216 episodes

The news you know, the science you don’t. Unexpected Elements looks beyond everyday narratives to discover a goldmine of scientific stories and connections from around the globe. From Afronauts, to why we argue, to a deep dive on animal lifespans: see the world in a new way.

Unexpected Elements BBC World Service

    • Science
    • 4.3 • 23 Ratings

The news you know, the science you don’t. Unexpected Elements looks beyond everyday narratives to discover a goldmine of scientific stories and connections from around the globe. From Afronauts, to why we argue, to a deep dive on animal lifespans: see the world in a new way.

    Beyoncé, banjos and dancing chemistry

    Beyoncé, banjos and dancing chemistry

    Beyonce's new album tops the charts with a reappraisal of who can do country music and the Unexpected Elements team has a hoedown. Panellist Christine Yohannes unearths new research that changes our understanding of the origins of cowboys. Chhavi Sachdev has a thing or two to teach Beyonce as she reveals why the banjo has it's characteristic twang and we meet a man with powerful chemistry - TikTok dance sensation Dr Andre Isaacs from the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts tells presenter Marnie Chesterton how dancing in his lab helps explain click chemistry.
    We also hear how new species could be given names that refer to the locations they're found in, we discuss whether mining is causing the Earth to shrink and, of course, eclipses make an appearance. We shed some light on how an eclipse over 100 years ago helped prove Einstein's theory of relativity.

    • 49 min
    Unexpected elections

    Unexpected elections

    In a year when billions of people have been to the ballot box, what do stickleback fish have to do with it? Alex Lathbridge, Tristan Ahtone and Candice Bailey discuss some unexpected elements of electoral studies.
    Can ancient geology really map election outcomes? What has machine learning done for polling? Psychologist Sandra Obradović drops in to share some of her expertise in the psychology of voting with the team.
    Plus, what does a solar eclipse have to do with dragons?
    Presenter: Alex Lathbridge, with Tristan Ahtone and Candice Bailey
    Producer: Katie Tomsett, with Harrison Lewis, Alex Mansfield and Phil Sansom

    • 50 min
    G.O.A.T

    G.O.A.T

    Can you put a price on the perfect athlete? In baseball you can, and that’s a $700 million dollar contract. Shoehi Ohtani took to the field in Seoul for the LA Dodgers to prove that the big cheque was worth it.
    It has Marnie asking – can you predict if one of your kids will become the G.O.A.T – the Greatest of All Time in any sport? She’ll also be investigating the other kind of goat – I'd say ordinary, but these ones are fighting wildfires.
    We bring you the curious tale of a never-before-seen beach pebble washing up on the shores of a remote island. What are they? And get the lowdown on the most unpleasant sounding ultramarathons after a 40-year-old Scottish woman completes a race SO hard that only 20 people have finished .
    Plus, gravitational waves, home-grown antivenom, and listening on double speed. Can your brain take it?
    Presented by Marnie Chesterton, Phillys Mwatee and Camilla Mota.
    Produced by Harrison Lewis with Tom Bonnett, Jack Lee and Cath Mcghee.

    • 50 min
    Ancient water, modern solutions

    Ancient water, modern solutions

    In a week of headlines about water shortages slowing ships in the Panama Canal and drought in India's Silicon Valley, we look at unexpected ways to manage the world’s water.
    Presenter Marnie Chesterton and panellists Chhavi Sachdev in Mumbai, India, and Meral Jamal in Nunavut, Canada, tell stories of innovative ideas being tried in their parts of the world.
    Marnie meets water detective Barbara Sherwood Lollar, professor in earth sciences at the University of Toronto, to hear how ancient water can help us plan for the future. Plus, how submersible speakers can help corals, and stories of living underground.
    Producer: Dan Welsh with Tom Bonnett, Harrison Lewis, Jack Lee, Katie Tompsett and Emily Preston.

    • 50 min
    Fandom: The next generation

    Fandom: The next generation

    Passionate K-Pop fans send us on a journey into the science of fandom. Panellists Andrada Fiskutean in Bucharest, Romania and Tristan Ahtone in Helsinki, Finland bring us stories of Star Trek’s sci-fi utopias, why allegiances affect our behaviour and how a cunning sea creature chooses which side of itself to reveal.
    Presenter Marnie Chesterton meets one of her heroes - American theoretical cosmologist and particle physicist Dr Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, who helps Marnie understand the universe with lyrical beauty.

    • 50 min
    Unexpected Oscars

    Unexpected Oscars

    As award season reaches its climax in the US, Unexpected Elements holds its own glitzy ceremony.
    Which bit of science will win Best Picture? Who will take home the Best Supporting Actor? And will Prof Elaine Chew play us out with her Best Original Music?
    The nominations include a particularly noisy tiny fish, a sweating mannequin, and a composition based on a misbehaving heartbeat. All this plus your correspondence and a discussion of how far science infuses the real Academy Awards.
    Presented by Marnie Chesterton with Godfred Boafo and Camilla Moto.
    Featuring pianist Elaine Chew, Professor of Engineering at Kings College London.
    Produced by Alex Mansfield, with Tom Bonnet, Harrison Lewis, Dan Welsh and Katie Tomsett.

    • 50 min

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5
23 Ratings

23 Ratings

GURL I'M KENDRICK LAMAR! ,

Best podcast for nerds

It’s a perfect podcast for a nerd like me. I just love it.

doc rohit ,

Awesome science 🧪 podcast

Need more like this 🖤

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