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Science

Science in Action

Updated 3 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

191 Ratings
Average Ratings
140
29
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
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Thank you for making science so accessible. Love it!

iTunes Ratings

191 Ratings
Average Ratings
140
29
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!

The Best Episodes of:

Cover image of Science in Action

Science in Action

Updated 3 days ago

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

Rank #1: New evidence of nuclear reactor explosion

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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 between an ESA satellite and a SpaceX/Starlink module in crowded near space strengthens the case for some sort of international Space Traffic Management treaty, whilst in the arctic circle, melting permafrost is disinterring the graves of long-dead whalers.

(Photo:Tell-tale radioactive isotopes could still be in dust on cars near the site of the blast. Credit: Humonia/iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Presenter: Roland Pease
Producer: Alex Mansfield

Sep 05 2019

34mins

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Rank #2: Nanotube computer says hello

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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.
(The world's first 16 bit microprocessor made of carbon nanotubes. Credit: Max Shulaker)

Aug 29 2019

31mins

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Rank #3: 'Free' water and electricity for the world?

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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 could produce around 4 litres and hour. The researchers suggest use of such panels would help alleviate water shortages.

A long running study of gorilla behaviour in the DRC has found they exhibit social traits previously thought to only be present in humans. This suggests such traits could have developed in the prehistory of both species.

More than 500 fish species can change sex. Analysis of the underlying mechanism shows how sex determination is heavily influenced by environmental and in the case of one species social factors.
(Picture: Future PV farm: not just generating electricity, but also producing fresh water. Credit: Wenbin Wang)
Presenter: Roland Pease
Producer: Julian Siddle

Jul 11 2019

29mins

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Rank #4: Cracking the case of the Krakatoa volcano collapse

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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 their survey of the seafloor and tsunami debris will allow them to piece together the sequence of events, and maybe find signs to look out for in the future.

Wyoming Dinosaur trove
The BBC got a secret visit to a newly discovered fossil site somewhere in the US which scientists reckon could keep them busy for many years. Jon Amos got to have a tour and even found out a tasty technique to tell a fossil from a rock.

Bioflourescent Aliens
Researchers at Cornell University’s Carla Sagan Institute report their work thinking about detecting alien life on distant planets orbiting other stars. Around 75% of stars are of a type that emits far more dangerous UV than our own sun. What, they argue, would a type of life that could survive that look like to us? Well, just maybe it would act like some of our own terrestrial corals, who can protect their symbiotic algae from UV, and in doing so, emit visible light. Could such an emission be detectable, in sync with dangerous emergent UV flares around distant suns? The next generation of large telescopes maybe could…

Exopants
Jinsoo Kim and David Perry of Harvard University tell reporter Giulia Barbareschi about their new design for a soft exosuit that helps users to walk and, crucially also to run. They suggest the metabolic savings the suit could offer have numerous future applications for work and play.

(Photo: Volcano Anak Krakatoa. Credit: Drone Pilot, Muhammad Edo Marshal, ITB university in Bandung, Indonesia)

Presenter: Roland Pease
Producer: Alex Mansfield
Reporter: Giulia Barbareschi

Aug 15 2019

33mins

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Rank #5: Amazonian fires likely to worsen

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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 mission, give insights into the clay from which the solar system was originally formed, and Greenland’s top geologist gives his valuation of his native island for prospective purchasers.

Presenter: Roland Pease
Producer: Alex Mansfield
(Photo: Wildfires in Amazon rainforest. Credit:REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino)

Aug 22 2019

29mins

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Rank #6: Analysing the European heatwave

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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 at what seems an incredibly simple idea to counter the effects of global warming – plant more trees, but where and how many?

(Photo: People cool themselves down in the fountain of the Trocadero esplanade in Paris. Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

Presenter: Roland Pease
Producer: Julian Siddle

Jul 04 2019

28mins

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Rank #7: US foetal tissue research ban

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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 move to halt this kind of research will have a negative impact on the ability of US medical institutions to develop new treatments for a range of diseases from diabetes to cancer.

More controversy from the ‘Crispr babies ‘ scandal – with a new analysis showing the modified gene may have a wide impact on the health of the children it was claimed to have been implanted into.

A reassessment on North Korea’s Nuclear tests using cold war methodology suggest the last explosion was more powerful than previously thought.

And we investigate a small British Earthquake south of London.
(Picture: Donald Trump, Credit:SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

Presenter: Roland Pease
Producer: Julian Siddle

Jun 06 2019

34mins

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Rank #8: Keeping tabs on nuclear weapons

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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 encryption should allow all sides to be more confident on who has what in terms of nuclear stockpiles.

Can carbon capture and storage technology help reduce atmospheric Co2 levels? The answer seems to be yes, but at a considerable cost.

And we go for a cold swim around some hydrothermal vents.
Photo: U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Credit: Sputnik/Reuters

Presenter: Roland Pease
Producer: Julian Siddle

Aug 08 2019

26mins

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Rank #9: The snowball effect of Arctic fires

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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 visit Naples which is built on a super volcano. A new analysis is designed to help predict when it might erupt.
We hear from young scientists around the world on their hopes for the future and hear about the discovery of a new potentially earth like planet.
Presenter: Roland Pease
Producer: Julian Siddle
(Photo: Arctic wildfires: Credit: Getty Images)

Aug 01 2019

26mins

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Rank #10: The human danger – for sharks

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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 say is reducing their numbers.

We look at how tourists might be a useful source for conservation data, And we meet one of the planets smallest predators, is it a plant is it an animal? Well actually it’s a bit of both.
(Photo: Tiger shark. Credit: Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
Presenter: Roland Pease
Producer: Julian siddle

Jul 25 2019

30mins

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