Naked Scientists Question of the Week

Question of the Week

Each week we set out to solve one of the world's weirdest, wackiest, funniest and funkiest scientific puzzles. And along with the answer there's a brand new question to think about for next time...
English United Kingdom Science
464 Episodes
1 – 20

How do we reduce emissions from fertilisers?

This week, are biofertilisers an answer to solving the use of chemical fertilisers? Are they more advantageous in any way? Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists
27 May 5 min

How quickly does evolution work?

What is the speed of evolution and, apart from reproduction, what are the factors that affect this? Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists
4 May 4 min

Why do we think clearer after taking a break?

Listener Jo asked: "Why is it so I can sit with a sudoku until I have no idea what to do next, so I leave it. When I go back to it later I always find new possibilities straight away." James Tytko spoke to Alejandro Lleras Like this podcast? Please…
27 Apr 3 min

Why are black holes at the centre galaxies?

Listener David wrote this cosmic conumdrum into the Naked Scientists "How are black holes formed? And why are they often at the center of galaxies?" Otis Kingsman spoke to astrophysicist and author of the book "A Brief History of Black Holes", Dr Becky Smethurst... Like this podcast? Please help us…
11 Sep 2022 6 min

Should I drink cola after swimming in river?

Listener Ed wrote to the Naked Scientists with this particular question. "Why is it recommended to drink cola after swimming in a river? And does it really reduce the risk of getting an upset stomach?" Otis Kingsman splashes around in the science of this river rumour with Dr John Tregoning…
21 Aug 2022 5 min

How can drugs change our salt concentration?

Listener Kandi wrote into the Naked Scientists to explain the science behind this major medication method. "I have Hyponatremia as a result of a medication. How does a drug stop your body from using/absorbing the salt you consume?" Otis Kingsman spoke to Gerogetown University's professor of medicine, Joseph G Verbalis…
15 Aug 2022 5 min

Can cat and dog poop be used as fertiliser?

Listener Lara wrote into the Naked Scientists to ask "Is there a biological benefit for cats and dogs to bury their faeces? Can it help plants grow similar to horse manure?" Otis Kingsman spoke to the primary medical care director of the veterinary medicine company Linnaeus, Dr Simon Hayes, about…
24 Jul 2022 5 min

How dangerous is an explosion on the moon?

Listener Neil wrote in looking for find the answer to this brain blaster. "Would an explosion on the moon be more powerful than on the surface of the earth?" Otis Kingsman spoke to University of Cambridge's public astronomer Matt Bothwell to make sense of this outer-space occurrence... Like this podcast?…
10 Jul 2022 4 min

Why are fridges difficult to quickly reopen?

Listener Josie asked us "Why can't I immediately open my fridge door after closing it? It feels like air pressure is keeping it closed. Is this the case?" James Tytko spoke to Cambridge University's Engineering Professor Vikram Deshpande about this fascinating fridge function... Like this podcast? Please help us by…
3 Jul 2022 4 min

Can cargo X-ray scanners damage electronics?

Listener Alaster wrote in to ask "The electricals in my car stopped working after it was transported from Cape Town to the UK. I think there was a fault in the scanner in Cape Town. My question is, how does a car scanner work? Can it damage the electrical components…
26 Jun 2022 4 min

How does email and texting affect our brain?

Listener Mike presented this question to The Naked Scientists. "Does email and texting affect our brain's cognitive functions?" Otis Kingsman spoke to Dr Ravi Gajendran from Florida International University to help find the answer to this communication connumdrum... Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists
5 Jun 2022 5 min

Why can't some people smell certain plants?

Tim wanted to know "Why can't my partner smell certain strong odours when in the countryside? She can smell manure but is immune to smelling certain potent flowers and herbs." Otis Kingsman spoke to Professor Sandeep Roberta Datta from Harvard Medical School to find the aromatic answers to this question…
29 May 2022 3 min

Can acid remove a spring's potential energy?

Listener Mark wrote in to ask 'What happens to the potential energy of a compressed coil spring that is dissolved in acid?'. Otis Kingsman sprung to action in speaking with Dr Martin Buzza from the University of Hull to find the answer to this question. Like this podcast? Please help…
22 May 2022 5 min

Can the Earth's rotation make electicity?

Linda wrote in to ask "Can the spinning of the earth generate electricity similar to the spinning of wind turbines?" Otis Kingsman spoke to Matthew Rooney from the Insitute of Mechanical Engineers to find the answer to this head-spinner... Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists
15 May 2022 4 min

Does a phone weigh more after charging it?

Listener Tibor wanted to know the answer to the question, "Does potential energy have any mass? If I was to charge a phone battery, would it become heavier?" Dr Israel Temprano from the Univserity of Cambridge explains to Otis Kingsman about this battery baffler... Like this podcast? Please help us…
25 Apr 2022 6 min

Why do electric car batteries wear out?

Listener Barry wants to know, 'What causes degredation in electric car batteries, and what are the upcoming developments in EV technology?' Chloe Coates from the University of Cambridge spoke to Evelyna Wang... Like this podcast? Please help us by supporting the Naked Scientists
11 Apr 2022 4 min

How can we identify a diseased gene?

Malcolm wrote in to ask "How can we identify a disease? When looking at a sample of chromosomes, what are scientists looking for to spot a diseased gene?". Otis Kingsman spoke to Jocelynn Pearl from the Lady Scientist Podcast to solve this mutation mystery... Like this podcast? Please help us…
28 Mar 2022 6 min

Does relativity affect the age of moon rocks?

Ranjit wrote in to ask this, "As gravity and time have an inverse relationship, at some time in the future, will astronauts bring back moon rocks that are older than the Earth?" James Tytko spoke to King College London's, Professor Ruth Gregory to help us find the answer to this…
21 Mar 2022 5 min

Why does an itch move when you scratch it?

Mariam has been itching to find an answer to the question of "When I scratch an itch, the itch seems to move around my body. And I want to know why this is." Dr Yvonne Couch from the Radcliffe Department of Medicine spoke to Otis Kingsman... Like this podcast? Please…
14 Mar 2022 4 min

Can internal voices be influenced by accents?

Fiona wrote in to ask "Why do I hear voices in my head when I'm thinking? And can this voice be influenced by accents?" In order to find answers, James Tytko reached out to Helene Loevenbruck from Grenoble Alpes University to rattle our brains... Like this podcast? Please help us…
8 Mar 2022 5 min
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