Naked Scientists Podcasts


The Naked Scientists are a group of scientists and broadcasters from Cambridge University and beyond, whose mission is to strip science down to its bare essentials. Their award winning radio show is on every week on BBC in the Eastern Regions, and is available as a podcast and via their website.

We’ve selected some of the podcasts highlighting plant science stories for you to listen to:

Plant pests and plant pathology

This week, Plant Pests and Plant Pathology – we find out what happens when plants get ill, how to understand and prevent the spread of plant disease, and how they can call up an insect army to defend them if they’re attacked.  We also find out why some horse chestnut trees are going brown before their time, and meet the pesky critter responsible!

The future of our food

This week we dig into into the science of farming and food production. We find out how transgenic plants can help us dispense with the need for chemical pesticides and how giant greenhouses at the shoreline can be home to super-efficient farms of their own. We explore the problems faced by our sweet honey bee and in Kitchen Science we do some plant modification of our own; no transgenics knowledge needed, just food colouring.

Do plants have immunity?

We find out if and how plants might combat little nasties like bacteria and viruses. Plus, we ask what defines the frequency of ocean waves.

Body clocks and circadian rhythms

Give yourself the time to listen to this week’s Naked Scientists Show, where we find out about the Body Clock!  We discover the constant chemical cascade that keeps your clock in check, and how not seeing the sun leads to S.A.D.  We probe the plant clock to explore how trees tell the time, and why even plants can suffer from jetlag.  Plus, why Stradivarius’ violins sound so good, why fun size snacks may be making you fat and how cuttlefish sneak a peak at their future food.  Also, in Kitchen Science, Ben and Dave get water from flames!

Plant science, composting and mosquite repellants

This week we go green as Dr Alison Smith from Cambridge University discusses how algae get their vitamins, the Superintendent of Cambridge University Botanic Gardens Dr Tim Upson describes the science of composting, Heather Gorringe and Richard Fishbourne from Wiggly Wigglers dish the dirt on what worms get up to in your compost heap, Prof. John Pickett from Rothamsted Research talks about his research on natural mosquito repellents, we find out about Ant School from Prof. Nigel Franks at Bristol University, and in Kitchen Science, Derek is itching to reveal how ants lay chemical trails to their food.

Chinese medicine and the healing power of plants

Unlocking Nature’s medicine chest and borrowing from biology are doctor’s orders this week as Professor Monique Simmonds from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew reveals the research behind old herbal remedies, Dr Tai-Ping Fan from Cambridge University describes how Chinese medicine is being used for illnesses from gout to endometriosis, Professor Jack Cuzick from Cancer Research UK talks about clinical trials for a new drug for breast cancer, and Dr Chris is at the AAAS conference in St. Louis digging around for science news and details on a potato that fights back…

Climate change and alternative energy

In this show we look at the causes and effects of global warming. Professor Lloyd Peck from the British Antarctic Survey discusses how giant sea spiders cope with extreme Antarctic cold, Professor Howard Griffiths, from the Plant Sciences Department at Cambridge University, describes the link between carbon dioxide and climate change, and discusses how plants help to control global warming, Professor Harry Elderfield from Earth Sciences at Cambridge University tells us how carbon dioxide is making the ocean acidic, and Professor Chris Llewelyn-Smith, from the UK Atomic Energy Authority, suggests that nuclear fusion may be an alternative energy solution for the future.

Carnivorous plants

We talk to Dr Carlton Wood about Carnivorous plants, how they work, and how to look after them. We discover how bats are helping the blind.

How many plants to the gallon?

An American ecologist has calculated how much prehistoric plant and animal matter has gone into each gallon of petrol that we burn today.

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