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Oxford Sparks Big Questions

Oxford Sparks

'Will my bacon sandwich kill me?', 'Is vaping better than smoking?', 'How do you become an astronaut?' - just some of the Big Questions we ask some of the brightest minds behind Oxford science. Join us in each podcast as we explore a different area o...Show More
Did volcanoes help kill off the dinosaurs?

12:50 | May 8th

Earth formed over 4.5 billion years ago. We should take a moment to realise how much history that is! Volcanoes are just one of Earth’s creations that have stood the test of time and on this Big Questions podcast we want to know: did volcanoes help k...Show More
What do our nerves sound like?

12:54 | Apr 24th

Our nerves don’t stop talking. They’re 24-7 communication systems for our bodies. But does all this cellular chitta-chatta actually make a noise? For 100’s of years, scientists have been trying to figure out how exactly our nervous system relays m...Show More
How do you turn a plastic bag into fuel?

13:29 | Apr 10th

There are a lot of plastic bags out there. Every year we get through 1 trillion plastic bags worldwide. Quick math, that means we are using 1 million bags per minute. But wouldn’t it be nice if we could turn this plastic into something useful? Lik...Show More
What did Hollywood get right and wrong in these movies?

20:10 | Mar 27th

King Kong, PI, Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind and Superman III. What do these 4 films have in common? SCIENCE! They caught attention of one film fan Edwin Davies. On this episode of the Big Questions podcast we are separating the fact and fictio...Show More
Why do birds lay eggs?

11:30 | Mar 13th

Most new-born mammals and some reptiles emerge from their mothers through the usual channels. But baby birds are stuck cracking open eggshells – but why? In this week’s Oxford Sparks Big Questions podcast we are visiting Marie-Claire Koschowitz, e...Show More
Can computers predict crime?

14:27 | Feb 27th

You can’t turn on the TV or read a newspaper article without a daily reporting of crime. As technology and computer algorithms advance we want to know if there will be a computer model that could know us better than ourselves. In this episode of t...Show More
Why should we cuddle?

13:27 | Feb 13th

Who doesn’t love a cuddle? Whether it is from a pet or a person they just make us feel good. But, would you believe wrapping your arms around someone else can actually improve your gut health? In this episode of the Oxford Sparks 'Big Questions' p...Show More
Why does Uranus smell like farts?

13:00 | Jan 30th

Uranus, the seventh planet from the sun, has the poetic name of the Greek god of the heavens. In the English language, it is, unfortunately, the literal butt of every astronomy joke. And last year the new discovery about the seventh planet’s odour – ...Show More
What happens in the field?

20:35 | Jan 16th

Field work. It sounds like a lot of fun! Scientists get to travel the world visiting exotic locations seeing and experiencing incredible things. But in reality they can find themselves outside the comforts of their lab with some interesting things ha...Show More
Should I be a vegan?

12:52 | Jan 2nd

If you have been in a supermarket recently you will have noticed it, all of a sudden all of the shelves have become more vegan friendly. With a New Year upon us and resolutions being made – is it time to take the plunge and say good bye to meat an...Show More
Can a machine pick a perfect Christmas gift?

15:40 | Dec 12th, 2018

It is that time a year again where our relationships are tested to find that perfect Christmas gift! Wouldn’t it be nice if there was an algorithm that could do it for you? In this episode of the Big Questions podcast we ask the question: Can a machi...Show More
Can you hack an aeroplane?

11:57 | Nov 28th, 2018

35 million flights will take off and land this year. Each flight is tracked on the ground by air traffic control and there’s technology on the plane. But what is stopping a hacker from sitting in front of their computer and disrupting the computer sy...Show More
Why does my phone battery suck?

14:01 | Nov 14th, 2018

Most people use their phones every single day for communicating with others, but there’s nothing worse than looking down at your phone and realising the battery is running out of juice—or worse yet, that it’s already completely dead. One of the mo...Show More
How do you bake a cake in a microwave?

13:07 | Oct 31st, 2018

Bakers spend years perfecting their skill to make amazing cakes! But can you do it in minutes within a microwave? To find out we look into the science of baking and met up with Luke Jew, astronomer from the department of Oxford Physics, University of...Show More
Where are all the Mangarahara cichlid hiding?

15:19 | Oct 17th, 2018

In the early 2000s, Brian Zimmerman and his team at London Zoo received a donation from a private fish-breeder of some Mangarahara cichlids. At the time, scientists hadn’t yet officially described the species. Not much was known about it, other than ...Show More
How do you grow rice faster?

11:30 | Jul 11th, 2018

3 billion people depend on rice for survival & owing to predicted population increases, land that provided enough rice to feed 27 people in 2010 will need to support 43 by 2050. In this week's podcast episode we ask: how do you grow rice faster? Curr...Show More
Is there a faster way to diagnose Tuberculosis?

13:58 | Jun 26th, 2018

Tuberculosis is still one of the top ten causes of death worldwide, with 1.4 million people dying from TB in 2015. If your doctor suspects you have the disease it can take up to 6 weeks to get a diagnosis! Tuberculosis (TB) has influenced history. Th...Show More
How do you teach a robot social cues?

12:20 | Jun 19th, 2018

As robots are increasingly deployed in settings requiring social interaction we asked the Big Question: How do you teach a robot social cues? To find out we visited Shimon Whiteson, Associate Professor at the Department of Computer Science Robots alr...Show More
Can you stop Alzheimer’s before it even starts?

10:51 | May 31st, 2018

Alzheimer's, is a chronic neurodegenerative disease that usually starts slowly and worsens over time. In this podcast episode we ask: Can you stop Alzheimer's before it even starts? A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s is life changing for the person with the...Show More
What is antimatter?

13:00 | May 17th, 2018

What is antimatter? Antimatter was one of the most exciting physics discoveries of the 20th century, and has since been picked up by fiction writers such as Dan Brown. But what exactly is it? Antimatter has fuelled many a supernatural tale, but it's ...Show More
Can you cure HIV?

15:08 | May 2nd, 2018

HIV isn’t a death sentence anymore. People can live long lives with the virus in their body, as long as they have the right combination of drugs. But some researchers want to take the fight against HIV and AIDS even further... HIV (human immunodefici...Show More
What do water striders have in common with Game of Thrones?

13:42 | Apr 17th, 2018

On this episode of the Oxford Sparks Big Question’s podcast we visited Dr Jennifer Perry, evolutionary biologist and entomologist to ask: What do water striders have in common with Game of Thrones? Listen here to find out…. Game of Thrones, the world...Show More
How does the brain identify voices?

10:53 | Apr 9th, 2018

In this episode of The Big Questions podcast we joined the experiment to ask: How does he brain identify voices? To find out we interviewed MRI Physicist Stuart Clare and Neuro Scientist Holly Bridge at the Wellcome Centre for Integrative for Neuroim...Show More
How do you mend a broken heart?

13:22 | Mar 23rd, 2018

In this episode of the Oxford Sparks Big Questions podcast we visited Cardiovascular Biologist, Nicola Smart, from the department of physiology, anatomy and genetics to ask: How do you mend a broken heart? lub-dub, lub-dub, lub-dub is the sound of yo...Show More
How do you become an astronaut?

13:10 | Mar 13th, 2018

Millions dream of being an astronaut, but how many of us have what it takes? In this episode of the Oxford Sparks Big Question's podcast, we visit Merritt Moore, quantum physicist from The University of Oxford, to ask: How do you become an astronaut?...Show More
How did Mary Somerville get on the Scottish 10 Pound note?

11:45 | Mar 13th, 2018

In this episode of the Big Questions podcast we are asking: How did Mary Somerville get on the Scottish 10 Pound note? Who is Mary Somerville? If you immediately thought 'she was a scientist!' you would be right! But she is so much more than that! So...Show More
Does love have a scent?

13:23 | Feb 6th, 2018

In this episode of the Oxford Sparks Big Questions podcast we are looking at the science behind love at first smell and asking does love have a scent? Love is in the air - or is it? Companies are advertising that they can find you love through the po...Show More
How do you measure a Mars quake?

13:52 | Jan 29th, 2018

In this episode of the Big Questions podcast, we visited Dr Neil Bowles, Jane Hurley and Tristram Warren from the Atmospheric Oceanic & Planetary Physics Department to ask the question: how do you measure a Mars quake? When the ground shakes on Earth...Show More
What happens after a storm?

10:43 | Jan 10th, 2018

In our latest episode of the Big Questions podcast we visited Dr Peter Walton, a geography teacher turned fellow of the Environmental Change Institute, at the University of Oxford, to ask: What happens after a storm? Does this sound familiar? ‘This i...Show More
Is vaping better than smoking?

15:11 | Jan 9th, 2018

As many of you set your new year’s resolution to quit smoking and start vaping, we thought we’d ask the question: Is vaping better than smoking? And could it help you quit? E-cigarettes are the new kid on the block. They’re getting lots of attention ...Show More
How do you survive the office Christmas party?

11:57 | Jan 9th, 2018

‘Tis the season to be merry, so it’s time for the annual Christmas party. For some employers it can be more fraught than fun! In this episode of the Oxford Sparks Big Questions podcast we ask: how do you survive the office Christmas party? Everyone h...Show More
Should I be a vegan?

14:01 | Jan 2nd, 2018

If you have been in a supermarket recently you will have noticed it, all of a sudden all of the shelves have become more vegan friendly. With a New Year upon us and resolutions being made – is it time to take the plunge and say good bye to meat an...Show More
Where have all the cicada’s gone?

09:51 | Nov 27th, 2017

In this episode for the Big Questions podcast we went to the New Forest and met up with Professor Alex Rogers, from the department of Computer Sciences from the University of Oxford, to ask: Where have all the cicada’s gone? The New Forest Cicada is ...Show More
How do you run a marathon with two kids?

12:56 | Nov 8th, 2017

Last month Jessica attempted to break a world record for pushing a double buggy, with two children inside, while running a marathon! Jessica Bruce (Nee Leitch) is a Bio-mechanical Engineer at The University of Oxford and a mother of 2, and is putting...Show More
How fast is Greenland moving?

10:50 | Aug 31st, 2017

Greenland has some many fascinating facts like it’s the world's largest island, it belongs to Denmark, it actually isn’t that green but mostly covered in ice. But did you know that Greenland is actually on the move? To walk us through how an ice shee...Show More
Should I take a selfie with a wild animal?

13:50 | Jun 2nd, 2017

Travel companies around the world profit from some of the cruellest types of wildlife tourist attractions on earth. Travel companies around the world profit from some of the cruellest types of wildlife tourist attractions on earth. Whether it is ridi...Show More
How open should open data be?

13:55 | Jun 2nd, 2017

Open data impacts everybody. Through it we can access healthcare services, understand our governments better and, of course, travel to places more easily. But, how open should open data be? Do you remember life before Citymapper? Thanks to Transport ...Show More
How do you teach a machine to a drive a car?

10:01 | Mar 28th, 2017

Autonomous cars have been a staple of science fiction for years featuring in films like Minority Report and I Robot. But how far away are we really from enjoying a hassle-free driving journey? To find out the answer we visited Dr Ingmar Posner, Asso...Show More
Will supersonic transport ever make a comeback?

12:11 | Mar 13th, 2017

The Concord is seen as an iconic aircraft and a technological breakthrough – so why can we only see them in museums? In our episode of The Big Questions podcast series we visited Dr Neil Ashton from the E-Research Centre at the University of Oxford t...Show More
How do you turn an orange into a grapefruit?

11:41 | Feb 27th, 2017

Favouring. It’s a global industry and here in Oxford a group of scientists are getting a ‘taste’ of the action by making natural flavours by manipulating enzymes.
Earthquakes, can we make smarter buildings?

11:32 | Feb 9th, 2017

Major earthquakes across the world have damaged or destroyed numerous buildings, bridges, and other structures. But is there a way of monitoring the building structures to see if it is at risk of falling after an earthquake has struck?
What can a power ballad can teach us about the sex life of a fruit flies?

11:00 | Jan 27th, 2017

Music provides the soundtrack to our lives. The highs, the lows and the heartache. So why wouldn’t it be the same for a fruit fly? On this episode of the Oxford Sparks Big Questions podcast, we mix music with sex education of fruit flies!
How do we stop our social media obsession from making us a target for crime?

10:34 | Jan 17th, 2017

How vulnerable are we to crime by the statuses we post on our social accounts? The popularity of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat have transformed the way we understand and experience crime and victimisation. But, how do ...Show More
How do you make scientific equipment space proof?

12:44 | Dec 21st, 2016

Since the 1960’s man has been sending missions to Mars. Some successes, some failures. This hasn’t stopped scientists trying to explore this incredible red planet. The question though is, how do they design devices to survive millions of kilometres ...Show More
What would life be like if Parasitoid Wasps didn’t exist?

13:07 | Dec 14th, 2016

Our Festive episode of our Oxford Sparks podcast follows the traditional Christmas story of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’. In our narration though, the role of George Bailey is played by the Parasitoid Wasp and its guardian angel is postdoctoral researcher...Show More
Can bubbles help cure cancer?

11:42 | Dec 2nd, 2016

On this episode, can bubbles cure cancer? What do you think of when you hear the word ‘bubble?’ Does it make you think of soap bubbles you would have blown when you were a small child? In our latest podcast, as part of The Big Question series, we ...Show More
Are exhausts causing dementia?

12:49 | Nov 21st, 2016

Many people are exposed to exhaust emissions every day in different ways. But what are the harmful effects of these fumes when we breathe them in? Could we see difficulties in other areas of our bodies? What is it doing to our brains? In our latest p...Show More
How do you make a reliable weather forecast?

12:01 | Nov 4th, 2016

Latest episode from Oxford Sparks, this episode on how to predict the weather. Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales; http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/
Is my bacon sandwich really going to kill me?

11:04 | Oct 25th, 2016

Statistician Dr Jennifer Rogers discusses the numbers linked to processed meat and bowel cancer. It hit the headlines last year that 'processed meat has been classified as a ‘definite’ cause of cancer', due to a report from The World Health Organizat...Show More
The Canary in the Coal Mine: could seabirds be the warning signs for our oceans?

11:13 | Sep 28th, 2016

Dr Annette Fayet tells us about the Manx Shearwater; a little seabird that makes a huge journey. Every year they breed and raise their chicks in the UK before migrating to Argentina for winter, clocking up thousands of miles in their lifetimes. But w...Show More
'Light' Part 3 - How does sunlight damage DNA?

12:11 | Aug 3rd, 2016

Once we've received our genetic make-up from our parents our genomes are stable, right? What causes mutations in our DNA as we live and grow, and how do our cells repair damage? We all know we should be careful when in the sun, but Prof Catherine Gre...Show More
'Light' Part 2 - Harnessing a single photon

06:40 | Jul 27th, 2016

What's the use of just one photon, the smallest bit of light? And what does it take to study it? We speak to Joelle Boutari about her work in quantum photonics where she's harnessing single photons, trying to understand their beheaviour better, all p...Show More
'Light' Part 1 - Connecting to the internet through your lights

10:31 | Jul 25th, 2016

Can we receive information through our lighting? Prof Dominic O'Brien explains how light might be the answer to adding more capacity to our wireless internet connections. You might be used to connecting to the internet through a wireless network tha...Show More
'Senses' Part 3 - Seeing across the galaxy

12:28 | Jul 8th, 2016

How can you spot what's happening in space billions of light years away from right here on Earth? Dr Garret Cotter works in the boundary of astronomy and high energy particle physics: gamma ray astronomy. Researchers use the Earth's atmosphere like ...Show More
'Senses' Part 2 - Getting a feel for surgery

13:42 | Jun 29th, 2016

How do you train surgeons to do complex surgeries? How do you measure a trainee's progress? How can you accurately simulate the look and feel of surgery? Patrick Garfjeld Roberts is researching into simulation as a training method for surgeons doing ...Show More
'Senses' Part 1 - When the senses collide

13:57 | Jun 27th, 2016

Can sounds change how things taste? How can we alter our experiences by taking advantage of how our senses mingle? From driving safety to gastronomic experiences, Prof Charles Spence discusses his groups work that focuses on the surprising effects se...Show More
'Land, Sea and Air' Part 3 - What happens when we fly

08:43 | Jun 17th, 2016

Oxygen levels are slightly lower when you fly on commercial airlines, so what effects does this have on people? Can it cause any problems? Dr Thomas Smith is both a researcher and a clinician with an interest in heart and lung function, specifically ...Show More
'Land, Sea and Air' Part 2 - The state of the oceans

16:15 | Jun 10th, 2016

What's in the deep ocean? And how can we study these remote and extreme ecosystems? And how is climate change affecting ocean ecosystems? Prof Alex Rogers explains his research in deep sea ocean hot spots, in some of the most remote and deepest parts...Show More
'Land, Sea and Air' Part 1 - How mountains are made

11:36 | May 27th, 2016

How do we discover the origins of mountains? Rock climber, mountaineer and geologist, Professor Mike Searle, explains how his work to understand mountain ranges, particularly the Himalayas, can unearth clues about the origins of mountains. From trekk...Show More
'Learning' part 3 - Learning from Nature

11:57 | May 24th, 2016

How can Chemistry take inspiration from nature to create cleaner and more efficient ways of producing and using Hydrogen as a source of clean energy? Professor Kylie Vincent explains how bacteria may hold the key to harnessing Hydrogen as a clean ene...Show More
'Learning' part 2 - Stimulating learning

11:53 | May 13th, 2016

Can a little electrical stimulation help people learn quicker? And how would technology that does this be used? And why would you want to use this over medicines? Professor Roi Cohen Kadosh describes a phenomena that they've noticed where giving peop...Show More
'Learning' part 1 - Sleep for success

09:24 | May 5th, 2016

Sleep is really important. But do we realise how important it is, particularly for helping us think straight? Are teenagers lazy? Are their body clocks different? Dr Christopher-James Harvey talks us through the 'TeenSleep' project which is asking wh...Show More
'Relationships' part 3 - Networks: the science of connections

09:11 | Apr 29th, 2016

What is a network and how can you use mathematics to unravel the relationships between a variety of different things? How can this understanding then be applied to a range of different settings? Professor Mason Porter studies how things are connected...Show More
'Relationships' part 2 - New fathers

11:17 | Apr 22nd, 2016

How do new fathers form relationships with their children? What is the unique role of a father? What do they contribute to the development of their children? What is male post-natal depression? Having a child is a huge change in any person's life - b...Show More
'Relationships' part 1 - People and plants: balancing conservation and commerce

10:36 | Apr 12th, 2016

How can working with people to understand how they use their local plants be used to protect them when industry moves in? How do we find and conserve areas of high 'bioquality'? William Hawthorn explains how being able to identify what plants are whe...Show More
'Killers' part 3 - Mental illness and violence

09:38 | Feb 23rd, 2016

Forensic psychiatry can help us understand the causes and best treatments for mentally disordered offenders inside and outside of the prison system What are the links between mental illness and violence? Do mental health disorders affect the risk of ...Show More
'Killers' part 2 - Keeping water flowing with smartphones

11:33 | Jan 29th, 2016

Water pumps are a lifeline for many communities in developing countries. But how can you monitor them all to know whether they're in working order? And can you collect data based on pump usage to provide useful insights into community health? Water i...Show More
'Killers' part 1 - Mosquito genomes and malaria control

12:57 | Dec 15th, 2015

Can studying Mosquito population genomes help to stop the spread of Malaria? Malaria is a huge problem, affecting millions of people worldwide. Mosquitoes spread the disease by passing on a parasite as it feeds on blood. Dr Alistair Miles talks us th...Show More
'Clues' part 3 - Picking apart the genetics of speech and language disorders

08:14 | Dec 1st, 2015

How do you start to pick apart speech at the genetic level? Dr Dianne Newbury explains what Specific Language Impairment is and how her research is unravelling a pretty complicated picture. Specific Language Impairment describes those who have diffic...Show More
'Clues' part 2 - Watching penguins

10:46 | Nov 16th, 2015

How do you understand how large populations of penguins on Antarctica change? And how can you use this information to protect penguins? Dr Tom Hart runs the 'Penguin Watch' project that gives people from all over the world the chance to help researc...Show More
'Clues' part 1 - Predicting volcanic eruptions

12:18 | Oct 22nd, 2015

From people on the the ground to satellites in the air - how do we monitor and understand volcanos in an attempt to understand when they might erupt? Professor David Pyle discusses how combinations of different types of information is pieced together...Show More
'Artificial Intelligence' part 3 - Understanding how we learn language

13:42 | Jun 12th, 2015

Professor Kim Plunkett explains how neuroscientists use artificial intelligence as a tool to model processes in the brain – in particular to understand how infants acquire language.
'Artificial Intelligence' part 2 - How to create machines that learn

12:09 | May 19th, 2015

Professor Nando de Freitas explains that understanding how our brains work has helped us create machines that learn, and how these learning machines can be put to completing different tasks. We talk to Nando de Freitas who works on creating machines ...Show More
'Artificial Intelligence' part 1 - Using artificial intelligence to spot patterns

11:17 | Apr 15th, 2015

Professor Stephen Roberts explains how machines, whose job it is simply to learn, can help researchers spot scientific needles in data haystacks, which will help us solve some grand challenges.
'Explosions' part 3 - Health and Big Data

10:41 | Mar 30th, 2015

Professor Gil McVean explains what Big Data is and how it can be used to better understand and treat complex conditions, such as heart disease and dementia.
'Explosions' part 2 - The origin of animal diversity

11:27 | Mar 16th, 2015

Dr Allison Daley describes what fossils can tell us about the Cambrian Explosion; a period of time 540 million years ago, where there was a vast increase in the different types of animals that existed. Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Sha...Show More
"Explosions" Part 1 - Oppenheimer: father of the atomic bomb

10:00 | Mar 4th, 2015

Professor David Wark, who was scientific adviser for the play ‘Oppenheimer’, explores the science and broad implications of one of the most explosive ideas in Human history: the atomic bomb. Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2....Show More
"Anomalies" Part 3 - Placebos and pain

08:43 | Feb 10th, 2015

Professor Irene Tracey explains the placebo effect and how it is a normal part of our pain system. Although it is understood why we have pain – to tell us we are hurt and as a reminder not to do something again – it is not totally understood how th...Show More
"Anomalies" Part 2 - Turing Patterns

08:09 | Jan 26th, 2015

Dr Christian Yates describes a phenomenon first noticed by the World War II code-breaker, Alan Turing. Turing noticed that natural patterns such as spots, stripes and spirals arose from chemical diffusion – a situation that normally leads to uniform...Show More
"Anomalies" Part 1 - Tinnitus

08:30 | Jan 21st, 2015

Researcher Joshua Gold explains a condition called tinnitus, most often described as a persistent and annoying sound in one or both ears. Tinnitus is surprisingly common, with about 10% of population suffering from it at some point in their lives, a...Show More
"Hidden Worlds" Part 3 - The virtual universe

08:05 | Jan 5th, 2015

Dr Andrew Pontzen explains how chains of computers can be set up to simulate billions of years of development of the universe, but in a time period of weeks. By inputting what is known about the early universe and applying the laws of physics, it i...Show More
"Hidden Worlds" Part 2 - Robert Robinson’s chemical box

10:07 | Jan 5th, 2015

Edward Imrie and Dr Stephen Johnston Edward Imrie and Dr Stephen Johnston talk about a surprising discovery – a collection of boxes, originally containing chocolates and soap, now full of tiny chemical vials thought to date back to the 1930s. The ch...Show More
"Hidden Worlds" Part 1 - Parallel Worlds

10:38 | Dec 15th, 2014

Dr David Wallace discusses the concept of the multiverse – a physical reality that contains lots of universes, each of which inhabited by different versions of ourselves. These parallel worlds sound like science fiction, but the theory is sound, ev...Show More
"There's no place like home" Part 3 - Exoplanets

09:33 | Dec 15th, 2014

Ruth Angus talks about the search for life outside our solar system. In our own solar system, we have rocky planets towards the centre and gas giant planets further out. Earth sits in the ‘habitable zone’, where it’s the right distance away from th...Show More
"There's no place like home" Part 2 - The People of the British Isles

09:37 | Dec 15th, 2014

Bruce Winney describes the influx of humans to the British Isles, including the Romans, Anglo Saxons and Vikings. By comparing and contrasting the genetic make-up of patients, researchers can explore how genetics can influence disease. The data ca...Show More
"There’s No Place Like Home" Part 1 - Wytham Woods

10:19 | Nov 20th, 2014

Professor Ben Sheldon describes one of the World’s longest-running ecological studies, into birds in their natural environments. Starting in 1947, the study of the Great Tit explores basic data including numbers, life spans and productivity from ove...Show More
"Matters of Scale" Part 3 - Nanomedicine

08:49 | Oct 8th, 2014

Dr Sonia Trigueros explains how she is using nanotechnologies to create targeted drug delivery systems. Chemotherapy is a particularly harmful treatment, with patients losing their hair and suffering from infections due to damage to their immune sys...Show More
"Matters of Scale" Part 2 - Biology and the Problem with Scale

11:04 | Oct 8th, 2014

Dr Sylvia MacLain talks about how water creates a problem when researching biology. Structures can be studied when they are in solid form, but approximately 60% of our bodies are made of water. Proteins, essential for life, are especially problemati...Show More
"Matters of Scale" Part 1 - Extremes of Scale

08:20 | Oct 8th, 2014

Professors Pedro Ferreira and Alan Barr explain what scale means to them, from particle physics to the visible universe. At the subatomic level, gravity has a surprisingly large effect and particles are so small that they have no size. But at the le...Show More
"Origins" Part 3 - Origins of Human Life

08:41 | Oct 7th, 2014

Drs Suzannah Williams and Dagan Wells explore the secrets and processes behind human fertilisation. Sperm and eggs must face huge challenges before they even meet. After fertilisation, they go on to form a small ball of cells with huge potential.
"Origins" Part 2 - Origins of Earth and the Solar System

10:23 | Oct 7th, 2014

Professor Alex Halliday explains how planets form from nothing but an area of space full of dust. Tiny differences between the elements that make up meteorites can give you an idea of how old they are and which part of the solar system they came fro...Show More
"Origins" Part 1 - Origins of the Universe

08:41 | Oct 7th, 2014

Professor Jo Dunkley explains how we can look back in time at the light from the early Universe. This ultra-cold light can be used to create a picture from soon after the Big Bang. With no stars or galaxies, the image formed shows a universe that wa...Show More