Guardian Science Weekly

Science Weekly

Alok Jha and the Guardian's science team bring you the best analysis and interviews from the worlds of science and technology.
Weekly English United Kingdom Science · Nature
650 Episodes
1 – 20

‘Spermageddon’: is male fertility really in crisis?

Recent research has suggested a global reproductive crisis could be in the offing, with researchers in Israel saying average sperm counts may have more than halved in the past 40 years. But a study published last month appears to call this narrative into question. Ian Sample is joined by the…
3 Jul 16 min

Caroline Lucas on politics, science and 14 years as the only Green MP

As she steps down as the Green party’s first, and so far only, MP, Caroline Lucas tells Madeleine Finlay what it’s been like as the sole Green voice in parliament for the past 14 years, her hopes for her party in Thursday’s UK general election, and what she plans to…
1 Jul 18 min

The surprising psychology behind extremism, and how politics is driving it

Psychologists usually expect ambivalence to be a driver of political apathy. But a new study appears to show a link between ambivalence in our views and the likelihood that we’ll support extremist actions. Madeleine Finlay speaks to the study’s co-author Richard Petty, professor of psychology at Ohio State University, to…
26 Jun 19 min

The infection that affects half of women and its link to antibiotic resistance

Anyone who has had a urinary tract infection knows how agonising they can be. Some infections go away on their own, but many need antibiotics. Beneath the surface of this very common infection lie many mysteries, unanswered questions, and unnecessary suffering. And it gets to the heart of the challenge…
24 Jun 19 min

A black hole awakens and why some people avoid Covid: the week in science

Ian Sample and science correspondent Hannah Devlin discuss some of the science stories that have made headlines this week, from a glimpse of a black hole awakening, to a new blood test that can detect Parkinson’s seven years before symptoms appear, and a study exploring how some people manage to…
19 Jun 21 min

What are the main UK parties promising on climate and is it enough?

Last week more than 400 scientists signed an open letter to political parties urging ambitious action on the environment to prevent making Britain and the world ‘more dangerous and insecure’. Now that the main parties’ manifestos have all been released, Ian Sample is joined by the global environment editor, Jon…
17 Jun 21 min

Science Weekly: Are cold and wet UK summers here to stay?

Here in the UK talking about the weather is already a national pastime, but this month the water-cooler weather chat has ramped up a notch as rain, grey skies and biting temperatures have put summer firmly on hold. Ian Sample talks to Matt Patterson, a postdoctoral research scientist in the…
12 Jun 15 min

Slaughter-free sausages: is lab-grown meat the future?

Ian Sample hears from Linda Geddes about her recent trip to the Netherlands to try cultivated meat sausages, courtesy of the company Meatable. Advocates say that cultivated meat could be the future of sustainable and ethical meat production. Linda explains how they’re made, how their carbon footprint compares with traditional…
10 Jun 16 min

Golden rice: why has it been banned and what happens now?

A court in the Philippines has banned the commercial growth of golden rice, a genetically modified rice which was created to help tackle vitamin A deficiency in developing countries. It’s just the latest twist in a long and controversial journey for this rice. Ian Sample hears from the Observer science…
5 Jun 18 min

Election risks, safety summits and Scarlett Johansson: the week in AI

It’s been a busy week in the world of artificial intelligence. OpenAI found itself in hot water with Scarlett Johansson after launching its new chatbot Sky, drawing comparisons to the Hollywood star’s character in the sci-fi film Her. In South Korea the second global AI summit took place, and a…
29 May 19 min

Concrete without CO2: can our biggest building material go green?

Concrete is strong and durable – which is why it’s the basis for so much of our infrastructure. It’s also terrible for the planet, due to one key ingredient: cement, which is responsible for almost 90% of concrete emissions. Researchers have now found a way to recover old cement while…
27 May 17 min

Why is air turbulence getting worse?

On Tuesday a British man died and several others were injured when their plane encountered severe turbulence between London and Singapore. And it looks like this kind of turbulence is something we’ll have to get used to. Last year a study found severe clear-air turbulence had increased by 55% between…
22 May 16 min

In their prime: how trillions of cicadas pop up right on time

Right now, across much of the midwestern and eastern US, trillions of cicadas are crawling out from the soil. And this year is extra special, because two broods are erupting from the ground at once. The first brood hasn’t been seen for 13 years, the other for 17 years and…
20 May 17 min

AI, algorithms and apps: can dating be boiled down to a science?

Last week the founder of the dating app Bumble forecasted a near future dating landscape where AI ‘dating concierges’ filter out prospective partners for us. But does AI, or even science, really understand what makes two people compatible? Madeleine Finlay speaks to Amie Gordon, assistant professor of psychology at the…
15 May 18 min

Backstabbing, bluffing and playing dead: has AI learned to deceive?

As AI systems have grown in sophistication, so has their capacity for deception, according to a new analysis from researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Dr Peter Park, an AI existential safety researcher at MIT and author of the research, tells Ian Sample about the different examples of deception…
13 May 15 min

How much protein is too much?

Sales of cottage cheese are booming thanks to a boost from protein-hungry social media influencers. But do we really need all this extra protein? Madeleine Finlay speaks to Joanne Slavin, a professor of food science and nutrition at the University of Minnesota, to find out what exactly protein is doing…
8 May 17 min

Why are the world’s cities sinking?

A study has found that more than two dozen US coastal cities are sinking by more than 2mm a year. It’s a similar picture across the world. Nearly half of China’s major cities, as well as places such as Tehran and Jakarta, are facing similar problems. These issues are compounded…
6 May 17 min
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