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Carramore International Limited


BBC Radio 4 - Inside Science

BBC Inside Science

Dr Adam Rutherford and guests illuminate the mysteries and challenge the controversies behind the science that's changing our world.

BBC Inside Science

  • Buzz kill
    As spring and Brexit loom, Adam Rutherford examines what stance the UK might take on neonicotinoids. The pesticide has been shown to harm bee populations by many scientific studies. Now, the largest report of its kind has put pressure on the EU to vote on whether three types of neonics should be banned. Will the UK follow Europe's lead if the ban is legislated? Fly tipping is a problem faced by most authorities. But conservationists at the Creekside Discovery Centre in Deptford are embracing the carpets and shopping trolleys that have washed up in their creek in south-east London. They even argue that the rubbish provides a safe haven for wildlife. Graihagh Jackson investigates. Graphene is often touted as a wonder material but now this carbon sheet could be making an unexpected appearance in your bathroom cabinet as hair dye. The world-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking has died at the age of 76. The British scientist was famed for his work with black holes and a general relativity. Inside Science examines his scientific legacy.

  • Russian Spy Poisoning
    A former Russian spy, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter Yulia are in a serious condition after being exposed to a nerve agent on Sunday. The first police officer to attend the scene also remains in hospital. It is being treated as 'a major incident involving attempted murder.' We ask what happens next: what antidotes are available, how do they work and what's the prognosis? Today marks International Women’s Day. Its aim is to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. But there’s also a strong call for change, especially in the tech industry where women are vastly underrepresented. Discussions on how we could achieve gender equality have been ongoing for years, so why has there been so little change? And how can this bias affect the technology we all use? Scientists are warning of an infertility 'crisis' among men. Sperm counts have been falling for over 40 years and now, 1 in 20 men have low sperm counts. The cause is unknown and this week, doctors are calling for more funding to better understand the issue. The red squirrel has found an unlikely ally: the pine marten. Grey squirrels were introduced to the UK in the late 1800s from America and have since caused the native red population to diminish. However, with the reintroduction of a predator, the mal-adapted greys are being hunted and as a result, red squirrels are bouncing back.

  • Weird Weather?
    With many parts of the country seeing large snowfalls we ask what's driving our current weather? What factors need to be in place to create snowfalls, and how do these differ from sleet or frozen rain? And we address the impact of climate change, while a series of weather events might show a pattern, at what point should we go looking for explanations beyond natural events? Dutch Elm Disease laid waste to millions of British Elm trees back in the 1970's, Now a new tree bacteria which mimics the effects of drought has spread from the Americas to Europe. It has already been detected in some tree imports to the UK. Unlike Dutch Elm Disease it affects a huge variety of trees and shrubs, from mighty oaks to fruit trees and Lavender bushes. New directives have just been introduced to try and halt its spread. Can we beat dementia? Research from the US amongst people in their 80's and 90's provides grounds for optimism, showing that elderly people with good memories have brain structures which can be more developed than those of people 30 years younger. And yet at the same time they may carry factors usually associated with dementia. And how violent are we? Compared with our past that is. Research from collections of gruesome medieval remains paint a picture of a violent society, where men and women commonly carried weapons and inflicting or receiving severe wounds may have been a part of daily life. And yet other studies suggest this level of violence is actually lower than that experienced in some societies today. Marnie Chesterton presents.

  • Science after Brexit
    The UK is one of the largest recipients of research funding in the EU. Marnie Chesterton discusses what the future of UK science funding will look like with MP Norman Lamb, who chairs the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, and Ed Whiting, Director of Policy and Chief of Staff at the Wellcome Trust. Around 4,500 years ago, 90% of the British population was replaced by incomers known as the Beaker people. Across Europe archaeologists have uncovered elements of the Beaker culture - bell-shaped pots, copper daggers, arrowheads, stone wrist guards and distinctive perforated buttons -it's always been a mystery as to whether these finds represent a wave of mass migration or the sharing of ideas between peoples. Now ancient DNA studies show it was both, and for Britain reveal a huge population change which still resonates today. A new collaboration between an artist and a cyclone physicist commences this week.They joined forces to model Hurricane Katrina and cast its shape into six brass bells. Each bell represents a key moment from the category 5 storm, as it progressed across the Gulf of Mexico and made landfall in the United States in 2005. The finished collection will feature in a BBC Radio 4 documentary later this year. And how does the moon affect life on earth? specifically worms - we unearth a species of worm that times its mating ritual by the waxing and waning Moon.

  • 15/02/2018
    Sulphur belched out of vessels' smokestacks is a serious health problem for coastal communities around the world. Four hundred thousand premature deaths from lung cancer and cardiovascular disease and around 14 million childhood asthma cases annually are reckoned to be related to shipping emissions. The International Maritime Organisation has finally agreed to drastically reduce polluting emissions from 2020. Gareth Mitchell discusses with James Corbett of the University of Delaware the impact of the emissions reduction on health. The nearly complete skeleton of Cheddar Man was found in a cave in Somerset in 1903. He'e been in the news because experts in human face reconstruction have created an image of what he probably looked like based on new DNA evidence. Chris Stringer, Ian Barnes and Selina Brace of the Natural History Museum have all worked with Cheddar Man and they talk to Gareth about how the study of this 10 000 year old skeleton is part of a bigger project to understand how Britain became populated with waves of peoples from Europe in the Mesolithic and Neolithic eras. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems have invented a magnetically controlled soft robot only four millimetres in size that can walk, crawl or roll through uneven terrain, carry cargo, climb onto the water surface, and even swim in it. Professor Metin Sitti, Director of the Physical Intelligence Department at the Max Planck Institute, explains how it works and how he sees the future use of millirobots in medicine - in delivering drugs and targeting cancerous cells. Marnie Chesterton talks to Dr Lisa Wallis from ELTE University in Hungary about her work to improve the cognitive abilities of older dogs... using touchscreens.