Sunday, 13 November 2011

Favourite Podcasts - 15 - The Naked Scientists

Science is so trendy at the moment, comedians seems to be into it, Professor Brian Cox is a TV superstar, atheists seem to treat is as their religion sometimes, and people like Ben Goldacre are all over the newspapers exposing when science is done badly.

But science is not a flash in the pan fad, it has been critical for human development for years, and will continue to be so long into the future.

Despite this many people are still terrified of science, and think that it may bring down the downfall of the world, and other scary things!

The Naked Scientists is a podcast that provides an uplifting, positive view of science. It does not focus only on the bits of science that are currently fashionable (physics, astrophysics etc) but covers the whole range of topics.

The last few weeks podcasts have already covered cancer, stem cells, plant pests, seaweed, bio fuels and cheese.

Chris Smith heads up the team, who are based at Cambridge University and exist to communicate science clearly to the public. Thankfully they don't do this in a patronising way (like the embarrassing outside visitors coming into school that I remember), they credit their audience with intelligence and are not scared to go in depth with topics, even at the risk of losing some of the listeners (and I have not always understood everything they discuss)

The team are brilliant, Dr Chris Smith is already up there in my 'five people I would invite to a dinner party' list, Then there is Dave Ansell who is a physics expert (and also enjoys setting fire to things and blowing stuff up). Kat Arney who specialises in cancer related topics, and is all round nice person. Helen Scales, expert in all things in the ocean, Dominic Ford, who has his eyes firmly to the night skies, Ben Valsler who seems to know everything about everything and is a great host, and there are many others I have forgotten!

As well as the main podcast there are spin off podcasts about Astronomy, the OceansArchaeology and other occasional special podcasts.

If this podcast had been around when I was at school (which is of course impossible, podcasts did not exist!) then perhaps my science lessons would not have been so painful, and I might have got better then a grade D!

Download the main Naked Scientists Podcast here.

Wikipedia page about the podcast here.

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