The Science of 2017

We take a look back at the science of 2017...
02 January 2018
Presented by Katie Haylor, Izzie Clarke
Production by Katie Haylor.


new year


This week, The Naked Scientists raise a glass to 2017 as they look back at their favourite science of the year, including: bees playing football, ghost busting, and removing farts from a car.

In this episode

Children laughing

Laughter 101
with Professor Sophie Scott- UCL

To dispell those January blues, Chris Smith got the lowdown from UCL's Sophie Scott on what makes us laugh...

Originally taken from the show The Science of Laughter.

A bumblebee on a flower

07:03 - Football-playing bees

Bumblebees can reason when rolling a ball...

Football-playing bees
with Clint Perry, Queen Mary University London

Back in February, Ricky Nathvani interviewed Clint Perry from Queen Mary University in London about his discovery that ball-rolling bumblebees are capable of reasoning...

Originally from the show Conversations about climate change.

The Earth is surrounded by debris from past space missions.

11:54 - What does space junk sound like?

Aritsts have given voices to the junk floating around in space...

What does space junk sound like?
with Cath LeCouter - Project Adrift

Artists Cath LeCouter and Nick Ryan have given sound and voice to space debris...

Originally from the show A Crash Course in Space Junk.


16:51 - Could your genes affect your job?

Are employers allowed to use your genetic information against you?

Could your genes affect your job?
with Professor Ellen Wright Clayton - Vanderbuilt University Medical Centre

Genetic sequencing is a technology that’s come on leaps and bounds in recent years. It is now possible to sequence our entire genome in a matter of days. But could having access to our genetic data put us at risk of discrimination? Georgia Mills spoke to Ellen Wright Clayton from Vanderbuilt University to find out...

Originally taken from the show Should I Sequence My Genes?

A car or other form of transport

24:22 - Removing a fart from a car

What's the best way to get a fart out of a car?

Removing a fart from a car
with Dr Jess Wade - Imperial College London

"How do you remove a fart from a car?" Chris Smith put this stinky question to Imperial College physicist Jess Wade...

Originally from the show Why Bother Going to the Moon?

Person using a laptop at a table

Does pressing "delete" really get rid of files?
with Graham Rymer - Cambridge University

2017 saw a number of significant cyber attacks across the globe - including on the National Health Service in the UK. One way to stay secure is to delete all personal data from old electronic devices, for example if you’re giving them away to someone else. But how confident can we be that deleting data means it has gone? With the help of Graham Rymer from Cambridge University, Izzie Clarke set out to discover what could be gleaned from an old, formatted hard drive...

Originally from the show Cybersecurity: When Crime Goes Online.

Irukandji jellyfish

What's so deadly about the Irukandji jellyfish?
with Lisa-ann Gershwin - Australian Marine Stinger Advisory Services

The Irukandji jellyfish came up trumps in our office Critter of the Week poll. Izzie Clarke explains why with the help of Lisa-ann Gershwin from the Australian Marine Stinger Advisory Service...

Originally from the show: Marine Month: All at Sea.


38:39 - Foraging: lunch in the park

What food can be foraged in the local park?

Foraging: lunch in the park
with Antony Baggott - hobbyist forager

The park might seem an unusual place to go food shopping, but Katie Haylor took a stroll with Antony Baggott to see what could be foraged in the green spaces of Cambridge...

Originally from the show: Diet: Can we be Healthy and Sustainable?

Prison cell bars

Remembering what didn't happen: false memories
with Dr Julia Shaw - University College London

How would you feel if you sent an innocent person off to prison, or what if you confessed to a crime that never actually happened? The way in which police question individuals can lead to the creation of so-called false memories, and these can result in the wrong conviction from time to time. Izzie Clarke spoke to crime psychologist Julia Shaw from UCL...

Originally from the show: Memories: Making Them and Breaking Them.


Going on a ghost hunt
with Brad Mac - Ghost Hunt UK

As the Halloween lanterns came out and the costumes came on, The Naked Scientists team wanted to find out about the psychology of paranormal beliefs. The bravest of them volunteered one dark, eery night to creep around the supposedly haunted Madingley Hall in Cambridgeshire, on a mission to find out what might be lurking there...

Originally from the show Trick or Treat: The Science of the Paranormal.

Homo Naledi skull

52:15 - Homo naledi's brain

What did Homo Naledi's brain look like?

Homo naledi's brain
with Professor Lee Berger - Witwatersrand University, Johannesburg, South Africa

On a recent question and answer show here on The Naked Scientists, Chris Smith spoke to human origins expert Lee Berger from Witwatersrand University, Johannesburg, about his recent Homo naledi discoveries at the Rising Star Cave. He even brought skulls, hands and feet with him...

Originally from the show Paleo Ponderings: Can you Dig It?


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