100 episodes

'Will my bacon sandwich kill me?', 'Is vaping better than smoking?', 'How do you become an astronaut?' - just some of the Big Questions we ask some of the brightest minds behind Oxford science. Join us in each podcast as we explore a different area of science.

Oxford Sparks Big Questions Oxford University

    • Natural Sciences

'Will my bacon sandwich kill me?', 'Is vaping better than smoking?', 'How do you become an astronaut?' - just some of the Big Questions we ask some of the brightest minds behind Oxford science. Join us in each podcast as we explore a different area of science.

    How garlicky is your garlic?

    How garlicky is your garlic?

    When it comes to mass-producing food, it’s important to make sure the taste is consistent, and good! But how can we detect the taste of something without eating it ourselves? Prof Richard Compton and his team in the Department of Chemistry are experts in electrochemical sensors, and in this episode of the Big Questions podcast he tells us all about their new sensor…to detect the strength of GARLIC.

    • 10 min
    What does my family want to know about coronavirus?

    What does my family want to know about coronavirus?

    Coronavirus has been hitting the headlines since late 2019, and is now at the forefront of many people’s minds. We have a lot of questions, and it can be difficult to find answers. In this episode of the Big Questions podcast, Emily is asking her family what they would like to know about coronavirus, and Prof Christl Donnelly (an expert in modelling the spread of disease) is on-hand to provide some answers.

    • 16 min
    Can we diagnose heart attacks faster?

    Can we diagnose heart attacks faster?

    With one person admitted to hospital every five minutes in the UK because of a heart attack, the ability to diagnose and treat them quickly is vital. In this episode of the ‘Big Questions’ podcast, find out how Dr Tingting Zhu is using a machine learning algorithm, trained on 15,000 ECGs, to diagnose heart attacks faster, potentially eliminating the need for time-consuming blood tests.

    • 13 min
    Can data find me a date?

    Can data find me a date?

    Looking for ‘The One’, or maybe just a date for Valentine’s Day? The dating scene has changed significantly over the past ten years, not least because of the increasing popularity of online dating websites and dating apps. In this special ‘Valentine’s’ edition of the Big Questions podcast, we’re asking Patrick Gildersleve from the Oxford Internet Institute - can data find me a date?

    • 12 min
    Who was Henrietta Leavitt?

    Who was Henrietta Leavitt?

    Much of post 1920s astronomy rests on her shoulders. Without her, we wouldn’t have a three-dimensional sky. Leavitt’s Law allowed us to measure distances in other galaxies as early as 1912. But how many people have ever heard of Henrietta Leavitt? We wanted to know about this ‘hidden woman’ of astronomy, so in this episode of the Big Questions podcast we ask Dr Becky Smethurst from the University of Oxford’s Department of Physics “Who was Henrietta Leavitt?”.

    • 16 min
    Can we stop ageing?

    Can we stop ageing?

    We’re pretty obsessed with the concept of ageing. Ancient civilizations supposedly sought an ‘elixir of life’, and today many of us get hung up on finding a way to ‘younger looking skin’… But what’s the science behind ageing? What determines the life expectancy of a species and – time for the 'big question' – can we stop ageing? We asked Alison Woollard, Associate Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Oxford, just that - and even sneak a peek in her lab...

    • 14 min

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