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Thirty years ago, the Hubble space telescope was shuttled into orbit, and has since provided us with astonishing images and insights into the universe. Earlier this year, Hannah Devlin spoke to one of the astronauts who helped launch Hubble, Kathy Sullivan. The first American woman to walk in space, Sullivan describes her journey to becoming an astronaut, why Hubble was such a vital mission and why it continues to be so important today. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Over the last few months, we’ve all had to come to terms with R, the ‘effective reproduction number’, as a measure of how well we are dealing with the coronavirus outbreak. But, as Nicola Davis finds out from Dr Adam Kucharski, R is a complicated statistical concept that relies on many factors and, under some conditions, can be misleading. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Archaeologists surveying the land around Stonehenge have made a discovery that could change the way we think about our neolithic ancestors: a circle of deep shafts spanning 1.2 miles in diameter around Durrington Walls. Hannah Devlin speaks to Prof Vincent Gaffney about how he and his team made this incredible discovery and why the latest find is so remarkable. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
With reports that there are lower rates of smokers being admitted to hospital with Covid-19 in France and trials to test whether nicotine patches can reduce the severity of infection, but also data showing that smokers are more likely to contract the disease and develop severe symptoms, what’s actually going here? Sarah Boseley talks to Dr Nick Hopkinson to find out more. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Watching the mesmerising patterns of squids, octopuses and cuttlefish has been the catalyst for much of Dr Alon Gorodetsky’s recent work, including his attempts to mimic their ability to become transparent. Nicola Davis talks to him about a recent paper where he engineered mammalian cells to share these optic properties - paving the way for exciting potential applications. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Following on from several listener questions about the role of air conditioning in spreading or dissipating Covid-19 in buildings and on public transport, Hannah Devlin asks Dr Lena Ciric whether we should be turning our AC systems on or off. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
When a strange spinning cigar-shaped object was spotted travelling through our solar system in 2017, it ignited scientific speculation and debate. Ian Sample speaks to Darryl Seligman, lead researcher on a recent study seeking to unravel the mystery of ‘Oumuamua. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
As the world begins to unlock, many of us will be seeing friends and family again - albeit with guidelines on how close you can get to one another. But why is it more difficult to stay physically apart from friends and family than a stranger in a supermarket queue? Nicola Davis speaks to Prof John Drury about the psychology of physical distancing and why we like to be near those we feel emotionally close with. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
Narwhals may be shy and elusive, but they are certainly not quiet. Nicola Davis speaks to geophysicist Dr Evgeny Podolskiy about capturing the vocalisations of narwhals in an arctic fjord, and what this sonic world could tell us about the lives of these mysterious creatures. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
New archaeological discoveries in the Bacho Kiro cave in Bulgaria have revealed that modern humans co-existed with Neanderthals for several thousand years. Nicola Davis speaks to Prof Jean-Jacques Hublin about the excavations, and what their findings tell us about when modern humans first arrived in Europe. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
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