May and June...Show More
Life on the East Asian Flyway - Part Three: Yellow Sea North

26:59 | Jun 20th, 2016

Can China’s new generation of birdwatchers and North Korea’s weak economy save migratory birds from extinction? Habitat loss for shorebirds in the Yellow Sea is rapid as the mudflats on which they depend are converted to farmland, factories, por...Show More
Life on the East Asian Flyway – Part Two: Yellow Sea South

26:59 | Jun 13th, 2016

Ann Jones flies north to Shanghai as shorebirds from as far away as Australia, Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar and Bangladesh arrive on the coast of the Yellow Sea. Here she meets a traditional whistling bird hunter who used to catch shorebirds fo...Show More
Life on the East Asian Flyway

26:59 | Jun 6th, 2016

One of the great wonders of the natural world is in deep trouble. Millions of shorebirds fly from Australia and Southeast Asia to the Arctic every year. They follow the planet’s most gruelling migratory route – the East Asian Australasian Flyway....Show More
The Neglected Sense

27:01 | May 30th, 2016

We may fear going blind, deaf or dumb, but few of us worry about losing our olfactory senses. And yet more than 200,000 people in the UK are anosmic - they cannot smell. Kathy Clugston is anosmic and gives a first hand account of the condition.She...Show More
After Ebola

26:59 | May 23rd, 2016

Last November Sierra Leone was declared Ebola free. By then, the epidemic had killed over 11,000 people in West Africa. The speed at which it took off highlighted the poor state of healthcare in the affected countries. Now in Sierra Leone some of the...Show More
Benefits of Bilingualism - Part Two

26:58 | May 16th, 2016

More than half the world speaks more than one language. New research is showing that being multilingual has some surprising advantages – it can help us keep healthier longer. Gaia Vince finds out how knowing many languages can protect our brains over...Show More
Benefits of Bilingualism - Part One

26:59 | May 9th, 2016

More than half of the world's people speak more than one language. Some people may have been forced to learn a language at school or had to pick up one because they moved to a new country. Others may just love learning new tongues and do so before t...Show More
Our Unnatural Selection

26:59 | May 2nd, 2016

Humans have been altering animals for millennia. We select the most docile livestock, the most loyal dogs, to breed the animals we need. This 'artificial selection' is intentional. But as Adam Hart discovers, our hunting, fishing and harvesting are h...Show More
Science Stories: Series 2 - Margaret Cavendish

26:59 | Apr 25th, 2016

In the spring of 1667 Samuel Pepys queued repeatedly with crowds of Londoners and waited for hours just to catch a glimpse of aristocrat writer and thinker Margaret Cavendish. Twice he was frustrated and could not spot her, but eventually she made a ...Show More
Science Stories: Series 2 - Orgueil Meteorite

26:58 | Apr 18th, 2016

In 1864 a strange type of rock fell from the sky above Orgueil in rural France. Shocked and frightened locals collected pieces of the peculiar, peaty blob from the surrounding fields, and passed them on to museums and scientists. At that time, a de...Show More
The Horn Dilemma

26:59 | Apr 11th, 2016

The majority of white and black rhinoceros are found in South Africa. This stronghold for these magnificent creatures is now being threatened by poachers killing rhino for their horns. Rhino horn, traded illegally in parts of Asia, is thought to b...Show More
African Einsteins

26:58 | Apr 1st, 2016

Will Einstein’s successors be African? It’s very likely - and some of them will be women. Back in 2008 South African physicist Neil Turok gave a speech in which he declared his wish that the next Einstein would be from Africa. It was a rallying...Show More
Feeding the World - Part Two

26:58 | Mar 28th, 2016

As the world’s population grows and the climate challenges our ability to grow crops, how can agriculture provide enough food? Can we get more from our current food crops for less? Scientists and farmers alike have been increasingly haunted by the...Show More
Feeding the World - Part One

26:59 | Mar 21st, 2016

As the world’s population grows and the climate challenges our ability to grow crops, how can agriculture provide enough food? Can we get more from our current food crops for less? Scientists and farmers alike have been increasingly haunted by the...Show More
Editing the Genome - Part Two

27:00 | Mar 14th, 2016

There is a new genetic technology which promises to revolutionise agriculture and transform our influence over the natural world. Research is well underway to create pigs and chickens immune to pandemic influenza, cereals which make their own fertili...Show More
Editing the Genome

26:59 | Mar 7th, 2016

Over the last four years, scientists have discovered a simple and powerful method for altering genes. This will have massive implications for all of us as it raises the possibility of easily changing the genetic code in animals, plants and ourselves...Show More
Science Stories: Series 1 - Einstein’s Ice Box

26:59 | Feb 29th, 2016

In the late 1920s Einstein was working on a grand unified theory of the universe, having given us E=mc2, space-time and the fourth dimension. He was also working on a fridge. Perhaps motivated by a story in the Berlin newspapers about a family who ...Show More
Science Stories: Series 1 - Eels and Human Electricity

27:00 | Feb 22nd, 2016

Naomi Alderman presents an alternate history of electricity. This is not a story of power stations, motors and wires. It is a story of how the electric eel and its cousin the torpedo fish, led to the invention of the first battery; and how, in time, ...Show More
Science Stories: Series 1 - Cornelis Drebbel

26:59 | Feb 15th, 2016

Philip Ball dives into the magical world of Cornelis Drebbel , inventor of the world's first submarine in 1621. How did the crew of this remarkable vessel manage to breathe underwater, completely cut off from the surface, 150 years before oxygen wa...Show More
El Nino

26:59 | Feb 8th, 2016

Floods in South America, fires in Indonesia, famine threatened in Ethiopia, yet more drought in Southern Africa and central America. Plus, a stunning peak in global temperatures for 2015. The current El Nino, just past its peak, has a lot to answer f...Show More
An Infinite Monkey's Guide to General Relativity

27:01 | Feb 1st, 2016

Brian Cox and Robin Ince explore the legacy of Einstein's great theory, and how a mathematical equation written 100 years ago seems to have predicted so accurately exactly how our universe works. From black holes to the expanding universe, every obse...Show More
An Infinite Monkey's Guide to General Relativity

27:00 | Jan 25th, 2016

It is 100 years since the publication of Einstein's great theory, and arguably one of the greatest scientific theories of all time. To mark the occasion, Brian Cox takes Robin Ince on a guided tour of General Relativity. With the help of some of the ...Show More
Scotland’s Dolphins

27:00 | Jan 18th, 2016

The chilly waters of north-east Scotland are home to the world’s most northerly group of bottlenose dolphins. They are protected by EU conservation laws and despite being a small population, appear to be thriving. Euan McIlwraith heads out into t...Show More
Nature's Numbers

27:00 | Jan 11th, 2016

Mathematics is one of the most extraordinary things humans can do with their brains but where do our numerical abilities come from? Maths writer Alex Bellos looks for answers from a tribe in the Brazilian Amazon which has no words for numbers in its...Show More
Nature's Numbers

26:58 | Jan 4th, 2016

Lemurs and parrots accompany maths writer Alex Bellos as he explores the foundations of our ability to understand numbers. What are the fundamental numerical skills we share with other animals? What accounts for our species’ unique abilities to do ca...Show More
Future of Energy

27:00 | Dec 28th, 2015

Professor Jim Skea, from the Faculty of Natural Sciences, Centre for Environmental Policy at Imperial College London, joins Jack Stewart in the studio and brings his insight from the Paris climate talks. Paul Younger, the Rankine Chair of Engineering...Show More
The Power of Equations

26:58 | Dec 21st, 2015

Jim al-Khalili was sitting in a physics lecture at the University of Surrey when he suddenly understood the power of equations to describe and predict the physical world. He recalls that sadly his enthusiasm was lost on many of his fellow students. ...Show More
Enceladus: A second genesis of life at Saturn?

26:58 | Dec 14th, 2015

Discovery invites you on a mission to the most intriguing body in the solar system – Saturn’s moon Enceladus. It’s a small icy world with gigantic geysers, blasting water into space at supersonic speeds. It’s also become the most promising place ...Show More
Humboldt - the Inventor of Nature

26:58 | Dec 7th, 2015

Alexander Von Humboldt - the forgotten father of environmentalism - warned of harmful human induced climate change over 200 years ago. Explorer, nature writer and scientist he climbed the world’s highest volcanoes and delved deep into the rainforest...Show More
Unbreathable: The Modern Problem of Air Pollution

26:59 | Nov 30th, 2015

The shock news three months ago, that Volkswagen had used defeat devices to circumvent emissions tests in the United States, has brought back into the news a continuing problem of modern life - air pollution. The traces of pollutants coming out of ta...Show More
Future of Biodiversity

26:59 | Nov 23rd, 2015

"I'm determined to prove botany is not the 'Cinderella of science'". That is what Professor Kathy Willis, director of Science at the Royal Botanic Garden in Kew, told the Independent in 2014. In the two years since she took on the job at Kew she has ...Show More
Problems of Developing Drugs

26:59 | Nov 16th, 2015

Patrick Vallance is something of a rare breed - a game-keeper turned poacher; an academic who has moved over into industry. And not just any industry, but the pharmaceutical industry. At the time, Patrick Vallance was professor of Clinical Pharmacolo...Show More
The Genetics of Intelligence

26:58 | Nov 9th, 2015

Professor Robert Plomin talks to Jim al-Khalili about what makes some people smarter than others and why he is fed up with the genetics of intelligence being ignored. Born and raised in Chicago, Robert sat countless intelligence tests at his inner ci...Show More
How to Make an Awesome Surf Wave

26:59 | Nov 2nd, 2015

Can we make better surfing waves than the wild ocean, asks marine biologist and writer Helen Scales. Helen loves surfing but she describes it as an extreme form of delayed gratification, especially around the British coast. Nature does not make g...Show More
Lion Hunting in Africa

27:00 | Oct 26th, 2015

In June 2015 the death of Cecil the lion was international news and a social media sensation. Yet trophy hunting of lions and other species is common in Africa. Foreigners pay big money to adorn their walls with heads and skins. Many find it abhorren...Show More
The Infinite Monkey Cage USA Tour: San Francisco

27:00 | Oct 19th, 2015

Brian Cox and Robin Ince take to the stage in San Francisco for the last of their USA specials. They talk alien visitations, UFOs and other close encounters with astronomer Dr Seth Shostack, NASA scientist Dr Carolyn Porco and comedians Greg Proops a...Show More
The Infinite Monkey Cage USA Tour: Chicago

27:01 | Oct 12th, 2015

Brian Cox and Robin Ince take to the stage in Chicago, Illinois, to discuss fossil records and evolution. They are joined on stage by host of NPR's "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me" Peter Sagal, comedian and Saturday Night Live alumnus Julia Sweeney, palaeon...Show More
The Infinite Monkey Cage USA Tour: Los Angeles

26:59 | Oct 5th, 2015

Brian Cox and Robin Ince continue their tour of the USA, as they take to the stage in LA, as they ask what happens when science meets Hollywood. They ask why so many movies now seem to employ a science adviser, whether scientific accuracy is really i...Show More
The Infinite Monkey Cage USA Tour: New York

27:00 | Sep 26th, 2015

The BBC’s award-winning radio science/comedy show The Infinite Monkey Cage has transported itself to the USA bringing its unique brand of witty, irreverent science chat to an American audience for the first time. In the first of four specials, p...Show More
Life Changers - Didier Queloz

26:59 | Sep 21st, 2015

One night in 1995, PhD student Didier Queloz was running a routine test on a new detector they had just built at the Observatoire de Haute Provence in France, when he noticed something strange. They had pointed the detector, almost at random, towards...Show More
Life Changers - Anita Sengupta

26:59 | Sep 14th, 2015

When Anita Sengupta was a little girl, she dreamed of time travel aboard the TARDIS, along with Tom Baker, her favourite incarnation of Dr Who. It was this and watching episodes of Star Trek with her dad, which led her to study science and later stil...Show More
Life Changers - Venki Ramakrishnan

26:59 | Sep 7th, 2015

Kevin Fong talks to Venki Ramakrishnan, Professor of structural biology in Cambridge and joint-winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2009. Celebrated for his work on the ribosome, the remarkable molecular machine at the heart of all cell biology,...Show More
Life Changers - Kathryn Maitland

26:59 | Aug 31st, 2015

Kathryn Maitland is a doctor with a burning passion to transform clinical research across Africa, where she has spent most of her career. Determined to improve the outcomes for critically sick children in hospital, she spent over a decade of her lif...Show More
Women on the ‘Problem with Science’

27:00 | Aug 24th, 2015

Earlier in the year, the reported remarks about 'the problem with girls' by British biologist and Nobel Laureate Professor Tim Hunt' brought the issues facing women scientists into public spotlight. Although there have been questions about the repor...Show More
Truth about the Body Mass Index

26:59 | Aug 17th, 2015

Dr Mark Porter is a family doctor in the UK and in his 50s. He’s tall and slim and thinks he’s fit and healthy – after all he goes to the gym several times a week. Mark meets experts who measure his weight, height and body fat to find out if he is a...Show More
The Great Telescopes and Evolution

26:58 | Aug 10th, 2015

Today, astronomers believe the universe is a violent, constantly changing place. But it was not always the case. At the beginning of the 19th century, many believed fervently that the celestial sky was a constant, divinely perfected, completed cr...Show More
The Colour Purple

26:59 | Jul 27th, 2015

In 1856, a teenager experimenting at home accidentally made a colour that was more gaudy and garish than anything that had gone before. William Perkin was messing about at home, trying to make the anti-malarial Quinine - but his experiment went wrong...Show More
Maurice Wilkins

26:57 | Jul 20th, 2015

What does it take to be remembered well? The discovery of the structure of DNA is often attributed to James Watson and Francis Crick. But a third man shared the stage with them for the 1962 Nobel Prize for medicine - Maurice Wilkins. He was a brillia...Show More
James Watt and Steam Power

27:01 | Jul 13th, 2015

Naomi Alderman tells the story of James Watt and the steam engine that nearly never got made. A breath of steam hits cold metal. It cools suddenly and becomes a drop of water. There an idea. But the designs for Watt’s radically more efficient steam e...Show More
Sounds Of Space: Deep Space

26:59 | Jul 6th, 2015

A sonic tour of the universe, with solar scientist, Dr Lucie Green. In the previous episode, we listened in to the sounds of the Solar System. This week in Discovery, we travel further out into the cosmos to bring you more Sounds of Space. Som...Show More
Sounds of Space: The Solar System

26:59 | Jun 29th, 2015

The previously silent world of outer space is getting noisier. In this audio tour of the Solar System, Dr Lucie Green listens in to the Sounds of Space. You may have heard the famous ‘singing comet’ – the soundscape created using measurements taken b...Show More
Future of European Science

27:00 | Jun 22nd, 2015

A debate about the state of scientific research in Europe, recorded in Brussels on the day when the European Research Council was celebrating its 5000th grant. Since 2007 the ERC has written cheques totalling the equivalent of around 10 Billion dolla...Show More
The Bone Wars

26:57 | Jun 15th, 2015

Tracey Logan takes us back to the wild west of America, and looks at the extraordinary feud that came to be known as the Bone Wars. This is a tale of corruption, bribery and sabotage - not by cowboys, but by two palaeontologists, Edward Drinker Cope ...Show More
Stephanie Shirley: Software Pioneer

26:58 | Jun 8th, 2015

As a young woman, Stephanie Shirley worked at the Dollis Hill Research Station building computers from scratch but she told young admirers that she worked for the Post Office, hoping they would think she sold stamps. In the early 60s she changed her ...Show More
Origins of War

26:58 | Jun 1st, 2015

Is our desire to wage war something uniquely human or can its origins be traced much further back in our evolutionary past? To suggest that warfare is a regular feature of human civilization would be to state the obvious. But just how deeply root...Show More
What the Songbird Said

27:00 | May 25th, 2015

Could birdsong tell us something about the evolution of human language? Language is arguably the single thing that most defines what it is to be human and unique as a species. But its origins and its apparent sudden emergence around a hundred thousan...Show More
Shedding Light on the Brain

26:58 | May 18th, 2015

Biologists are using light to explore the brain - and to alter it. Roland Pease meets some of the leading players in optogenetics, who use light-sensitive molecules to take direct control of neural systems in worms, flies, and maybe one day, humans....Show More
Future of Solar Energy

27:01 | May 11th, 2015

Roland Pease looks into perovskites - the materials enthusiasts say could transform solar power. Solar power is the fastest growing form of renewable energy. But most of it collected by panels made of silicon - the material that also goes into compu...Show More
Scotland's Forgotten Einstein, James Clerk Maxwell

27:00 | May 4th, 2015

Dr Susie Mitchell hears the story of the 19th Century Scottish scientist James Clerk Maxwell. Maxwell's lifelong curiosity about the world and his gift for solving complicated puzzles led him to a string of discoveries. He was the first person to dem...Show More
Science of Stammering

27:00 | Apr 27th, 2015

In this edition of Discovery, Erika Wright explores the science of Stammering, a widely misunderstood condition that occurs at the same level in all cultures, countries and languages. There is a window of opportunity in early childhood when stammerin...Show More
Jane Francis

26:59 | Apr 20th, 2015

Just twenty years ago, the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) would not allow women to camp in Antarctica. In 2013, it appointed Jane Francis as its Director. Jane tells Jim Al-Khalili how an intimate understanding of petrified wood and fossilised leaves...Show More
The Teenage Brain: Sarah-Jayne Blakemore

26:59 | Apr 13th, 2015

Until recently, it was thought that human brain development was all over by early childhood but research in the last decade has shown that the adolescent brain is still changing into early adulthood. Jim al-Khalili talks to pioneering cognitive neuro...Show More
Matt Taylor

27:00 | Apr 6th, 2015

Matt Taylor talks to Jim Al-Khalili about being in charge of the Rosetta space mission to the distant comet, 67P. It is, he says, 'the sexiest thing alive', after his wife. He describes his joy when, after travelling for ten years and covering four b...Show More
John O'Keefe

26:59 | Mar 30th, 2015

John O'Keefe tells Jim al-Khalili how winning the Nobel Prize was a bit of a double-edged sword, especially as he liked his life in the lab, before being made famous by the award. John won the prize for his once radical insight into how we know w...Show More
Does Money Make you Mean?

26:59 | Mar 23rd, 2015

Can money really make a person mean? In this second and final programme, Jack heads to Hong Kong to explore whether our preoccupation with money is affecting the way we treat other people. Jack hears about the growing body of evidence indicatin...Show More
Does Money Make you Mean?

26:59 | Mar 16th, 2015

Jack Stewart heads to Los Angeles, home to many of America's rich and famous, to explore what impact wealth has on our moral behaviour. Hollywood often has plenty to say about the corrupting influence of money, but can science tell us even more. P...Show More
Finding Your Voice

26:59 | Mar 9th, 2015

Comedy performer and broadcaster Helen Keen, explores a rare condition that she herself once suffered from - selective mutism or SM. It is an anxiety disorder that develops in childhood. Those affected by SM can usually speak fluently in some situat...Show More
Placebo Problem

26:59 | Mar 2nd, 2015

In recent years the term 'placebo effect' - the beneficial effects on health of positive expectations about a drug or some other treatment - has become familiar. It has also been shown to be a powerful aid to medicine. The nocebo effect is simply its...Show More
Throwaway Society 2/2

27:00 | Feb 23rd, 2015

How can manufacturers of the world supply the growing demand for consumer products without breaking the planet’s bank of natural resources? By the middle of the century, there will be 2 billion more people in the world. Based on current trends, the...Show More
Throwaway Society

26:59 | Feb 16th, 2015

Hundreds of millions of computers, mobile phones and televisions are thrown away every year around the world. In this week’s Discovery Gaia Vince will be looking at the reasons behind this rapidly growing mountain of electronic waste and asking, who...Show More
The Science of Smell

26:59 | Feb 9th, 2015

Pamela Rutherford explores our neglected sense of smell. How is the brain able to detect and tell apart the countless number of smells it comes across and what happens when the system goes wrong? She finds out how people can lose their sense of sme...Show More
The Life Scientific: Richard Fortey

27:00 | Feb 2nd, 2015

Richard Fortey found his first trilobite fossil when he was 14 years old and he spent the rest of his career discovering hundreds more, previously unknown to science. He is a Professor of Palaeontology at the Natural History Museum and talks to Jim a...Show More
The Life Scientific: Margaret Boden on Artificial Intelligence

26:59 | Jan 26th, 2015

Maggie Boden is a world authority in the field of artificial intelligence – she even has a robot named in her honour. As research professor of Cognitive Science at the University of Sussex, Maggie has spent a lifetime attempting to answer philosophic...Show More
Hot Gossip - Part Two

27:00 | Jan 19th, 2015

In the second of two programmes, Geoff Watts continues to explore the science, history and cultural implications of gossip. Gossip has a bad reputation and for the most part, and deservedly so. Yet, on-going research appears to suggest that gossi...Show More
Hot Gossip - Part One

27:00 | Jan 12th, 2015

If language elevates us above other animals, why does human society seem to spend so much time gossiping? Perhaps it's because without gossip there would be no society and language would be much less interesting. In the first of two programmes, Geoff...Show More
Virtual Therapy

26:59 | Jan 5th, 2015

E-Therapy has come a long way since the (slightly tongue in cheek) days of Eliza, a very early attempt at computer based psychotherapy. Eliza was little more than an algorithm that spotted patterns in words and returned empty, yet meaningful-sounding...Show More
Animal Personality

26:59 | Dec 29th, 2014

Professor Adam Hart explores the newest area in the science of animal behaviour – the study of personality within species as diverse as chimpanzees, song birds, sharks and sea anenomes. What can this fresh field of zoology tells us about the variety ...Show More
Can Maths Combat Terrorism?

27:00 | Dec 22nd, 2014

Dr Hannah Fry investigates the hidden patterns behind terrorism and asks whether mathematics could be used to predict the next 9/11. When computer scientists decided to study the severity and frequency of 30,000 terrorist attacks worldwide, they foun...Show More
New Space to Fly

26:58 | Dec 15th, 2014

As our skies become more crowded Jack Stewart examines the long awaited modernisation of air traffic control. With traffic predicted to reach 17 million by 2030 more flights will mean more delays. For many a new approach to controlling flights is lon...Show More
Vagus Nerve

26:58 | Dec 8th, 2014

Many people are living with chronic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel conditions in which the body attacks itself. Although drug treatments have improved over recent years they do not work for everyone and can have serious ...Show More
Elspeth Garman

26:58 | Dec 1st, 2014

Jim al-Khalili talks to professor Elspeth Garman about a technique that has led to 28 Nobel Prizes in the last century. X- ray crystallography, now celebrating its 100th anniversary, is used to study the internal structure of matter. It may sound ...Show More
Painful Medicine

26:59 | Nov 24th, 2014

Addictions researcher, Dr Sally Marlow, investigates fears that easy access to powerful painkillers could be creating a large, but hidden problem of addiction. Painkillers are widely available over the counter, and combinations containing codeine, wh...Show More
Chris Toumazou

26:59 | Nov 17th, 2014

European Inventor of the Year, Chris Toumazou, reveals how his personal life and early research lie at the heart of his inventions. As chief scientist at the Institute of Biomedical Engineering at Imperial College London, Chris inspires engineers...Show More
The Making of the Moon

26:59 | Nov 10th, 2014

It is the nearest and most dominant object in our night sky, and has inspired artists, astronauts and astronomers. But fundamental questions remain about our only natural satellite. Where does the Moon come from? Although humans first walked on t...Show More
Trauma at War

27:00 | Nov 3rd, 2014

They call them 'The Unexpected Survivors'. The casualties from the war in Afghanistan whose injuries were so severe that they were not expected to survive, but who survived nevertheless. In October, after 13 years Britain and the United States offici...Show More
Trauma: The Fight for Life

26:59 | Oct 27th, 2014

Dr Kevin Fong explores the development of modern trauma medicine and discovers how the lessons from conflict and catastrophe have equipped us to deal with even the worst disasters, providing a system that could save lives that would otherwise have be...Show More
Brian Cox

26:59 | Oct 20th, 2014

Professor Brian Cox of Manchester University describes how he gave up appearing on Top of the Pops to study quarks, quasars and quantum mechanics. Although he describes himself as a simple-minded Northern bloke, he has acquired an almost God-like...Show More
Urine Trouble: What’s in our Water

27:00 | Oct 13th, 2014

You have a headache and take a pill. The headache is gone, but what about the pill? What we flush away makes its way through sewers, treatment works, rivers and streams and finally back to your tap. Along the way most of the drugs we take are removed...Show More
Patients Doing It for Themselves

26:58 | Oct 6th, 2014

Patient power is on the rise. But is it rising too far? Frustrated by the time it takes to develop new drugs, the ethical barriers to obtaining clinical data or the indifference of the medical profession to obscure diseases, patients are setting up t...Show More
Preventing Disease in Animals

27:00 | Sep 29th, 2014

Diseases devastate livestock around the world. In chickens for example the deadly strain of bird flu and the lesser known bacterial infection Campylobacter, not only harms the chickens but is also a real threat to human health. Melissa Hogenboom ...Show More
Beyond the Abyss

26:55 | Sep 22nd, 2014

Rebecca Morelle talks to explorers of deep ocean trenches, from film-maker James Cameron to biologists discovering dark realms of weird pink gelatinous fish and gigantic crustaceans. The deepest regions of the ocean lie between 6,000 and 11,000 m...Show More
Power Transmission

26:57 | Sep 15th, 2014

Gaia Vince looks at the future of power transmission. As power generation becomes increasingly mixed and demand increases, what does the grid of the future look like?

26:59 | Sep 8th, 2014

Accidents happen in science labs all over the world, but when you’re working with deadly pathogens the consequences can be disastrous. The reputation of America’s ‘gold standard’ The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in Georgia has recently ...Show More
Mum and Dad and Mum

26:59 | Sep 1st, 2014

Alana Saarinen is a 13-year-old girl who lives with her mum and dad in Michigan, USA. She loves playing golf and the piano, listening to music and hanging out with friends. In those respects, she's like many teenagers around the world. Except she's n...Show More
Antibiotic Resistance Crisis - Part Two

26:59 | Aug 25th, 2014

Infectious bacteria are becoming resistant to the drugs that used to kill them. The last new class of antibiotics was discovered in the 1980s. There is little in the development pipelines of the world’s pharmaceutical industry. Drug companies got ...Show More
Antibiotic Resistance Crisis - Part One

26:27 | Aug 18th, 2014

The discovery and harnessing of antibiotic drugs in the mid-20th Century led some medics to predict the end of infectious diseases. But the bacteria fought and continue to fight back, evolving resistance to many of the drugs that used to kill them. ...Show More

26:58 | Aug 11th, 2014

In March astronomers in the BICEP2 collaboration announced they had found gravitational waves from the Big Bang. But now the evidence is being questioned by other scientists. Dr Lucie Green reports on the debate and asks if scientists can ever kn...Show More
Rosetta Mission Arriving At Comet

29:27 | Aug 4th, 2014

On 6th August, the space probe Rosetta ends its 10 year journey and arrives at Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. If all goes well, Rosetta will be the first spacecraft to go into orbit around a comet. The European Space Agency probe will then accom...Show More
Professor Sir Michael Rutter

26:59 | Jul 28th, 2014

Professor Sir Michael Rutter has been described as the most illustrious and influential psychiatric scientist of his generation. His international reputation has been achieved despite the fact that as a young doctor, he had no intention of becoming a...Show More
What has Happened to El Nino?

27:00 | Jul 21st, 2014

At the start of 2014 meteorologists warned of a possible El Nino event this year. The portents were persuasive – a warming of the central Pacific much like that which preceded the powerful El Nino event of 1997. But since then the Pacific climate sys...Show More
Swarming Robots

26:58 | Jul 14th, 2014

Adam Hart looks at how new developments in understanding insect behaviour, plant cell growth and sub cellular organisation are influencing research into developing robot swarms. Biological systems have evolved elegant ways for large numbers of au...Show More

26:59 | Jul 7th, 2014

General anaesthetics which act to cause reversible loss of consciousness have been used clinically for over 150 years. Yet scientists are only now really understanding how these drugs act on the brain and the body to stop us feeling pain. Linda Gedde...Show More
Janet Hemingway

26:56 | Jun 30th, 2014

Janet Hemingway, the youngest woman to ever to become a full professor in the UK, talks about her career at the frontline of the war on malaria. Whilst many researchers look for vaccines and treatments to this global killer, Janet's approach, as a tr...Show More
Ageing and the Brain

26:59 | Jun 23rd, 2014

Geoff Watts investigates the latest thinking about our brain power in old age. He meets researchers who argue that society has overly negative views of the mental abilities of the elderly - a dismal and fatalistic outlook which is not backed up by re...Show More
Driverless Cars

26:59 | Jun 16th, 2014

Jack Stewart meets the engineers who are building vehicles that drive themselves. He has a ride in Google's driverless car, which has no steering wheel and no pedals. Google's Chris Urmson explains the company's approach to autonomous vehicles. J...Show More
Driverless Cars

26:56 | Jun 9th, 2014

Most traffic accidents are caused by human error. Engineers are designing vehicles with built in sensors that send messages to other cars, trucks, bikes and even pedestrians, to prevent collisions happening. The idea is to make the vehicles react to ...Show More
Taming the Sun

27:00 | Jun 2nd, 2014

ITER is the most complex experiment ever attempted on this planet. Its aim, to demonstrate that nuclear fusion, the power of the Sun, can give us pollution free energy that we can use for millions of years. But at the moment, it's still largely a vas...Show More
Beauty and the Brain

27:00 | May 26th, 2014

Dr Tiffany Jenkins asks what our brains can tell us about art. Can there ever be a recipe for beauty? Or are the great works beyond the powers of neuroscience? She talks to Professor Semir Zeki of University College London, the first person to co...Show More
Alf Adams

27:00 | May 19th, 2014

Alf Adams FRS, physicist at the University of Surrey, had an idea on a beach in the mid-eighties that made the modern internet, CD and DVD players, and even bar-code readers possible. You probably have half a dozen 'strained-layer quantum well lasers...Show More
Mark Miodownik

26:59 | May 12th, 2014

Mark Miodownik's chronic interest in materials began in rather unhappy circumstances. He was stabbed in the back, with a razor, on his way to school. When he saw the tiny piece of steel that had caused him so much harm, he became obsessed with how it...Show More
Sue Black

26:59 | May 5th, 2014

Forensic anthropologist professor Sue Black began her career with a Saturday job working in a butcher's shop. At the time she didn't realise that this would be the start of a lifelong fascination with anatomy. Her job has taken her to some extreme an...Show More
Whatever Happened to Biofuels - Part Two

26:58 | Apr 28th, 2014

Whatever happened to biofuels? They were seen as the replacement for fossil fuels until it was realised they were being grown on land that should have been used for food crops. But now there is serious research into new ways of producing biofuels, fr...Show More
Whatever Happened to Biofuels?

26:59 | Apr 21st, 2014

Biofuels were hailed as the environmental solution to fossil fuels not that long ago. Made from living crops they take up carbon dioxide as they grow. So burning them shouldn’t disturb the balance of warming gases in the atmosphere. But for the l...Show More
Peter Higgs

27:00 | Apr 14th, 2014

An extended interview with the Nobel prize laureate. Peter Higgs tells Jim Al-Khalili that he failed to realise the full significance of the Higgs boson and to link it to the much celebrated Standard Model of Physics. He puts the oversight down to a ...Show More
Vikram Patel

27:00 | Apr 7th, 2014

Jim al-Khalili talks to psychiatrist Vikram Patel about the global campaign he is leading to tackle mental health. He reflects on his early career working in Zimbabwe, when he doubted any western diagnosis or treatments for peoples' distress would be...Show More
Inside the Shark's Mind

26:59 | Mar 31st, 2014

Fatal shark attacks on humans have been on the increase in Australia. For Discovery, marine biologist Dr Helen Scales finds out how scientists are exploring new, humane ways to reduce this number. At the start of this year, the state government ...Show More
The Biology of Freedom

26:59 | Mar 24th, 2014

Is free will unique to humans or a biological trait that evolved over time and across species? Whilst the existence and nature of free will has been hotly debated by philosophers through the centuries, the basic idea that we determine our own destiny...Show More
Fructose: the Bittersweet Sugar

27:01 | Mar 17th, 2014

If you believe the headlines fructose is 'addictive as cocaine', a 'toxic additive' or a 'metabolic danger'. So how has a simple sugar in fruit and honey got such a bad name and is there any evidence behind the accusations that it has caused the obes...Show More
Hack my Hearing

26:46 | Mar 10th, 2014

Audiologists are concerned there may be a rising tide of 'hidden hearing loss' among young people. As electronic prices have fallen, sound systems have become cheaper and more powerful. At the same time, live music events and personal music players a...Show More
Show me the Way to Go Home

26:41 | Mar 3rd, 2014

Gardening grandmother Ruth Brooks, also known as 'the snail lady', was chosen as the BBC's Amateur Scientist of the Year in 2010. She noticed that despite repeatedly throwing her snails over the garden fence, her gastropods would return home to decim...Show More
Saving the Oceans - Part Four

26:59 | Feb 24th, 2014

In part four of Saving the Oceans, Joel finds out how knowledge of the seas from Australia’s Aboriginal communities can feed into modern ocean science. And at Seasim - the world’s largest marine research laboratory - he looks at the ways human fertil...Show More
Saving the Oceans - Part Three

26:59 | Feb 17th, 2014

We look at the impact of climate change, overfishing and pollution on marine eco-systems and examine the scientific solutions to some of those issues. Presented by Joel Werner from the Australian broadcaster ABC Radio National, the series focuses on ...Show More
Saving the Oceans - Part Two

27:00 | Feb 10th, 2014

The second episode in our four-part series Saving the Ocean in which we look at the impact of climate change, overfishing and pollution on ocean environments, and examine the scientific solutions to some of those issues. Presented by Joel Werner fro...Show More
Saving the Oceans - Part One

26:57 | Feb 3rd, 2014

Saving the Ocean looks at the impact of climate change, overfishing and pollution - and examines the scientific solutions to some of those issues. In the first programme Joel Werner visits Kiribati – an isolated Pacific island group threatened by ris...Show More
Fixing Nitrogen

26:58 | Jan 27th, 2014

Today, 3.5 billion people are alive because of a single chemical process. The Haber-Bosch process takes nitrogen from the air and makes ammonia, from which synthetic fertilizers allow farmers to feed our massive population. Ammonia is a source of hig...Show More

26:47 | Jan 20th, 2014

Are you a lark or an owl? Are you at your best in the morning or the evening? Linda Geddes meets the scientists who are exploring the differences between larks and owls. At the University of Surrey's Sleep Research Centre she talks to its director, p...Show More

26:43 | Jan 13th, 2014

Geoengineering is a controversial approach to dealing with climate change. Gaia Vince explores the process of putting chemicals in the stratosphere to stop solar energy reaching the earth. When volcanoes erupt they put sulphur in the stratosphere...Show More
The Return To Mawson's Antarctica - Part Four

26:38 | Jan 6th, 2014

The Australasian Antarctic Expedition has been retracing the steps of the first expedition to East Antarctica, a century ago. Its leader was Douglas Mawson, one of the great figures of the heroic age of exploration of the frozen continent. In the l...Show More
The Return to Mawson's Antarctica - Part Three

26:41 | Dec 30th, 2013

Alok Jha and Andrew Luck-Baker continue to follow the scientists on the ongoing Australasian Antarctic Expedition 2013. They go out on fieldwork trips with the researchers studying how the wildlife that lives in this inhospitable environment is resp...Show More
The Return to Mawson's Antarctica - Part Two

26:39 | Dec 23rd, 2013

Alok Jha and Andrew Luck-Baker continue to follow the scientists on the ongoing Australasian Antarctic Expedition 2013. Ice, the oceans and climate change are the themes this week as one of the expedition scientists makes a troubling finding. Moored ...Show More
The Return to Mawson's Antarctica - Part One

26:57 | Dec 16th, 2013

Join the scientists of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition 2013, as they go about their experiments and seek adventure at the windiest place on earth.This location was named the Land of Blizzard by Douglas Mawson, the Antarctic pioneer who was the ...Show More
Self-Healing Materials

27:00 | Dec 9th, 2013

Quentin Cooper takes a look at the new materials that can mend themselves. Researchers are currently developing bacteria in concrete which, once awakened, excrete lime to fill any cracks. In South America you can choose a car paint that heals its own...Show More
The Power of the Unconscious

26:59 | Dec 2nd, 2013

We like to think that we are in control of our lives, of what we do, think and feel. But, as Geoff Watts discovers, scientists are now revealing that this is just an illusion. A simple magic trick reveals just how limited our conscious awareness of t...Show More
Gut Microbiota

26:58 | Nov 25th, 2013

The human gut has around 100 trillion bacterial cells from up to 1,000 different species. Every person's microbiota (the body's bacterial make-up) is different as a result of the effects of diet and lifestyle, and the childhood source of bacteria. Wh...Show More
Nirvana by Numbers

27:00 | Nov 18th, 2013

Journalist and numbers obsessive Alex Bellos travels around India to explore the fundamental numerical gifts which early Indian mathematicians gave to the world and asks whether the great religions of ancient India - Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism - ...Show More
Jenny Graves

26:52 | Nov 11th, 2013

Australian geneticist Jenny Graves discusses her life pursuing sex genes in her country's weird but wonderful fauna, the end of men and singing to her students in lectures. (Image: Jenny Graves, BBC copyright)
Mike Benton

26:52 | Nov 4th, 2013

Life on earth has gone through a series of mass extinctions. Mike Benton talks about his fascination with ancient life on the planet and his work on the Bristol Dinosaur Project. Image: Mike Benton BBC Copyright
Joanna Haigh

26:59 | Oct 28th, 2013

Joanna Haigh, Professor of Atmospheric Physics at Imperial College, London, studies the influence of the sun on the Earth's climate using data collected by satellites. She talks to Jim al-Khalili about how she got started on her career in climate phy...Show More
Russell Foster

26:59 | Oct 21st, 2013

Russell Foster, professor of circadian neuroscience at Oxford University, is obsessed with biological clocks. He talks to Jim al-Khalili about how light controls our wellbeing from jet lag to serious mental health problems. Professor Foster explains ...Show More
Ashes to Ashes

26:59 | Oct 14th, 2013

Adam Hart investigates yet another threat to the ash trees of Europe. In the last programme he found out about the latest research developments to save ash trees from ash dieback, a disease that has already devastated trees across Europe, but now it ...Show More
Ashes to Ashes

26:58 | Oct 7th, 2013

Professor Adam Hart looks at the disease that has devastated ash trees in Europe – ash dieback. Over the last 20 years the fungus that causes ash dieback has been spreading westwards across the continent and last year it was found in the UK for the f...Show More
Fracking for Shale Gas

26:59 | Sep 30th, 2013

Fracking for gas is highly controversial in the US and the UK as it has been accused of contaminating water courses and causing earthquakes. Yet it provides a cheap source of energy. Beneath England there are thought to be considerable amounts of sha...Show More
The Future of Navigation

27:00 | Sep 23rd, 2013

We all rely on GPS – the Global Positioning System network of satellites – whether we want to or not. From shipping to taxis to mobile phones, the goods we consume and the technology with which we run our lives depend upon a low-power, weak and vulne...Show More
Deep Down Inside

26:59 | Sep 16th, 2013

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a brain surgery technique involving electrodes being inserted to reach targets deep inside the brain. Those targets are then stimulated via the electrodes which are connected to a battery powered pacemaker surgically p...Show More

27:00 | Sep 9th, 2013

Lorna Stewart reports on the new and growing phenomenon of electronic cigarettes and asks if they really help smokers to stop smoking and if they are as safe as their manufacturers suggest. One billion people smoke worldwide and tobacco shortens...Show More
Raising Allosaurus

27:00 | Sep 2nd, 2013

In the 20 years since the release of the film Jurassic Park, DNA cloning technologies have advanced dramatically. Professor Adam Hart asks whether we could and should start bringing extinct animals back from the dead. The fossilised remains of di...Show More
CERN and Science in Africa

26:59 | Aug 26th, 2013

Earlier this year the BBC organised a ‘science festival’ in Uganda. One of the practical outcomes of this was to put physics teachers in East Africa in touch with physicists involved in the Higgs boson discovery at CERN. As a result, several teachers...Show More
The Story of SARS, Part Two

26:59 | Aug 19th, 2013

Dr Kevin Fong concludes a two-part special looking back at the extraordinary events which unfolded a decade ago when the disease known as SARS first emerged onto an unsuspecting world. In a matter of days SARS had travelled around the globe from ...Show More
The Story of SARS, Part One

27:00 | Aug 12th, 2013

Dr Kevin Fong begins a two-part special looking back at the extraordinary events which unfolded a decade ago when the disease known as SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) first emerged onto an unsuspecting world. In a matter of days SARS had ...Show More
Crossrail: Tunnelling under London

27:01 | Aug 5th, 2013

Tracey Logan goes underground to find out how Crossrail is using the latest engineering techniques to create 26 miles of tunnels below London's tube network, sewers and foundations - and through its erratic, sometimes unpredictable geology. She finds...Show More

27:00 | Jul 29th, 2013

The hormone oxytocin is involved in mother and baby bonding and in creating trust. Linda Geddes finds out if taking oxytocin can help people with autism become more sociable. Larry Young, professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Emory Univers...Show More
Forecasting Earthquakes

26:58 | Jul 22nd, 2013

Earthquakes can't be predicted. But millions of dollars are spent trying to forecast them - warning the public which regions are dangerous, what the chances are of a quake in the next number of years and how strong the shaking might be. But following...Show More
Plate Tectonics and Life

27:00 | Jul 15th, 2013

Earthquakes are feared for their destructive, deadly force. But they are part of a geological process - plate tectonics - that some scientists say is vital for the existence of life itself. Without the ever-changing land surfaces that plate tectonics...Show More
Quorum Sensing

26:58 | Jul 8th, 2013

A radically different approach to dealing with bacteria would be to stop them from communicating and coordinating attacks, rather than trying to kill them. The bugs would be rendered harmless and much less likely to develop drug resistance. This is t...Show More
Build Me a Brain

26:58 | Jul 1st, 2013

When President Obama recently complained, that although "we can identify galaxies light years away, study particles smaller than an atom ... we still haven't unlocked the mystery of the three pounds of matter that sits between our ears" - he called o...Show More
Solar Max

26:58 | Jun 24th, 2013

As we approach 'solar max', when the sun is at its most active and ferocious, astronomer Lucie Green investigates the hidden dangers our nearest star poses to us on Earth. In March 1989, a solar superstorm brought down Quebec's power grid. Six mil...Show More
Amoret Whitaker

26:57 | Jun 17th, 2013

Jim Al-Khalili talks to Amoret Whitaker, an entomologist at the Natural History Museum in London. Her intricate understanding of the life cycles of flies, beetles and the other insects, which feed on decomposing bodies, means she is regularly called ...Show More
Alan Watson

26:59 | Jun 10th, 2013

Professor Alan Watson from the University of Leeds, has spent 40 years trying to unravel a mystery at the frontier of physics. Where do cosmic rays - subatomic particles with the highest known energies in the entire Universe - come from? And which vi...Show More
On The Trail of the American Honeybee

26:58 | Jun 3rd, 2013

Dr Adam Hart continues his exploration of migratory beekeeping in the United States. Each year the beekeepers of America travel to the annual Almond bloom in California, the largest single pollination event on Earth, a thousand square miles of almond...Show More
On the Trail of the American Honeybee 1/2

26:58 | May 27th, 2013

Dr Adam Hart meets the migratory bee keepers of America as they travel to the annual Almond bloom in California, the largest single pollination event on Earth. Each year, from the end of February to early March, a thousand square miles of almond orch...Show More
Deep Sea Vents

27:00 | May 20th, 2013

The deep sea bed is the last great unexplored realm on our planet. Scientists have begun to find extraordinary ecosystems of creatures down there which exist nowhere else. These develop around submarine hydrothermal vents where mineral-rich water e...Show More
After Sandy

26:59 | May 13th, 2013

More than six months after Super Storm Sandy hit America’s East coast, Angela Saini reports from New York where scientists, engineers and State officials have gathered to debate how best to prevent future flooding wreaking havoc on that scale again. ...Show More
The Crying Game

26:59 | May 6th, 2013

Although many animal species cry vocally, the production of tears in response to emotion, both happy or sad, is a trait unique to humans. So why do we cry? What could the evolutionary advantage be to producing tears in response to joy or despair? The...Show More
A Trip Around Mars - Part Two

26:58 | Apr 29th, 2013

Kevin Fong concludes his grand tour of the planet Mars, in search of water. Some of the most spectacular Martian landscapes were carved by vast and violent quantities of water in the planet’s past. The Tolkienesque terrain of Iani Chaos is one such p...Show More
A Trip Around Mars with Kevin Fong - Part One

27:00 | Apr 22nd, 2013

The planet Mars boasts the most dramatic landscapes in our solar system. Kevin Fong embarks on a grand tour around the planet with scientists, artists and writers who know its special places intimately- through their probes, roving robots and imagina...Show More
Noel Sharkey

26:59 | Apr 15th, 2013

Robots probably won't take over the world, but they probably will be given ever greater responsibility. Already, robots care for the elderly in Japan, and drones have dropped bombs on Afghanistan. Professor Noel Sharkey fell in love with artificial i...Show More
Annette Karmiloff-Smith on toddlers and TV

26:57 | Apr 13th, 2013

Annette Karmiloff-Smith, from the Birkbeck Centre for Brain & Cognitive Development in London talks to Jim Al-Khalili about her Life Scientific. Starting out as a simultaneous interpreter for the United Nations she soon decided that not being allowed...Show More</