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The Guardian's Science Weekly | Top Science Podcasts 2020

The top science podcasts of 2020 updated daily.

The Guardian's Science Weekly
The award winning Science Weekly is the best place to learn about the big discoveries and debates in biology, chemistry, physics, and sometimes even maths. From the Guardian science desk - Ian Sample, Hannah Devlin & Nicola Davis meet the great thinkers and doers in science and technology.

Covid-19: is it possible to predict how sick someone could get?
2020-09-24 03:00:23
Nine months in, and with over 30 million people having been infected with Covid-19, we now know some of the main factors that put people at higher risk of a severe case of the disease, such as age and having other health problems. But there is still a lot to learn about why some people, and not others, become very ill from catching Sars-CoV-2. Nicola Davis takes a look at the researchers attempting to rapidly work out how to predict who is going to get very sick. Help support our independent journalism at <a href=""></a>
19 minutes, 33 seconds

What does it mean to be alive? Paul Nurse on defining 'life'
2020-09-21 21:00:03
Is it possible to define the biological, chemical and physical functions that separate cells, plants and even humans from inanimate objects? In his new book, Paul Nurse, Nobel prize winner and director of the Francis Crick Institute, addresses a question that has long plagued both philosophers and scientists - what does it really mean to be alive? Speaking to Madeleine Finlay, Paul delves into why it's important to understand the underlying principles of life, the role of science in society, and what life might look like on other planets. Help support our independent journalism at <a href=""></a>
21 minutes, 41 seconds

Covid-19 ethics: should we deliberately infect volunteers in the name of science? Part 2
2020-09-16 21:00:47
Teams around the world are hard at work developing Covid-19 vaccines. While any potential candidate will need to be tested on thousands of volunteers to prove its safety and efficacy, some scientists have argued that the race to the finish line could be sped up by human challenge trials – where participants are infected with a special strain of the virus. Ian Sample delves into some of the misconceptions and hurdles inherent in this kind of research. In the second of two episodes, Ian explores the importance of rescue treatments, what happens if something goes wrong, and whether it would ever be morally permissible to deliberately infect those most at risk of Covid-19, like volunteer octogenarians. Help support our independent journalism at <a href=""></a>
23 minutes, 4

Covid-19 ethics: Should we deliberately infect volunteers in the name of science? (part 1)
2020-09-14 21:00:15
Would you be willing to have a dose of Sars-CoV-2 sprayed up your nose for medical research? For thousands around the world, the answer is yes. Eager volunteers have already signed up to take part in human challenge trials, where participants would be deliberately infected with the virus in order to better understand the disease, and rapidly develop a treatment or vaccine. But should such studies go ahead with a dangerous and relatively new virus? In the first of two episodes, alongside a panel of experts Ian Sample delves into some of the ethical questions of human challenge trials and asks where the balance of risks and benefits currently lies. Help support our independent journalism at <a href=""></a>
24 minutes, 57 seconds

Covid-19: what happens when flu season hits? (part 2)
2020-09-09 21:00:33
As the northern hemisphere heads into autumn and winter, cold and flu are beginning to spread and more people find themselves with coughs, fevers and a runny nose. With Covid-19, this brings new challenges. Should we quarantine at the first sign of the sniffles? Could co-infections of flu and Covid-19 make your symptoms worse? Do we have the capacity to test for more than one virus? In part 2 of our investigation into what happens when flu season hits, Ian Sample speaks to Prof Peter Horby about what it might mean for both individuals and medical professionals if multiple respiratory viruses are circulating, and how we can best prepare for a potential winter resurgence of Covid-19. Help support our independent journalism at <a href=""></a>
16 minutes, 27 seconds

Covid-19: what happens when flu season hits? (part 1)
2020-09-07 21:00:12
For those of us in the northern hemisphere, flu season is quickly approaching. This raises an important question: what will it mean for Covid-19? Could hospitals be overloaded? Is co-infection likely and could it make symptoms worse? Or, will transmission of Sars-CoV-2 prevent the spread of seasonal influenza? In the first of two parts, Ian Sample addresses the question of flu and Covid-19 by investigating how different respiratory viruses interact. Speaking with Prof Pablo Murcia, Ian explores the interplay when viruses meet - both on a population level, and on the human scale. Help support our independent journalism at <a href=""></a>
14 minutes, 2

Covid-19: why do pandemics trigger civil unrest? - podcast
2020-09-03 03:08:13
As countries entered lockdowns to mitigate the impact of Covid-19, many citizens came out to protest against measures such as social distancing, face masks and potential vaccination programmes. Demonstrations have subsequently erupted around around the world, with causes ranging from the Black Lives Matter movement to protests against inequality and corruption. Taking a look at some of the social psychology underpinning such action, Nicola Davis asks Prof Clifford Stott why pandemics can trigger social unrest, how disease outbreaks should be policed, and what Covid-19 might mean for community relationships. Help support our independent journalism at <a href=""></a>
18 minutes, 25 seconds

The science of healthy eating: Why are we still getting it wrong?
2020-09-01 06:43:22
According to a recent study, obesity increases the risk of dying of Covid-19 by nearly 50%. Governments around the world are now hoping to encourage their citizens to lose weight. But with so much complex and often contradictory diet advice, as well as endless food fads, it can be hard to know what healthy eating actually looks like. How many pieces of fruit and vegetables should you eat a day? Will cutting out carbs help you lose weight? Is breakfast really the most important meal of the day? Speaking to Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at King's College London about his new book Spoon-Fed, Madeleine Finlay asks why we're still getting food science wrong, and explores the current scientific evidence on snacking, supplements and calorie labels. Help support our independent journalism at <a href=""></a>
19 minutes, 42 seconds

From the archives: the fate of Arctic sea ice
2020-08-26 21:00:43
As the Science Weekly team continue their summer break, we're digging through the archives. Today's episode takes us back to 2016, when Ian Sample explored the crisis of melting Arctic sea ice. Recently, this worrying phenomenon hit the headlines once again when a new model found that the Arctic could experience summers completely free of sea-ice as early as 2035. In our episode from the archive, Ian asks a host of experts what some of the potential ramifications might be of the total disappearance of Arctic sea ice. Help support our independent journalism at <a href=""></a>
32 minutes, 35 seconds

From the archives: nudge theory and the psychology of persuasion
2020-08-24 21:00:44
While the Science Weekly team take a summer break, we're bringing you an episode from the archives - one that seems particularly pertinent as the pandemic continues and governments take a more prominent role in our day-to-day lives. Back in 2017, Ian Sample investigated how we're constantly "nudged" to change how we act. Exploring the psychology, history and ethics of nudge theory, Ian spoke to the Harvard Law School professor Cass Sunstein and Dr David Halpern, one of the field's founders, who is currently advising the UK government on nudging during the coronavirus outbreak. Help support our independent journalism at <a href=""></a>
34 minutes, 6 seconds

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