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
956 Episodes
24 – 44

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

Automating Blood Smears

Blood smear analysis is a repetitive, laborious, and time consuming job. Research at the University of Cambridge has led to developing a 3D printed device which both speeds up the smearing process and the quality of the blood smears. Julia Ravey talks to Samuel McDermott... Like this podcast? Please help…
31 Jan 2022 4 min

Making new year's resolutions SMART

It's the new year, and with that comes a tradition to commit to new year's resolutions. But the typical goals of giving up drinking, or losing weight, can be hard to achieve, especially without support from friends and family. Tricia Smith asked sport psychologist Helen Davis whether there was a…
28 Jan 2022 4 min

Ichthyosaur found in Rutland

The astonishing discovery of this jurassic era creature has been covered on our show before, but this recording features special insight into the dig itself. Mark Evans from the British Antarctic Survey and Emily Swaby from The Open University describe the significance of finding the skeletal remains of this marine…
27 Jan 2022 7 min

The Reforestation Re-evaluation

Tropical rainforests are deforested at an alarming rate to make way for cultivating crops and rearing livestock. But what happens when these forest areas are abandoned and left to recover in their natural way? Research published in the journal Science gives a message of hope, explaining how forests are able…
26 Jan 2022 5 min

Sleep and Alzheimer's

Changing the way the brain controls how we sleep, as a new study suggests, might be a way to cut the risk of Alzheimer's Disease. Alzheimer's is the commonest form of a group of conditions known as senile dementia. They occur when brain cells are lost, progressively robbing us of…
23 Jan 2022 7 min

Do Asteroids Pose a Real Threat?

Katie King interviews Huw James, from the Royal Astronomical Society, about the reality of the chances planet-killing asteroids could collide with Earth. What these objects are, how they are found, and what methods are being trialled to prevent any potential collisions... Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the…
19 Jan 2022 4 min

Listening vs hearing

Hearing and listening... is there a difference? I am sure that we have all been guilty of letting our minds drift out of a conversation before realising and immediately trying to tune back in. New research published in Cell Reports describes how brain activity varies during listening and hearing and…
13 Jan 2022 4 min

Language and the Brain

Understanding the human brain and how it completes complex tasks, like processing other people's speech as well as producing its own, is a complex task in and of itself. As it stands, neuroscience isn't able to tell us the underlying computations that lead to human language. New research from the…
12 Jan 2022 6 min

What is the impact of a black hole?

Astronomers believe that nearly every galaxy has a supermassive black hole at its centre, this being true for our very own Milky Way. These objects exert such strong gravitational forces on the matter contained within them that it cannot escape the black hole's pull. Scientists using the LOFAR telescope in…
10 Jan 2022 5 min

IVF embryos are more successful than expected

During IVF or in-vitro fertilisation, sperm and eggs are mixed together in a dish to produce fertilised embryos, one or two of which are placed in the uterus where the hope is they will trigger a successful pregnancy. Previously, embryologists would pick out and use only what they judged to…
6 Jan 2022 5 min

Making antibiotics more effective

While the coronavirus pandemic is at the forefront of our minds, it's not the only health crisis looming on the horizon. Antimicrobial resistance has been called the "hidden pandemic". One of the ways to counteract resistance is by developing drugs that make current antibiotics more effective, and new research published…
4 Jan 2022 5 min

Omicron update: what's in store for Australia

Dr Chris Smith joins Indira Naidoo on the ABC's Nightlife programme to discuss the latest developments in science and answer questions from listeners. This time they look at the difficult decisions confronting politicians and policymakers internationally and how they should react to the omicron new variant, which appears super transmissible…
19 Dec 2021 35 min

The recent evolution of human beings

Us humans are thought to have appeared on Earth around 300,000 years ago. But how much have we changed since then? New research from Shanghai Jiao Tong University has found many of our most complex traits have continued to be tweaked, even in the past two to three thousand years…
15 Dec 2021 5 min

100 years of insulin

2021 marks 100 years since insulin was first discovered. The World Health Organisation estimates that 422 million people around the world have diabetes, a disease where the body either can't produce enough insulin or doesn't respond properly to insulin. In the UK, 1 in 15 people are affected, and that's…
15 Dec 2021 6 min

Cooling down rapidly warming cities

More than 50% of the world's population now lives in urban areas and, in recent years, many major cities have been hit with extreme weather events due to the effects of climate change, like the flooding that hit the London underground - and Queen guitarist Brian May's basement - in…
14 Dec 2021 5 min
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