Every man is an ecosystem, ejecting some of the 39 trillion microbes each person on earth contains. While microbes are among the oldest living organisms on earth, it wasn’t until 1675 that scientists began to understand their existence—or their scope. Lewis Lapham talks with Ed Yong, author of I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life, about discovering communities of microbes that exist within us.
Tagged with “biology” (73)
Is it possible to define the biological, chemical and physical functions that separate cells, plants and even humans from inanimate objects? In his new book, Paul Nurse, Nobel prize winner and director of the Francis Crick Institute, addresses a question that has long plagued both philosophers and scientists – what does it really mean to be alive? Speaking to Madeleine Finlay, Paul delves into why it’s important to understand the underlying principles of life, the role of science in society, and what life might look like on other planets
Humanity may be as few as 10 years away from discovering evidence of extraterrestrial life. Once we do, it will only deepen the mystery of where alien intelligence might be hiding.
Biologist Mark Pagel shares an intriguing theory about why humans evolved our complex system of language. He suggests that language is a piece of "social technology" that allowed early human tribes to access a powerful new tool: cooperation.
Tom Sutcliffe with Sir Robert Lechler, Jo Dunkley, Bernie Bulkin and Elizabeth Pisani.
There is nothing new for chemistry to discover, says Bernie Bulkin. In Solving Chemistry: A Scientist’s Journey, the former Head of Science at BP argues that an unprecedented event has happened: a branch of science has made all the major discoveries it is likely to make. He tells Tom Sutcliffe what this means for chemistry - and for science more broadly.
Medicine is in the midst of ‘a biomedical revolution’ says Professor Sir Robert Lechler. His own field of kidney transplants has been transformed by our new understanding of the immune system. He has helped to curate Spare Parts, an exhibition at the Science Gallery that poses the question: how many transplants could we have before we were no longer ourselves?
Elizabeth Pisani has watched interest in different diseases rise and fall. As an epidemiologist she charts the impact that press attention and public grants have on medical research, with some becoming fashionable while in others treatments lag behind. And she warns that scientists too often fail to take account of the human context when delivering medicines.
Astrophysicist Jo Dunkley assesses our understanding of the universe in a concise new guide. But the universe is 85% dark matter - and we still know very little about this. She draws attention to the brilliant female scientists who contributed to breakthroughs in physics, but whose contributions have been forgotten along the way.
Geneticist, author and broadcaster Dr Adam Rutherford joins Robin and Josie in the studio this week to talk about many things including his latest book, The Book of Humans.
In this episode, which Dawkins described as “one of the best interviews I have ever had,” the eminent ethologist and host Jason Gots talk about whether pescatarianism makes any sense, where morality should come from (since, as Hume says, "you can’t get an ‘ought’ from an ‘is’), the greatness of Christopher Hitchens, and the evils of nationalism.About the guest: Today’s guest is internationally best-selling author, speaker, and passionate advocate for reason and science as against superstition Richard Dawkins. From 1995 to 2008 Richard Dawkins was the Charles Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University. Among his many books are The Selfish Gene, the God Delusion, and his two-part autobiography: An Appetite for Wonder and A Brief Candle in the Dark. His latest is a collection of essays, stories, and speeches called Science in the Soul, spanning many decades and the major themes of Richard’s work.
Do you really need a brain to sense the world around you? To remember? Or even learn?
In this episode of Talk Nerdy, Cara speaks with Dr. Adam Rutherford, author of "A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived: The Human Story Retold Through Our Genes." They dive deep into human genetics, including what consumer DNA tests can and can’t tell you about your genetic history. They also discuss the sordid history of eugenics as a scientific discipline. Follow Adam: @AdamRutherford.
The bad news (not news to most): Many wild species are under severe duress.
The good news (total news to most): “Nature is thriving in an age of extinction.”
Ecologist and evolutionary biologist Chris Thomas has examined a little-noticed phenomenon around the world, that as an unintentional byproduct of massive human impact, biodiversity is increasing in pretty much every region of the world. Evolution has sped up. Wild populations are on the move, sometimes in response to climate change, often hitch-hiking on us. Hybridization is rampant, leading at times to whole new species. The Anthropocene, evidently, is a mass speciation event.
An ardent conservationist, Thomas makes the case that conservation efforts are far more effective when we acknowledge—and study— what nature is really up to, and work with it.
Chris Thomas is a professor in the Department of Biology at the University of York in England and author of Inheritors of the Earth: How Nature Is Thriving in an Age of Extinction (02017).
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