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Science

Science in Action

Updated 5 days ago

Science
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The BBC brings you all the week's science news.

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The BBC brings you all the week's science news.

iTunes Ratings

209 Ratings
Average Ratings
157
30
8
10
4

Great podcast! Love every episode of it.

By Davo91 - Feb 06 2015
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Great podcast! Love every episode of it.

Great for science-phobes like me!

By Uptown Lakes - Apr 17 2011
Read more
Thank you for making science so accessible. Love it!

iTunes Ratings

209 Ratings
Average Ratings
157
30
8
10
4

Great podcast! Love every episode of it.

By Davo91 - Feb 06 2015
Read more
Great podcast! Love every episode of it.

Great for science-phobes like me!

By Uptown Lakes - Apr 17 2011
Read more
Thank you for making science so accessible. Love it!
Cover image of Science in Action

Science in Action

Latest release on Feb 20, 2020

All 38 episodes from oldest to newest

Monitoring Covid-19, harvests and space junk

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Roland Pease reports from the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual meeting in Seattle. At the UK Research and Innovation’s stand in the exhibition hall, he’s joined by three scientists to discuss monitoring the Coronavirus outbreak, the locusts devastating crops in East Africa and the ever increasing amount of space junk orbiting the Earth.

Professor Jeffrey Shaman of the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University talks about how he is modelling the movement of Covid-19 around China and beyond.

Dr Catherine Nakalembe, of the University of Maryland and East Africa Lead for NASA Harvest explains how she uses data collected by satellites to find out where crops are thriving and where they are not. She also talks about how this technology can alert countries to approaching locust swarms.

And Professor Moriba Jah of University of Texas at Austin, tells Roland why he’s concerned about the amount of space junk that’s orbiting the earth and why so little is being done about controlling satellite launch and disposal.
(Image: Artist response to NASA Harvest discussion at AAAS Credit: Lorenzo Palloni)
Presenter: Roland Pease
Editor: Deborah Cohen

Feb 20 2020

27mins

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CoVid-19: Mapping the outbreak

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Researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical medicine have developed an online map which presents the latest information on the spread of CoVid-19 and allows anyone to follow the outbreak and compare this data with the spread of Ebola and SARS. See the weblink from this page to try it for yourself.

And the coming together of microbiology and big data science has led to the development of a portable device able to spot antibiotic resistant bacteria. This should help with more precise drug targeting and potentially save lives.

We also look at how social science is helping to improve the health of people reliant on woodstoves for cooking, and we unearth a huge impact crater hidden in plain sight.

(Image:Getty Images)

Feb 13 2020

26mins

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Coronavirus, prospects for treatment?

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Doctors in the US have treated a coronavirus patient with a drug developed for Ebola. That drug had never been tested on people so its use here seems an extreme move. We look at why this kind of drug developed for one virus might work on another. It’s all down to the genetic material at the centre of the virus. That raises safety concerns as human cells contain similar material.

East Africa is experiencing a plague of locusts and bizarrely it’s linked to the Australian wildfires. A weather pattern across the Indian Ocean, made more extreme by climate change, links the rains in Africa with the heatwave in Australia.

New features of The Northern Lights have been discovered thanks to an analysis of photos on Facebook by physicists in Finland. Amateur sky watchers pictures reveal previously unnoticed forms in the light display.

And we look at the search for properties of sub atomic particles, why a small device might be better than the enormous ones used so far.
(Image: Scientists are at work as they try to find an effective treatment against the new SARS-like coronavirus,
Credit: AFP/Getty Images)
Presenter: Roland Pease
Producer: Julian Siddle

Feb 06 2020

30mins

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Understanding the Wuhan coronavirus

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Parts of China are on lockdown, a small number of cases have been reported in other countries and the past week has brought widely conflicting views on the potential danger presented by the new virus.
We look at the scientific facts, analyse why it’s so difficult to predict the spread of the virus, look at the nature of virus infection and discuss why treatments such as vaccines are not available.
We look at why some viruses can jump from animals to humans and examine hi-tech solutions designed to speed up the process of drug development.

Image: Medical staff member helps a couple at a hospital in Wuhan. Credit: Feature China/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

Presenter: Roland Pease
Producer: Julian Siddle

Jan 30 2020

33mins

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Wuhan Coronavirus

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The way in which a new virus has emerged in China is reminiscent of SARS, a highly infectious virus that spread rapidly. It’s so similar that Health officials demanded action as soon as its existence became known. And the Chinese authorities and global medical community have acted to try and stop the spread.
Events were still developing, even as we were in the studio making this programme, new reports of suspected cases were coming in. The WHO was yet to give its view on the severity of the outbreak. This week’s edition is very much a snapshot of what we know or knew about this virus on the afternoon of Thursday January 23rd 2020.
(Image: Wuhan Residents wear masks to buy vegetables in the market. Credit: Getty Images)

Presenter: Roland Pease
Producer: Julian Siddle

Jan 23 2020

27mins

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Mount Taal volcano

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An experimental satellite called Aeolus, named after a Greek god of wind, which takes daily global measurements of the wind patterns throughout the depth of atmosphere has improved weather forecasts. ESA’s Anne-Greta Straume explains how it works.

The dramatic eruption of the island volcano Taal in the Philippines was a spectacular picture of the plume of ejecta punching a hole in overlying cloud cover. Nearby towns have been blanketed with dust, fissures have appeared in the ground and there has been dramatic lightning. Geologist Yannick Withoos at Leicester University is studying historic eruptions of Taal and current events have brought the purpose of her research into sharp relief.

Philipp Heck of the Field Museum in Chicago explains how he has found the oldest dust grains on earth inside a Murchison meteorite. They are millions of years older than the solar system.
And Roland Pease talks to Brian Rauch of Washington University, St ouis, who is currently in Antarctica flying detectors on balloons around the South Pole searcLhing for cosmic rays produced in the death of stars.

Tracking climate change in the Himalaya – not up at the snow capped peaks, clearly visible from afar, but in the extensive rocky hinterland further down you occasionally see in documentaries about attempts on Everest – is difficult. Ecologist and hydrologist Karen Anderson, of Exeter University, has used satellite data to measure the changes in the vegetation in this remote area.
(Image: Taal Volcano, Philippines. Credit: EPA)
Presenter: Roland Pease
Producer: Julian Siddle

Jan 16 2020

27mins

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Australia’s extreme fire season

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2019 was Australia’s hottest year on record, a major factor behind the bush fires which have been far worse than usual. We look at the patterns of extreme weather that have contributed to the fires but are also linked to floods in Africa. And the way in which thunderstorms have helped to spread the fires.
The armpit of Orion is changing. The star Betelgeuse is dimming some claim this is readying it for a major explosion others are more sceptical, we weight up the arguments.

And an Iron Age brain may hold some clues to modern neurodegenerative disease. Protein fragments have been extracted from the brain tissue found inside a 2,500 year old human skull.
(Image: Australia fires. Credit: Getty Images)

Presenter: Roland Pease
Producer: Julian Siddle

Jan 09 2020

26mins

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Adapting California

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Roland Pease is joined by California based science Journalist Molly Bentley as we examine the impact of earthquakes and fires. California has experienced both in the last year - What’s it like to live with a constant threat from these extreme events? We also take a look at NASA’s plans for a new mission to Mars – to look for signs on life.

Picture: Roland Pease with science journalist Molly Bentley, Credit: BBC

Jan 02 2020

26mins

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Gaming climate change

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The latest round of climate negotiations, COP25 have ended without agreement on many fundamental issues. We join researchers from Perdue University in the US who have developed a role playing game to encourage climate negotiators and others to take a long term view. Key to this research project is the concept of tipping points, where an environment changes irreversibly from one state to another. This is accompanied by the loss of ecosystems, for example the widespread melting of arctic sea ice, rainforest burning or coral bleaching.

The idea is that such tipping points provide a more meaning full focus for the implication of climate change than abstract concepts like temperature rise.

Image: Polar Bear in the Arctic Sea, Credit: Coldimages/Getty

Dec 26 2019

26mins

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Understanding the Anak Krakatau eruption

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We have the latest from a year long investigation into the causes of the December 2018 Indonesian Tsunami. And we get a look at the first pictures from the Mayotte undersea volcano, which emerged earlier this year off the coast of East Africa.
(Anak Krakatau volcano. Credit: AFP/Getty Images)
Presenter: Roland Pease
Producer: Julian Siddle

Dec 19 2019

26mins

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