78 episodi

The BBC brings you all the week's science news.

Science in Action BBC

    • Scienze
    • 4.5 • 10 valutazioni

The BBC brings you all the week's science news.

    Vaccines – the Covid confusion

    Vaccines – the Covid confusion

    While developing new treatments drug companies usually release little useful information on how the clinical trials are progressing. However with the world’s attention on potential vaccines against Covid -19, the usually dull data on the progression of each trial step is subject to huge scrutiny. It doesn’t help to clarify things says epidemiologist Nicole Basta when that data raises questions about the rigour of the trial itself. This seems to be what happened with the latest Astra Zeneca, and Oxford University trial – where the best results were reportedly due to a mistake.

    The link between locust plagues and extreme weather was demonstrated once again when cyclone Gati hit Somalia – dumping 2 years worth of rain in just a few days. This creates a perfect environment for locusts to breed to plague proportions. And this will be the third time in as many years that cyclones will trigger such an effect says Keith Cressman from the UNFAO. However thanks to the previous recent locust plagues in East Africa the countries most in line for this returning locust storm are better prepared this time.

    A study of tree rings from Greater Mongolia suggests the region is now drying out rapidly, the past 20 years have been drier than the past thousand says climate scientist Hans Liderholm. This points to potential desertification in coming years.

    And the death of a scientific icon. The Arecibo observatory, featured in the films ‘Goldeneye’ and ‘Contact’, and responsible for the Nobel Prize winning detection of gravitational waves is facing demolition. Sitting in a crater in the jungles of Puerto Rico this 57 year old radio telescope dish has suffered severe storm damage and is in danger of collapse. Astronomer Anne Virkki, who works at the telescope and science writer Shannon Stirone explain its significance.



    (Image: Credit: Getty Images)

    Presenter: Roland Pease
    Producer: Julian Siddle

    • 31 min
    Covid- 19 – Good news on immunity

    Covid- 19 – Good news on immunity

    Tests on patients for up to 8 months following their infection with SARS- CoV-2 suggests an immune response can persist. Alessandro Sette and Daniela Weiskopf at the La Jolla Institute in California are optimistic this could mean vaccines would also confer long lasting immunity.

    An analysis of samples from Kenya’s blood banks by Sophie Uyoga at the KEMRI-Wellcome Research Programme reveals far more people in Kenya contracted the virus than was previously know. The figures mean Kenya has similar levels of infection to many European countries.

    And a study of mosquitoes by Louis Lambrechts of the Pasteur Institute in Paris reveals why Zika, a virus originating in Africa is much more prevalent in other parts of the world.

    We also look at the future of the Nile. Ethiopia is building a massive Dam which will have consequences for Sudan and Egypt who are reliant on the Nile’s waters says hydrologist Hisham Eldardiry from the University of Washington, Seattle.


    (Image: Credit: Getty Images)

    Presenter: Roland Pease
    Producer: Julian Siddle

    • 35 min
    Covid-19 defeats US Marines

    Covid-19 defeats US Marines

    The WHO is working with China to try and pinpoint the source of SARS- COV-2. Sian Griffiths, Emeritus Professor of Public Health at the Chinese University of Hong Kong says there are lessons we can learn from the investigation she led into the original SARS outbreak back in 2003. That inquiry revealed how SARS had spread from bats to humans via civet cats.

    A Covid-19 vaccine claims to be 90% effective. It uses genetic material, messenger RNA. Daniel Anderson of Harvard MIT Health Science tells us about the huge potential of mRNA to provide treatments for many medical conditions.

    However, rolling out such a vaccine globally faces a huge range of economic and practical obstacles as ethicist Nicole Hassoun of Binghamton University explains.

    And a unique experiment shows despite a vast range of precautions including being isolated US Marines have contracted Covid -19. Stuart Sealfon, Professor of Neurology at Mount Sinai Hospitals says this study shows we need testing to be integrated more thoroughly into everyday life and that many of the precautions we currently use may not be enough to prevent transmission.


    (Image: Credit: Getty Images)

    Presenter: Roland Pease
    Producer: Julian Siddle

    • 33 min
    Coronavirus spreads from mink to humans

    Coronavirus spreads from mink to humans

    All the farmed mink in Denmark are to be killed. Around 17 million. This is because they have SARS COV-2 coronavirus circulating among them and some humans have contracted a new strain from the animals. The scientific detail is sketchy, but Emma Hodcroft at Basel University pieces together a picture of what this means for tackling the virus.

    Typhoon Goni and hurricane Eta are two very powerful tropical cyclones. But the way these storms are recorded differs by geographical location and recording style. We speak with Kerry Emanuel, a professor at MIT in Boston, USA.

    The magnitude 7 earthquake that hit the Mediterranean last Friday (30/10/20) was 70 miles away from the city of Izmir, but despite this, there was devastating loss of life due to collapsed buildings. Earthquake engineer Eser Çaktı from the Turkish University of Boğaziçi, and Tiziana Rossetto from University College London talk us through the damage.

    Migratory arctic animals are a weathervane for how the world is coping with climate change. Scientists have now pulled together monitoring data for these species’ movements into one accessible bank. Sarah Davidson tells us how this can help us understand the impact of Arctic climate change.




    (Image: Getty Images)

    Presenter: Roland Pease
    Producer: Rory Galloway

    • 39 min
    Osiris Rex stows asteroid material

    Osiris Rex stows asteroid material

    Last week NASA’s Osiris-Rex mission successfully touched down on asteroid Bennu’s crumbly surface. But the spacecraft collected so much material that the canister wouldn’t close. NASA systems engineer Estelle Church tells Roland Pease how she and the team back on Earth performed clever manoeuvres to remotely successfully shut the lid.

    As winter draws on in the North, and people spend more time indoors, there’s considerable debate about the conditions in which SARS-Cov2 is more likely to spread. Princeton University’s Dylan Morris has just published research exploring the coronavirus’s survival in different humidities and temperatures.

    Indian agriculture in some areas uses vast amounts of water. Dr Vimal Mishra of the Indian Institute of Technology in Gandhinagar has discovered that this irrigation, plus very high temperatures, is causing not just extreme discomfort amongst the population but also more deaths.

    In the 1930s serious dust storms over several years ruined crops and lives over a huge part of Midwest America. The dustbowl conditions were made famous by the folk songs of Woodie Guthrie and in John Steinbeck’s novel Grapes of Wrath. Now a study in Geophysical Research Letters suggests that levels of dust have doubled in the past twenty years. Roland Pease asks researchers and farmers if they think the dust bowl is returning.


    (Image: Getty Images)

    Presenter: Roland Pease
    Editor: Deborah Cohen

    • 26 min
    Nasa probe Osiris Rex lands on asteroid

    Nasa probe Osiris Rex lands on asteroid

    Science in Action talks to Nasa researcher Hannah Kaplan who is part of the team for the space agency’s sampling mission to the asteroid Bennu. Mission scientists were overjoyed this week when the probe Osiris Rex momentarily touched the asteroid and sucked up some of the sand and grit on its surface. What might we learn when the sample is returned to Earth in three years' time? There is some not-such-good news about a theory about immunity to the pandemic coronavirus, and medical researchers in the UK announce the world’s first study that will deliberately infect volunteers with the novel coronavirus. The so-called challenge study is planned to begin in London in January. The purpose is to speed up the quest for effective Covid-19 vaccines but will it be safe for the participants? And there’s a new green chemistry breakthrough for tackling the world’s plastic waste crisis.

    Presenter: Roland Pease
    Producer: Andrew Luck-Baker

    (Image: Nasa probe Osiris Rex lands on asteroid. Credit Nasa)

    • 33 min

Recensioni dei clienti

4.5 su 5
10 valutazioni

10 valutazioni

francescoa29 ,

Insegnare scienza

Uno dei migliori programmi di insegnamento e divulgazione scientifica.

Top podcast nella categoria Scienze

Gli ascoltatori si sono iscritti anche a

Altri contenuti di BBC