The science podcast that’s not about the science.
info_outline Infinite Detail with Tim Maughan 08/11/2020
Infinite Detail with Tim Maughan In this episode Gemma chats to journalist and author Tim Maughan. Tim’s first novel Infinite Detail (2019) which tells a dystopic time-shifting tale of the pre and post-apocalypse following the global technological shutdown was selected by The Guardian as their Science Fiction and Fantasy book of the year.
info_outline The Alchemy of Us with Ainissa Ramirez 07/07/2020
The Alchemy of Us with Ainissa Ramirez We spoke to materials scientist and author Ainissa Ramirez about her brilliant new book The Alchemy of Us: How Humans and Matter Transformed One Another, all about the 8 inventions that shaped our society and the materials behind them.
info_outline Kindness as the Key to Our Future with Rutger Bregman 06/17/2020
Kindness as the Key to Our Future with Rutger Bregman In this episode we chat to historian Rutger Bregman author of Humankind: A Hopeful History (2020) and the bestseller Utopia For Realists (2014).
info_outline Finding Humanity in the Apocalypse with Mark O'Connell 06/10/2020
Finding Humanity in the Apocalypse with Mark O'Connell We chat to Mark O'Connell author of To Be A Machine (2017) and Notes From An Apocalypse (2020).
info_outline What We Talk About When We Talk About Disrupting Science 05/26/2020
What We Talk About When We Talk About Disrupting Science In this episode, we’re chatting about Science Disrupt 2.0 - what we mean when we talk about ‘disruption’, what deeper conversations we now need to have about science, and how and why our own ideas have evolved over the last 4 years. We talk about what’s changed in science since 2016, including the more open nature of critical conversation in academia; how the cult of personality (of consultants, startups and VCs) can make a mockery of science and tech, and what deeper questions aren’t being asked while many still problematic practices continue in research and tech transfer.
info_outline Abolishing Silicon Valley With Wendy Liu 05/19/2020
Abolishing Silicon Valley With Wendy Liu In this episode we chat to author of the brilliant book, ! We talk about the myth of the meritocracy, reclaiming entrepreneurship, and what innovation looks like beyond capitalism. Relevant Links Our quick review From inspiring early experiences in open-source software development, to crushing disappointment in the search for startup funding, Wendy Liu writes a refreshingly candid account of how she fell in, and then out, of love with the tech industry. Liu shows how the inhabitants of Silicon Valley - from the funders, to the founders - have abdicated their responsibility to society; that beneath the veneer of global connectivity and community-building, they have driven immense socio-economic inequality. But all is not lost as Liu argues: inequities borne from tech can be resolved if we're willing to hold up a mirror and address their causes, regardless of how close to home these may be.
info_outline Solving Space Junk with Harriet Brettle 09/16/2019
Solving Space Junk with Harriet Brettle After a long summer we're back, and we're here to talk spaaaace! Specifically the issue of satellite sustainability and the startup leading the charge. In this episode of the Science: Disrupt podcast we chat to Harriet Brettle, Business Analyst at the startup and co-founder of the London Space Network. Astroscale is a space startup that is developing a solution to the environmental concerns over space debris and all of the challenges that that can bring. We also discuss Harriet's path to Astroscale and her drive to establish the London Space Network and the benefits of community organisation.
info_outline How to Write our Future with Anne Charnock 05/25/2019
How to Write our Future with Anne Charnock In this episode we chat to science fiction author, Anne Charnock. For Anne's latest novel "" received the Arthur C Clarke award in 2018, and explores the future of fertility, and pre-natal genetic screening. Anne was also a Phillip K Dick Award nominee for here 2013 novel "A Calculated Life". It's becoming more and more clear that sci-fi and futurism can have great influence in our culture. In our chat with Anne we dive into the role of sci-fi as a launchpad for scientific exploration, the ethical obligations of the writer, the power of daydreaming, and how writers balance literary freedom with the maintenance of good grounded science. Relevant links: Anne's & Anne's chat with Elsa Sotiriadis at Hello Tomorrow (
info_outline Biology's Big Data Problem with Charles Fracchia 04/10/2019
Biology's Big Data Problem with Charles Fracchia In this episode we chat to , CEO and Co-Founder of a bioscience data company driven to make labs faster and smarter. Showing that building out a smart lab isn't the preserve of the roboticists, Biobright hoovers up every drop of experimental data with a view to make science more reproducible. Their product 'DarwinSync' can hook up to you electronic lab notebooks, be searched through voice, and can even help with the analysis and visualisation of lab data. Charles' CV reads like a who's who of science innovation, from his IBM PhD Fellowship in the , to working in George Church's lab at the . He was also an early intern at Ginkgo Bioworks. He's even been named one of 35 Innovators Under 35 by the MIT Technology Review. Relevant articles:
info_outline The Science of Storytelling with Kat Arney 02/23/2019
The Science of Storytelling with Kat Arney In this episode we chat to science writer, podcaster, speaker, author, and now communications consultant Dr Kat Arney on all things science communication! We dive into the current state of the science communication industry, from the tools of the trade, things that 'scicommers' can improve, and the work Kat does training researchers in the art of storytelling. Relevant links: Kat's Kat's book - Gemma's Article on ''
info_outline Viral Misinformation with Richard Clarke 02/10/2019
Viral Misinformation with Richard Clarke In today's episode we are joined by Richard Clarke, a PhD researcher at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine! Richard is a member of the the Vaccine Confidence Project, an initiative that monitors public confidence in immunisation for the purpose of detecting public concerns around vaccines. These concerns can have massive implications for the effectiveness of vaccine programmes and as such researchers must address them as early as possible. In this episode we explore what researchers can do to effectively communicate science on-and-off-line (it turns out caps lock, insults, and twitter mobs aren't very convincing...), and the results of his research that suggests that on the whole people are less vulnerable to online pseudoscience than we might think. We also chat about his involvement in the Skeptic community, and the role that public trust in authority plays in vaccine hesitancy. Richard's PhD focusses on the information seeking behaviours of mothers as they make a vaccine decision during pregnancy. In his studies Richard applies research from the psychology of decision making, trust and the field of information science to quantitatively investigate how mothers engage in information gathering to aid decision making with respect to the pertussis vaccine currently offered during pregnancy.
info_outline Feeding the World with Hila Cohen 02/05/2019
Feeding the World with Hila Cohen In today's episode Gemma speaks to Hila Cohen the International Business Development Lead of the . We dive into the invaluable work done by the WFP, the benefits of considerate locally focussed innovations in food tech, and whether there should be concerns given the aging farming community. The WFP Innovation Accelerator identifies and nurtures solutions to hunger globally. They also provide financial support to WFP innovators and external start-ups, and access to a network of experts. The WFP believes that the way forward in the fight against hunger is not necessarily in building grand plans, but identifying and testing solutions in an agile way. Article: "" If you enjoyed this episode, why not give it a rating or review :)
info_outline The Science Set - From Ghana and Beyond 01/06/2019
The Science Set - From Ghana and Beyond Today's guest is Antipem Ofori Charles, a Ghanaian inventor and entrepreneur who is intent on transforming science education within Ghana and beyond. Antipem is the founder of the DEXT Technology, an accessible science set designed to engage students in underserved communities with the wonder of science. One of Antipem's inspirations for developing DEXT was through his own pathway into science. His father, a local high school teacher, framed what it meant to be a scientist for him by designing rain collection experiments with the simplest of equipment...a bottle and a funnel. This spirit of democratisation of science through ease of access has been woven into development of the Science Set. Affordable, but with a diverse array of resources, it sets up students with the tools they need to develop their drive to tinker and experiment.
info_outline Find a Way Make a Way with Harry Destecroix 11/24/2018
Find a Way Make a Way with Harry Destecroix In this episode we are joined by our pal, the inimitable Harry Destecroix. Harry is CEO of Unit DX and Carbometrics, and is former CEO of Ziylo. We chat about why (and how) he managed to have such a mental job title, how Bristol is fast becoming a spinout factory, and how entrepreneurship can be fostered in the sciences with just a little bit more education, and a bit more ecosystem support. If you want to find out more about the story of Ziylo and Carbometrics, to Novo Nordisk in Forbes earlier this year.
info_outline Losing the Nobel Prize with Brian Keating 06/14/2018
Losing the Nobel Prize with Brian Keating In this episode we chat to UC San Diego Physicist on his new book ''. Brian Keating was in the running for a Nobel with the gravitational waves discovery, but his Nobel hopes evaporated when what they had really detected was the cosmologists nemesis ... interstellar dust. Brian talks us through the history of the Nobel, scientific incentives, and the perception of the Nobel through time. We also delve into some key things that the Nobel should change - such as, nominating organisations or lab groups rather than an arbitrarily selected three, having research categories that reflect science as it is today, and of course address the tremendous gender disparity in the nominations.
info_outline The Road to Open Science Hardware 03/29/2018
The Road to Open Science Hardware In this episode we spoke to Dr Jenny Molloy, a Cambridge Synthetic Biologist who, among many things, is the Director of the Cambridge , and is on the organising committee for the . We spoke about her work in developing the GOSH manifesto, and the recently released which advocates for open science hardware as a ubiquitous component of everyday lab life. We also dove into the space that hardware fits into, in the ever active Open Science community. How do the open hardware advocates differ from those keen to shake up academic publishing. We were also keen to find out more on how open science hardware projects are disseminated, not just to the fellow academics but to the wider public at large. And how this area of 'science disruption' could have a massive impact on the reproducibility of research.
info_outline *SXSW Bonus Episode* Building an Ecosystem for Science Startups 03/27/2018
*SXSW Bonus Episode* Building an Ecosystem for Science Startups *Bonus Episode* Gemma moderated a panel at SXSW on building an ecosystem for science startups with Ana Florescu of , Harry Destecroix of , and Dominic Falcao of .
info_outline The Biotech Rebels with Elsa Sotiriadis 02/03/2018
The Biotech Rebels with Elsa Sotiriadis This episode we spoke to , the Chief Futurist and Program Director of . Rebel Bio is the world's first life science accelerator, based initially out of Cork, they have worked with startups tackling synthetic meat, algae derived materials, and drug repurposing using AI. They have recently brought in their first cohort to their 2nd home in London, where they will work out of the new White City Incubator. We were keen to break down the different science startup ecosystems that Cork and London have become, and discuss the amazing things that these companies aim to achieve. We were also intrigued by Elsa's passion for science fiction, specifically the passage of inspiration between science fiction and research and back again.
info_outline Breaking Research out the Lab with Hemai Parthasarathy 01/20/2018
Breaking Research out the Lab with Hemai Parthasarathy We spoke to Hemai Parthasarathy, the Scientific Director of , a fund for early stage deep tech startups to get their research out of the lab. Hemai started out as a neuroscientist at MIT, and moved from academia to the field of publishing as the North American Editor of Nature and went on to be one of the founding editors of PLOS, building PLOS Biology and PLOS One. So as you can imagine we were keen to get Hemai's perspective on a whole host of subjects straddling academia and industry. Hemai broke down what Breakout Labs looks for in their startups and founders, and the diverse group of startups that they have invested in so far. These include companies working in stem cell derived bone replacement, gecko inspired adhesive materials, and even renewable energy startups harnessing the power of the ocean.
info_outline Exploring European Biotech with Philip Hemme 01/12/2018
Exploring European Biotech with Philip Hemme This episode we speak to Philip Hemme, the founder and CEO of , the leading media organisation covering European biotech. We talk about their rapid growth as a startup, the current state of biotech media, their internationally diverse team, and the benefits of 'open science' to biotech startups.
info_outline Food from the Lab with Erin Kim 12/15/2017
Food from the Lab with Erin Kim This episode we chatted to Erin Kim the Communications Director at , a non-profit research institute focussed on making cellular agriculture a reality. We talk about the the current state of lab grown meat, the importance of effective science communication in a field prone to hype or hysteria, and the community New Harvest are building through their events.
info_outline From Cambridge to the Commons with Julian Huppert 11/28/2017
From Cambridge to the Commons with Julian Huppert This episode features , former Liberal Democrat MP for Cambridge, and now Director of the at Jesus College Cambridge. We chat about Julian's journey from academia to the House of Commons where he was recognised as the only scientist, a moniker that Julian was keen to not let define and confine his policy goals. We wanted to get his insight into the general state of scientific understanding in parliament, and how scientists can better engage politicians with topics that matter to them. It's an unfortunate stereotype that scientists often hold politics at arm's length, there may not be a need for all scientists to be politically activated but involvement in the political process can as Julian notes be pretty easy behaviours to foster. We were also eager to dive into his new(ish) role as Director of the Intellectual Forum, an organisation that has critical thinking and open discussion at its core, covering an impressive breadth of topics which can essentially be boiled down to anything 'interesting and worthwhile'.
info_outline From Side Project to Startup with Bethan Wolfenden 10/31/2017
From Side Project to Startup with Bethan Wolfenden This episode we chatted to , the co-founder of , a biotech startup that has created a 'laptop size laboratory'. This kit allows the user to perform simple DNA analysis and dramatically reduces the cost of the components you'd need to analyse samples, thus lowering the barrier to entry for molecular biology. This episode is a very candid discussion about founding the company, as we cover the difficult decision to move on from a PhD to develop the company and the challenges of crowdfunding the product (of which they had a successful KickStarter campaign). We also meander through the burgeoning DIY bio community, how the competition has informed her attitude towards science done within the confines of academia, and what citizen science can actually achieve (when it's not reduced to data collection).
info_outline Securing the Future of Food with Christine Gould 10/20/2017
Securing the Future of Food with Christine Gould In this episode we chatted to , founder and CEO of the Foundation. Their annual conference, startup challenge and active community centres around the science and tech working to ensure we have enough food to feed the world. With Christine, we talked about how to bring together diverse groups of people - startups, scientists, designers, policy makers, corporates and, in particular, young people, to work towards solutions. She explained how the TFF annual summit is centred around experience design and a strong culture of innovation (openness, collaboration, beginner's mindset, entrepreneurial methods, purpose before paycheck and larger-than-life energy), and that this can be replicated across sectors. Christine was particularly passionate about how young people can build and design the future, and how critical their involvement is. We were particularly interested in Christine's attitude towards agriculture in 2017 being a place ripe for tech and science innovation, and hence, one of the most exciting sectors to be focusing on right now!
info_outline Leading the Automation Revolution 10/10/2017
Leading the Automation Revolution In this episode we chatted to , the Scientific Development Lead at , about all things science. OpenTrons is a company that builds affordable open-source lab robots, that remove the need to perform tedious manual pipetting tasks, to free up valuable time for researchers. We touched on the importance of good science communication and the unfair stigma that often impacts researchers that are keen to involve and talk to the public, and the true value of encouraging that "...and then it just clicked" moment with people previously disengaged with science. We also spoke about the innovative ways tinkerers have adapted their open-source robots, the value of putting automation into the hands of the many, and the attitude shift required in science to promote prototyping and hacking. We were keen to see how OpenTrons has been received by academics looking to streamline their research and were fascinated by their passage through Haxclr8tr (a hardware startup accelerator, now called ). Their relationship to Shenzhen is also pretty amazing - described as the silicon valley for hardware, the labyrinthine market in Shenzhen allows hardware hackers to rapidly test out ideas, a concept essentially intractable even with the electronic hardware superstores elsewhere.