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. Science has never sounded so good! We'd love to hear what you think, so get in touch via @guardianaudio or

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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. Science has never sounded so good! We'd love to hear what you think, so get in touch via @guardianaudio or
🇬🇧 English
last modified
2019-03-23 23:51
last episode published
2019-03-22 06:00
publication frequency
6.6 days
Contributors owner   author  
Number of Episodes
Detail page
Science & Medicine



Date Thumb Title & Description Contributors

Vitamania: should we all be popping vitamin pills? – Science Weekly podcast

With almost half of British adults taking a daily vitamin, Graihagh Jackson and guests examine our love of supplements - including recent announcments about fortifying flour with folic acid. Help support our independent journalism at
The Guardian author

Blood: the future of cancer diagnosis? – Science Weekly podcast

Could a simple blood test catch cancer before symptoms appear? Nicola Davis goes beyond the hype and investigates the future of blood diagnostics and cancer. Help support our independent journalism at
The Guardian author

Cross Section: Matt Parker - Science Weekly podcast

Happy International Pi Day. To celebrate, Hannah Devlin is joined by the mathematician and comedian Matt Parker to discuss maths anxiety, how much today’s world relies on number crunching and what happens when we get it wrong. Help support our independ...
The Guardian author

Gender data gap and a world built for men | podcast

Today is International Women’s Day, and so Science Weekly teams up with the Guardian’s tech podcast, Chips with Everything. Nicola Davis and Jordan Erica Webber look at the repercussions of a male-orientated world – from drugs that don’t work for women...
The Guardian author

Farewell to Nasa's Mars rover Opportunity – Science Weekly podcast

Nicola Davis bids a fond farewell to the Mars rover Opportunity after Nasa declared the mission finally over, 15 years after the vehicle landed on the red planet.. Help support our independent journalism at
The Guardian author

Do we need another massive particle collider? Science Weekly podcast

With the Large Hadron Collider reaching its upper limits, scientists around the world are drawing up plans for a new generation of super colliders. Ian Sample weighs up whether or not the potential new discoveries a collider may make will justify the c...
The Guardian author

Cross Section: Paul Davies – Science Weekly podcast

Nicola Davis talks to the theoretical physicist Paul Davies, who has been trying to find the solution to one of humankind’s trickier questions – what is life?
The Guardian author

Where on earth is North? - Science Weekly podcast

Earth’s north magnetic pole wandering so quickly in recent decades that this week, scientists decided to update the World Magnetic Model, which underlies navigation for ships and planes today. Ian Sample looks at our relationship with the magnetic nort...
The Guardian author

Cross Section: Jo Dunkley – Science Weekly podcast

Jo Dunkley is a professor of physics and astrophysical sciences at Princeton University. Hannah Devlin talks to her about what it’s like to work on the Atacama Cosmology Telescope in Chile, where they need to bring oxygen tanks for safety.
The Guardian author

Toxic legacy: what to do with Britain's nuclear waste – Science Weekly podcast

The UK has a problem and it isn’t going to go away anytime soon. But what to do about it? This week Geoff Marsh explores two options, including plans to bury the UK’s nuclear waste deep underground
The Guardian author

How do we define creativity? - Science Weekly podcast

In our latest collaboration, Ian Sample teams up with Jordan Erica Webber of Chips with Everything to look at why artwork produced using artificial intelligence is forcing us to look at how we define creativity author

Exploring the far side of the moon – Science Weekly podcast

Hannah Devlin looks at why there is renewed interest in lunar exploration following the Chinese Chang’e 4 adventure on the far side of the moon author

Did a supervolcano cause the dinosaurs' demise? – Science Weekly podcast

Some scientists are beginning to question whether it really was an asteroid impact that led to the dinosaurs’ extinction – instead, they think it may have been a supervolcano in India. Graihagh Jackson investigates author

Cross Section: Hannah Fry – Science Weekly podcast

Dr Hannah Fry won the Christopher Zeeman medal in August for her contributions to the public understanding of the mathematical sciences. Ian Sample has invited her on the podcast to discuss her love of numbers. Plus, he asks, can we really use this dis... author

Cross Section: Dame Jane Francis - Science Weekly podcast

Prof Dame Jane Francis knows Antarctica better than most: she’s spent the majority of her career researching this icy landscape. Ian Sample talks to her about what it’s like to camp in Antarctica and what her findings can tell us about our future on th... author

Oh my: a psychological approach to awe – Science Weekly podcast

Nicola Davis asks what’s behind one of humanity’s most powerful and possibly evolutionarily important emotions author

Gene-edited babies: why are scientists so appalled? – Science Weekly podcast

Last week Dr He Jiankui announced he had created the world’s first gene-edited babies. Hundreds of Chinese scientists have signed a letter condemning the research. Hannah Devlin delves into why He’s research has caused such uproar author

Cross Section: Tim Peake - Science Weekly podcast

Tim Peake beat 8,172 applicants for a spot on the European Space Agency’s astronaut training programme. Ian Sample talks to him about the selection process and the intensive training he went through author

Can we trust artificial intelligence lie detectors? – Science Weekly podcast

Liar liar, pants on fire? In this collaboration between the Guardian’s Science Weekly and Chips with Everything podcasts, we explore whether it will ever be possible to build intelligent machines to detect porky pies author

Treating cancer: what role could our diet play? - Science Weekly podcast

Food is an essential part of everyone’s life but how does what we eat affect our health? Could we eat to treat our illnesses? Top oncologists from around the world are beginning to study the role of diet in cancer treatment and early results look promi... author

Cross Section: Sir Venki Ramakrishnan – Science Weekly podcast

Nicola Davis sits down with Nobel prize-winning scientist Sir Venki Ramakrishnan to discuss the competition he faced in the race to discover the ribosome – AKA the gene machine. Is competition good for science, or would a collaborative approach be bett... author

What role should the public play in science? - Science Weekly podcast

How far is too far when it comes to the public directing research? There are concerns than a science journal may revise a paper amid pressure from activists. It raises the issue of what role the public should play and whether science should have bounda... author

Falling fertility: lessons learned from Botswana – Science Weekly podcast

Fifty years ago, the average woman in Botswana had seven children. Now she will have fewer than three. Enabling women to control their fertility has had huge ramifications for their health, education and employment – could President Trump’s ‘ global ga... author

Mars is barred: why we shouldn't go to the red planet – Science Weekly podcast

Elon Musk believes we should colonise Mars to ensure the survival of the human race. But is this reasoning compelling enough? Hannah Devlin ponders the case against setting our sites on Mars author

A step in the right direction: could implants help people walk again? – Science Weekly podcast

Four people with paraplegia were recently implanted with electrodes in their lower backs. They all regained movement below their injuries, and two walked again. This week Nicola Davis investigates this technique – epidural stimulation – and other appro... author

The weight is over: will kilograms get an upgrade? – Science Weekly podcast

On 16 November, scientists vote on whether to update the way we measure the kilogram. This week, Ian Sample investigates the history of the metric system, and finds out how universal constants might now make it more robust author

Cross section: Mark Miodownik – Science Weekly podcast

What can a materials scientist learn from artists? How do you make robotic trousers? And what should we do about plastics? Hannah Devlin sits down with Mark Miodownik to find out author

Opioid addiction: can the UK curb the looming crisis? – Science Weekly podcast

The US has been in the grip of an ‘opioid epidemic’ since the 1990s, and now a rise in opioid prescriptions and deaths is being seen across the pond. Ian Sample investigates and asks: what can we do the curb the looming crisis? author

Are fungi the secret to a sweet sounding violin? – Science Weekly podcast

From making violins sound beautiful, to beer and bread, to creating life-saving medicine, fungi have an array of very useful attributes. This week, a report demonstrates just how little we know about this kingdom of life and what we are set to gain if ... author

Could a new force of nature reveal the universe's dark side? – Science Weekly podcast

We can see only 4% of the observable universe – the rest is made up of invisible ‘dark matter’ and ‘dark energy’. Now scientists are looking for a postulated force of nature that could open a door to the dark side. Ian Sample investigates author

Conservation: there will (not) be blood - Science Weekly podcast

Invasive species have been blamed for wiping out native populations. Conservationists face a hard choice: should they kill one species to save another? The answer is often yes. Nicola Davis explores this dilemma and asks whether there’s a more compassi... author

The silver lining in Huntington's disease – Science Weekly podcast

This degenerative illness has a few genetic quirks which scientists believe could cause secondary health benefits. Emerging research suggests that people with Huntington’s are less sickly, don’t get cancer as often and even have more brain cells. Hanna... author

Heatwaves: the next silent killer? - Science Weekly podcast

Heatwaves have ravaged much of the northern hemisphere, causing wildfires, destruction and death. Some are blaming heat stress for an increase in chronic kidney disease in Central America. Graihagh Jackson investigates the causes and health effects of ... author

Biomimicry: Does nature do it better? – podcast

In this special collaboration between the Guardian’s Science Weekly and Chips with Everything podcasts, we explore why it’s so hard to mimic nature author

Tricky taxonomy: the problems with naming new species – Science Weekly podcast

Species are hard to define, as they don’t fit neatly into the categories that science wants to put them into. But increasingly, people are naming new species without enough evidence to suggest they are indeed a separate taxon. Graihagh Jackson investig... author

In vitro fertilisation: 40 years on – Science Weekly podcast

This week, the world’s first IVF baby turned 40. The procedure has come a long way since 1978, and more than 6 million IVF babies have now been born. But should we be concerned about the rising numbers of fertility treatments? And are we becoming less ... author

The dark side of happiness – Science Weekly podcast

Happiness means something different to all of us, be it contentment, pleasure or joy. But could pursuing it leave us sad instead? Nicola Davis explores the science and psychology of happiness author

From Ebola to Nipah: are we ready for the next epidemic? – Science Weekly podcast

The 2014 Ebola outbreak killed over 10,000 people before it was eventually brought under control. As new infectious diseases appear around the world, what can we learn from past outbreaks to better prepare ourselves? author

Did dinosaurs stop to smell the flowers? – Science Weekly podcast

Is it true that dinosaurs had a role to play in the emergence of flowers? Nicola Davis investigates whether herbivores caused plants to blossom author

Slice of PIE: a linguistic common ancestor – Science Weekly podcast

Nicola Davis explores Proto-Indo-European, the hypothetical common ancestor of modern Indo-European languages and asks, where did it come from? How and why did it spread? And do languages evolve like genes? author

Gene-edited pigs: can we engineer immunity? – Science Weekly podcast

Pigs have been rendered immune to a disease that has cost billions. Hannah Devlin questions whether this could be the future of eliminating debilitating and costly viruses in livestock author

Soundscape ecology with Bernie Krause – Science Weekly podcast

Do you know what noise a hungry sea anemone makes? Soundscape ecologist Bernie Krause does. Armed with over 5,000 hours of recordings, he takes Ian Sample on a journey through the natural world and demonstrates why sound is such a powerful tool for con... author

The psychological effects of inequality – Science Weekly podcast

Wealth inequality has skyrocketed in the UK, as has anxiety, stress and mental illness. Could the two be linked? Richard Lea investigates author

Finding a voice: why we sound unique – Science Weekly podcast

Each and everyone of us has a voice that is unique. As a result, we make a lot of assumptions about someone from just the way they speak. But are these judgements fair? And what if they’re wrong? Nicola Davis explores author

Radiophobia: why do we fear nuclear power? – Science Weekly podcast

Nuclear energy is back on the UK government’s agenda. However, concerns about safety have plagued this technology for decades. Given it kills less people than wind, coal or gas, why are we so radiophobic? Ian Sample investigates. author

Why is asbestos still killing people? – Science Weekly podcast

Every year, more people die from asbestos exposure than road traffic accidents in Great Britain. Many countries still continue to build with this lethal substance – but why? Hannah Devlin investigates author

Growing brains in labs – Science Weekly podcast

This week: Hannah Devlin explores how scientists are growing human brains in labs. Why are they so keen to explore the possibilities? What are the ethical concerns being raised by experts? author

Cross Section: Carlo Rovelli – Science Weekly podcast

Guest host Richard Lea reimagines time with theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli. What is time, after all? Should we be thinking about it differently? author

The curious case of the dodo – Science Weekly podcast

This week: Nicola Davis investigates the death by fowl play of one of the world’s most famous dodo specimens. So what do we know about the dodo as a species? And what questions does this murder case raise? author

The science behind why we fight – Science Weekly podcast

This week, Ian Sample asks: why do humans fight? Can science tell us anything about what drives us to violence? author