50 episodes

Jonathan responds to your texts and tweets, is joined in studio for all the latest science stories for Newsround and speaks to one of our two guests featured on the show.

Futureproof with Jonathan McCrea Newstalk 106-108 fm

    • Science

Jonathan responds to your texts and tweets, is joined in studio for all the latest science stories for Newsround and speaks to one of our two guests featured on the show.

    The Rules of Contagion

    The Rules of Contagion

    With over 50,000 cases and more than 1,300 deaths recorded to date, the spread of the coronavirus is understandably a story that is dominating the headlines worldwide.
    Governments, medical professionals and even military personnel have been deployed to limit the impact of this epidemic. 
    But all of their work is itself reliant on the efforts of mathematicians. But how?
    Adam Kucharski is Associate Professor at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and author of The Rules of Contagion. 

    Futureproof Extra: Spider Ballooning

    Futureproof Extra: Spider Ballooning

    The second voyage of the HMS Beagle is famous for the many observations of it’s young naturalist, Charles Darwin. You may have heard of him.
    What you may not have heard about is his account of the phenomenon of spider ballooning on a calm day in October 1832.
    After the ship was inundated with spiders about 100km off the coast of Argentina the young biologist observed one spider “elevate its abdomen, send forth a thread, and then sail away horizontally, but with a rapidity which was quite unaccountable”  
    So how did they do it?
    Dr. Erica Morley is a Senior Research Associate in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Bristol joins Jonathan to discuss.

    • 13 min
    Futureproof Extra: The Plastic Waste Solution

    Futureproof Extra: The Plastic Waste Solution

    Our relationship with plastic has never been more problematic.
    First created in order to address environmental issues, plastic has now developed into one of the biggest environmental issues we currently face as a species.
    The extent of the pollution of plastic has yet to be fully determined but with micro plastics being found in the air that we breathe, the food we eat, to it being found in the deepest depths of the Marianas Trench, real change is needed.
    Dr Mark Miodownik, Professor of Materials and Society at University College London, Materials engineer, writer and broadcaster joins Jonathan ahead of his participation at the NI Science Festival to discuss.

    • 21 min
    Solar Orbiter

    Solar Orbiter

    When we think of the sun we tend to think of one uniform mass of heat with no discernible features to speak of.
    The fact is that the surface of the sun is changing constantly as the hot plasma within rises to the surface, cools and sinks in a process called convection, bubbling like water in a boiling pot.
    But it may not all be like this, in fact we know comparatively little about the poles of the sun and it is with the launch of the Solar Orbiter that we may soon remedy that.
    A joint Nasa and European Space Agency mission, it will reach its vantage point above the sun by the end of 2021 and it is hoped will give us new insights into the nature of the star at the centre of our Solar System.
    Peter Gallagher from the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS) joins Jonathan to tell us more.

    • 34 min


    The open ocean can be a forbidding place.
    Not only in its vastness or raw power but for the animals and organisms it hosts as well.
    It really is survival of the fittest or if the case may be, the brightest.
    It is thought that on average up to 76% of the animals in our oceans create their own light - a process called bioluminescence.
    But why?
    Dr. Edith Widder is Co-Founder, CEO, and Senior Scientist at the Ocean Research & Conservation Association (ORCA)

    Futureproof Extra: Trust

    Futureproof Extra: Trust

    Do you trust people readily and quickly? How do you decide when to trust someone and when not to?
    In the age of Fake News and post-truth, the common consensus is that human gullibility is playing an increasing role in how we live our lives and the decisions we collectively make. 
    But how much should we believe and what is the extent of our trust? 
    Hugo Mercier is Research Scientist at Le Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (Paris) and Author of Not Born Yesterday: The Science of Who We Trust and What We Believe. He joins Jonathan to discuss.

    • 15 min

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