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Science Weekly podcast

Science Weekly

Twice a week, the Guardian brings you the latest science and environment news.

Twice a week, the Guardian brings you the latest science and environment news.

 

#141

Why aren’t women getting diagnosed with ADHD?

It’s estimated that a million women in the UK could have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder – but according to the ADHD Foundation, 50–75% of them do not know they have it. Going without a diagnosis can impact someone’s education, employment and physical and mental health. So why are women being left behind? Madeleine Finlay speaks to Jasmine Andersson about her experience of getting a late diagnosis, and Prof Amanda Kirby on why the condition is so often missed in women and girls.. Help support our independent journalism at [theguardian.com/sciencepod] (https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod) ... Read more

12 May 2022

14 MINS

14:57

12 May 2022


#140

‘It’s a hellfire!’: how are India and Pakistan coping with extreme heat?

India and Pakistan have experienced their hottest April in 122 years. Temperatures are nearing 50C. Such extreme heat dries up water reservoirs, melts glaciers and damages crops. It’s also deadly. Ian Sample hears from Pakistan reporter Shah Meer Baloch about the situation on the ground, and speaks to Indian heat health expert Abhiyant Tiwari about what such temperatures do to the body and how south Asia is adapting to ever more frequent – and ever more extreme – heatwaves.. Help support our independent journalism at [theguardian.com/sciencepod] (https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod) ... Read more

10 May 2022

11 MINS

11:14

10 May 2022


#139

Why is the UK suffering HRT shortages?

From hot flushes and flooding to memory problems and depression, for many the menopause can be both distressing and debilitating. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can alleviate some of these symptoms by boosting levels of hormones that wane as women get older. But the UK is experiencing an acute shortage of certain HRT products, leaving some without the medication they need. Madeleine Finlay hears from Guardian reader Sara about the impact of HRT shortages on her life, and speaks to science reporter Nicola Davis about why demand isn’t being met and what’s being done to fix the problem. Help support our independent journalism at [theguardian.com/sciencepod] (https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod) ... Read more

05 May 2022

10 MINS

10:26

05 May 2022


#138

Will the Large Hadron Collider find a new fifth force of nature?

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) has recently been switched back on after a three-year hiatus to resolve a mysterious and tantalising result from its previous run. So far, everything discovered at the LHC has agreed with the standard model, the guiding theory of particle physics that describes the building blocks of matter, and the forces that guide them. However, recent findings show particles behaving in a way that can’t be explained by known physics. Madeleine Finlay speaks to Guardian science correspondent Hannah Devlin and Prof Jon Butterworth about why this might be a clue towards solving some of the deepest mysteries of the universe, and how the LHC will be searching for a potential fifth force of nature. Help support our independent journalism at [theguardian.com/sciencepod] (https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod) ... Read more

03 May 2022

15 MINS

15:04

03 May 2022


#137

What’s behind the mysterious global rise in childhood hepatitis?

Over the past few weeks, countries around the world have reported an unexpected increase in the number of children with hepatitis. So far about 200 cases have been reported. More than half have come from the UK, but there have also been reports from Spain, Japan and the US, among others. Although this is still a very rare disease, it is severe, with 10% of affected children needing a liver transplant. So what might explain this unusual rise? Guardian science editor Ian Sample speaks to Prof Deirdre Kelly about the current theories as to what could be happening, and how concerned we should be. Help support our independent journalism at [theguardian.com/sciencepod] (https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod) ... Read more

28 Apr 2022

10 MINS

10:04

28 Apr 2022


#136

Preventable author Devi Sridhar on how she handles Covid trolls

As the news came out of China that there was a new virus infecting humans, scientists around the world promptly got to work sequencing genomes, gathering data and communicating what they found with the public. One of the scientists catapulted into the public eye was Devi Sridhar, a professor in global public health. Soon, she was advising the Scottish government on their Covid strategy, regularly appearing on TV and had gained a big social media following. Ian Sample speaks to Sridhar about her experience of the pandemic so far, what it was like working alongside politicians, and what she’s learned from it all. Help support our independent journalism at [theguardian.com/sciencepod] (https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod) ... Read more

26 Apr 2022

14 MINS

14:01

26 Apr 2022


#135

Space junk – how should we clean up our act?

This week, the US became the first country to ban anti-satellite missile tests, in an effort to protect Earth’s orbit from dangerous space debris. There could be millions of pieces of old satellites and spent rockets zooming around above our atmosphere, at speeds where collisions can be catastrophic. Guardian science editor Ian Sample talks to Prof Don Pollacco and Prof Chris Newman about the threat posed by space junk, and how we can tackle the problem. Help support our independent journalism at [theguardian.com/sciencepod] (https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod) ... Read more

21 Apr 2022

13 MINS

13:23

21 Apr 2022


#134

Manifestation: why the pandemic had many of us seeing ghosts - Science Weekly podcast

While telling ghost stories has always been a favourite pastime for many, during the pandemic signs of paranormal activity have reportedly been on the rise. Madeleine Finlay speaks to Prof Chris French about why more of us may have been having eerie experiences, how to explain these phenomena scientifically, and why – even among nonbelievers – ghost stories are still as popular as ever. Help support our independent journalism at [theguardian.com/sciencepod] (https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod) ... Read more

19 Apr 2022

13 MINS

13:25

19 Apr 2022


#133

Does China need to rethink its zero-Covid policy?

To slow down a surge in Covid cases, last week Chinese authorities put Shanghai into lockdown. But with a population of 26 million there have been difficulties providing residents with basic necessities, and videos have appeared on social media showing protests and scrambles over food supplies. Now, authorities have begun easing the lockdown in some areas, despite reporting a record of more than 25,000 new Covid cases. Madeleine Finlay talks to the Guardian’s China affairs correspondent, Vincent Ni, about what’s been happening in Shanghai, whether the Omicron variant may spell the end of China’s zero-Covid policy, and what an alternative strategy could look like This podcast was amended on 15th April 2022 to correct an error in the scripting. We incorrectly stated that Shanghai authorities would start easing lockdown in some areas on Monday 18th April. Lockdown easing began on Monday 11th April.. Help support our independent journalism at [theguardian.com/sciencepod] (https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod) ... Read more

14 Apr 2022

12 MINS

12:03

14 Apr 2022


#132

Why are climate and conservation scientists taking to the streets?

Last week’s IPCC report gives the world just 30 months to get greenhouse gas emissions falling. Beyond that, we’ll have missed our chance of limiting global heating to 1.5C and protecting our planet from the most serious impacts of climate change. As the window closes, some scientists feel like writing reports and publishing papers is no longer enough, and researchers around the world are leaving their desks and labs to take action on the streets. Madeleine Finlay meets scientists protesting at Shell HQ in London and speaks to the conservationist Dr Charlie Gardner about civil disobedience – and why he thinks it’s the only option left. Help support our independent journalism at [theguardian.com/sciencepod] (https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod) ... Read more

12 Apr 2022

14 MINS

14:59

12 Apr 2022


#131

Why has the UK (finally) expanded its Covid symptoms list?

This week, the UK expanded its official Covid symptom list to 12 symptoms including sore throat, loss of appetite, and a blocked or runny nose. British scientists have long called for a broadening of the list, but the change comes at a time when free rapid tests have been scrapped, and the UK is seeing its highest ever levels of infection, according the the Office for National Statistics. Madeleine Finlay speaks to science correspondent Linda Geddes about why this has happened now, what symptoms still haven’t made the list, and what it could all mean going forward. Help support our independent journalism at [theguardian.com/sciencepod] (https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod) ... Read more

07 Apr 2022

12 MINS

12:51

07 Apr 2022


#130

Why is England keeping the abortion ‘pills by post’ scheme?

At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, Great Britain brought in emergency legal orders to allow a ‘pills by post’ abortion service. For abortions within the first 10 weeks, women were able to take the two tablets needed to end a pregnancy in the privacy of their own home rather than having to take the first at a clinic or hospital. The scheme was due to be scrapped in September 2022, but last week MPs voted to keep it in England. Wales will also be making it permanent. Madeleine Finlay spoke to Dr Abigail Aiken about her study looking at the outcomes of self-managed medical abortions during the pandemic, the benefits of taking abortion pills at home, and whether ‘Plan C’ could ever become available in shops and pharmacies. Help support our independent journalism at [theguardian.com/sciencepod] (https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod) ... Read more

05 Apr 2022

14 MINS

14:52

05 Apr 2022


#129

Can the science of PTSD help soldiers in Ukraine?

The war in Ukraine, like other conflicts around the world, will mean millions of people going through horrific and traumatic events. Some may go on to develop post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, experiencing psychological distress for months or even years afterwards. Ian Sample speaks to clinical psychologist Jennifer Wild about what happens in the body and brain when someone gets PTSD, why some people may be more susceptible to developing it than others, and how understanding the underlying psychology can help to build resilience and improve treatments for the future. Help support our independent journalism at [theguardian.com/sciencepod] (https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod) ... Read more

31 Mar 2022

11 MINS

11:38

31 Mar 2022


#128

COP15: is 2022 the year we save biodiversity?

As human activities like agricultural production, mining and pollution continue to drive the so-called sixth mass extinction, government negotiators from around the world are currently meeting in Geneva to try to protect the planet’s biodiversity. At stake is an ambitious Paris-style agreement for nature, the final version of which will be negotiated at the COP15 summit in Kunming, China, in August. Madeleine Finlay speaks to reporter Patrick Greenfield from Geneva about what’s being discussed, how the talks are progressing, and whether time is running out to halt the destruction of life on Earth. Help support our independent journalism at [theguardian.com/sciencepod] (https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod) ... Read more

29 Mar 2022

14 MINS

14:23

29 Mar 2022


#127

Two years on, what have we learned about lockdowns?

Over the past two years, countries around the world have shut down their societies in last-ditch efforts to contain the pandemic. Some, like China, have enforced strict lockdowns as part of a zero Covid strategy. Others have ordered people to stay at home to flatten the curve of infections and buy precious time. But since they first began, what have we learned about how well lockdowns work? Ian Sample speaks to epidemiologist Prof Adam Kucharski about the effectiveness of different approaches, and the lessons we should take forward.. Help support our independent journalism at [theguardian.com/sciencepod] (https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod) ... Read more

24 Mar 2022

12 MINS

12:49

24 Mar 2022


#126

As the energy crisis bites, could fracking ever actually work?

The average family’s energy bill will soon be increasing by 54% in the UK, amid soaring energy prices caused in part by Covid-19 lockdowns and Vladimir Putin’s decision to reduce gas exports prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In response, the UK government is considering all its options to secure its energy supplies and dampen costs – including fracking. But could fracking really provide any kind of solution? Anand Jagatia speaks to the Guardian’s environment editor, Damian Carrington, about how fracking works, why it is back on the table, and whether it could ever be a viable option. Help support our independent journalism at [theguardian.com/sciencepod] (https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod) ... Read more

22 Mar 2022

14 MINS

14:04

22 Mar 2022


#125

Covid cases are rising again – how worried should we be?

After falling for the past few weeks, the number of Covid cases in the UK is increasing once more. Since the easing of restrictions, scientists have been expecting an upwards trend in infections – but could other factors also be at work? Guardian science correspondent Nicola Davis speaks to Anand Jagatia about the latest coronavirus data and what it could mean.. Help support our independent journalism at [theguardian.com/sciencepod] (https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod) ... Read more

17 Mar 2022

11 MINS

11:54

17 Mar 2022


#124

10% of the world’s wheat comes from Ukraine - will war change that?

As the world watches oil and gas prices soar – the next big shock could hit the dinner table. Collectively, Russia and Ukraine are responsible for more than a quarter of global wheat exports and for around 80% of the world’s supply of sunflower oil. Russia — along with ally, Belarus — is also a huge source of fertiliser, accounting for around 15% globally. The war in Ukraine will undoubtedly have a major impact on its agricultural production and exports, putting even more pressure on a system already in crisis. Madeleine Finlay speaks to food policy researcher, Dr Joseph Glauber, about what the war will mean for the supply and cost of food around the world. Help support our independent journalism at [theguardian.com/sciencepod] (https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod) ... Read more

15 Mar 2022

11 MINS

11:10

15 Mar 2022


#123

How come some people haven’t had Covid yet?

Although several countries around the world continue to have high rates of Covid-19 infections, including the UK and US, many of their citizens are yet to be infected with the Sars-Cov-2 virus. This includes countless individuals who have knowingly been exposed, often multiple times, but have still never had a positive test. Madeleine Finlay speaks to Linda Geddes about how scientists are trying to solve the mystery of why some people seemingly don’t catch Covid, and what could be behind this phenomenon. Help support our independent journalism at [theguardian.com/sciencepod] (https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod) ... Read more

10 Mar 2022

13 MINS

13:34

10 Mar 2022


#122

Is Russia losing the information war?

Since Vladimir Putin’s bizarre televised address announcing a ‘military operation’, the Russia-Ukraine war has been rife with disinformation and propaganda. Last week, Facebook and Instagram blocked access to the Russian state media outlets RT and Sputnik across the European Union. In retaliation, Russia completely blocked access to Facebook and restricted access to Twitter. At the same time, misattributed videos purportedly showing nuclear weapons and Ukrainian fighter jets have been going viral. Ian Sample speaks to the Guardian’s global technology editor, Dan Milmo, about the ‘war myths’ propagated online, how the information war is being fought, and whose propaganda is having the biggest impact. Help support our independent journalism at [theguardian.com/sciencepod] (https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod) ... Read more

08 Mar 2022

13 MINS

13:06

08 Mar 2022


#121

What have fossil fuels got to do with the invasion of Ukraine?

As Russia continues its invasion of Ukraine, gas prices remain high around the world. Europe is dependent on Russia for about 40% of its natural gas supplies, and despite the expansion of renewable energy over the past two decades, that dependency is increasing as countries shift to gas from dirtier coal. Putin’s attack on Ukraine has put this reliance into sharp focus as Europe considers how to respond. Madeleine Finlay speaks to our environment correspondent Fiona Harvey about how Putin has weaponised Russia’s fossil fuels, and how Europe could reshape its energy supplies for the future. Help support our independent journalism at [theguardian.com/sciencepod] (https://www.theguardian.com/sciencepod) ... Read more

03 Mar 2022

14 MINS

14:27

03 Mar 2022