Victoria Gill and guests ask why does scientific communication matters in society and how it might be done better, with Sam Illingworth, Berry Billingsley and Ozmala Ismail.
The climate crisis and Covid-19 have shown over the recent years the importance of reliable, relatable, transparent and trusted science communication. But just like science itself, it comes in different forms and takes different approaches. Always keen to keep you up to date, BBC Inside Science takes a moment to discuss good practice and how it might be done better.
Dr Oz Ismail is a dementia researcher who also finds time to do stand-up, public engagement and a podcast called Why Aren’t You A Doctor Yet?
Sam Illingworth is an Associate Professor at Edinburgh Napier University who investigates science and communication between disciplines. He is also a poet and writer, and has a podcast called The Poetry of Science.
And Berry Billingsley is Professor in Science Education at Canterbury Christchurch University. Erstwhile science broadcaster, she looks at ways science education could be enhanced through building what her team call Epistemic Insight - transforming the nature of science education in society's younger members.
Presented by Victoria Gill
Produced by Alex Mansfield and Samara Linton
A Trip-Switch for Depression?
Could magic mushrooms be the key to a revolution in treating depression? Professor David Nutt, director of the Imperial Centre for Psychedelic Research, thinks so. He tells Vic Gill about recent research suggesting that psilocybin - the psychedelic compound found in magic mushrooms - triggers rewiring of the brain in people with treatment-resistant depression. Vic Gill speaks with trial participant Steve Shorney who was diagnosed with depression 30 years ago.
Nanobodies. That's the name scientists have given to the tiny antibodies found in the blood of camelids like llamas, alpacas and camels. Reporter Samara Linton heads to Berkshire to meet the llamas whose nanobodies were recently found to neutralise the Covid-19 virus. We hear from Professor Gary Stephens, University of Reading, who is responsible for the llamas' safety and well-being, and Professor James Naismith, director of the Rosalind Franklin Institute which is carrying out the pioneering research with engineered nanobodies.
And just as the James Webb Space Telescope is poised to peer deep into the universe, we look at a recent image captured by its great predecessor, Hubble, which has thrown down a telescopic gauntlet. Astronomer Dr Emma Chapman, author of the book “First Light” guides us through these incredible pictures of the furthest, faintest, most ancient of stars yet seen.
Presented by Victoria Gill
Reporter: Samara Linton
Producer: Alex Mansfield
Declining Data, Climate Deadlines and the Day the Dinosaurs Died
Covid-19 infections in the UK are at an all-time high. But most people in England can no longer access free Covid-19 tests, and the REACT-1 study, which has been testing more than 100,000 individuals since the pandemic began, ended last week after its funding stopped. Martin Mckee, Prof of European Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, shares his insights on what these changes might mean for ambitions to 'live with the virus'.
This week, the UN's latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report has unveiled a to-do list of ways to save the planet from climate catastrophe. How do scientists reach a global consensus on climate change amid war, an energy crisis, and a pandemic? Vic Gill speaks to report co-author Jo House, University of Bristol, and Ukrainian climate scientist Svitlana Krakovska who took part in signing off every line of the report while sheltering from the war in Kyiv.
And from our planet's present and future to its ancient past. Scientists working on the Tanis fossil site in North Dakota in the US have dug up a dinosaur's leg, complete with skin and scales. Is this 66-million-year-old fossil, alongside similar nearby victims, the key to unveiling those transformative minutes after the infamous Chicxulub asteroid struck the earth and ended the era of the dinosaurs? BBC science correspondent Jonathan Amos has seen the fossil and speaks with Paul Barrett of London's Natural History Museum about the significance of this un-reviewed new finds.
And from earth to Mars. After a year of analysing audio recordings from NASA's Perseverance rover, scientists have found not one but two speeds of sound on Mars. Trevor Cox, Professor of Acoustic Engineering at the University of Salford, guides us through this sonic wonder, and how sound may become a key tool for exploring distant worlds.
Mars audio credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL/CNES/CNRS/ISAE-Supaéro
How can the UK get to zero carbon?
Energy is essential: every living thing needs energy to survive, and today’s industrialised societies consume enormous quantities of it. At the moment, the vast majority of this comes from burning fossil fuels that emit carbon. But the government is committed to reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Meanwhile, oil and gas prices are rocketing, exacerbated by the ongoing war in Ukraine. And the energy price cap is being raised on April 1st, hitting millions of householders in the UK.
While we await the government’s energy strategy, Inside Science looks at how to solve the problem, finding the best possible ways to meet our energy needs while slashing our carbon emissions. Joining us to discuss this are Alice Bell, co-director of the climate charity Possible, and Jan Rosenow, director at the Regulatory Assistance Project.
We also hear from Chris Stark of the Climate Change Commission on how the government might meet its decarbonisation targets, visit a Cornish field that might be a rich source of homegrown lithium for batteries, and talk to Jonathan Atkinson from People Powered Retrofit about how to make our homes greener and warmer.
Racial inequality in UK science
This month the Royal Society of Chemistry released a shocking report on racial inequality at all stages of academia, from research funding to career progression. Black scientists in particular are unfairly disadvantaged when it comes to funding allocation. This is bad for them, bad for science, and bad for society. So how do we change things? Dr Diego Baptista from the Wellcome Trust, Professor Melanie Welham from the UKRI, and Dr Addy Adelaine, from the non-profit organisation Ladders4Action, join us to discuss the issue.
Both of Earth’s poles were hit by heatwaves this week. The Arctic was 30 degrees above average for this time of year, and the Antarctic was an unprecedented 40 degrees above average. We are seeing more extreme temperatures everywhere on earth, but for both poles to experience such heatwaves at the same time is highly unusual. Ed Blockley of the Met Office’s Polar Climate Group explains what’s going on.
One of the simplest ways to improve your local environment is to plant a hedge, which not only helps wildlife but can reduce flooding and pollution. But what kind of hedge should you plant? Scientists at the University of Reading and the Royal Horticultural Society are beginning a two year experiment to see which combinations of hedges bring the most benefits. Dr Tijana Blanusa tells us why planting hedges and generally greening our gardens is so important in the current climate.
Presented by Gaia Vince
Producer Cathy Edwards
Assistant Producer Emily Bird