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News & Politics
Science & Medicine

Science in Action

Updated 12 days ago

News & Politics
Science & Medicine
Read more

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

Read more

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

iTunes Ratings

178 Ratings
Average Ratings
130
28
7
10
3

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!

iTunes Ratings

178 Ratings
Average Ratings
130
28
7
10
3

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

Updated 12 days ago

Read more

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

Rank #1: 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
28 mins
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Rank #2: Is climate change driving Europe’s current heatwave?

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As Europe experiences another record breaking heatwave, we look at the science of attribution. Usually it’s a long time after extreme weather events that scientists gather enough data to make a judgement on the influence of anthropogenic forces, such as man-made climate change.

However climate experts at a meeting Toulouse France, experiencing the worst of the heatwave, are crunching the data right now, to see if they can quantify the influence of climate change on this heatwave as it happens.

Also we find lakes of fresh water hidden – under the sea, find that Neanderthals went west and discover how spiralling laser light may be used to control a new generation of microelectronics.
(Photo: Heatwave in Paris. Credit: European Photopress Agency)
Presenter: Roland Pease
Producer: Julian Siddle
Jun 27 2019
28 mins
Play

Rank #3: Iran’s nuclear plans

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Iran’s nuclear programme is at the centre of a political row, with the country suggesting it could increase uranium production to above the levels permitted under an international agreement. We look beyond the rhetoric, discuss Iran’s covert history of nuclear development and ask scientifically what this latest move involves.

Fish are no respecter of international borders and when it comes to spawning, research reveals up to $10bn worth of potential fish stocks move between different political territories.

Ancient trees in the Eastern US are yielding clues to the climate going back more than 2000 years, they reveal there has been more rain recently.

And we look at how to quantify that rain as it falls now, over much shorter timescales.
(Photo:President Hassan Rouhani and the head of Iran nuclear technology organization Ali Akbar Salehi inspecting nuclear technology.
Copyright: Office of Islamic Republic President via EPA)
Presenter:Roland Pease
Producer: Julian Siddle
Jun 20 2019
27 mins
Play

Rank #4: 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
26 mins
Play

Rank #5: 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
26 mins
Play

Rank #6: 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
30 mins
Play

Rank #7: The moon landing and another big space anniversary

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It’s 50 years since the moon landing and 25 years since Shoemaker - Levy 9 crashed into Jupiter. The Apollo missions returned to earth with cargos of moon rocks and the comet crash showed us what happens when celestial bodies collide.

We look at the significance of both this week, and also contemplate a return to the moon. What will the next generation of moonwalking astronauts do there?

One thing’s for sure, they’ll be examining moon rocks once more – though this time with a range of scientific tools which hadn’t been invented when the Apollo missions ceased.

Picture: Shoemaker – Levy 9 Comet Impact Marks on Jupiter
Credit: Getty Images

Presenter: Roland Pease
Producer: Julian Siddle
Jul 18 2019
29 mins
Play

Rank #8: '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
29 mins
Play

Rank #9: South Asia heatwave and climate change

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South Asia has experienced a heatwave where the monsoon has been delayed and temperatures have reached over 50 degrees. Despite this the extreme heat has led to far fewer fatalities than previous heatwaves; we look at why that is.

Research into the origins of almonds shows they were domesticated in Asia before spreading worldwide. It’s a bitter sweet story, with sweet varieties being selected over bitter ones. In fact the bitter ones contain poisons which can kill..

As with almonds cannabis as a drug seems to have spread via silk routes. The discovery of ancient burnt wooded bowls suggests it was smoked millennia ago in China – as part of funeral rituals.

And we investigate California’s cannabis farming industry, there are concerns over the environmental impact of this now legal cash crop.
(Photo: Indian boatman walks amid boats on the dried bed of a lake at Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary. Credit: Sam Panthaky/AFP/Getty Images)
Presenter: Roland Pease
Producer: Julian Siddle
Jun 13 2019
29 mins
Play

Rank #10: 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
34 mins
Play

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