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Science in Action

Science in Action

Podcast Science in Action
Podcast Science in Action

Science in Action


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  • COVID spreads in China
    Hong Kong health expert Professor Malik Peiris relates the lessons from the devastation there earlier this year. UK virologist Dr Tom Peacock reveals the unusual origins and evolution of omicron, and explains the risks of dangerous new variants. New studies from China are revealing further SARS-like viruses in the wild; Professor Eddie Holmes says they underline the risk of further pandemics. (Photo: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)
  • A distant planet’s atmosphere
    Nasa's JWST space telescope has unpicked the chemical contents and state of the atmosphere of planet WASP-39b 700 light years away. Astronomer Hannah Wakeford explains. Meteorologist Laura Wilcox warns that atmospheric haze over China and South Asia is masking some of the effects of global warming. Loss of memory and other mental changes during pregnancy have been traced to structural changes in the brain, possibly due to hormone effects. Neuroscientist Elseline Hoekszema speculates. Improving lab coats - every scientist has a lab coat, but how many have one actually fits? Founder of Genius Lab Gear Derek Miller explains the problem and how he's trying to fix it. Producer: Roland Pease Assistant producer: Sophie Ormiston (Photo: View of Earth from space. Credit: Melissa Weiss/Center for Astrophysics/Harvard and Smithsonian)
  • Online harassment of Covid scientists
    Since the Covid-19 pandemic began, scientists studying the virus have become targets of online harassment, and more recently, death threats. Roland speaks to Dr Angela Rasmussen, virologist at the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization at the University of Saskatchewan, about her experiences. Spyros Lytras, PhD candidate at the University of Glasgow, talks Roland through the evolutionary history of the virus that causes Covid-19 and how there isn’t just one ancestor, but several. Anti-Asian sentiment has seen a big increase since the pandemic. Dr Qian He, Postdoctoral Research Associate at Princeton University, looked into how US-China relations have influenced how Americans view Chinese today. And we hear from scientists on board the RRS Discovery, which is currently located near St Helena and Ascension Island, surveying the health of the surrounding ocean. On board, documentary film-maker Lawrence Eagling, talks to Shona Murray, pelagic ecologist from the University of Western Australia, and Gareth Flint, mechanical engineer at British Antarctic Survey, about their work and findings. (Photo: A scientist stands behind testing kits and checks his phone. Credit: Getty Images) Producer: Roland Pease Assistant producer: Sophie Ormiston
  • Neurons that restore walking in paralysed patients
    Researchers have identified which neurons, when electrically stimulated, can restore the ability to walk in paralysed patients. Professor Jocelyne Bloch, Associate Professor at the Université de Lausanne, tells Roland how the technology works. Astronomers have discovered the closest black hole to Earth. Researchers led by Kareem El-Badry, astrophysicist at Harvard University, identified the celestial body when they spotted a Sun-like star orbiting a dark, dense object. The origins of eels have been mystifying scientists for centuries. Though the Sargasso Sea has been their presumed breeding place for 100 years, there has been no direct evidence of their migration – until now. Ros Wright, Senior Fisheries Technical Specialist at the Environment Agency, shares how researchers finally pinned down these slippery creatures. This week, a new report from the UN Environment Programme reveals that carbon dioxide emissions from building operations have reached an all-time high. Insaf Ben Othmane, architect and co-author of the report, talks through the risks and opportunities this poses for Africa and why there is still hope for the future. Producer: Roland Pease Assistant Producer: Sophie Ormiston (Photo: Patient with complete spinal cord injury (left) and incomplete spinal cord injury (right) walking in Lausanne. Credit: Jimmy Ravier/NeuroRestore)
  • What peat can tell us about our future
    The Congo Basin is home to the world’s largest peatland. Simon Lewis, Professor of Global Change Science at UCL and the University of Leeds, tells Roland how this peatland acts as a huge carbon sink and how climate change could result in these carbon stores being released. He is joined by Dr Ifo Averti, Associate Professor in Forest Ecology at Universite Marien Ngouabi in the Congo who helps us understand what this landscape is like. We explore how peatlands all around the world are showing early alarm bells of change. From the boreal Arctic forests to the Amazon, prof Simon Lewis helps us understand how they could action huge change in the climate. Hurricane Ian, which recently caused devastating damage to Cuba and the United States, may signify a growing trend of increasingly powerful storms. Karthik Balaguru, climate and data scientist at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, explains how climate change is causing hurricanes to rapidly intensify, making them faster and wetter. On Sunday 6 November, COP27 will begin in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. Dr Debbie Rosen, Science and Policy Manager at CONSTRAIN, breaks down some of the jargon we might hear throughout the conference. Presenter: Roland Pease Assistant Producer: Sophie Ormiston Producer: Robbie Wojciechowski (Image credit: Getty Images)

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