Episodes
Professor Saleemul Huq, director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development in Bangladesh, has died. He was instrumental in pushing for a loss and damages fund for vulnerable countries affected by climate change. Last year’s COP27 climate conference made a pledge to set up this fund. But, as yet, there is not one in place. Marnie Chesterton speaks to BBC climate reporter Esme Stallard about Professor Huq’s legacy, and where the money will come from for a loss and damages...
Published 12/07/23
Long abandoned metal mines are having a huge impact on rivers across the UK. BBC Inside Science reporter Patrick Hughes visits Cwmystwyth in Wales, where he finds lead, zinc and cadmium seeping into waterways. It’s the costly legacy left after hundreds of years of mining. Roma Agrawal breaks down our modern world into seven essential basic inventions in her book Nuts and Bolts which has been shortlisted for the Royal Society Science Book Prize. She talks to Marnie about the surprising...
Published 11/30/23
PFAS chemicals, also known as forever chemicals, don’t break down in the environment. They can accumulate in the body and are found to have an array of harmful effects on human health. A major mapping project has revealed worryingly high levels of PFAS across thousands of sites in the UK. Experts are concerned that not enough is being done to reduce these chemicals from drinking water. They’re urging the government to re-evaluate current regulation. This week we dive into the properties of...
Published 11/23/23
White phosphorous is an incendiary material and if it were to be used in any built-up civilian areas, the practice would violate international law. We find out what makes white phosphorus so dangerous, and we ask how easy is it to identify? Andrea Sella, professor of chemistry at University College London, grants access to his laboratory and conducts an experiment with this highly flammable and volatile substance. Whole words and phrases from crushed and carbonised scrolls can be read for...
Published 11/16/23
A paper recently published in the journal Nature claimed that assembly theory could help explain and quantify selection and evolution. But what exactly is assembly theory? In this episode Marnie Chesterton speaks to science writer Philip Ball and zoologist and writer Professor Matthew Cobb. They dig into the science behind this tricky concept and figure out why it makes people so angry. A sample recovered by NASA from the Bennu asteroid hurtled back to earth recently. This week we saw...
Published 11/09/23
Under the mighty radio Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank, Victoria Gill brings together some of the UK’s leading experts who were visiting the recent ‘bluedot’ science and music festival. They discussed the ongoing hunt for extraterrestrial life. We hear from Karen Olsson-Francis, a microbiologist who focuses on the tiny living things that have managed to occupy Earth's most hostile environments. Her research is helping shape space missions that are looking for evidence of life elsewhere in...
Published 11/02/23
In this week’s episode Victoria Gill speaks to Nida al-Fulaij, conservation research manager at the People’s Trust for Endangered Species, about the UK’s new State of Nature report. Climate change, habitat loss and intensive agricultural practices have been blamed for the decline in species. But all is not lost. Victoria pays a visit to an eco-friendly farm and finds out how innovative agricultural practices can boost wildlife in the UK’s fields. We’re kicking off our series of programmes...
Published 10/26/23
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak gave a hastily arranged press conference this week in which he confirmed he would be rowing back on some previously made government commitments regarding net zero - the point at which we remove as much carbon from the atmosphere as we put in. The reaction has been mixed, ranging from endorsements from fellow politicians in the Conservative Party to criticism from opposition parties and environmental groups. The business community is also split. So why has Mr...
Published 10/19/23
In 2015 the UN adopted 17 sustainable development goals aiming to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure people everywhere enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030. Ahead of a summit next week in New York marking the half way point, presenter Gaia Vince speaks to Saleemul Huq, director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development in Bangladesh, and Olive Heffernan, a science author and journalist focused on oceans and climate to find out how the world is doing. In July, a new...
Published 10/12/23
Humans have introduced more than 37,000 alien species to places they do not naturally occur. A report launched this week by the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services revealed the shocking extent of the damage. Gaia Vince speaks to one of the report’s chairs, Helen Roy. Also this week, the UK has now rejoined Horizon Europe, the EU’s £85bn flagship research funding programme. Gaia caught up with the Royal Society’s vice-president Linda Partridge to find out what...
Published 10/05/23
Extreme weather is forcing communities to leave their homes and it's becoming a bigger and bigger issue. What can we do about it? In this edition of BBC Inside Science, Gaia Vince and her guests discuss what climate displacement means for people all over the world. We hear from Diwigdi Valiente, a member of the Guna Yala people of the San Blas Islands in Panama, where whole communities have already begun to evacuate. Closer to home the experts consider the impact of rising sea levels on...
Published 09/28/23
River health has captured the public imagination, particularly as overspills from sewers have been getting more attention in the media. But the condition of a river is so much more complicated than what flows into it from our water treatment systems. Agriculture, roads, how we use our drains, what we buy and even the medicines and drugs we take can all have an impact on our rivers and the plants and animals that call them home. So how are UK rivers doing? And what needs to happen to help...
Published 09/21/23
Two plucky spacecraft, one Russian and one Indian, are currently blasting towards the Moon’s South Pole. Both Russia’s Luna-25 and India’s Chandrayaan-3 are due to touch down next week. They’re heading to that particular region of the Moon in order to hunt for water, the presence of which could have huge implications for our further exploration of the Solar System. Victoria Gill talks to Dr Becky Smethurst, an astrophysicist at the University of Oxford, to find out more. Victoria then...
Published 09/14/23
After decades of exploitation, time is running out for the Amazon rainforest. Eight South American nations came together this week for the first time in 14 years in an attempt to draw up a plan for a more sustainable future. The BBC’s South America correspondent Katy Watson sends us an update on the summit from Belém, Brazil. We also hear from Brazilian scientist Joice Ferreira who tells us why the Amazon is so important for the entire planet. Next up Victoria Gill finds out more...
Published 09/07/23
This week the UK government announced that around 100 new oil and gas licences for the North Sea will be issued. At the same time the Prime Minister said the government would back two new carbon capture and storage plants, one in Aberdeenshire and one in the Humber. Victoria Gill speaks to Angela Knight, former chief executive of Energy UK, about what this decision means for the UK’s aim of reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050. She then discovers more about the capabilities of carbon...
Published 08/31/23
We're in the heart of summer in Europe, where extreme heat has spiralled into out-of-control wildfires across the Mediterranean, leading thousands to flee their homes. Previously on Inside Science we've looked at how and why temperatures are soaring across the globe. Now we're homing in on one of the most visible effects of that. First, BBC climate and science reporter Georgina Rannard paints a picture of the link between these fires and climate change. Next up we hear from Professor...
Published 08/24/23
This week China hit a record high temperature, a scorching 52.2°C, while Death Valley in California measured 53.9°C. Elsewhere, Europe has been battling searing heat and raging wildfires. In previous editions of Inside Science we’ve explored the effects of heat on our health. This week we’ve zoomed out to get a wider perspective on the impacts of soaring temperatures. First up, Rebecca Tobi from the Food Foundation reveals how this weather will impact the range of foods we are used to...
Published 08/17/23
The Threads social media app launched on 5th July. Instagram users were able to sign up with just a few clicks. It joins a plethora of other social media apps like Snapchat, Twitter and TikTok, all of which are readily accessible on our phones. With all these apps at our fingertips, it’s never been easier for us to discover new people to follow, keep in touch with our friends and stay up to date with the latest news about our favourite celebrities. But Professor Devi Sridhar, the chair of...
Published 08/10/23
A rocket launch, super-massive black holes and ghost particles! This past week’s scientific findings are testament to how hard-at-work cosmologists and physicists have been seeking out the fundamental building blocks of our universe and the rules that govern it. Professor of Cosmology at UCL, Andrew Pontzen, joins Marnie Chesterton to discuss the lot of them. Euclid took to the stars on Saturday, carrying a wide-angle space telescope that promises the opportunity to create a far larger and...
Published 08/02/23
Last summer saw intense heatwaves across the world. And already this year, global air, surface and sea temperatures have hit the highest levels on record. China, India and the US are currently experiencing heatwaves. In June, the UK’s Met Office released a health warning because of the high temperatures. In this episode Gaia Vince investigates what causes heatwaves and how hotter weather impacts our health. She finds out how we can prepare ourselves as the temperatures rise. Gaia is...
Published 07/27/23
Scientists, conservationists and other researchers are using audio soundscapes in innovative ways to record the natural world in rich detail and help develop strategies to preserve it. Gaia Vince visits the Dear Earth exhibition at London’s Southbank Centre where she interacts with the ‘Tell It To The Birds’ artwork by Jenny Kendler. This piece transforms spoken word into birdsong, which Jenny hopes will help raise awareness of threatened species. She is joined by Dr Patricia Brekke from...
Published 07/19/23
On Tuesday, the United Nations reported that the breach of the Nova Kakhovka dam on the Dnipro River in Ukraine will impact heavily on global food security, causing a rise in food prices and leaving many without access to clean drinking water. Nine days after the disaster Gaia looks to the future alongside Kira Rudyk, Ukrainian MP who is also leader of the opposition party Golos and Laura Wellesley, senior research fellow in the Environment and Society Programme at Chatham House. Earlier...
Published 07/13/23
For World Ocean Day, Gaia Vince finds out how the planet’s seas could help us to generate clean power, capture CO2 and feed the world. Gaia is joined in the studio by science journalist and marine biologist Olive Heffernan. She dives into the controversy regarding the potential of mining in deep oceans and discusses whether the seas could become the location for Industrial Revolution 2.0. We’re used to seeing seaweed wrapped around our sushi rolls but it’s so much more than that. As well...
Published 07/05/23
In the headlines this week eminent tech experts and public figures signed an open letter that read “Mitigating the risk of extinction from AI should be a global priority alongside other societal-scale risks such as pandemics and nuclear war.” One of the signatories was Geoffrey Hinton, the so-called ‘godfather of AI’. He’s become so concerned about the risks associated with artificial intelligence that he recently decided to quit his job at Google, where he had worked for more than a...
Published 06/29/23
This week, we hear from the University of Florida’s Dr David Duffy. He heads up a team of researchers who are studying sea turtles. In order to track the animals and their diseases, the scientists devised a method of collecting fragments of DNA from tanks at the university’s turtle hospital, as well as from sand and water in the local environment. While they found plenty of turtle DNA, they were surprised to uncover large amounts of high-quality human eDNA. Duffy tells us all about the study...
Published 06/21/23