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 Sparks

    • Science
    • 4.4 • 9 Ratings

'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.

    Why is the James Webb Space Telescope a big deal?

    Why is the James Webb Space Telescope a big deal?

    Are we alone in the Universe? What exactly lies at the centre of our galaxy? Just like our podcast, the James Webb Space Telescope aims to answer some *very big questions*. Launched on Christmas Day 2021 and hurtling towards an orbit 1.5 million miles from the Earth, the JWST (as it's known to those in the business!) is a follow-up to the Hubble Space Telescope - and it's three times bigger. Decades in the making, the JWST will begin collecting and transmitting scientific data in July 2022, making this a really exciting time for astrophysicists such as Dr Becky Smethurst. We catch up with her to find out more.

    • 14 min
    What is green steel?

    What is green steel?

    Steel has become an essential commodity in modern society - used in everything from our cars and our buildings to the cutlery we use to eat our dinner. Unfortunately, the process used to traditionally produce steel (mining iron ore and combining it with carbon in a blast oxygen furnace) releases a huge amount of CO2. So, is there a cleaner way of producing steel? In this episode, we chat to Prof Barbara Rossi about 'green steel', and how it could improve the sustainability and resilience of the construction industry. 

    • 11 min
    How do you create autonomous robots that can investigate under the sea?

    How do you create autonomous robots that can investigate under the sea?

    How do you retrieve data from sensors embedded in underwater settings - such as those monitoring ecosystem change, for example? Well, when human divers aren't an option (which is often the case) it's over to the autonomous robots! In this episode of the Big Questions Podcast we speak to Prof Nick Hawes from the Oxford Robotics Institute about the challenges - and possibilities - that such robots bring to the field.

    • 14 min
    How do you grow the perfect tomato?

    How do you grow the perfect tomato?

    Is there anything nicer than a fresh, juicy, home-grown tomato on a summer's day? Whether you like them sliced up in a sandwich or blended into a delicious sauce, in this episode of the Big Questions podcast we reveal the secrets behind growing the perfect tomato. Let us transport you to Trap Grounds Allotments in Oxford, where Emily is joined by plant scientist Christian Norton, who is ready to reveal his five easy steps to the ultimate crop!

    • 12 min
    How is misinformation about the war in Ukraine spreading?

    How is misinformation about the war in Ukraine spreading?

    Misinformation about the war in Ukraine - and countless other topics, such as the pandemic and climate change - spreads like wildfire online. It aims to confuse people, make them question their own knowledge, and ultimately raise suspicion and doubt. But how exactly does this misinformation spread, why is it so prevalent on social media, and what are the various platforms doing to help prevent it? We chat to Dr Aliaksandr Herasimenka from the Oxford Internet Institute to find out.

    • 15 min
    How does a pandemic end?

    How does a pandemic end?

    Masks, social distancing, lockdowns. We've become intimately familiar with numerous COVID-19 control measures over the past two years. Now, with most restrictions gone (at least here in England), does that mean that the pandemic is really over? In this episode, we chat to Erica Charters, Professor of the Global History of Medicine at the University of Oxford and Principal Investigator of the 'How Epidemics End' interdisciplinary project. 

    • 14 min

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5
9 Ratings

9 Ratings

Boicarguy ,

Ideological not scientific.

Obvious points of tension within philosophy. This program makes claims without presenting facts.

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