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Naked Scientists, In Short Special Editions Podcast

Science • Health-and-fitness

Probing the weird, wacky and spectacular, the Naked Scientists Special Editions are special one-off scientific reports, investigations and interviews on cutting-edge topics by the Naked Scientists team.

Popular episodes

Listening vs hearing

Jan 13 • 04:32
Hearing and listening... is there a difference? I am sure that we have all been guilty of letting our minds drift out of a conversation before realising and immediately trying to tune back in. New research published in Cell Reports describes how brain activity varies during listening and hearing and how this work sheds light on neural pathways linked to attention. Katie Ki...

Language and the Brain

Jan 12 • 06:15
Understanding the human brain and how it completes complex tasks, like processing other people's speech as well as producing its own, is a complex task in and of itself. As it stands, neuroscience isn't able to tell us the underlying computations that lead to human language. New research from the US has taken an interesting approach to working this out: instead of just stu...

What is the impact of a black hole?

Jan 10 • 04:18
Astronomers believe that nearly every galaxy has a supermassive black hole at its centre, this being true for our very own Milky Way. These objects exert such strong gravitational forces on the matter contained within them that it cannot escape the black hole's pull. Scientists using the LOFAR telescope in the Netherlands have been studying the impact that such black holes...

IVF embryos are more successful than expected

Jan 7 • 03:34
During IVF or in-vitro fertilisation, sperm and eggs are mixed together in a dish to produce fertilised embryos, one or two of which are placed in the uterus where the hope is they will trigger a successful pregnancy. Previously, embryologists would pick out and use only what they judged to be the most promising looking embryos. But now new research from the reproductive g...

Making antibiotics more effective

Jan 4 • 05:18
While the coronavirus pandemic is at the forefront of our minds, it's not the only health crisis looming on the horizon. Antimicrobial resistance has been called the "hidden pandemic". One of the ways to counteract resistance is by developing drugs that make current antibiotics more effective, and new research published by the University of Oxford reveals some promising ca...

Omicron update: what's in store for Australia

Dec 19 • 34:02
Dr Chris Smith joins Indira Naidoo on the ABC's Nightlife programme to discuss the latest developments in science and answer questions from listeners. This time they look at the difficult decisions confronting politicians and policymakers internationally and how they should react to the omicron new variant, which appears super transmissible but potentially a lot less letha...

The recent evolution of human beings

Dec 16 • 04:12
Us humans are thought to have appeared on Earth around 300,000 years ago. But how much have we changed since then? New research from Shanghai Jiao Tong University has found many of our most complex traits have continued to be tweaked, even in the past two to three thousand years. Julia Ravey spoke to Guan Ning Lin about our ancestors and how alike we really are. Like this ...

100 years of insulin

Dec 15 • 05:06
2021 marks 100 years since insulin was first discovered. The World Health Organisation estimates that 422 million people around the world have diabetes, a disease where the body either can't produce enough insulin or doesn't respond properly to insulin. In the UK, 1 in 15 people are affected, and that's only set to rise as more and more of us are overweight or obese. So wh...

Cooling down rapidly warming cities

Dec 14 • 05:00
More than 50% of the world's population now lives in urban areas and, in recent years, many major cities have been hit with extreme weather events due to the effects of climate change, like the flooding that hit the London underground - and Queen guitarist Brian May's basement - in the summer of 2021. A key reason for this might be that the urban environments themselves ar...

Tree growth extended in urban jungles

Dec 13 • 04:07
Cities have been found to be warming at faster rates than the rest of the planet due to the materials used such as concrete absorbing heat more readily than organic materials. This is known as the "urban heat island" effect. One antidote, scientists have found, is to plant trees. But flipping the issue around for a moment, what do the trees make of these urban jungles? Acc...

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