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Forecasting an earthquake is serious business, but it's not like the weather. Why are earthquakes so hard to predict? Knowing when an earthquake will occur is hard enough, but what about predicting aftershocks? Aftershocks can create huge stress and compound damage after a quake so what can be done to predict them? Building huge scale models out of…
 
Peering into the history of brains with some amazing tiny fossils. How did the earliest brains develop? Is a head just an extension of a segmented body or something else entirely? How did the first brains and nervous systems evolve in arthropods. How does your body process the sense of touch? The faintest sensations of touch are handled by speciali…
 
Fungi have an amazing ability to spread across continents but stay linked as a family lineage. Fungi can adapt to specific geographic niches in the same way as grapes. Different families of highly specialized mushrooms grow side by side across continents. How can fungi protect the plants it's attached to? Fungi often get a bad rap in farming, but t…
 
How is your gut connected to the rest of your body? How does your nervous system connect to your gut? How can you sense pain inside of your gut? The bacteria that live inside your gut can call for help when under pressure. With the wrong balance of bacteria or signalling proteins our guts can be more prone for inflammation and damage. How can bad b…
 
How can fish keep themselves stable in a fast flowing river? What's the best way to stay on track as a fish? To swim straight ahead fish often end up staring downwards. The riverbed is way easier to track than a fast flowing current. How did fish manage to make their way into the deepest parts of the ocean? What climatic factors drove fish to explo…
 
How does a single sensor help change your outlook on a planet? A single small seismometer on Mars can help understand Mars' past, present and future. What do an ultrasound and Mars have in common? Both can use a single sensor to peer deep inside. Listening to the echoes of marsquakes helps researchers understand what's in Mars' core. Modelling the …
 
How have microbes changed the course of life on our planet? How has our atmosphere changed as a result of bacteria and archaea? Assimilation can help enhance single cellular life. Archaea can collect long strings of extra genes just in case. Finding the right gene at the right moment can help Archaea make the most of available food. Basem Al-Shayeb…
 
Ocean currents can have global impacts shaping our climate and life in the seas and onshore. How do the ocean currents circulate and vary not just on the surface but beneath the waves? It's easy to picture different layers of clouds, but the same is true for our oceans. Large circulating patterns of currents called Gyres govern the oceans. Tiny phy…
 
A big prize like the Nobel for Chemistry doesn't appear out of nowhere. To win a Nobel Prize, a lot of team work in laboratories and across the world has to come together. We find out about the research that led towards the Nobel Prize for chemistry and how it grew. How does Click Chemistry solve the problem of messy and complicated reactions? How …
 
Carbon nanotubes have amazing mechanical and optical properties, but can they be combined with living cells? Carbon nanotubes can be used to convey light to precise places deep inside cells and tissue. If you blend carbon nanotubes with living cells you can use them to get a precise and stable look inside a cell. Getting a carbon nanotube to be acc…
 
We celebrate the Ignobel prizes for 2022 with science that makes you laugh and then think. What connects a Fish, ducks and slipstream racing? How do mother ducks manage to keep all their ducklings in tow? Does swimming in formation help the ducks save energy? What's the best spot in the slipstream to be? We all know following in the slipstream is g…
 
Mandarin oranges are very closely related but also incredibly diverse. A quirk of cloning means we can accurately trace the journey of all mandarins back to their origins in Hunan province. Mandarins come in so many shapes and sizes and are used to celebrate by many cultures, but they all share a lot in common. Oregano and Thyme both produce some g…
 
Plants harness the energy from the sun for so much more than photosynthesis. You have a beating hart to pump around your blood, but what do plants. Plants' vascular systems aren't pressurized so how do they power their circulation? Just how much energy do plants use globally each year to pump water out of the ground and into their leaves? Plants us…
 
CO2 gets a lot of bad press on earth, but in space, it could actually be incredibly helpful. On Mars, the Perseverance mission turned CO2 into Oxygen just like a tree. Making air on Mars requires a bit of Moxie and Perseverance. Mar's atmosphere may be thin, highly variable and full of CO2 but it can be harnessed to produce Oxygen. Could future mis…
 
How can we develop new treatments to tackle antibiotic resistance and tumors. Antibiotics were the miracle of public health in the 20th century, but how can we establish new treatments into the 21st. Find the right protein and you can stop bacteria in its tracks by splitting it in two. New treatments can tackle antibiotic resistant bacteria by usin…
 
Wearable medical devices inside and outside of your body. Understanding what's happening inside your body can be tricky. Lugging around a scanning device with you all day isn't practical, but how can doctors tell what's happening in your daily life? Want to know what your organs are doing when you go for a jog or live your daily life? Wearable ultr…
 
Dwarf planets are strange objects in our solar systems, but Ceres is unusual amongst that group. Why is Ceres' surface so strange and how could it have formed without a hot core? Ceres is too small to really have a molten core or large molten surfaces. How did Ceres end up with odd plateaus and continent like features without an active core? How co…
 
How can we take ideas from nature and turn them upside down like growing plants without sunlight. There are some plants that thrive in 'low light' but what if they needed no light? Is it possible to change photosynthesis to work even without sunlight? Photosynthesis is great and all, but it's only around 1% efficient, so can it be improved? IF you …
 
What happens when most life in the ocean just dies off? Our oceans have seen many mass extinctions in the past, how long does it take to recover? What happened at the end of the Permian that caused massive extinctions in the ocean? What creatures were best able to survive when 80% of the rest of life in the ocean died? Burrowing and feeding on mud …
 
There are plenty of tales of music soothing wild beasts, but is there actually a link between music and pain relief? How did researchers quantitatively study the soothing powers of music? What's better for blocking out pain ; Classical music, discordant arrangements or white noise? How does sound dull the effect of pain in mice? Just how good is a …
 
How can you find objects that are hard to see in the depths of space? There is plenty of gas in a galaxy, but trying to see a cloud amongst all those starts is not easy. The further back in time you look in the history of the universe, the colder and darker it gets. How do you figure out the structure of the earliest galaxies and their cold gas? A …
 
The early history of our solar system can be deciphered by studying impact craters and meteorites. Craters on the Moon tell us a lot about the violent history of our solar system. Just how many impacts have there been on the Moon? We can study the porosity of the Moon to better estimate just how many impacts have occurred on it. How did Mars get it…
 
The history of fire on earth from the first wildfires to the first use to cook. We all know you need fuel and oxygen for fire, but when did the first fires occur on Earth. When did the first wild fires occur on earth? What was there to burn on early Earth if there weren't any large trees or plants? Giant mushrooms and large fields of moss, early Ea…
 
Where is the cleanest air on the planet? How do oceans help capture carbon from forest fires? Where does all that carbon go after a forest fire? How do you find the cleanest air, by measuring microbes. The southern ocean air is not polluted by aerosols or ice forming particles. The air above the Southern Ocean is clean and crisp with not much micro…
 
From cosmic rays in Antarctica, to chasing Eclipses to learn about stellar weather. Neutrinos are hard to track and detect, as are cosmic rays. Neutrinos suddenly coming out of Antarctica baffled scientists hunting for cosmic rays. Underground glacial lakes, compacted snow, cosmic can help explain mysterious neutrino emissions. Tracking eclipses an…
 
​As our climate changes, feeding the planet without making things worse is a big challenge. How do plants work together to survive extreme weather events? When there is a large drought or extreme weather event what works better, single species or mixed? Plant diversity can help plants weather the storm of climate change and come out stronger. How d…
 
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