Guardian Science Weekly

Science Weekly

Alok Jha and the Guardian's science team bring you the best analysis and interviews from the worlds of science and technology.
Weekly English United Kingdom Science · Nature
509 Episodes
1 – 20

Three years on: are we any closer to understanding long Covid?

Ian Sample hears from Scotland’s Astronomer Royal Catherine Heymans about her experience of long Covid and how it has impacted her life. He also speaks to Professor Danny Altmann, an immunologist at Imperial College London, about the current scientific understanding of the condition, and whether we’re any closer to a…
23 Mar 17 min

Willow Project: what could the ‘carbon bomb’ mean for the environment?

Madeleine Finlay speaks to Guardian West Coast reporter Maanvi Singh about the Biden administration’s approval of a controversial new oil drilling project on Alaska’s North Slope. She also hears from Kristen Monsell, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, which is part of a coalition that’s filing a…
21 Mar 16 min

How will gene editing change medicine and who will benefit?

Ian Sample speaks to Guardian science correspondent Hannah Devlin about the latest developments and debates about gene editing to emerge from a summit at the Francis Crick Institute in London. The summit heard from the first person with sickle cell disease to be treated with a technique known as Crispr…
16 Mar 16 min

The Last of Us: could the next pandemic be fungal?

Madeleine Finlay speaks to Guardian science correspondent Linda Geddes about the possibility of a fungal pandemic like the one depicted in apocalyptic thriller The Last of Us. They discuss the strange world of fungi, the risks of infections and treatment resistance, and what we can do to protect ourselves from…
14 Mar 14 min

Everything Everywhere All at Once: could the multiverse be real?

The film Everything Everywhere All at Once has enjoyed critical acclaim and awards success. Ahead of the Oscars, where it’s tipped to sweep the board, Ian Sample speaks to theoretical physicist and philosopher Sean Carroll about why we seem to be drawn to the idea of multiple worlds, and what…
9 Mar 18 min

How scientifically literate should we expect our politicians to be?

Ian Sample speaks to mathematical biologist Kit Yates about what Matt Hancock’s leaked WhatsApp messages reveal about scientific understanding at the heart of government during the pandemic, and what should be done to prepare for the future. Help support our independent journalism at
7 Mar 12 min

What should we do about the rise in children vaping?

Madeleine Finlay speaks to former Guardian health editor Sarah Boseley about the rise in vaping among under-18s and what can be done to discourage more children from taking up the habit. She also hears from Prof Linda Bauld about the impact of vaping on young people. Help support our independent…
2 Mar 15 min

What are ‘forever chemicals’ and why are they causing alarm?

Madeleine Finlay speaks to environmental journalist Rachel Salvidge about PFAS, also known as ‘forever chemicals’, which have been found at high levels at thousands of sites across the UK and Europe. Rachel explains what they are, how harmful they can be, and what can be done to mitigate their effects…
28 Feb 14 min

15-minute cities: mundane planning concept or global conspiracy?

Madeleine Finlay speaks to the Guardian’s architecture and design critic, Oliver Wainwright, about why the relatively obscure concept of the 15-minute city has become a magnet for conspiracy theories in recent weeks. And hears from Dr Richard Dunning about how the theory can be implemented in a way that’s fair…
23 Feb 15 min

Are weight loss injections the solution to the obesity crisis?

Ian Sample speaks to Guardian science correspondent Nicola Davis about the news that Wegovy, an appetite suppressant popular with celebrities in the US, will soon be sold at UK pharmacies. It’s a prescription drug aimed at helping people with obesity lose weight, but some argue it doesn’t tackle the root…
21 Feb 13 min

Online misogyny: what impact is it having on children?

According to new research by the children’s commissioner for England, one in 10 children have watched pornography by the time they are nine years old. And teachers say the effects are being felt in schools. So what makes young people vulnerable to this kind of content, and what impact might…
16 Feb 14 min

Antibiotic resistance: where do we go next?

Climate change and pollution are the latest factors contributing to a global rise in antibiotic-resistant superbugs, according to a report from the UN environment agency. Given that no new class of antibiotics has been discovered since the 1980s, what are our best hopes for tackling these bugs in the future?…
14 Feb 13 min

What can we really learn from home blood testing kits?

Companies selling private blood tests offer customers a way to check their health – from measuring cholesterol levels to thyroid hormones – from the comfort of their home. But what happens if there’s an abnormal result? Madeleine Finlay speaks to health journalist Emma Wilkinson and consultant chemical pathologist Dr Bernie…
9 Feb 16 min

How has the Russia-Ukraine war disrupted science?

As we approach the anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Ian Sample talks to physicist Prof John Ellis, and Arctic governance expert Svein Vigeland Rottem, about how the world of science has had to adapt. Help support our independent journalism at
7 Feb 13 min

Can we restore England’s lost wildlife?

This week the government published a major environmental improvement plan for England. It has pledged that every household will be within a 15-minute walk of green space or water, the restoration of 1.2m acres of wildlife habitat, and that sewage spills will be tackled with upgrades to wastewater treatment works…
2 Feb 14 min

How to spot the exotic green comet (and what might get in the way)

This week star gazers will be hoping to catch sight of an exotic green comet that last passed by Earth 50,000 years ago. But, unlike the view our Neanderthal ancestors would have had, light pollution will make witnessing this celestial event an impossibility for many. Ian Sample speaks to astronomy…
31 Jan 12 min

How will ChatGPT transform creative work?

ChatGPT has been causing a stir since its launch last year. The chatbot’s ability to produce convincing essays, stories and even song lyrics has impressed users, and this week attracted a multibillion-dollar investment from Microsoft. Ian Sample speaks to Prof John Naughton about how ChatGPT works, hears from author Patrick…
26 Jan 15 min

Overcoming burnout: a psychologist’s guide

Last week, New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern announced her resignation, saying that she “no longer had enough in the tank” to do the role justice. Madeleine Finlay speaks to cognitive scientist Prof Laurie Santos about the symptoms of burnout, what causes it and the best ways to recover. Help…
24 Jan 13 min

Could the return of El Niño in 2023 take us above 1.5C of warming?

Scientists have predicted the return of the El Niño climate phenomenon later this year. Its arrival will result in even higher global temperatures and supercharged extreme weather events. Ian Sample speaks to environment editor Damian Carrington about what we can expect from El Niño and whether we’re prepared. Help support…
18 Jan 12 min

What’s the reality behind the ‘Love Island smile’?

As the ninth series of ITV show Love Island kicked off yesterday, viewers may have noticed contestants’ perfectly straight, white teeth. But are there risks associated with achieving a flawless smile? Madeleine Finlay speaks to dentist Paul Woodhouse about some of the dangers of dental tourism. Help support our independent…
17 Jan 11 min
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