Naked Scientists Special Editions

Special Editions

Probing the weird, wacky and spectacular, the Naked Scientists Special Editions are special one-off scientific reports, investigations and interviews on cutting-edge topics by the Naked Scientists team.
English United Kingdom Science
959 Episodes
12 – 32

Dog and Dingo DNA sequences

Dingoes are native Australian dogs, although how and when they got to Australia isn't known. They were certainly already there by the time the first western explorers visited the continent, but fossil dingo remains go back only a few thousand years. So what is the relationship between dogs and dingoes,…
29 Apr 2022 7 min

Coffee without the coffee beans

Coffee prices are on the rise and the plant is said to decline by 60% before 2050, meaning new coffee alternatives are being considered in order to give us that caffeine hit. Harry Lewis speaks to Charlie Shaw from Atomo coffee to find out how they've been making our favourite…
27 Apr 2022 4 min

Recreating smells from the past

If I asked you to give up one of your five senses, which one would you choose? Chances are, instead of giving up your ability to see or hear, your sense of smell would be in pole position for the chop. Scientists in Germany think we're under appreciative of smell…
7 Apr 2022 6 min

A new method for recycling plastics

The world has a huge problem with plastics. While they are a materials scientist's dream in terms of their properties, they are an environmentalist's worst nightmare, because they don't break down naturally and are very hard to recycle. But Athina Anastasaki, from ETH Zurich, has set herself the goal of…
4 Apr 2022 5 min

Data storage in DNA

Researchers have been studying DNA as a method to store binary data. As data generation continues to increase in the information age, we need new methods to store it. DNA is extremely robust and can store data 100 times more densely compared to a computer hard drive. In order to…
23 Mar 2022 5 min

Solving puzzles to help cancer research

Playing games may be something you do in your spare time or in the queue at the supermarket, but striving for that elusive high score can also now contribute to science! Julia Ravey grabbed her mobile and caught up with Marc Marti-Renom; he's part of a team at the Centre…
23 Mar 2022 6 min

Pig grunts indicate their emotions

There are over 7,000 documented languages in the world to date, and now we might have another to add to the list: the one spoken by pigs. No, this is not an April Fool come early. Elodie Mandel-Briefer, from the University of Copenhagen, has assembled a vast dataset of pig…
17 Mar 2022 6 min

Indoor pollution from cleaning

Researchers from Indiana University studied the reactions of volatile compounds released when cleaning with ozone in the air. They found the reactions led to formation of nanoparticles classified as indoor pollutants. Evelyna Wang speaks to Phillip Stevens about this discovery... Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked…
10 Mar 2022 4 min

The Dangers of Nuclear Weapons

Nuclear weapons are at the forefront of news but what are they and how do they work? Anoushka Handa reports... Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists
9 Mar 2022 3 min

Creating Oxygen on the Moon

As NASA aims to send humans back to the moon in the upcoming years, research on how to supply oxygen to future settlements on the moon are underway. Oxygen can be genearted from lunar resources such as ice. A team of researchers including Mark Symes, from the University of Glasgow…
2 Mar 2022 4 min

Roman faeces housing fossilised parasites

Washing our hands has become paramount during the pandemic, but the Romans didn't seem to bestow any importance to this, leading to parasites and infections. Anoushka Handa spoke to Sophie Rabinow, to tell us more... Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists
1 Mar 2022 2 min

Blood clot tests with smartphones

Blood clotting is important in preventing excessive bleeding, but for millions of people, it can also mean increased risk of mortality due to certain medical conditions. Blood thinning medication is required for those suffering theses conditions as well as constant blood clot monitoring. A team from the University of Washington,…
28 Feb 2022 4 min

Shades of Blue Stop a Mosquito Biting You

Have you ever got a horrible mosquito bite whilst on holiday and wondered 'why me again?' And was your travel buddy someone who never got one? It could very well be to do with their fashion sense. Anoushka Handa spoke to Jeff Riffell to find out more... Like this podcast?…
25 Feb 2022 5 min

Magnetic Fields Guide Migratory Birds

There's a growing body of evidence that birds can detect magnetic fields like the one around the Earth, possibly by "seeing" them. And this, researchers think, accounts for how migrating birds, like reed warblers, manage to find their way, seemingly unerringly, half way around the planet. But it's more subtle…
22 Feb 2022 3 min

Car Dependence in Greenfield Housing

Greenfield housing developments are residential communities built upon land which was not previously occupied by anything else. These modern homes are often very energy efficient, but a new report by Transport for New Homes has found that these developments are offsetting their positive contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions because…
17 Feb 2022 5 min

Why don't plants freeze to death in Winter?

Krzysztof wrote in to ask 'Why don't plants freeze to death during Winter?' and James Tytko tracked down Professor Howard Griffiths, from the University of Cambridge, to break the ice on this question. Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists
14 Feb 2022 5 min

Black hole seen forming new stars

Black holes are known for their awesome destructive powers, ripping stars apart piece by piece. But now, scientists have seen evidence of a black hole helping to form stars. Using the Hubble Telescope, researchers at Montana State University have seen a massive black hole at the centre of a small…
9 Feb 2022 3 min

Trees for the Jubilee

Planting trees has a great impact on creating a greener environment. The Queen's Green Canopy is an initiative to encourage people to plant a tree in honour of the Her Majesty's Platinum Jubilee. Robert Spencer and Anoushka Handa take a dive into the science of trees to find out more…
6 Feb 2022 23 min

Game of Life still revealing secrets

Mathematicians Ville Salo and Ilkke Toermae from Finland have solved a long-standing problem in the field of cellular automata (The Game of Life). Despite being quite simple systems to describe, these automata often show quite complex behaviour. Now, though, we are starting to find out more about situations when these…
3 Feb 2022 4 min

Organising our memories

Memories form a large part of human interaction. Scents, tastes and touch all can invoke us to remember particular events. But how do we know the order of these events? How do you remember that this time last week you were listening to our show... or at least we hope…
1 Feb 2022 4 min
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