508 episodes

Whether you’re curious about getting healthy, the Big Bang or the science of cooking, find out everything you need to know in under 30 minutes with Instant Genius. The team behind BBC Science Focus Magazine talk to world-leading experts to bring you a bite-sized masterclass on a new subject each week.

New episodes are released every Monday and Friday and you can subscribe to Instant Genius on Apple Podcasts to access all new episodes ad-free and all old episodes of Instant Genius Extra.

Instant Genius BBC Science Focus

    • Science
    • 4.4 • 61 Ratings

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

Whether you’re curious about getting healthy, the Big Bang or the science of cooking, find out everything you need to know in under 30 minutes with Instant Genius. The team behind BBC Science Focus Magazine talk to world-leading experts to bring you a bite-sized masterclass on a new subject each week.

New episodes are released every Monday and Friday and you can subscribe to Instant Genius on Apple Podcasts to access all new episodes ad-free and all old episodes of Instant Genius Extra.

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

    How close are we to discovering aliens?

    How close are we to discovering aliens?

    Finding alien life could be just around the corner. At least, that’s if the James Webb Space Telescope and other techniques help us discover their extraterrestrial homes. In this episode, astrophysicist Lisa Kaltenegger and author of new book Alien Earths: Planet Hunting in the Cosmos talks us through the ways she and her team are looking for these planets and the kinds of life they might hold.
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    • 36 min
    The story of human evolution, from the Big Bang to the advent of consciousness and beyond

    The story of human evolution, from the Big Bang to the advent of consciousness and beyond

    Why are we here? Where did we come from? What are we even made from? These must be some of deepest questions humans can ever ask. But that has never stopped scientists throughout the ages asking them.

    In this episode we catch up with Professor Tim Coulson, a zoologist based at the University of Oxford to talk about his new book, The Universal History of Us: The science of why we exist.

    He helps us trace the origins of human beings right back to the Big Bang and the beginning of the Universe itself and goes on to investigate whether our existence was inevitable thanks to the underpinning laws of nature or whether we were just extremely lucky.
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    • 33 min
    How thinking about addiction differently can help us find better treatments

    How thinking about addiction differently can help us find better treatments

    Addiction can be devastating not only for the addict themselves, but also for their loved ones and anyone around them. But what causes it, and how should we treat it?

    According to Dr Elias Dakwar, a psychologist based at Colombia University, New York, we should be looking beyond the commonly held brain disease model of addiction and deeper into its philosophical or existential underpinnings.

    In this episode, we speak to Dr Dakwar about the years of clinical research he outlines in his latest book The Captive Imagination: Addiction, reality and our search for meaning.

    He tells us about his thinking on how addiction stems from our desire for happiness and feelings of meaningless, how it fits in with the notion of personal freedom, and details some of his work with clinical patients in treating addiction in new ways.

    Warning: Recreational drug use can be dangerous to your health and possession of certain controlled substances in the UK can result in an unlimited fine, prison sentence or both. For more information visit talktofrank.com
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    • 33 min
    Why we shouldn’t be afraid of personal data collection

    Why we shouldn’t be afraid of personal data collection

    These days, pretty much every move we make online is tracked in one way or another. Whether it’s through our social media accounts or online shopping habits, algorithms are getting better at painting a picture of who we are and how we think. But why do we let this happen?

    In this episode we catch up with science broadcaster and writer Timandra Harkness to talk about her new book, Technology is not the Problem.

    She tells us how various online agencies keep tabs on us, whether we should be worried about it, and why sometimes it can be too hard to resist buying that expensive pair of shoes you keep getting ads for.
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    • 32 min
    The story of black holes, with Marcus Chown

    The story of black holes, with Marcus Chown

    Black holes are surely one of the most fascinating and mysterious phenomena in the known Universe. But few people know that the story behind their discovery, and the cast of dogged, often ignored scientists behind it, is just as interesting.

    In this episode we catch up with the award-winning science writer and long-time BBC Science Focus contributor Marcus Chown. We talk about his new book A Crack in Everything: How black holes came in from the cold and took cosmic centre stage.

    He takes us through the gripping story that saw black holes go from being a mere mathematical curiosity to one of the most talked about cosmic objects ever observed.
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    • 29 min
    The surprising ways the microbiome affects our brain development, emotions, and sex lives

    The surprising ways the microbiome affects our brain development, emotions, and sex lives

    We humans are never truly alone. This is because our bodies are colonised by vast numbers of microscopic organisms that can be found living everywhere from the surface of our skin to deep within our guts.

    Collectively, this population of microbes is known as the human microbiome, and they play a key role in maintaining our health and wellbeing.

    In this episode we catch up with Dr James Kinross, a colorectal surgeon and researcher based and Imperial College London and author of the new book Dark Matter: The new science of the microbiome.

    He tells us about the fascinating ways that our microbiomes can impact our brain health, regulate our emotions and if we could ever use them to make an effective love potion.
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    • 30 min

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5
61 Ratings

61 Ratings

XXVI ,

Always interesting

The episodes are always interesting

mandy macmillan ,

Hannah N

The interviewer of the doctor who saved her husband's life from a superbug was an absolute idiot! Why did he find it necessary to giggle throughout the entire interview? Her account was fascinating, he was an annoying distraction.

Palunargar ,

Topics are always relevant and interesting

I always find the topics very interesting and the interviews are great. It never disappoints!

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