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4.75 out of 5 stars
Based on 20 reviews
5 out of 5 stars
Listen if you don’t need to have to.
It’s really great. But I like questions and don’t need a big reveal. Also, please stop the “it’s so nice out there…” ad. It makes my skin crawl
1 out of 5 stars
Loaded with bias.
5 out of 5 stars
Fascinating and Fun!
I love this podcast. It hooks me every time. I love how they include questions from all ages and all over the world. Great podcast for the whole family.
5 out of 5 stars
Fun and interesting
I love Crowdscience! It’s a fun, energetic, and educational podcast. I look forward to new episodes!
5 out of 5 stars
Great topics that are both interesting and easy on the ear.
The Baron Fluffy
5 out of 5 stars
This is a fantastic and innovative podcast, entertaining, informative, great presenters …. Long may they continue to answer the questions of our time !!
5 out of 5 stars
Great info delivered in a thoughtful, thorough and fun manner.
5 out of 5 stars
Wanna learn stuff? Then I recommend this podcast.
5 out of 5 stars
One of the best
This is definitely one of the best science podcasts I’ve listened to and that’s coming from a real lover of science who’s listened to quite a few. This podcast is entertaining, really accessible for non-scientists but not dumbed down to the point that you feel patronised. Thank you to the CrowdScience team!
5 out of 5 stars
Brilliant podcast, the episode about conspiracy theories in particular was a masterpiece. Thorough in depth and entertaining - this is a wonderful show!
5 out of 5 stars
Terrific program, well paced and researched
5 out of 5 stars
A superb podcast!!!
I love the science, and especially how the information is shared.
5 out of 5 stars
Truly enjoyable science, I repeat enjoyable science.
Curious listener questions and thoroughly invested journalists....I alway appreciate a wild of fact finding, myth busting, and fantastic possibilities!!!
5 out of 5 stars
I’ve been listening to crowd science for a long time and it never disappoints. The hosts are fun and clever and the topics are wide ranging and interesting. I definitely recommend!
The Real Zen Boy
4 out of 5 stars
They’ve gotten better over the years
It took them a while, but they’ve seem to hit their stride. Some of the episodes are frivolous, but overall it’s pretty good. They’ve come a long way in science reporting. Please keep improving!
5 out of 5 stars
Witty & Informative
A typically brilliant BBC production. If the UK were to disappear from the Earth today, the BBC would serve as a shining memory and gift.
5 out of 5 stars
I like this podcast, Marny Chesterton is a good host and most of the topics they investigate are fascinating. I recommend it!
5 out of 5 stars
Science is so varied and by asking for listeners to pose their questions, they are able to really cover so many unique and interesting topics.
5 out of 5 stars
Should I boycott palm oil?
Issue with one of the arguments adduced for not reducing palm-oil consumption: Allegedly, if less PALM oil were produced in Malaysia — more SOYBEAN oil would be produced by clear-cutting the Amazon rain-forest. However, news reports have stated that more and more Palm Oil is being IN South America, including the shrinking rain-forest. SO: less palm-oil consumption benefits biodiversity in BOTH Malaysia AND the Amazon rain-forest.
5 out of 5 stars
Makes learning fun.
- Amount of episodes
- Explicit content
- Episode type
- Podcast link
- Last upload date
- September 30, 2022
- Last fetch date
- October 5, 2022 3:52 AM
- Upload range
- BBC World Service
- (C) BBC 2022
- Why are fish fish-shaped?There are over 30,000 species of fish – that’s more than all the species of amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals combined. But despite the sheer diversity of life on Earth, we still tend to think of all fish in roughly the same way: with an oblong scaley body, a tail and pairs of fins. Why? And is that really the case? Crowdscience listener and pet fish-owner Lauria asked us to dive into the depths of this aquatic world to investigate why fish are shaped the way they are. Do we just think that fish are all the same because we are land-dwelling? Presenter Anand Jagatia makes a splash exploring the fascinating story of fish evolution, how they came to be such a different shape from mammals and even how some mammals have evolved to be more like fish. Produced by Hannah Fisher and presented by Anand Jagatia for the BBC World Service. Contributors: Professor Frank Fish – Professor of Biology, West Chester University Dr Carla McCabe - Lecturer in Sport & Exercise Biomechanics Dr Andrew Knapp – postdoctoral researcher at the Natural History Museum, London Image: School of fish in shape of fish. Credit: Getty Images0 comments0
- Why don’t some things burn?Crowdscience listener Alix has a burning question - what’s actually happening inside the flames of a campfire to make it glow? And why do some materials burn easily, while others refuse to light at all? To find out, Alex Lathbridge travels to the Fire Research Centre at the University of Edinburgh to (safely) set various things ablaze. He learns about the fundamentals of fire and why things react differently to heat. He then heads to archives of the Royal Institution of London, to see an invention from the 19th century that can stop a fireball in its tracks: the miner’s safety lamp, which saved countless lives. And he speaks to a chemist about the science of flame retardants, and how even though they can make products less flammable, they may also have unintended consequences. Presenter: Alex Lathbridge Producer: Anand Jagatia Contributors: Dr Rory Hadden, University of Edinburgh Charlotte New, Royal Institution Dan Plane, Royal Institution Professor Richard Hull, University of Central Lancashire0 comments0
- Is there a language of laughter?Laugh and the world laughs with you, or so you might think. But watch any good comedian on TV by yourself and chances are you’ll laugh a lot less than if you were sat in a lively comedy crowd watching the same comedian in the flesh. But why is that? Do people from different cultures and corners of the world all laugh at the same things? These are questions raised by CrowdScience listener Samuel in Ghana who wonders why he’s always cracking up more easily than those around him. Presenter Caroline Steel digs into whether it’s our personality, the people around us, or the atmosphere of the room that determines how much we giggle, following neuroscience and psychology on a global trail in search of a good laugh. Producer: Richard Walker Presenter: Caroline Steel [Image: Two Women laughing. Credit: Getty Images]0 comments0
- Can animals count?Mathematics and our ability to describe the world in terms of number, shape and measurement may feel like a uniquely human ability. But is it really? Listener Mamadu from Sierra Leone wants to know: can animals count too? CrowdScience presenter Marnie Chesterton goes on a hunt to uncover the numerical abilities of the animal kingdom. Can wild lions compare different numbers? Can you teach bees to recognise and choose specific amounts? And if the answer is yes, how do they do it? Marnie tries to find out just how deep the numerical rabbit hole goes… and comes across a parrot named Alex who is perhaps the most impressive example of animal counting of them all. Contributors: Brian Butterworth - emeritus professor of cognitive neuropsychology at University College London Mai Morimoto - researcher at Queen Mary University of London Lars Chittka - professor of sensory and behavioural ecology at Queen Mary University of London Irene Pepperberg - comparative psychologist, and research associate at Harvard University Sounds: Lions from Karen McComb, emeritus professor at University of Sussex Túngara frogs from Michael Ryan, professor of zoology at University of Texa at Austin Presenter: Marnie Chesterton Producer: Florian Bohr0 comments0
- What happens to insects in the winter?When CrowdScience listener Eric spotted a few gnats flying around on a milder day in mid-winter it really surprised him - Eric had assumed they just died out with the colder weather. It got him wondering where the insects had come from, how they had survived the previous cold snap and what the implications of climate change might be for insect over-wintering behaviour? So he asked CrowdScience to do some bug investigation. CrowdScience presenter Marnie Chesterton takes up the challenge and heads out into the British countryside – currently teeming with buzzes and eight legged tiny beasties - to learn about the quite amazing array of tactics these small creatures use to survive the arduous days of cold. She hears how some insects change their chemical structure to enhance their frost resistance whist others hanker down in warmer microclimates or rely on their community and food stocks to keep them warm. But cold isn’t the only climatic change insects have to endure, in the tropics the seasons tend to fluctuate more around wet and dry so what happens then? Marnie talks with a Kenyan aquatic insect expert who describes how mosquitoes utilise the rains and shares his worry climate change could have a big impact on insect populations. Contributors: Dr Erica McAlister – Entomologist and Senior Curator, Natural History Museum, Dr Adam Hart – Entomologist and Professor of Science Communication - University of Gloucestershire Fran Haidon – Beekeeper Laban Njoroge – Entomologist, head of the Invertebrate Zoology – Museum of Kenya Dr Natalia Li – Biochemist Presenter: Marnie Chesterton Producer: Melanie Brown [Image: Butterfly in winter resting on snow covered branch. Credit: Getty Images]0 comments0
- What is white?Have you ever wondered why waterfalls appear white when still water is transparent? Why clouds, or snow, appear white when they too are essentially just water molecules in different states? What makes something white, opaque or transparent? These are the questions CrowdScience listener Gerardo has been pondering ever since taking in the beauty of fallen water on a hiking trail in his home of Cantabria, Northern Spain. Presenter Marnie Chesterton, sets off on a quest to find out the answers to all of those questions and more. What even is white? Is it a colour, the absence of colour or all the colours of the rainbow combined? Is black really the opposite of white? And what colours do we mix to make white or black paint? Image: White paint in pots and a paintbrush. Credit: Getty Images0 comments0
- Can smells fill you up?Imagine waking up to the smell of freshly baked bread. Doesn’t it make your mouth water? Now imagine the smell of a fish market on a warm day… still feeling hungry? CrowdScience listener Thanh from Vietnam is intrigued by the effects of smell on our appetite, and wants to know whether certain aromas can make us feel more full than others. Never averse to a food-based challenge, presenter Anand Jagatia takes us on a journey from the nose to the brain, where we find out what exactly happens when we get a whiff of various foods. He discovers how the digestive system prepares for a meal and the extent to which our stomach has a say in whether or not we want to eat, based on how appetizing the smells are around us. Anand also explores our cultural differences. In some parts of the world a stinky Limburger cheese is considered a delicacy, while in other places it could make people lose their lunch. We’ll find out why some of us get triggered in different ways than others.0 comments0
- Are humans naturally clean and tidy?From dumping raw sewage into rivers to littering the streets with our trash, humans don’t have a great track record when it comes to dealing with our waste. It’s something that CrowdScience listener and civil engineer Marc has noticed: he wonders if humans are particularly prone to messing up our surroundings, while other species are instinctively more hygienic and well-organised. Are we, by nature, really less clean and tidy than other animals? Farming and technology have allowed us to live more densely and generate more rubbish - maybe our cleaning instincts just aren’t up to the vast quantities of waste we spew out? CrowdScience digs into the past to see if early human rubbish heaps can turn up any answers. We follow a sewer down to the River Thames to hear about The Great Stink of Victorian London; turn to ants for housekeeping inspiration; and find out how to raise hygiene standards by tapping into our feelings of disgust and our desire to follow rules. Presented by Marnie Chesterton and produced by Cathy Edwards for the BBC World Service. [Image: Man on beach with rubbish. Credit: Getty Images]0 comments0
- Why is this song stuck in my head?You have probably experienced an ‘earworm’ - a catchy bit of music that plays round and round in your head and won’t go away – at least for a short while. But why did it pop up in the first place and how did it get stuck? CrowdScience listener Ryota in Japan wants us to dig into earworms, so presenter Datshiane Navanayagam bravely puts on her headphones to immerse herself in the world of sounds that stick. She meets with a composer of children’s songs as well as music psychologists to find out if there is a special formula to creating catchy songs and probes if this musical brain quirk serves any useful purpose. Datshiane then explores whether some people are more prone to catching earworms than others. Finally, for those who find this phenomenon disturbing - she asks is there a good way of getting rid of them? Come join us down the audio wormhole - disclaimer - the BBC is not responsible for any annoying earworms caused by this broadcast. Presented by Datshiane Navanayagam and produced by Melanie Brown Interviewees: Kelly Jakubowski – Assistant Professor in Music Psychology, Durham University Bill Sherman – Musical Director of Sesame Street Ashley Burgoyne – Computational Musicologist, University of Amsterdam [Image: Audio Cassette. Credit: Getty Images0 comments0
- Are viruses the key to fighting infections?We are running out of ammunition against certain infections, as bacteria increasingly evade the antibiotics we’ve relied on for nearly a century. Could bacteriophages – viruses that hunt and kill bacteria – be part of the solution? In 2019, CrowdScience travelled to Georgia where bacteriophages, also known as phages, have been used for nearly a hundred years to treat illnesses ranging from a sore throat to cholera. Here we met the scientists who have kept rare phages safe for decades, and are constantly on the look-out for new ones. Phages are fussy eaters: a specific phage will happily chew on one bacteria but ignore another, so hunting down the right one for each infection is vital. Since then, we’ve lived through a pandemic, the medical landscape has been transformed, and interest in bacteriophages as a treatment option is growing throughout the world. We turn to microbiologist Professor Martha Clokie for updates, including the answer to listener Garry’s question: could phages help in the fight against Covid-19? Contributors: Prof Martha Clokie, University of Leicester Dr Naomi Hoyle, Eliava Phage Therapy Center Prof Nina Chanishvili, Eliava Institute Dr Eka Jaiani, Eliava Institute Presented by Marnie Chesterton Produced by Cathy Edwards and Louisa Field for the BBC World Service [Photo:Bacteriophages infecting bacteria, illustration. Credit: Getty Images]0 comments0
- Are artistic brains different?Artists can conjure up people, cities, landscapes and entire worlds using just a pencil or a paintbrush. But some of us struggle to draw simple stick figures or a circle that’s round. CrowdScience listener Myck is a fine artist from Malawi, and he’s been wondering if there’s something special about his brain. Myck takes Marnie Chesterton on a tour of his studio, where he paints onto huge canvases sewn from offcuts of local fabric. He’s a self-taught artist and he’s convinced he sees things differently to other people. So where does that all come from? Do artists have different brains from non-artists? And what is it that makes someone a creative person, while others are not? With the help of a jigsaw puzzle, a large metal donut, a swimming cap covered in electrodes and and a really boring brick, Marnie probes the brains of people working to find answers to those questions. She’ll be learning about how we don’t really see what we think we see, why creative people’s brains are like private aeroplanes, and how daydreaming can be a full time job. Contributors: Rebecca Chamberlain, Goldsmiths University of London Robert Pepperell, Cardiff School of Art Ariana Anderson, UCLA Darya Zabelina, University of Arkansas Presented by Marnie Chesterton Produced by Ben Motley for the BBC World Service0 comments0
- What is healthy hair?Hair is an important part of our identities – straight, frizzy, long, not there at all – and our efforts to keep it styled and clean have created an $80 billion hair care industry. Many products offer to improve the life of the stuff on our heads, but isn't it all just dead protein? CrowdScience listener Toria wants to know what 'healthy' hair really means. To untangle the science behind hair, we zoom in to see how hair grows from the follicles in our scalp and explore how the hair growth process will change over our lifetimes. Changes in our hair and disorders affecting the scalp can often have emotional impacts on our lives, as presenter Marnie Chesterton learns from a dermatologist who specialises in hair issues. Having been on a journey with her own hair in recent years following chemotherapy, Marnie is ready for a new 'do and ventures to the hair salon to find out about the health of her own hair. Meanwhile, another CrowdScience listener, Lucy, wonders why humans lost hair (or fur) on most of our bodies when most other mammals are covered in the stuff. A biological anthropologist who studies not only why hair became concentrated on our heads, but also why there's so much diversity in hair types across humans, unpacks the evolutionary benefits. With all these different hair types, does different hair need different care? And when it comes to shampoo, conditioner, washing, blowdrying and dyeing, what should we be doing to keep our hair structure sound? As we learn about this strange nonliving feature of our bodies, Marnie finds a new appreciation for the "dead strands of protein sticking out of our skin". And with listener Toria's help and advice, she also finds a new shade for her chemo-curled locks. Presented by Marnie Chesterton and produced by Sam Baker for BBC World Service. Featuring: ● Tina Lasisi, Penn State Department of Anthropology ● Sharon Wong, Consultant Dermatologist ● Ekwy Chukwuji-Nnene, Equi Botanics0 comments0
- Can we get better at accepting death?Death is inevitable, though many of us would rather not dwell on it. For those with a terminal illness, however, the end of life is clearly a more pressing reality. CrowdScience listener Sam has known for a while that her illness is terminal, and by now she’s got used to the idea. But she finds many friends and family would rather avoid the subject at all costs; they don’t want to acknowledge what’s happening until it’s all over. She’s wondering if there’s a way to lighten up the topic of her approaching death, and create the openness she craves. If we could learn to be more accepting of illness and dying, the end of life could be a more positive experience for all involved. So how can we face up to the impending death of a loved one, and best support that person in the process? In search of answers, we talk a clinical psychologist about death anxiety, visit a death café, and learn about a scheme in India where whole communities are trained in caring for people at the end of life. With Dr Rachel Menzies, Abigail Griffin, Dr Suresh Kumar and Rebecca Nellis. Thanks to Lola, Juan, Leon, Qayyah, Bessy, Madhumita, Ashley, Amaru, Mila and Sheila. Presented by Caroline Steel Produced by Cathy Edwards for the BBC World Service [Image: A woman sitting next to her sister who has cancer. She is wearing a headscarf. Credit: Getty Images]0 comments0
- What is a quantum computer?Every year, new computers are being developed that are faster and smarter than ever before. But if you really want to take things to the next level, you've got to go quantum. CrowdScience listener Atikah in Hungary likes the sound of a quantum computer but wants to know: what exactly is it, what can it do that a normal computer can't, and how soon can she get hold of one? The digital devices in our everyday lives - from laptop computers to smartphones - are all based on 0s and 1s: so-called ‘bits’. But quantum computers are based on ‘qubits’ - the quantum 0s and 1s that are altogether stranger, but also more powerful. With the help of quantum computing researcher Jessica Pointing and a spinning doughnut, presenter Alex Lathbridge learns how these ‘qubits’ allow computers to perform calculations millions of times faster than normal. While quantum computers do exist, it turns out they're not yet big enough or stable enough to be really useful. Alex visits Professor Winfried Hensinger and his prototype quantum computer at the University of Sussex to understand what they can do right now, and why it’s so incredibly difficult to scale them up. He hears from the engineers racing to overcome the obstacles and unlock the potential of these mega-powerful systems. But once the engineering problems are solved, what then? Professor Shohini Ghose opens our eyes to the exciting range of possible applications - from helping create new drugs, to making electric batteries much more efficient and maybe even helping farmers fertilise their crops for a fraction of the price. Contributors - Jessica Pointing, Professor Winfried Hensinger, Professor Shohini Ghose Presenter - Alex Lathbridge Producer - Ilan Goodman Sound Design - Jon Nicholls [Image: Winfried Hensinger in his lab at the University of Sussex, Credit: Universal Quantum]0 comments0
- Human v MachineHumans can walk for miles, solve problems and form complex relationships using the energy provided by daily meals. That is a lot of output for a fairly modest input. Listener Charlotte from the UK wants to know: how efficient are humans? How do they compare to cars, other animals and even to each other? Presenter Marnie Chesterton pits her energetic self against everything from cars to rabbits to find out how she shapes up. Marnie also explores whether humans are born equal when it comes to fuel efficiency. Does the energy from one banana get converted into the same amount of movement from person to person? Marnie gets on a treadmill to find out how efficient she really is. With contributors from Herman Pontzer, Duke University, Rhona Pearce, Loughborough University and Christian Gammelgaard Olesen from Wolturnus wheelchair manufacturing company. Presenter: Marnie Chesterton Producer: Caroline Steel Image credit: Getty Images0 comments0
- Why do bright lights make me sneeze?This week’s CrowdScience is dedicated to bodily fluids – and why humans spend so much time spraying them all over the place. From snot and vomit to sweat and sneezes, listeners have been positively drenching our inbox with queries. Now presenter Marnie Chesterton and a panel of unsqueamish expert guests prepare themselves to wade through… One listener has found that as he ages, bright light seems to make him sneeze more and more – with his current record sitting at 14 sneezes in a row. He’d like to know if light has the same effect on other people and why? Sticking with nasal fluids, another listener wants to know why she’s always reaching for a tissue to blow her endlessly dripping nose and yet her family seem to produce hardly any snot at all. Could it be because she moved from a hotter climate to a colder one? CrowdScience reveals the answers to these and other sticky questions… if you can find the stomach to listen. Produced by Melanie Brown Contributors: Jagdish Chaturvedi – ENT Surgeon Åsmund Eikenes – Author Prof. Lydia Bourouiba - Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, MIT Rubiaya Hussain – PhD student, optics and photonics, ICFO [Image: Woman sneezing. Credit: Getty Images]0 comments0
- Why can't I find gold in my back yard?If you go outside with a spade and start digging, the chances are you won't find any gold. You might get lucky or just happen to live in a place where people have been finding gold for centuries. But for the most part, there'll be none. But why is that? Why do metals and minerals show up in some places and not others? It's a question that's been bothering CrowdScience listener Martijn in the Netherlands, who has noticed the physical effects of mining in various different places while on his travels. It’s also a really important question for the future – specific elements are crucial to modern technology and renewable energy, and we need to find them somewhere. Marnie Chesterton heads off on a hunt for answers, starting in a Scottish river where gold can sometimes be found. But why is it there, and how did it get there? Marnie goes on a journey through the inner workings of Earth's geology and the upheaval that happens beneath our feet to produce a deposit that’s worth mining. On the way she discovers shimmering pools of lithium amongst the arid beauty of the Atacama Desert, meets researchers who are blasting rocks with lasers and melting them with a flame that’s hotter than the surface of the sun, and heads to the bottom of the ocean to encounter strange potato-sized lumps containing every single element on Earth. And maybe, just maybe, she’ll also find gold. Contributors: Leon Kirk, gold panning expert Holly Elliott, University of Derby Jamie Wilkinson, Natural History Museum, London Corrado Tore, SQM, Chile Yannick Buret, Natural History Museum, London Andrea Koschinsky, Jacobs University, Bremen Presented by Marnie Chesterton Report by Jane Chambers Produced by Ben Motley for the BBC World Service [Image: Hands holding Gold Nuggets. Credit: Getty Images]0 comments0
- Why does ancient stuff get buried?Digging and excavating are bywords for archaeology. But why does history end up deep under our feet? This question struck CrowdScience listener Sunil in an underground car park. Archaeological remains found during the car park’s construction were displayed in the subterranean stairwells, getting progressively older the deeper he went. How had these treasures become covered in so much soil over the centuries? CrowdScience visits Lisbon, the capital of Portugal – and home to the above-mentioned multi-storey car park. The city has evidence of human habitation stretching back into prehistory, with remnants of successive civilisations embedded and jumbled up below today’s street level. Why did it all end up like this? Human behaviour is one factor, but natural processes are at work too. Over at Butser Ancient Farm, an experimental archaeology site in the UK, we explore the myriad forces of nature that cover up – or expose - ancient buildings and artefacts over time. Contributors: Dr Mariana Nabais, University of Lisbon Carolina Grilo, Lisbon Museum of the Roman Theatre Dr Matt Pope, University College London Presented by Marnie Chesterton, Produced by Cathy Edwards for the BBC World Service. IMAGE: Getty Images0 comments0
- Does photographic memory exist?Most people are great at remembering key points from important events in their lives, while the finer details - such as the colour of the table cloth in your favourite restaurant or the song playing on the radio while you brushed your teeth - are forgotten. But some people seem to have the power to remember events, documents or landscapes with almost perfect recall, which is widely referred to as having a photographic memory. Crowdscience listeners Tracy and Michael want to know if photographic memory actually exists and if not, what are the memory processes that allow people to remember certain details so much better than others? Putting her own memory skills to the test along the way, presenter Marnie Chesterton sets out to investigate just what’s happening inside our brains when we use our memories, the importance of being able to forget and why some people have better memories than others. Produced by Hannah Fisher and presented by Marnie Chesterton for the BBC World Service. Contributors: Stephen Wiltshire Annette Wiltshire Dr Farahnaz Wick Professor Craig Stark [Image credit: Getty Images]0 comments0
- How far could gene editing go?Humans now have the ability to directly change their DNA, and gene-editing tool CRISPR has led to a new era in gene-editing. CrowdScience listener ‘Bones’ wants to know how gene-editing is currently being used and what might be possible in the future. Gene-editing offers huge opportunities for the prevention and treatment of human diseases, and trials are currently underway in a wide range of diseases like sickle cell anaemia. CrowdScience presenter Caroline Steel finds out about some of the most promising work tackling disease before turning to consider the possibilities of using gene editing to enhance ourselves. Will we be able to extend human longevity, swap our eye colour or improve athletic performance? And even if we can do all these things, should we? As scientists push the boundaries of gene-editing and some people are DIY experimenting on themselves with CRISPR, we discuss the practical and ethical challenges facing this promising but potentially perilous area of science. Produced by Melanie Brown and presented by Caroline Steel for the BBC World Service Contributors: Prof George Church Prof Waseem Qasim Jimi Olaghere Josiah Zayner Prof Joyce harper Prof Julian Suvalescu0 comments0
- How do you balance on a bicycle?How do we stay up when we ride a bicycle? Lots of us can do it without even thinking about it, but probably very few of us can say exactly HOW we do it. Well, CrowdScience listener Arif and his children Maryam and Mohammed from India want to understand what’s going on in our heads when go for a cycle, and how we learn to do it in the first place. Presenter Marnie Chesterton is on the case, tracking down a neuroscientist studying how our brains and bodies work together to keep us balanced whether we’re walking or trying to ride a bicycle. She learns about the quirks of bicycle engineering from researchers in the Netherlands who are part of a lab entirely devoted to answering this question. In the process falling off of some unusual bicycles and uncovering the surprising truth that physics might not yet have a proper answer. And we peer deeper into our brains to find out why some memories last longer than others, whether some people can learn quicker than others and the best way to learn a new skill. Presented by Marnie Chesterton and Produced by Emily Bird for the BBC World Service. Featuring: Kathleen Cullen, Johns Hopkins University, USA Jason Moore, University of Technology Delft, The Netherlands Lara Boyd, University of British Columbia, Canada Rado Dukalski, University of Technology Delft, The Netherlands Josie and Freesia, Pedal Power0 comments0
- Why did the ancient Maya abandon their cities?The ancient Maya flourished in modern day Mexico and Central America for millennia. They built incredible cities and they had sophisticated knowledge of astronomy, architecture and the natural world. But although Maya culture continues to exist today, around 900 AD, many of their great settlements collapsed, and today they lie in ruins. CrowdScience listener Michael wants to know - how did the Maya sustain their populations successfully for so long? And what happened 1000 years ago that led them to abandon their cities? To find out, presenter Melanie Brown travels to the forests of Western Belize. She visits the archaeological site of Xunantunich to learn about what life would have been like for the Maya living in what was once a prosperous city. She hears about the importance of water to the Maya way of life in this region, and their ingenious methods for capturing and storing rainfall. She meets archaeologists using lasers and drones to map Maya settlements that have lain hidden by jungle for centuries. And she discovers what material from the bottom of lakes can tell us about how the Maya faced a changing climate, which may have had huge consequences for their society. This episode is being released on Earth Day 2022. As we face an uncertain future of our own amid a climate crisis, are there any lessons we can learn from the Maya about how to live sustainably on this planet? Presented by Melanie Brown and produced by Anand Jagatia Featuring: Elias Cambranes, Maya expert and tour guide Prof Lisa Lucero, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Prof Tim Murtha, University of Florida Dr Eben Broadbent, University of Florida Prof Mark Brenner, University of Florida Photo: Ancient ruins of the Mayas deep in the forest of Belize Credit: Simon Dannhauer/Getty Images0 comments0
- How should we measure cleverness?The team at CrowdScience have spent years answering all sorts of listener questions, which must make them pretty smart, right? IN this week’s episode, that assumption is rigorously tested as Marnie Chesterton and the team pit their wits against a multitude of mindbending puzzles from an old TV gameshow - all in the name of answering a question from Antonia in Cyprus. She wants to know: how do we work out how clever someone is? Is IQ the best measure of cleverness? Why do we put such weight on academic performance? And where does emotional intelligence fit into it all? In the search for answers, presenter Marnie Chesterton and the team are locked in rooms to battle mental, physical, mystery and skill-based challenges, all against the clock. Unpicking their efforts in the studio are a global team of cleverness researchers: Dr Stuart Ritchie from Kings College London, Professor Sophie von Stumm from York University and Dr Alex Burgoyne, from Georgia Institute of Technology in the US. They are challenged to face the toughest questions in their field: Why do men and women tend to perform differently in these tests? Is our smartness in our genes? And what about the Flynn effect – where IQs appear to have risen, decade after decade, around the world. Produced by Marnie Chesterton on BBC World Service [Image: Man doing puzzle. Credit: Getty Images]0 comments0
- How many fossils are there?The odds of becoming a fossil are vanishingly small. And yet there seem to be an awful lot of them out there. In some parts of the world you can barely look at a rock without finding a fossil, and museum archives worldwide are stuffed with everything from ammonites to Archaeopteryx. But how many does that leave to be discovered by future fossil hunters? What’s the total number of fossils left to find? That’s what listener Anders Hegvik from Norway wants to know and what CrowdScience is off to investigate. Despite not having the technology or time to scan the entire planet, presenter Marnie Chesterton prepares to find a decent answer. During her quest, she meets the scientists who dig up fossils all over the world; does some very large sums; and asks, have we already found all the T-rexes out there? Presented by Marnie Chesterton and produced by Anna Lacey (Photo: Fossilized dinosaur bones and skull in the send. Credit: Getty Images)0 comments0
- Why do animals migrate? Part 2Many animals undertake remarkable migratory journeys; travelling thousands of miles only to return to same burrow or beach they departed from. Yet, unlike humans, they don’t have digital or paper maps to guide their way, so how are they able to orientate themselves with such accuracy? In the second part of this migration story, CrowdScience’s Anand Jagatia explores how animals are able to navigate using the sun, stars, smells, landmarks and magnetism to help guide them. Anand journeys to the coast of Florida where he helps to place a satellite tracker on a sea turtle in order to follow the long-distance journeys of these animals. He then visits a lab in North Carolina to meet a team that is recreating the earth’s magnetic fields to examine how sea turtles might be using these forces to find their feeding and nesting grounds. Anand wades into the hotly contested topic of just how birds may be sensing magnetic fields – and hears about one of the latest theories that suggests birds eyes may be exploiting quantum physics. The range of navigational tools we encounter throughout the animal kingdom from whales to ants is beguiling, Anand asks what does our increased understanding of these feats might mean for animal conservation as well as human development of mapping systems. Contributors: David Godfrey – Sea Turtle Conservancy Rick Herren – University of Florida Tim Guilford – University of Oxford Ken Lohmann – University of North Carolina Kayla Goforth – University of North Carolina Henrik Mouritsen – University of Oldenburg (Photo: Sea Turtles. Credit: Getty Images)0 comments0