299 episodes

Explorations in the world of science.

Discovery BBC

    • Science
    • 5.0 • 1 Rating

Explorations in the world of science.

    Tooth and Claw: Lions

    Tooth and Claw: Lions

    From Aslan to Simba, from the Wizard of Oz to heraldry, children in the West probably recognise this king of beasts before they can name the animals in their own back yards. But what about people who have lions roaming in their back yards literally? To find out more about the archetypal ‘man-eater; and how our increasingly complex relationship with them is playing out in Africa, Professor Adam Hart talks to two female researchers who have spent much of their lives working and living in lion country, helping to manage the wildlife conflicts that are becoming a threat to both humans and beasts.

    Dr Moreangels Mbizah is the Founding Director of Wildlife Conservation Action in Zimbabwe, and Dr Amy Dickman heads up the Ruaha Carnivore Project in Tanzania.

    Produced by Rami Tzabar and Beth Eastwood
    Presented by Professor Adam Hart.

    Picture: Lion, Credit: Nicholas Hodges/Getty Images

    • 26 min
    Tooth and Claw: Crocodiles

    Tooth and Claw: Crocodiles

    We have a morbid fascination with predators. And we've had it since the very first people carved figures or painted on cave walls thousands of years ago. Predators are still revered as gods in many cultures. Our cultural fascination is equalled only by our biological fear, hardwired into our primate brains, because if you are not a predator, you ARE the prey. In this series, Professor Adam Hart and explores our complex, challenging and ambiguous relationship with Earth’s greatest predators by talking to the women and men who know them best, researchers who have spent their lives tracking them, protecting them and, sometimes, narrowly escaping them.

    Today it’s the crocodile, part of the group known as crocodilians which also includes alligators and gharials, which first appeared 95 million years ago during the Late Cretaceous period. Much like Tigers, they don’t stalk their prey but lie in wait – often just below the surface of the water, ready to leap out and snap those ferocious jaws on just about anything – including other predators. But as we’ll discover, there is a very different side to these much maligned creatures, who can be nurturing and cooperative. Adam speaks to Dr Marisa Tellez, Co-Founder of the Crocodile Research Coalition in Belize, Central America and Dr Alan Britton is a Zoologist and crocodile specialist in Darwin, Australia, who has a 5-metre croc named Smaug living in his back garden pond.

    Produced by Rami Tzabar and Beth Eastwood

    Picture: Caiman Crocodile's eye, close up, Credit: Jonathan Knowles/Getty Images

    • 27 min
    Peter Goadsby on migraine

    Peter Goadsby on migraine

    neurological condition is far more common than you might think, affecting more people than diabetes, epilepsy and asthma combined.

    While medications, to help relieve the symptoms of migraine, have been around for some time, they haven’t worked for everyone. And what happens in the brain during a migraine attack was, until recently, poorly understood.

    Peter Goadsby is Professor of Neurology at King's College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience and is a true pioneer in the field of migraine.

    Over the course of his career, he has unravelled what happens in the brain during a migraine attack and his insights are already benefiting patients - in the form of new medications that can not only treat a migraine, but also prevent it from occurring.

    Peter shares this year’s Brain Prize, the world's largest prize for brain research, with three other internationally renowned scientists in the field.

    Producer: Beth Eastwood

    Picture: Woman with head in hands, Credit: Ivan Nanita/EyeEm/Getty Images

    • 27 min
    Patient zero: First outbreak

    Patient zero: First outbreak

    “Aboriginal people had a name for it... they called it ‘Devil Devil’...”

    In 1789, a disease tore through Aboriginal communities around Sydney Cove, or Warrane, leaving dead bodies floating in the harbour, and scattered along the shorelines. The evidence points to this being smallpox, but there’s still debate
    over how it got to Australia. Was it an accidental import with the arrival of European ships? Did it come from trading with other peoples in the region? Or was it deliberately introduced as a form of germ warfare?

    In this episode, Olivia Willis and Nakari Thorpe ask Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people about this catastrophic moment in their history, and hear how their ancestors survived a cocktail of diseases they’d never before encountered.

    Producers: Jane Lee, Cheyne Anderson
    Senior Producer: Carl Smith
    Executive Producer: Joel Werner
    Sound Design: Tim Jenkins

    Patient Zero is a production of ABC Science, Radio National, and the BBC World Service

    • 44 min
    The Evidence: Sharing Vaccines – what’s gone wrong?

    The Evidence: Sharing Vaccines – what’s gone wrong?

    The lofty ambition of the global community was that across the globe, those with the highest risk of losing their lives to this virus should be vaccinated first. With 99% of deaths coming in the over fifties, the plan was that everybody in this age group should be inoculated.

    But that’s not what has happened. Vaccine supply is in crisis and in Africa, a continent of over 1.2 billion people, only around 20 million Africans have been vaccinated, with only 35 million vaccines landing so far on the continent.

    It’s been called “vaccine apartheid” and “a moral outrage” but as South Asia, South America find themselves again, in the eye of the virus storm, largely unvaccinated Africa fears the next wave is heading for them.

    Can vaccine nationalism be overcome and scare supply be fairly distributed?

    It’s a question that very much concerns Claudia Hammond’s expert panel: Gagandeep Kang, Professor of Microbiology at the Christian Medical College in Vellore, India, Dr Yodi Alakija, co-chair of the African Union’s Vaccine Delivery Alliance for Covid-19, Professor Andy Pollard from the Oxford Vaccine Group who led the clinical trials for the Oxford/Astra Zeneca (or Covishield) Vaccine and Professor Peter Hotez, Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine in Houston and co-director of the Texas Children’s Hospital Centre for Vaccine Development in the USA.

    Produced by: Fiona Hill, Hannah Fisher and Maria Simons
    Studio Engineers: Jackie Marjoram and Tim Heffer

    • 50 min
    Patient zero: Back from the brink

    Patient zero: Back from the brink

    A six-year old boy in Papua New Guinea woke up one day in 2018 and was suddenly unable to stand up. Less than a year later, children in three other Asia Pacific nations were experiencing the same alarming symptoms.

    A disease that had been thought to have been eradicated from this region 18 years before was back -- and it appeared to be spreading.
    Olivia Willis tells the story of how doctors discovered that these children who developed paralysis had in fact contracted polio.

    Producers: Jane Lee, Cheyne Anderson
    Senior Producer: Carl Smith
    Executive Producer: Joel Werner
    Sound Design: Tim Jenkins

    An ABC Science Unit. ABC Radio National and BBC World Service co-production.

    Picture: Child receiving a polio vaccination from health worker at a mobile clinic on a street in Mount Hagen in the Western Highlands, Credit: Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images

    • 40 min

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