The Science Hour

BBC World Service

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Science news and highlights of the week

1:11:13 | Dec 8th

Extracts from unpublished papers on the methods used by a Chinese scientist to genetically modify the embryos of two girls reveal a series of potentially dangerous problems with the procedure and ethical shortcomings. We look at the mechanism behind...Show More

29:18 | Nov 28th

First item does not need a headline. About a paragraph for first item. Then couple of sentences for each item following… Molecular scale investigations have identified the mechanism which confers resistance to antimalarial drugs. Researchers hope w...Show More
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1:04:33 | Nov 24th

This year’s Amazon fires have been worse than since 2010, scientists blame a government attitude which they say has encouraged deforestation. Government funded scientists have contributed anonymously to the finding – fearing for their jobs. Food cro...Show More

56:38 | Nov 17th

Australia’s annual wild fires have started early this year, drought is a factor but to what extent is ‘Bush fire weather’ influenced by climate change? A two million year old fossil tooth reveals some biological answers to who its owner was. Why Cl...Show More

1:00:01 | Nov 10th

Pledges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are largely unachievable says a major audit of commitments to the Paris Climate Accord. Air pollution in Delhi is so bad, breathing the toxic particles has been likened to smoking. Can a scientific assessmen...Show More
More Podcasts from BBC World Service

1:02:47 | Nov 3rd

The Santa Ana in the south, and the Diablo in the north, are winds that are fuelling the terrible fires raging in California this week. They’re also blamed for bringing down power lines that sometimes start the fires. Roland Pease talks to Janice Coe...Show More

1:12:28 | Oct 27th

A quantum computer has performed a calculation considered impossible for conventional computers, but how meaningful is the result? As our guest reveals, this quantum state can be hugely significant and garbage – at the same time. Also we look at a ...Show More

1:01:59 | Oct 20th

A variety of malarial parasites have existed amongst the great apes for millennia, we look at how one of them jumped species and why humans became its preferred host. And from Antarctica we hear about a potential new treatment for malaria found in a...Show More

56:49 | Oct 13th

Nobel prizes this week went to a range of discoveries that you might be familiar with, in fact you might be using one of them right now – the lithium ion battery. The scientists credited with its Invention got the chemistry prize. And the tantalising...Show More

1:04:29 | Sep 29th

This week’s IPCC report on the state of the world’s climate looks very much like their earlier reports on the subject. The document cautiously expresses a picture of a future with greater climate extremes. Activists are frustrated by the lack of acti...Show More

1:06:08 | Sep 25th

Staying indoors might seem a good way to avoid air pollution, but scientists studying the fires in Indonesia have found there is little difference between the air quality in their hotel room and the atmosphere outside. Both levels are high enough to ...Show More

1:00:05 | Sep 15th

Scientists know very little about the first few days of the life of a human embryo, once it's been implanted in the womb. Yet this is when the majority of pregnancies fail. Professor Magdalena Zernika-Goetz at Cambridge University is a leader in the ...Show More

1:02:57 | Sep 7th

An isotopic fingerprint is reported of a nuclear explosion in Russia last month. Researchers ask people living in the area or nearby to send them samples of dust or soil before the radioactive clues therein decay beyond recognition. Also, a near miss...Show More

1:03:19 | Aug 31st

A computer processor made of carbon nanotubes is unveiled to the world. Also, the continuing quest for nuclear fusion energy, and the stats on crocodile attacks since the 1960s. Satellites have transformed our lives, giving us digital communications...Show More

1:08:25 | Aug 24th

As fires across the amazon basin continue to burn, we speak to the researchers watching from space and from the ground. Also, new pictures back from the surface of asteroid Ryugu thanks to Germany’s MASCOT lander, part of the Japanese Hyabusa2 missio...Show More

1:13:55 | Aug 18th

Scientists this week are on expedition around the volcano Anak Krakatoa, which erupted and collapsed in 2018 leading to the loss of some 400 lives on the island of Java. The scientists, including David Tappin and Michael Cassidy, are hoping that thei...Show More

1:03:06 | Aug 11th

The US has withdrawn from a historic nuclear disarmament treaty. However the verification of such treaties has been under scrutiny for some time as they don’t actually reveal the size of nuclear stockpiles. New methods of verification and encryptio...Show More

57:44 | Aug 4th

Wildfires are an annual phenomenon across the arctic region, but this year they are far more intense than usual, we look at the drivers for these extreme fires and the consequences, in particular long term environmental change across the region. We...Show More

1:04:20 | Jul 28th

A global project tracking sharks through the deep oceans has found they are increasingly facing danger from fishing fleets. Sharks used to be caught accidentally, but now there is a well-established trade in shark meat and fins, which the researchers...Show More

1:12:38 | Jul 21st

Its 50 years since the moon landing and 25 years since Shoemaker - Levy 9 crashed into Jupiter. The Apollo missions returned to earth with cargos of moon rocks and the comet crash showed us what happens when celestial bodies collide. We look at th...Show More

57:58 | Jul 14th

Researchers in Saudi Arabia have developed a prototype solar panel which generates electricity and purifies water at the same time. The device uses waste heat from the electricity generating process to distil water. An individual panel for home use c...Show More

1:01:43 | Jul 7th

The recent European heatwave broke records, but how severe was it really and what were the underlying causes? Having run the numbers, climate scientists say global warming played a large part, and makes heatwaves in general more likely. And we look ...Show More

1:03:06 | Jun 30th

As Europe experiences another record breaking heatwave, we look at the science of attribution. Usually it’s a long time after extreme weather events that scientists gather enough data to make a judgement on the influence of anthropogenic forces, such...Show More

58:55 | Jun 23rd

Iran’s nuclear programme is at the centre of a political row, with the country suggesting it could increase uranium production to above the levels permitted under an international agreement. We look beyond the rhetoric, discuss Iran’s covert history ...Show More

56:11 | Jun 16th

South Asia has experienced a heatwave where the monsoon has been delayed and temperatures have reached over 50 degrees. Despite this the extreme heat has led to far fewer fatalities than previous heatwaves; we look at why that is. Research into the...Show More

1:08:02 | Jun 9th

The US has withdrawn funding for scientific research involving foetal tissue. Scientists point to the lack of feasible alternatives to using foetal tissue – which comes from embryos donated to scientific research via abortion clinics. They say the ...Show More

55:04 | Jun 2nd

One hundred years ago, a solar eclipse proved Einstein’s theory of general relativity was onto something. Known as the Eddington expedition, in 1919 two teams of astronomers set forth to witness a total solar eclipse from either side of the Atlantic....Show More

1:03:08 | May 26th

A new undersea volcano has appeared off the coast of East Africa. The sea floor between Madagascar and Mozambique has become increasingly seismically active in the last year. As well as the appearance of this active volcano, local islands are now exp...Show More

1:00:18 | May 19th

The World Wood web is a global map of two different types of underground fungi, microscopic organisms living in and around tree roots. The presence of these fungi is a key indicator of the health and variety of above ground life in the forests where ...Show More

57:00 | May 12th

This week’s UN biodiversity assessment paints a grim picture for species loss worldwide. However scientists are looking at ways to ensure conservation can be done in a way that works with economic development. We focus on examples from Africa. Afri...Show More