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13
JAN

Why Theranos’s blood-testing claims were always too good to be true

Last week, the tech CEO Elizabeth Holmes – once described as ‘the next Steve Jobs’ – was convicted of fraud, and could face decades in prison. Her now collapsed company, Theranos, promised to revolutionise medicine with a machine that could run hundreds of health tests on just a pinprick of blood. Those claims have since been exposed as false – but could they ever have been true? Madeleine Finlay speaks to the Guardian’s wealth correspondent, Rupert Neate, about Silicon Valley’s trial of the century, and pathologist Dr Benjamin Mazer about why Theranos’s vision seemed impossible from the start. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
11
JAN

Is the world’s most important glacier on the brink of collapse?

It’s been called the most important glacier in the world. The Thwaites glacier in Antarctica is the size of Florida, and contains enough water to raise sea levels by over half a metre. Over the past 30 years it has been melting at an increasing pace, and currently contributes 4% of annual global sea level rise. Ian Sample speaks to marine geophysicist Dr Rob Larter about a new research mission to the Thwaites glacier, the role of Boaty McBoatface and what it’s like to see a region melt away before your eyes. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
06
JAN

Why are so many people getting re-infected with Covid-19?

On Wednesday, 194,747 daily confirmed Covid cases were reported for the whole of the UK. But this doesn’t include all the people who have caught the virus for the second, or even third time. In fact, official figures for England, Scotland and Northern Ireland don’t include those who have had Covid before, despite warnings from scientists that up to 15% of Omicron cases could be reinfections. Madeleine Finlay speaks to the Guardian’s science editor Ian Sample about why reinfections are so high for Omicron, what these cases could tell us, and how it could affect public health measures in the future. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
04
JAN

Why is it so hard to lose that festive weight – and keep it off? – podcast

New year resolutions often include eating more healthily, doing exercise and trying to shift some of the extra weight put on over Christmas. Yet research suggests the vast majority of people who do lose weight ultimately end up putting nearly all of it back on. So why is it so difficult? Madeleine Finlay speaks to health journalist and ex-neuroscientist David Cox on the science of metabolism, and what it means for our health. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
30
DEC
2021

From the archive: Carlo Rovelli on how to understand the quantum world (part two)

From electrons behaving as both particles and waves to a cat in a box that’s both dead and alive, the consequences of quantum physics are decidedly weird. So strange, that over a century since its conception, scientists are still arguing about the best way to understand the theory. In the second of two episodes, Ian Sample sits down with the physicist Carlo Rovelli to discuss his ideas for explaining quantum physics, and how it affects our understanding of the world. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
28
DEC
2021

From the archive: Carlo Rovelli on the weirdness of quantum mechanics (part one)

It has been more than a century since the groundwork of quantum physics was first formulated and yet the consequences of the theory still elude both scientists and philosophers. Why does light sometimes behave as a wave, and other times as a particle? Why does the outcome of an experiment apparently depend on whether the particles are being observed or not? In the first of two episodes, Ian Sample sits down with the physicist Carlo Rovelli to discuss the strange consequences of quantum theory and the explanation he sets out in his book Helgoland. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
23
DEC
2021

Covid-19: what will Omicron mean for 2022? podcast

Yesterday, daily cases in the UK exceeded 100,000 for the first time since the pandemic began. Despite this, the government has stuck to its guns in refusing to introduce any restrictions in England before Christmas Day. Yesterday also saw the publishing of a report from a team at Imperial College London that suggests, in the UK, the risk of a hospital stay is 40% lower with Omicron than Delta. To find out what all this means for the weeks and months ahead, Madeleine Finlay speaks to the Guardian’s science editor, Ian Sample.. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
20
DEC
2021

Environment stories you might have missed in 2021

Cop26 may have dominated the headlines this year, but there have been lots of other fascinating, devastating and hopeful environment stories over the past 12 months. Madeleine Finlay speaks to Guardian environment editor Damian Carrington and biodiversity reporter Phoebe Weston about some of their favourites, from reintroducing wild bison to the fields of Kent to climate crisis tipping points. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
16
DEC
2021

The climate crisis and devastating drought in eastern Africa

For three consecutive rainy seasons, the eastern Horn of Africa has experienced poor rainfall. Confounded by Covid-19 and desert locust invasions, millions are now facing starvation across parts of Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia. Already, livestock and wildlife are dying of thirst and hunger in large numbers. And at the heart of it all is the worsening climate crisis. Madeleine Finlay asks climate researcher Chris Funk what’s causing these devastating weather patterns and speaks to Nairobi reporter Peter Muiruri about the impact the droughts are having in northern Kenya, and what can be done to make regions more drought-resilient in the future. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
14
DEC
2021

Covid-19: Will boosters be enough to slow down Omicron?

As England moves to plan B, Boris Johnson has announced that all adults will be offered a booster vaccine by the end of December. But will that be enough to protect the NHS from being overwhelmed? Madeleine Finlay speaks to the Guardian’s science editor, Ian Sample, about the spread of Omicron, and what we can do to prevent a tidal wave of cases. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
09
DEC
2021

Nasa’s new space telescope and its search for extraterrestrial life

On 22 December, if all goes to plan, the £7.5bn James Webb space telescope (JWST) will be blasted into space on top of a giant European Ariane 5 rocket. As it travels to its final destination – a point about a million miles away – it will begin to unfold its gold, honeycombed mirror; a vast light-catching bucket that could give us a view of the universe deeper and more sensitive than we’ve ever had before. JWST could also reveal clues about possible life-supporting planets inside our galaxy. One astronomer who will be eagerly deciphering those clues is Prof Beth Biller, who joined Guardian science editor Ian Sample this week.. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod
07
DEC
2021

Covid-19: How fast is the Omicron variant spreading? podcast

Over 40 countries have now confirmed the presence of Omicron. And, in the UK, scientists have been increasingly expressing their concern about the new variant. Some have speculated there could be more than 1,000 cases here already, and that it could become the dominant variant within weeks. To get an update on what we know about the Omicron variant, and how quickly it might be spreading, Madeleine Finlay speaks to Nicola Davis, the Guardian’s science correspondent. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/sciencepod

385 episodes

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